Overpopulation is an undesirable condition where the number of existing human population exceeds the carrying capacity of Save the Earth. Overpopulation is caused by number of factors. Reduced mortality rate, better medical facilities, depletion of precious resources are few of the causes which results in overpopulation. It is possible for a sparsely populated area to become densely populated if it is not able to sustain life.
Causes of overpopulation
According to a 2014 study by the World Wildlife Fund, the global human population already exceeds the planet’s bio capacity – it would take the equivalent of 1.5 Earths of bio capacity to meet our current demands. The report further points out that if everyone on the planet had the footprint of the average resident of Qatar, we would need 4.8 Earths and if we lived the lifestyle of a typical resident of the USA, we would need 4 Earths.
Solutions for overpopulation
Government and personal actions to reduce human overpopulation pressures
Overpopulation has two addressable aspects. One is managing the availability of resources for a given number of people; the other is working out how much resource is available and managing populations around this ‘carrying capacity’. There are many examples of measures that have been taken on both fronts. China’s ‘one-child’ policy attempted to manage population size – with mixed success.
One of the first measures that need to be implemented on a global scale is a shift in human awareness that resources are limited. This needs to happen at the level of the individual and through governments via policy development. Simply acknowledging that current activity is not sustainable is the first step on the path to progress.
Family planning, sex education and efficient birth control
Raising awareness among people regarding family planning and letting them know about the serious impact of population growth can help contribute to curbing population growth. Safe sex techniques and contraceptives methods should also be part of educational programs to help combat unwanted pregnancies.
Imparting sex education to children at an early (but appropriate) age should be a must. Parents might feel shy in discussing such things with their kids but the availability of 3rd party information or discussions with peers means that it is always better to have constructive conversations in a controlled environment. It is therefore important for parents and teachers to shed any existing inhibitions and make their kids or students aware of the sex education basics.
This is a challenging area given the global variation in cultural and religious viewpoints.
Tax benefits, concessions and social marketing
Governments have a responsibility to develop policies to incentivize managed population growth. Tax incentives for couples who have either no, one or two children has been suggested.
Some societies have already begun to implement social marketing strategies in order to educate the public on overpopulation effects. The intervention can be widespread and done at a low cost. A variety of print materials (flyers, brochures, fact sheets, stickers) can be produced and distributed throughout the relevant communities such as at local places of worship, sporting events, local food markets, schools and at car parks.