|← The Effect of Global Warming||Position Paper →|
Human eudemonia is immensely dependent on the Earth’s ecosystem, and in order to maintain and improve human well-being, natural resources are essential. The Earth’s ecosystem has undoubtedly been transposed by human actions. McCally stated, “today’s problems are persistent and global” . There are several factors that humans modify that cause a change in the ecosystem; population growth, technology, and consumption are just a few. Together, population growth, technology, and the increase of human consumption, are threatening our present global stability. These impacts, if not addressed, will create an irreparable ramification on the Earth’s ecosystem causing an unimaginable worldwide crisis.
Natural systems of our environment are of vital magnitude for social and economic existence. According to Grodzinski these natural systems include “a wide diversity of valuable plants, animals, and microorganisms; abundant air and water; productive soils, farmlands, forests, and aquatic ecosystems; beautiful mountains, lakes, streams, and rivers; valuable wilderness, coastal areas, wetlands, and groundwater”. One major indirect factor on our social existence and natural heritages is population growth.
As the population continues to develop, numerous aspects of life will experience oppression. Explosive growth causes a number of severe impacts on our ecosystem including food supply shortages, overcrowding, poverty, consumption increase, strain on widespread social facilities and public services, to name a few. As the population numbers increase so does the need for new homes, “more roads, hospitals, and schools” which require use of natural systems. The impacts of human population growth will cause a disappearance of wildlife, energy crisis, food crisis, air and water pollution, and urban sprawl.
Ecological impacts of population growth are “ultimately the source of human suffering and thus are inseparable from the human situation: an ever more difficult struggle for survival with fewer and fewer tools” . Overpopulation is not only an issue in the developing world but also in the industrialized world as well. Developing and industrialized world’s overpopulation if not addressed will ultimately result in an irreversible affect on the ecosystem.
Rapid increases in the human population are linked to technologies having to do with food production, sanitation, and disease prevention. Many people support the idea that new technologies will make it possible for life support system to accommodate larger human populations. Potential technology makes earths resources to be virtually inexhaustible. There are problems associated with lack of access to safe drinking water resulting to outbreak of epidemic diseases such as cholera. Due to population increase, few people have access to safe drinking water; in addition, there are implications such as increase in poverty levels, and inadequate food supply resulting into malnutrition. Human consumption places severe stress on natural processes that renew some resources and depletes those resources that cannot be renewed such as minerals, plant and animal species, and habitats .
The current technologies have never made significant improvements in levels of consumption, and socioeconomic organization. Thus, human population have depended on earths resources “through the exhaustion and dispersion of a one-time inheritance of natural capital’. To ensure human survival, there has been depletion of topsoil, groundwater supplies, as well as, biodiversity. Human population growth and consumption has gone beyond the earth’s carrying capacity resulting to the reduction of the future potential biophysical carrying capacities through over utilization and depletion of natural stocks. However, technological process has resulted to efficiency improvements, resource substitutions, and major innovations.
Natural resources are limited, these includes soil, water, energy, and living organisms. Human population growth continues to expand and finite resources are divided among increasing human population. This creates a difficult situation to maintain prosperity and a quality of life . High per capita consumption levels due to population growth put pressure on natural resources. Increasing human demands and consumption on natural resources make it difficult to limit the use of many renewable resources to a sustainable rate. For a renewable resource that is necessarily consumed, degraded, or dispersed in the intact forest, or underlaid by freshwater aquifers is reduced, their sustainable use gets proportionally diminished.
The unsustainable consumption of natural resources has put pressure on the current generation to jeopardize the ability of the future generation to meet their needs. For instance, Pimentel, et al stated that “most of the 15 million hectares needed yearly to replace lost land is coming from the world's forests” . This has resulted into and urgent need for more agricultural land . Furthermore, the interdependence of fossil fuels results into climate change and it is further predicted that, significant changes will continue to take place in the utilization of natural resources. Hence, shortages in fossil fuel coupled with the concentration of green house gases in the atmosphere will lead to transition in renewable energy sources in the coming decades. Current human population consumption patterns have put pressure on the limited natural resources. This has contributed to global warming, and the generation of toxic products that poses threat ecosystems.
In conclusion, technological developments have a limited ability in meeting the demands of the growing human population coupled with the increased per capita demands. Many people are unaware, and unable to provide better solutions to avert the imbalances existing between human population growth, technological advances and human consumption, and their effects on energy and natural resources that support life. The impacts on natural resources, individual standard of living, environmental quality, and population growth have never been wholly understood nor acknowledged. However, human populations have utilized the technical knowhow to use effective environmental conservation techniques. Generally, man has performed poorly in protecting essential resources from depletion and degradation that arises from growing populations. Human population will never increase indefinitely, but natural resources have been depleted and are currently scarce. Finally, there is evidence in the ecosystem indicating that that natural forces have already started to control human population through malnutrition and other severe diseases in most parts of the world. Overexploitation causes natural resources to become more difficult to obtain. The wasteful utilization of natural resources can limit their availability for other purposes. As stated above, the importance of renewable resources such as water, air, soil, and wood can be affected by anthropogenic activities through deliberately or inadvertently polluting them.