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?
An Underestimated Issue
By Corey Gier
Poverty. Health Care. Economic Instability. All of these are issues that the people of the United States are readily aware of. There will always be problems existing in our country. But a problem that is not commonly considered is the one concerning our steadily growing population. Many negative effects socially, economically, and environmentally are intact because of this growing population crisis.
As a U.S. citizen, this subject worries me greatly. First, the projected population growth of 438 million will have an extremely harmful effect on our environment. Our beloved landscape will suffer from the needs of the rising population. Excessive pollution is in prospect with an increase in inhabitants. With more people occupying our country, more vehicles will produce pollution and burn fuel that is already scarce. More contamination from sewer waste and refuse will be present; therefore, making our country less sanitary. Infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, sewer lines, and water treatment plants are already dilapidated. An increase in population would put more stress on the already run-down public facilities.
Possibly the most obvious negative aspects of the increasing population is evident in the economy. As of March 2012, the unemployment rate was 8.2%. This rate is at a huge risk of rising to a deadly percentage if our country continues to grow. With so many citizens out of work, taxes will rise for the working class; the poverty rate will also rise. The rut that we are in with the economy at the moment will only deepen if the projected growth reaches 438 million people.
Americans will also be affected socially through this growth spurt. The most obvious question regarding the populace is, “Where will all of these people live?” Overcrowding is the outcome. Conflicts about housing will arise amongst the people of the United States, resulting in clashes among this huge population. Coming from Kansas, my biggest worry regarding overcrowding concerns the beloved farmland. Our precious property will be needed for other purposes, such as housing, and expansion of cities. Kansas and the Midwest in general, is the “breadbasket of the United States.” We will not be able to keep up with the demand of feeding the ballooning population if our farmland is compromised because of the expansion of the population. While the need for our goods will increase, our means of producing it will decrease.
Another social issue that will arise is education. Where will the new generation of children go to school? The current school settings will be too small to house this growing generation. The immediate solution is to build onto schools to make room, but with the economy deteriorating, where does the funding for this expansion come from? Shorting students of a viable education could be the outcome, and if that happens, what happens to the United States’ prestige and reputation of academic excellence?
Health care will also be affected by this rising issue. The paradox of health care in the U.S. is that we have the most advanced technology in health care, but the statistics of assisting the ill are lacking behind other countries. This paradox will increase in truth as the population increases. As with the school concern, how will we provide costly medical needs to adhere to the huge populace?
The issues listed above prove that the growing population in the United States is an increasingly pressing concern. Some of the issues intertwine with each other, causing more complication and complexity. In no way has our country prepared the environment for this huge overtaking of land, water, and air. Nor has it made an accurate plan for expanding education and medical care. The simplest question of all has not been addressed either: Where will this huge intake of people live? This most definitely is an underestimated issue that causes many already existing problems to intensify.
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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