GEOG – Population, Resources, and the Environment C – The Environment . Relationship between science, technology and production (the market). Population Division. PIP: In examining interrelationships among population, resources, environment and development, it must always be kept in mind that. Chinese Journal of Population Resources and Environment Population Growth , Available Resources, and Quality of Life: China's is more flexible in better explaining the relation between population and economic growth.
Debate about the actual human carrying capacity of Earth dates back hundreds of years. The range of estimates is enormous, fluctuating from million people to more than one trillion. Scientists disagree not only on the final number, but more importantly about the best and most accurate way of determining that number—hence the huge variability. The majority of studies estimate that the Earth's capacity is at or beneath 8 billion people.
PDF How can this be? Whether we have million people or one trillion, we still have only one planet, which has a finite level of resources. The answer comes back to resource consumption.
People around the world consume resources differently and unevenly.Human Population Growth & Natural Resources
An average middle-class American consumes 3. So if everyone on Earth lived like a middle class American, then the planet might have a carrying capacity of around 2 billion. However, if people only consumed what they actually needed, then the Earth could potentially support a much higher figure.
But we need to consider not just quantity but also quality—Earth might be able to theoretically support over one trillion people, but what would their quality of life be like?
Would they be scraping by on the bare minimum of allocated resources, or would they have the opportunity to lead an enjoyable and full life? More importantly, could these trillion people cooperate on the scale required, or might some groups seek to use a disproportionate fraction of resources?
If so, might other groups challenge that inequality, including through the use of violence? These are questions that are yet to be answered. Population distribution The ways in which populations are spread across Earth has an effect on the environment. Developing countries tend to have higher birth rates due to poverty and lower access to family planning and education, while developed countries have lower birth rates. These faster-growing populations can add pressure to local environments.
Globally, in almost every country, humans are also becoming more urbanised. Bythat figure was 54 per cent, with a projected rise to 66 per cent by While many enthusiasts for centralisation and urbanisation argue this allows for resources to be used more efficiently, in developing countries this mass movement of people heading towards the cities in search of employment and opportunity often outstrips the pace of development, leading to slums, poor if any environmental regulation, and higher levels of centralised pollution.
Even in developed nations, more people are moving to the cities than ever before. The pressure placed on growing cities and their resources such as water, energy and food due to continuing growth includes pollution from additional cars, heaters and other modern luxuries, which can cause a range of localised environmental problems. Humans have always moved around the world. However, government policies, conflict or environmental crises can enhance these migrations, often causing short or long-term environmental damage.
For example, since conditions in the Middle East have seen population transfer also known as unplanned migration result in several million refugees fleeing countries including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The sudden development of often huge refugee camps can affect water supplies, cause land damage such as felling of trees for fuel or pollute environments lack of sewerage systems.
Unplanned migration is not only difficult for refugees. Having so many people living so closely together without adequate infrastructure causes environmental damage too. Population composition The composition of a population can also affect the surrounding environment.
At present, the global population has both the largest proportion of young people under 24 and the largest percentage of elderly people in history. As young people are more likely to migrate, this leads to intensified urban environmental concerns, as listed above.
Life expectancy has increased by approximately 20 years since While this is a triumph for mankind, and certainly a good thing for the individual, from the planet's point of view it is just another body that is continuing to consume resources and produce waste for around 40 per cent longer than in the past.
Ageing populations are another element to the multi-faceted implications of demographic population change, and pose challenges of their own. For example between andJapan's proportion of people over 65 grew from 7 per cent to more than 20 per cent of its population. This has huge implications on the workforce, as well as government spending on pensions and health care. Increasing lifespans are great for individuals and families.
But with more generations living simultaneously, it puts our resources under pressure.
Population and environment: a global challenge - Curious
Population income is also an important consideration. The uneven distribution of income results in pressure on the environment from both the lowest and highest income levels. They may also be forced to deplete scarce natural resources, such as forests or animal populations, to feed their families.
On the other end of the spectrum, those with the highest incomes consume disproportionately large levels of resources through the cars they drive, the homes they live in and the lifestyle choices they make. On a country-wide level, economic development and environmental damage are also linked.
Population and environment: a global challenge
The least developed nations tend to have lower levels of industrial activity, resulting in lower levels of environmental damage. The most developed countries have found ways of improving technology and energy efficiency to reduce their environmental impact while retaining high levels of production. It is the countries in between—those that are developing and experiencing intense resource consumption which may be driven by demand from developed countries —that are often the location of the most environmental damage.
Population consumption While poverty and environmental degradation are closely interrelated, it is the unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, primarily in developed nations, that are of even greater concern. For many, particularly in industrialised countries, the consumption of goods and resources is just a part of our lives and culture, promoted not only by advertisers but also by governments wanting to continually grow their economy.
Culturally, it is considered a normal part of life to shop, buy and consume, to continually strive to own a bigger home or a faster car, all frequently promoted as signs of success. It may be fine to participate in consumer culture and to value material possessions, but in excess it is harming both the planet and our emotional wellbeing. More clothes, more gadgets, bigger cars, bigger houses—consuming goods and resources has big effects on our planet.
The environmental impact of all this consumption is huge. The mass production of goods, many of them unnecessary for a comfortable life, is using large amounts of energy, creating excess pollution, and generating huge amounts of waste. To complicate matters, environmental impacts of high levels of consumption are not confined to the local area or even country. This enables them to enjoy the products without having to deal with the immediate impacts of the factories or pollution that went in to creating them.
On a global scale, not all humans are equally responsible for environmental harm. Consumption patterns and resource use are very high in some parts of the world, while in others—often in countries with far more people—they are low, and the basic needs of whole populations are not being met.
The reverse was also true—for example the population of North America grew only 4 per cent between andwhile its carbon emissions grew by 14 per cent. Individuals living in developed countries have, in general, a much bigger ecological footprint GLOSSARY ecological footprintThe impact of a person or community on the environment, expressed as the amount of land required to sustain their use of natural resources. The ecological footprint is a standardised measure of how much productive land and water is needed to produce the resources that are consumed, and to absorb the wastes produced by a person or group of people.
Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year.
Global Footprint Network When Australian consumption is viewed from a global perspective, we leave an exceptionally large 'ecological footprint'—one of the largest in the world. While the average global footprint is 2. UNFPA can help this process through "studies for incorporating demographic features into policies and plans as well as programmes designed to integrate the direct and induced effects of demographic changes on environment and development programmes".
Policy-oriented research and analysis should bear on "the interaction between demographic trends and factors and sustainable development [and help] identify priority areas for action and develop strategies and programmes to mitigate the adverse impact of environmental change on human populations, and vice versa".
Examples of important issues are: A Potential population-supporting capacities: B Population pressure, poverty and environmental degradation: UNFPA can support policy-relevant research to clarify the relationship. C Population and food security: UNFPA "can help clarify this important issue by, for example, supporting studies of national food production capability under different population growth and density scenarios", especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
It can also support country studies on: D Population and the growth of cities: But urbanization also creates its own management problems. UNFPA can support research on e. E Population and deforestation: UNFPA can support research to clarify the role of those causes, particularly population factors.
F Population and desertification: The extent of desertification taking place in these areas is likely to be caused by a multiplicity of factors of which population pressures, density and migration play a role that should be clarified by careful research".
G Population and water scarcity: UNFPA can support research that will provide a solid basis for the design of informed policy options and effective strategies to reach sustainable levels of water use".
H Population and environmental migration: UNFPA "can support research on the causes and consequences of environmental refugees, particularly in relation to their reproductive health needs". I Gender, population and environment: In many societies they produce most of the food and care for the land [ They] are also the major caretakers of health and the main providers of water for domestic uses, which makes it critical to involve them in the decision-making process".
UNFPA "can provide support for research [on] the nature and importance of the roles of men and women, and the ways in which those roles [affect] attempts to promote sustainable development".
Since the integration of population and environmental factors cannot be pursued without appropriately trained personnel--particularly in the public sector--capacity building is crucial.