Overpopulation There are many issues that pose a threat to our way of life, one of which is overpopulation. It is a serious problem that will eventually have an extremely negatively impact our nations and our planet. Oftentimes this issue goes unnoticed due to lack of knowledge and understanding of the subject. This may be due to the fact that we are living blissfully ignorant to the problems that arise due to overpopulation because of our standard of living in the US. We are not first hand affected by this, but that might not be the case for long. Overpopulation, in my belief, is an enormously serious global issue that should be identified, analyzed and controlled. The population of earth is multiplying faster and faster and it is causing a strain on the environment. According to ConserveEnergyFuture.com overpopulation is “an undesirable condition where the number of the existing human population exceeds the carrying capacity of Earth.” Our planet is already experiencing the effects of overpopulation. Rebecca Stefoff wrote the following in her book, “Overpopulation”, “The world is already feeling the pressure of human population growth, which has placed an enormous strain on the environment and also on the ability of nations to feed and house their citizens (Stefoff 16). Every year the world population multiplies faster and faster. “Currently the world population is growing by over 80 million people per year– that is by 1 billion every 12 to 13 years” (Hohm, Jones, and Lio 116). According to the UN, there are currently 7.6 billion people living on the planet and there will be an estimated 9.8 billion by 2050. Both developed countries and undeveloped countries are at risk to all the problems that overpopulation can and will create. It is predicted Africa’s population is expected to swell to 2.6 billion by 2050, more than double what the population is now, comprising 57 percent of the global population increase from now until then. Africa is in no place financially or physically to sustain a population of that size. “The population of Asia will grow by 750 million to reach 5.2 billion, while the population of the Americas will increase from 1 billion to 1.2 billion. It said India is set to displace China as the worlds most populous country, increasing 1.7 billion people from 1.35 billion. The nation is expected to record the largest population increase of any single country over the next 33 years. Meanwhile, Europe’s population (including all of Russia) will see a slight decline, shrinking to 736 million from 745 million” (Awumah). There are more people on earth then there ever were in human history and the earth cannot sustain the population for long, especially with the frivolous way we use the resources that we have. The population is growing far to quickly and the environment doesn’t have enough time to adapt. The biggest cause of overpopulation is people are having too many children. “Population is determined by the interplay of two factors. One is the birth rate, or the number of people being born, and the other is death rate, or the number who die. The difference between the two is called the rate of natural increase” (Stefoff 25). If the number of births is larger than the number of deaths then the population grows. But if the number of deaths is larger than the number of births then the population decreases (Stefoff 25). Stuart Rachels wrote a piece about the Immorality of having children. In this article he stated the following, “The latest report estimates that a middle-income family with a child born in 2010 will spend about $226,920 on child rearing. That figure, however, doesn’t represent the full price of having children, because it ignores all the costs that accrue after the child turns 18—for example, the cost of college tuition” (Rachels). All of that money could instead go towards the fight against world hunger, as opposed to bringing another child you are not that enthusiastic about into the world. We who live in America think about sending our kids to college, and parents in third world countries worry about finding food for their starving children. I believe that we can have both the children that we want and we can help the starving people in their distress, but we need to be more generous with our excess. There is a divide between the rich and the poor in the world and this plays a part in overpopulation. Paul R. Ehrlich wrote the following in his book, “Americans are beginning to realize that the undeveloped countries of the world face an inevitable population-food crisis. Each year food production in undeveloped countries falls a little bit further behind burgeoning people growth, and people go to bed a little bit hungrier”(Ehrlich 17). The divide between the nations with enough and excess food to feed their people and those countries who struggle to keep their people alive is further shown in the following quote, “An increasingly divided human community will degrade the global environment further as fractions within it struggle to dominate each other and exploit what remains of the nature’s resources. Political leaders must realize instead that we need to build a compassionate sense of human community in a world scale to match the global environmental crisis that confronts everyone” (Hohm, Jones, and Lio 137). We live in a world where there is enough wealth to make it appear as though there are no poverty issues, but the wealth doesn’t do anyone any good because of its uneven distribution. The less fortunate nations have a greater birth rate because of poverty (Commoner). Ehrlich also wrote the following, “Turning to Columbia, we find an almost entirely Catholic country with a doubling time of 22 years” (Ehrlich). Undeveloped nations will double every 20 years if they keep growing at the rate they are growing at now. The doubling time for developed countries is 120 years. According to Ehrlich, this happens because of social and economic differences between the two; such as, human misery, diseases, and standards of living. The divide between rich and poor is creating a bigger population problem and if we could bring the standard of living up in the rest of the world, that would be a step towards a solution to the overpopulation problem. Thomas Robert Malthus was one of the first philosophers to study overpopulation. He believed that the population would eventually outgrow the resources the population demands. Rebecca Stefoff explained it in the following manner, “If a population exceeds the environments carrying capacity, either by increasing in number or increasing in its use of resources (or both), the environment begins to suffer. Malthus believed that the human population grows exponentially and the food supply grows arithmetically. That is the population grows 1-2-4-8-16-32-64-128… and so on, while the good supply grows 1-2-3-4-5-6… and so on. This theory is logically simply because without food people would starve to death. Understandably, people in first world countries don’t have to worry about food shortages. But Stefoff put it this way, “Every year 40 million to 60 million people in developing countries die of hunger or diseases related to hunger”(Stefoff 54). Malthus’ theories are already becoming reality in developing countries and it will not take long for it to be the norm in developed “untouchable” countries like the United States of America and Europe. It is estimated nine million people die from hunger every year and every ten seconds a child dies from hunger (Mercy Corps). The problem is both that we do not have enough food to feed the already hungry, and one third of food produced is wasted by countries like the United States. The biggest problem with overpopulation is how much food is wasted every day in first world countries, while the poor starve. The problem of overpopulation is vast and hasn’t been studied enough to have a definite solution, but there are things we can do to help those who are suffering because of overpopulation. Overpopulation is causing a stain on our environment because the earth cannot sustain this many people for much longer with the frivolous way we are using our resources. Having too many children is worsening the overpopulation problem. The divide between the rich and poor is causing the overpopulation problem to grow and many of these problems can be mended if we start thinking about the poor.