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 Sarah Abohana
“O beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain…” very few songs symbolize our country better than the words of “America the Beautiful,” a song written in the 1890s which was heard then by a population of about 63,000,000 Americans (Census of Population and Housing, www.census.gov). Much has changed since the 1890s. Our country has flourished throughout the years and our population has almost quintupled. I am sure the patriots of the past would be proud to see how much America has prospered, but if the patriots knew the direction America is going in, that would be a much different story. If the American population continues to grow as predicted, the quality of our economy, environment, and society will be at risk.
Population increase is going to affect America’s economy. Surging innovation, entrepreneurship, and population growth are good to a certain extent, but countries like China have proven more is not always better. The simple truth is we live in a fragile ecosystem with a finite amount of resources, and in order to generate a sustainable future we need to live within our means today.
According to Thomas Malthus “The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.” Oil is a finite resource that constantly tests our ability to be sustainable. America uses more oil than any other country in the world and the likelihood of an oil shortage increases with the growth of our population. Our economy will feel the impact of an oil shortage, because manufacturing costs will go up and a higher percentage of consumer income will be spent on fuel. If consumers have less discretionary income and manufacturers raise market prices, then the consequences will likely be detrimental to our economy. Also, if we use enough fuel to deplete the earth’s resources, we will emit an unhealthy dose of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions in the process. The main greenhouse gas is CO2, which causes global warming. Fuel combustion is the main contributor of CO2 emissions, along with other human activities. Simply put more Americans equals more CO2 emissions (Human Related Sources and Sinks of Carbon Dioxide, www.epa.gov). China currently has the highest total emissions and America comes in a close second, producing four times the amount of emissions per person (Each Country’s Share of CO2 Emissions, www.ucsusa.org). If our population continues to grow, we will eventually produce more emissions than China, leaving future generations to live in a hazardous environment with increased health risks.
Medical care in America is already expensive. Americans spent 2.6 trillion dollars on healthcare in 2010, and the number is only going up (US Healthcare Costs, www.kaiseredu.org). If our population continues to grow and our environment remains polluted, medical expenses will go up, causing social chaos. Programs like Medicare will eventually become impossible to support, because the cost grows exponentially uncontrollable as the population increases. If healthcare becomes unaffordable for the average American, the very quality of life itself will be at stake. A very clear line would be drawn between lower and upper classes. Imagine living in a world where only the rich are catered to medically, and the poor are left to suffer. However, this does not need to happen and we can make a difference.
I want the words of “America the Beautiful” to remain true for future generations. We live in an amazing place and future generations should have the same opportunity to know America as the greatest country on earth. Controlling our population today is an imperative step in sustaining a healthy economy, environment, and society for the generations to come. By taking action and generating awareness of the risk of overpopulation, we can ensure the vitality of our great nation. America is indeed beautiful, and to ensure a promising future we must realize the actions we take today will have an impact that spans from sea to shining sea for generations to come.
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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