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Natural Resources and Population Growth

In the modern world, two main global problems threaten the survival of all flora and fauna: an increase in population and exhaustion of the planet’s natural resources. The first critical feature of these problems is that both issues are interrelated; the more people on earth, the more resources are consumed. The second concerning trait is that some of the natural resources are non-renewable. In his article titled “As World’s Population Booms, Will Its Resources Be Enough for Us?” Dimick discusses overpopulation and resource depletion, referring to various data, research, and probable solutions. Reducing population growth and the skills to use natural resources wisely are vital for the survival of humankind.

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Currently, the human population exceeds seven billion people and continues to grow. Dimick wonders “how many people the Earth can support” since humankind enormously consumes the planet’s natural resources. Human activity affects resources not only quantitatively but also qualitatively. People rapidly mine minerals, extract oil, gas and coal, proceed deforestation, hunt animals and fish – such activities affect the number of resources. In terms of qualitative influences, human activity leads to air and water pollution, as well as climate change, which in turn affects everything else. Thus, the intersection between population and resources implies influence, mainly negative, on literally everything in the natural environment: “the land, oceans, fisheries, forests, wildlife, grasslands, rivers and lakes, groundwater, air quality, atmosphere, weather, and climate” (Dimick). For the resources to be sufficient for further survival, it is necessary to cope with the problem of population growth globally.

For inhibition of this process, it is necessary to reduce female fertility worldwide. The term fertility is defined by “how many children a woman bears in her lifetime” (Dimick). In many countries, women lack education, family planning skills, contraception and development opportunities. These factors lead to the fact that a woman’s activity narrows down to bearing and giving birth to many children. Dimick refers to fertility statistics in Brazil, where “improving education for girls, more career opportunities, and the increased availability of contraception” decreased the average number of children from about 6 to less than 2 per woman. Thus, the primary strategy in reducing population growth is increasing education quality for women.

Virtually, this approach reflects the demographic transition theory, which presupposes decreasing birth rates and mortality due to education and development. There are several stages in this theory, but the main point is that mortality will increase over time due to demographic ageing and thus, the population will begin to decline. The initial ideas of demographic transition theory and Dimick coincide. Still, the article’s author believes that further improvement of education and quality of life will increase “consumption of natural resources”. These findings make one wonder whether narrowing the population will help save the planet’s resources.

Nearly a billion people today have difficulty getting enough food, which partly reflects the assumptions of Thomas Robert Malthus. He believed that rapid population growth would force overall humanity to starve, but this never happened because humans improved agro-industries (Dimick). However, this does not mean that there will be no global starvation. Sooner or later, people risk depleting the planet’s reserves to such an extent that technology will not provide food for everyone. Although the proposal of Malthus did not come true, he would consider the article relevant, as it reflects the same concerns that he was experiencing.

Problems of probable overpopulation and depletion of natural resources are critical and require maximum joint efforts to find solutions. In addition, these issues should be considered as a whole because if the population continues to grow, then resources will be consumed in a corresponding progression. The first step in the struggle to keep natural resources is to gradually reduce the number of people, which can be achieved through education, decreasing fertility and improving the quality of life worldwide.

Work Cited

Dimick, Dennis. “As World’s Population Booms, Will Its Resources Be Enough for Us?” National Geographic, 2014, Web.

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