We are pleased to announce the winners of our 2014 NPG Essay Scholarship Contest. Each year, NPG conducts an Essay Scholarship for high school and undergradute students.
Explain why the average American citizen – particularly our youngest generation – should become active in the cause to slow, halt, and eventually reverse U.S. population growth.
By Pierce Brooks, Wesley College, Dover, DE
The Case for Population Control
It became apparent to me when I was younger that overpopulation was a serious problem. I am a documentary junky and have seen documentaries and read about the effects of overpopulation on our environment. There is no agreement on how bad the problems are or how best to fix them but it is clear that unless we do something, life in 20 to 50 years will be very different than it is today. For that reason, young Americans like me need to care.
The coral reefs and fish are dying! Why should I care? I live in a coastal state and love the ocean. Now when I go to the beach, I spend more time on the boardwalk than in the water because the ocean is so dirty. Why should I care? I read that the oceans may be void of fish in 20 years because of over fishing and because the fish that we don’t eat are killed by the pollution we make. This is not just a U.S. problem, this is a world problem. The nightly news tells us about the impact of ocean pollution almost weekly. If it is not the West Virginia coal facility chemical spill, it is the Galveston Bay TX oil spill, or looking outside of the U.S., we just saw a glimpse of the large amount of junk floating in the Indian Ocean during the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. All of these are the indirect effects of overpopulation. The demands that we make on our environment to produce more stuff have resulted in accidents and indifference to the damage we cause.
With overpopulation has come the demand for more industry and vehicles. Both create tremendous amounts of poison that is spewed into the air every day. The ozone is thinning, the climate is changing, and all forms of life are literally dying off. Birds, livestock and humans are getting cancer at increasing rates. Cancer is now the second most common cause of death in the U.S. Why should I care? I don’t want to die. Add to that the increased number of children and adults suffering from asthma and other breathing problems. Why should I care? I should not have to worry if the air I breathe is going to kill me.
Due to the increasing resource demands caused by overpopulation, not only do the oceans and air suffer but our ability to feed the world becomes a major problem. Many regions of the world, including parts of the U.S., are suffering from extreme droughts. California specifically, is suffering through the worst drought in 200 years. Add to that the one or two hillside communities that burn down every year. Add to that the farmers who increasingly struggle to grow crops and make a living. In other states like Louisiana, Colorado and most recently Washington, the problem of severe floods exists. Communities built in fragile environmental areas have literally been washed away due to the damage caused by climate change. Why should I care? With this happening now, what will be left in 20 years when I have my own family? Where will it be safe to live? Will I have to worry about hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, landslides, and droughts? Will everyone be forced to squeeze into small regions considered “safe”? Will we then squeeze the resources in those areas until our over populated world can’t be sustained? Then where will we go, the moon?
Why Should I Care
As a teenager, I see what overpopulation and demand for resources is doing to our world and I worry. What will my future look like? Rationing of resources, more extreme weather, and disease? Will the taste of fish be a distant memory? Will there be any polar bears, frogs, bumblebees, and birds for my future children? Will the oceans be so polluted that kids will only be able to listen to the stories of the good old days when you could play and swim in them? We are pushing every other living thing out of our way as we overpopulate and overuse the environment. We can’t wait for the next generation to fix this. We are them and I hope we wake up and take action before it is too late.
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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