With as much attention as the environment has been getting lately, you’d think that we’d be further along in our fight to preserve the world’s species, resources and the beautiful diversity of nature. Unfortunately, things aren’t nearly that rosy. In fact, many of the environmental problems that have received the most public attention are even worse than we thought – from destruction in the rain forest to melting glaciers in the Arctic. We’ve got a lot of work to do.
Whether we like to admit it or not, overpopulation on this planet is the biggest environmental problem there is, and it’s getting bigger by the minute.
DISCLAIMER: In this article, we will take for granted that the definition of abortion is to deliberately abort a fetus, and that the fetus has no nervous system and is technically not alive. It is no more alive than hair, skin or an umbilical cord, things we have no moral problems with throwing away. Umbilical cords for example ARE used for stem cell research. However, after settling this issue, I want to point out this article is not about discussing the morality of abortion. Religious groups in America would make condoms, the Pill and ALL forms of contraceptives illegal if they were given the chance. This is purely an article which mentions abortion as a form of birth control, and therefore a way of controlling the birth rate of America.
The world population, if it continues to grow at the same rate (it currently grows 6% every 5 years), will grow at the following rate:
- 2015: 7.24 billion
- 2020: 7.68 billion
- 2025: 8.14 billion
- 2030: 8.62 billion
- 2035: 9.14 billion
- 2040: 9.69 billion
- 2045: 10.27 billion
- 2050: 10.89 billion
- 2060: 12.24 billion
- 2070: 13.75 billion
- 2080: 15.45 billion
- 2090: 17.36 billion
- 2100: 19.50 billion [/starlist]
We voraciously consume resources, pollute the air and water, tear down natural habitats, introduce species into areas where they don’t belong and destroy ecosystems to the point of causing millions of species to become endangered and, all too often, go extinct.
It took nearly all of human history – from the first days of man on earth until the early 1800’s – to reach a global population of 1 billion. In just 200 years, we’ve managed to reach 6.5 billion. That means the population has grown more since 1950 than in the previous four million years. We’re adding roughly 74 million people to the planet every year, a scary figure that will probably continue to increase. All of those mouths will need to be fed. All of those bodies will need clean water and a place to sleep. All of the new communities created to house those people will continue to encroach upon the natural world.
All seven environmental problems detailed above are very serious, and we’ve got to start treating them that way. We may not have easy solutions, but the fact is, we simply can’t continue living our lives as if everything is peachy. These problems aren’t going to magically solve themselves. We should have begun acting generations ago, but we can’t go back in time, and that means we have to step up our efforts. If we want to keep this planet a healthy place for humans to live – for our grandchildren to enjoy – it’s time to buckle down and do everything in our power to reverse the damage we’ve done.
2. CO2 Levels in the Atmosphere
The aforementioned polar sea ice loss is yet another sinister sign of carbon dioxide levels building up in the atmosphere – the main force behind global warming. Greenhouse gas emissions caused by our modern way of life – vehicles, power plants, factories, giant livestock farms – will bring devastating climate change within decades if they stay at today’s levels.
Average temperatures could increase by as much as 12 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century if emissions continue to rise, a figure that would easily make the world virtually uninhabitable for humans. A global temperature rise of just 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit would cause a catastrophic domino effect, bringing weather extremes that would result in food and water shortages and destructive floods.
The most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change represents “the final nail in the coffin” of climate change denial, representing the most authoritative picture to date that global warming is caused by human activity. According to the panel, we must make a swift and significant switch to clean, efficient and renewable energy technologies in order to prevent the worst-case scenario.