do you believe that the risks of overpopulation have been grossly overstated? what about other parts of the world?do you believe that the risks of overpopulation have been grossly overstated? what...

do you believe that the risks of overpopulation have been grossly overstated? what about other parts of the world?

do you believe that the risks of overpopulation have been grossly overstated? what about other parts of the world?

Expert Answers
stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In First World countries (industrialized nations), the challenge is to keep from destroying the environment with all the pollution and damage to the natural ecosystem caused by concentrations of population that don't live and act responsibly toward Mother Earth and her atmosphere.

In Third World countries (largely rural, undeveloped at this point nations), challenges include rapidly growing populations and ambitions to become industrialized at any cost to the environment. When the United States was a young country, we could have large families to support the effort needed to make a living on the farm. The use of cheap, easily available coal as a primary source of energy didn't cause any concern. Two hundred years later, the world can't sustain nations continuing to use those same patterns to support their development - but the nations still want to attain the living standards they see in the First World. Without different approaches to attaining those goals, I think overpopulation and global warming are inevitable.

Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

From what I've seen, the statistics and research all point inexorably to world population inflation that overreaches the ability of dwindling arable lands and viable ecosystems to sustain life and lifestyle of that population. As to America itself, well there is a possibility that a gluttonous lifestyle might not be stopped by infringement into eco-capital that provides sustainability for other economic systems. In other words, America may have no compunctions against a burgeoning eco-footprint that consumes what should sustain other people. As to the world in general, the logic is simple: with shrinking healthy estuary systems and forest systems; with spreading ocean dead zones; with worsening contamination of ocean fish; with dwindling arable land taken over by expanding areas of human habitation; with changing global climate patterns, something's gotta give, to quote Johnny Mercer: sustainable living can't long be sustained under continuing deterioration and capital depletion of ecosystems.

pacorz eNotes educator| Certified Educator


I think that the global population issue has actually been understated. We are gaining 10,000 new human beings an hour worldwide. It's overly apparent that such a rate of growth cannot be sustained indefinitely, and getting it under control is going to be very unpleasant if it is done in any way other than voluntarily.

The biggest problem with population growth is not the number of people, it's the increasing expectation of quality and ease of life. There is no way that the burgeoning population of India is going to accept no for an answer when people there want modern amenities that are considered necessities in the United States and in Europe. However, there are simply not enough global resources for everyone to live the way we do here in the US. It seems unfair to save children from childhood disease only to relegate them to a life of hunger and squalor, but that is what is happening worldwide.

Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't necessarily think that they have been grossly overstated, especially in relation to countries like China and India.  However, my religion prevents me from condoning any "measures" that can limit population (other than Natural Family Planning, of course).  Why?  Life is God's most special gift, ... and that life cannot be squandered and should never be taken away.  Apart from the issue of ignorance on the subject of reproducing, if people would just learn self-control a bit more,  overpopulation could be avoided.  I simply refuse to believe that we are animals, controlled only by instinct to breed and get that self-satisfaction.  Therefore, I completely with brettd, that "overpopulation is simply a mathematical eventuality" and that at some point "Mother Nature" or God, or whatever you want to call it, will "correct our overpopulation,"  but only if it comes to that with our lack of self-control as humans.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't agree that we lack the resources for everyone to live the way we do in the US.  We simply lack the ability at this point to make other people able to afford those resources.  For example, as the Chinese (millions of them) have moved into the middle class, it has not meant that Americans can no longer afford a high standard of living.  We have plenty of resources (for the time being).  The problem is not overpopulation or too few resources for the population (which is the same thing).  The problem is that some countries don't have the necessary infrastructure, education, etc. to provide good lives for their populations.

So, I don't believe there is an overpopulation problem.  I do think that there is a problem with poor distribution of resources, not with an overall lack of resources.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Not at all.  Overpopulation is simply a mathematical eventuality, if the past century of growth is any predictor of the next.  There are many places that are already overpopulated, and resources such as oil, arable land and especially fresh water are finite.  What's more, the carbon footprint of the world's current population has already saturated large areas of ocean and atmosphere with unsustainable levels of CO2, and we have millions of people who already live in poverty and even with starvation.

Mother Nature will correct our overpopulation at some point.  We simply get to choose how painful and drastic the correction will be by admitting perpetual population growth is unsustainable, and taking measures in the near term to limit our growth.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I am not an expert in this area, but it does concern me that trends show population increasing in countries which do not necessarily have the resources to sustain such a burgeoning population growth, such as India. It is interesting that in Europe at least, population growth seems to have plateaud or to be decresing in some countries. This does present a considerable challenge to the world that we will have to address sooner or later.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Overpopulation is always problematic in terms of supply and demand. Supply of goods, services, needful things, professional interventions, go-to places, and that is setting aside the little issue of petroleum and medicine.

It is never wrong to show in detail how an overpopulated city or country could miss out in getting quality goods and services that could grant people their rights to receive the best their taxes can buy.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I do think we are likely to reach a population tipping point somewhere soon.  This is more likely to come from overpopulation in underdeveloped parts of the world.  The United States has more population, but it comes mostly from immigrants and immigration.  The average American actually has fewer children now than before.

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question