1. Most people assume that human numbers will stabilize at some point in the future. Discuss the conditions which can contribute to the solution of the population explosion.
- The Population Solution -
"Let us suppose that the average human being weighs 60 kilogram's. If that's the case then 100,000,000,000,000,000,000 people would weigh as much as the whole Earth does. That number of people is 30,000,000,000,000 times as many people as there are living today. It may seem to you that the population can go up a long, long time before it reaches the point where there are 30,000,000,000,000 times as many people as there are today. Let's think about that though. Let us suppose that the population growth rate stays at 2.0 per cent so that the number of people in the world continues to double every 35 years. How long, then, will it take for the world's population to weigh as much as the entire planet? The answer is - not quite 1,600 years. This means that by 3550 AD, the human population would weight as much as the entire planet.... Even if that were possible, it wouldn't give us much time. If the growth-rate stays at 2.0 per cent, then in a little over 2,200 years - say, by 4220 AD - the human population would weigh as much as the entire Solar system, including the Sun... and by about 6700 AD - the human population would weigh as much as the entire Universe." The preceding paragraph, by Isaac Asimov describes quite alarmingly just how bad the population problem really is, that in considerably less time that has passed since the days of Julius Caesar the population will equal in mass of that of the earth. Most people assume that human numbers will stabilize at some point in the future. Hopefully it will, but not without conditions that will contribute to the solution of the population explosion, conditions which include education, birth control methods and government action.
Although not the largest in terms of population size, Kenya has one of the highest rates natural increase in the world. This rapid growth rate, which is predicted to reach 120 million by the year 2050, is primarily due to high birthrates and low death rates. Alarmingly, more than half of its population is under the age of 15. This is partly due to the fact that before western influence, health care was relatively poor and families needed to be large in order to guarantee the survival of at least a couple of children to take care of both the land and the elderly. Presently, with much improved health care and substantially lower infant mortality rates, Kenyans are still opting for large family sizes, an average of 8 children per family. This is where education can inform Kenyans and citizens of other countries facing similar problems that large families are no longer necessary to ensure survival. There are also some serious problems that come with educating completely different cultures. For example, Kenyan men believe that if you do not have a large family and many male offspring, you are not considered a man. Also, many cultures promote large family sizes to ensure security and military status. Some may even reject education for the fear that it is a continuing form of colonialism or imperialism and that western attempts to reduce Third World populations is backed up by racist rational. These problems could be overcome by exposing children at a young age in their schools with material promoting small family sizes. The education of adults can also contribute to reducing the population explosion, mainly with the education of women. In most third world countries, the woman's job is to take care of the children, but when educated, most will want to pursue other lifestyles such as a career instead of adding to the population problem. Another form of education that can contribute to the population problem is to educated both men and women on the use of contraceptives or birth control.
Even though statistics say that the world is headed towards a disastrously increasing overuse of precious resources because of its increasing population, many still stand against the use of contraceptives and other forms of birth control. Even those educated on the population problem regard birth control as unnecessary and perhaps even undesirable. Individuals, groups and nations who hold such views may do so for military, political, religious or even economic reasons. At one time, the Roman government rewarded mothers and taxed bachelors and the USSR passed laws that made abortion and even contraception illegal. Many pronationalist equate military or political power with a larger population and believe that it provides both a larger labour force and a larger market. They must be informed that birth control can avoid a large population which presses on the environment and its resources and take away from the capital available for new investment. Crowded cities usually equals mass unemployment which causes political turmoil. At present, the strongest opposition to birth control comes as a result to religious ideals. The Roman Catholic church still continues to ban all forms of birth control except periodic abstinence. The global education of birth control must not only encourage the use of birth control and make it more readily available, but also dispel any myths about it. A common myth among Italian women are that pills are harmful to the body, causing circulation problems, tumors and even deforming future children.
When most people learn of China's one child policy, they usually declare it a violation of the basic human right of reproduction. This may be true, but the one child policy is working in reducing China's rate of natural increase. Even still, the one child policy will not stop the growth in population, with an estimated increase of roughly the population of the United States by the year 2000. On the other hand, without it, China's population will reach gigantic numbers. Implementing such a policy in other countries such as the democratic United States will most likely create a severe opposition from such groups as the woman's rights movement. One possibility to avoid a national uprising is to instead of creating an actual policy, is to campaign through the use of television, radio, and other forms of communication that strongly promotes a two child or even one child family. Nevertheless, government action must be taken now, whether it be to create more jobs, improve pensions, reduce family sizes and/or promote the use of birth control.
As Isaac Asimov clearly states it, our planet is facing certain doom if measures are not taken quickly to avoid it. At different points in human history, we faced the danger of becoming extinct, from the overpowering animals in prehistoric times to the overpowering nuclear weapons during the Cold War. Today, our problem is very different and much more severe, the problem is that there will be simply too many humans for the earth to handle. As Tomas Robert Malthus puts it, "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man." Without conditions such as global education, birth control and government action which will contribute to the population problem, Isaac Asimov's unbelievable theory may one day speak the truth.
Asimov, Isaac. "Let's suppose..." Earth: Our Crowded Spaceship. New York: John Day Co., 1974
Global Issues, 96/97 ed. Connecticut: Dushkin Publishing Group / Brown & Benchmark Publishers. Pp. 42-44, 45-49,50-59,73-77
Malthus, Thomas Robert. An Essay on the Principle of Population. London: Printed for J. Johnson, in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1798.
Myers, Norman Dr. Gaia. An Atlas of Planet Management. New York: Anchor Press / Doubled & Company Inc., 1984
Noble, Mike. Population http://oasis.bellevue.k12.wa.us/sammamish...dies.dir/hist_doces.dir/population.mn.html
Suzuki, David. Exponential Growth us Merely Another case if False Worship, unknown source