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The Impact of Population Growth

The Impact of Population Growth

Author: Jensen Morgan

Identify environmental effects associated with given impacts of human population growth. 

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Source: Earth PD World Pop Graph, CC Flower Blooms CC

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Hi, I'm Jensen Morgan. We're going to talk about some great concepts in environmental science. Today's topic is impacts of population growth. So let's get started.

We're going to talk about the impacts of population growth, and what projected futures of population growth look like. Impacts of population growth fall into three categories-- energy, land, and water. As human populations have grown, the demand or need for energy has grown, too.

Increased population has expanded cities, and increased the amount of technological devices, which require various forms of energy, most of which are non-renewable natural resources, whose consumption is increasing atmospheric pollution and climate change. Growing populations have increased the need for developed land use, which has resulted in the degradation of habitats and loss of ecosystems.

Deforestation to acquire more arable land, which has reduced oxygen production and carbon storage from trees. Species loss has resulting from degradation, and migration of people has led to environmental depletion and degradation. An example of this last point would be the Rwandan refugees in Africa in 1994 deforesting areas near their camps in order to survive.

Population growth has demanded more water resources, which has increased the need for dams for reliable sources of potable water, and resulted in water pollution in fresh water, groundwater, and oceanic systems. Every year at current rates of population growth, 72 million people are added to the planet. There are three major scenarios for projections of population growth.

Scenario One says that if we maintain rates of exponential growth, that by 2050 we will reach between 10 and 10.5 billion people. Scenario Two says that if we maintain current rates of slowing growth, that by 2050, there will be 8.9 billion people. And Scenario Three says that if there is a radical slowing in population growth by 2050, there will be 7.4 billion people.

Even though these scenarios may not seem that different, the differences an impact will be drastic. Depending on which scenario becomes most accurate, human standard of living, food supply, water access, prevalence of disease, and environmental degradation will be dramatically different. In the past, technology and innovation have been able to support population growth. It is unknown how it will play a role in the future, and if it will be able to mitigate the impacts.

Now let's have a recap. We talked about the impacts of human population growth and potential projected rates of growth for 2050. Well, that's all for this tutorial. I hope these concepts have been helpful. Bye.