If you are asked to list out the 5 major challenges facing our globe, the odds are that you will list over population as one of them. Climate Change, environmental stress, migration issues all are seen in many ways as a direct fallout of this one basic concern plaguing our planet and the debate about incorporating population control measures worlds over has continued to be a key issue for over a decade now. But the point is ‘overpopulation’ really a problem in itself or does the fault lie in the overall manifestation of it?
First and foremost the reason why it is considered a key problem is the perception about the pressure that high population might exert on the environment and available resources. This concept was perhaps first floated by the celebrated economist Malthus in 1789. According to him, “humans’ proclivity for procreation would exhaust the global food supply within a matter of decades.” Fortunately for us the human race has continued for several decades since those words were spoken. This is essentially on the back of efficient resource management and improved techniques to further boost the output levels. Better seeds, better fertilizer, state of art irrigation facilities have all meant a much larger output.
According to some study by a non-profit organisation, Global Footprint Network,Mother Earth has the ability to regenerate the amount of food, water, energy, air we use in a year’s time. The problem is wastage and use of more than what is needed has meant that this sustainable regeneration module is tinkered with and now since the 1980s, more than 1.5 years worth of resource allocation is being used and hence the problem is gaining ground as a major issue.
However the good thing that emerged out of this Malthusian proposition is that population increase began to be seen in a completely new perspective. It was no longer only about proclivity but also the concept of living within our means or as the old English saying goes, ‘cut your coat according to your pocket.’ As people in many developing countries take nature’s bounties for granted, the long-term impact of these issues is bound to take shape.
Lower Fertility Issues
Another key criterion is the declining fertility issues. A recent UN study indicates that
- It has gone down from 6 to 2.5 children/woman over the past 60 years
- Birth rates have already started lowering in many parts of the world like Europe and US
- Europe’s ‘fertility rate’ reduced to 2005-2010 to 1.53 live births per woman
- This rate in Europe is actually less than the overall sustainable levels. The standard replacement rate to maintain a stable population is about 2.1 live birth every woman
The Broad Disparity
However one basic issue is the inequitable distribution of these data points. While the developed nations are registering a lower fertility rate, the developing countries are registering a relatively higher number of births every month. Fertility rates have been seen as significantly higher in Sub-Saharan, South Asian and other developing zones.
Similarly developed nations like US, Australia, Europe and the rest consume over 80% of the total output globally. Compared to that the relative consumption, poverty and insufficient food distribution in the developing world is often responsible for the relatively high rate of diseases and discrepancies.
The diversity does not end there. Gender inequality, unequal distribution of wealth and the inadequate provisions further exacerbate the overpopulation issue and create challenges that the humans are racing hard to keep pace with and provide a meaningful solution.
A Real-time Check
This is exactly the point where information helps. The real-time data visualization presented by Coupon machine India helps gauge the exact ground realities and the various pockets where population increase can pose challenges.
Population, environmental and supply chain issues are all inter-linked and stabilising the growth rates at a more predictable level will help address the supporting factors in a lot more concise manner and with more focussed target.
The divide between the haves and have not’s and the overall economic disparity is also seen as a key contributor to the whole over population issue becoming a huge problem.