The world is becoming increasingly uninhabitable
The world is becoming increasingly uninhabitable due to excessive pressure on natural resources. On November 15, the world’s population crossed 8 billion. How can this planet be habitable following the continuation of population growth?
Many believe that if population growth turns into a population explosion, the harmful effects of climate change will increase rapidly, and this planet of 8 billion people will become uninhabitable faster.
However, hopefully, the population growth rate has slowed dramatically in the last few decades. Sarah Hartog, a UN population expert, said,
“The spread of education worldwide has increased awareness among women, and people are more aware of the need for family planning than ever before. Therefore, trust in various birth control methods and using various materials for birth control has increased.
Due to these reasons, the rate of population growth has declined. However, although the population is supposed to decrease, it is increasing. It has a significant role in advancing medicine and increasing health awareness among people.
Otherwise, the average life expectancy of people worldwide would increase by 25 years in 2022 compared to 1950, which would never have been possible.”
According to a United Nations estimate, if the population and average life expectancy continue to grow at this rate, the world’s population will reach 9.7 billion by 2050 and 10.1 billion by 2100. Where nature is struggling to meet the ever-increasing needs of 8 billion people, what can the situation be if the population is 11 billion or more?
Another United Nations report says that due to population growth, greenhouse gas emissions and natural resource loss are increasing worldwide, resulting in the overall situation of environmental pollution becoming increasingly dire.
However, Sarah Hartog believes that population growth is one of the reasons, but not the only reason, for the rampant pressure on natural resources. Therefore, she is strongly opposed to thinking that population control is the only way to control the situation.
Instead, citing economic prosperity and the tendency to live a luxurious life as the main culprit, she told Deutsche Welle, “People’s incomes are increasing, and because of that, the tendency to buy various types of products is increasing.” This contributes more to environmental pollution than population growth.
With population growth rates higher in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia, these two regions are considered by many to be responsible for the increase in carbon emissions worldwide. However, recent research suggests a different story.
In all the rich countries of the world, the use of refrigerators, cars, televisions, ACs, etc., is very high. Because of that, the responsibility of those countries for environmental pollution is also very high.
The non-governmental environmental organization Global Footprint said in a study that if all the people of the world lived like the people of the United States, all the natural resources would be exhausted in a few days. According to the survey,
If everyone lived as luxurious and modern as Americans, it would require at least 5.1 world’s natural resources.
And if all the people of the world were accustomed to living like the Australians, they would need 4.5 worlds of natural resources, 3.4 worlds of natural resources required if living like the Russian citizens.
And three worlds of natural resources will require if living like the Germans citizens, 2.9 worlds of natural resources required if living like the Japanese and Portuguese citizens, and at least 2.8 worlds worth of natural resources if they were all like the citizens of France, Spain, and Switzerland.
However, if the world lives like the general population of Nigeria, a country of more than 21 million people in Africa, only 70% of the current world’s natural resources would use annually.
Even in India, the second most populous country in Asia and the world, only a few people have refrigerators, own cars, own television and AC, etc. So, if the world’s 8 billion people lived like an average Indian, 80% of the world’s natural resources would be used annually.
Therefore, many people like Sarah Hartog, an expert on the population of the United Nations, think it is essential to control the population growth rate and the consumption of luxury goods to prevent environmental pollution at the desired level.
Vanessa Perez-Chiera, Director of Global Economics at the World Resources Institute, agrees with Sarah Hartog. “We still have (natural) resources,” she told Deutsche Welle at the COP27: The UN Climate Change Conference in Egypt.
However, to ensure proper utilization of those resources, politicians must be proactive in getting the economy and geopolitics in the right direction.
Sylvia Loreck, Professor at the University of Helsinki and Chairperson of the Sustainable Europe Research Institute in Germany, has suggested a straightforward way.
She and her fellow researchers have found that making the world an ideal habitat for 8 billion people requires only food, accommodation, and travel.
Lorek and her team of researchers believe that the pressure on natural resources will significantly reduce if
- Stop eating animal foods and become vegetarian,
- Stop the use of airplanes and private cars,
- Moving toward communal living as much as possible by eliminating separate housing for one person or one family