Are humans susceptible to the kind of resource shortages that affect the populations of other species?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I'd say we are, although probably not to the same extent as other species.

The resource shortages that generally harm populations of other species are shortages of food and shortages of habitat.  In both cases, people are somewhat susceptible.  When it comes to food, you can often see examples of famines in "underdeveloped" countries that are extremely harmful to their populations.

The real difference, though, is that humans have a greater ability to compensate for these shortages.  We can eat many different kinds of things and, in today's world, we can get food from all over the earth.  This means that localized shortages aren't as important.

So, shortages can hurt us (and global warming may end up really hurting us) but we can generally cope with them way better than other animals can.

krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

Posted on

Humans are as much affected by shortages as any other species of plant or animal. For example, humans in general have no better capacity than other well developed animals to live without air for breathing, or with water for drinking. Rather with increasing levels of prosperity we have become much more dependent on material resource than the animals. This dependence is most marked in one activity that is most essential for sustaining the existence of human race on this earth. Humans need support of an elaborate medical system including doctors, hospitals, and medicines to give birth to a child. Animals are able to reproduce and take care of their young ones without any such resources. Besides they are able to do it under very adverse environmental conditions.

However humans do not feel the pinch of resource shortages as with aid of technology, they are able to eliminate serious resource shortages much more effectively. Humans can increase the supply of resources by better production, procurement from other far off regions, and by migration to other areas. Among these three alternatives, animals have only the third alternative of migration available to them. An even that is not easy for them. First they cannot migrate to places that are very far off. Second, they may face stiff competition for the resources and the land itself from other animals. The worst competition of this kind now comes for humans. Finally, animals have limited capacity to adjust to newer environments. They have neither warm clothing to bear excessive cold, nor air-conditioning to withstand excessive heat.

In summary we can say that humans are as much dependent on external resources as animals, but they have better capacity than other species of animals to secure the resources they need.

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