We are pleased to announce the winners of our 2013 NPG Essay Scholarship Contest. Each year, NPG conducts an Essay Scholarship for high school and undergradute students.
Explain how population growth has negatively affected your community. What solutions do you propose to ensure a decent quality of life for your generation 30 years from now?
By Alison Tuch
The subject of population growth has always been important to me. I was born in Richmond, Virginia and have lived in the area my entire life. I have seen many negative changes in Chesterfield County, where I grew up, due to exploding growth in population. These changes range from trailers outside every school to traffic jams on six lane highways that pass my home. A very beautiful and popular nursery was sold and bulldozed for a strip mall and a convenience store. A few years ago, my little brother had 31 students in his kindergarten class! This is a small but startling example of how over population in an area can directly affect something as important as education.
The United States has been growing at or over a double digit pace since the 1950 census. As we are finding out, natural resources such as water and land are becoming scarce as the growing population continues to take its toll on America. Americans continue to use approximately 3 times the amount of water and 4-5 times the amount of fossil fuels as the average world citizen. In a recent study, it was documented that we are pulling out 25% more water than is being replenished and important aquifers such as the Everglades in South Florida are in serious danger. Locally, here in Virginia, we are extremely proud of our Chesapeake Bay and James River and they are under constant assault as wetlands continue to shrink and oyster, fish and bird populations decline. Many farmers and fishermen’s livelihoods are affected every year. The explosion of the population is the number one reason for this reduction of resources.
Another important reason for negative population growth is the current state of the economy and unemployment. As we continue to struggle with job creation and growth, we must ask the question about both legal and illegal immigration to this country. Federal policy currently allows 1 million legal immigrants each year. This does not include many illegal immigrants who make their way into our country each year. As the number of jobs available remains steady, or even shrinks, how can we continue to allow these jobs to be taken away from us. The government has the power to enforce laws at our borders and more importantly–deport these illegal immigrants. As a graduating high school senior, I have been interested in watching many state assemblies debate ‘in-state” tuition for illegals. Tuition, meanwhile, has grown well beyond inflation rates over the past two decades. In Virginia, we have not built a new college or university in nearly fifty years and with the population growth it is increasingly difficult to get into the school of your choice.
All of these recent problems make the case for slow or even negative population growth in the United States. There are several ways to begin to curb the current growth. Family planning and education about fertility should be increased. We need to look into the migration patterns of both legal and illegal immigrants into the United States. This country cannot absorb an additional 100-125 million people over the next forty years. One just has to look at the past few decades to realize many of our reckless policies have brought us to where we are stretched too thin. It begins at the local levels and goes all the way up to the federal government. We need to continue to fight for responsible policies so we can reduce the burden on future generations of Americans.
World population, now over 7.3 billion, is predicted to rise to 9 billion by 2050, an increase of almost two billion, or 23%, in the short space of only 34 years from now.In the highly unlikely event that per capita greenhouse gas emissions could possibly be decreased by an equal percentage in such a short space of time (a blink of an eye) the total amount of worldwide emission would remain the same!
From this simple illustration it would appear that without drastically reducing the size of world population, there is no solution to the problem.None at all.So then why do our world leaders pretend that there is one?What is to be gained by pretending rather than by proposing a solution that would solve the problem – a reduction in the size of world population to not more than 1- 2 billion?
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