Published on: Mar 4, 2016
Transcripts - population problem
ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES (UNIT -7)
The world population is growing at an
alarming rate and the problems to be
faced are many and serious.
Firstly- there is a problem of space- where
will more people live?
There are the problems of food and
Will the world be able to house and feed
the extra numbers?
Will there be enough minerals and energy
supplies to provide for sufficient industry,
trade and social services?
These problems are not new- the ancient
Greeks and Egyptians were concerned
about the results of there being too
many people. The world population is
not much expanding as exploding.
The Rev Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) wrote
a famous essay in 1798 which discussed the
problems caused by population growth. He
argued that the number of people always
increases faster than the food supplies and
that eventually the world would be unable
to feed its people. When that point is
reached, nature would impose her own
checks on further growth in the form of
disease, famines and wars.
Thomas Malthus (1798)
Organism populations increase
exponentially whereas the environment
is fixed (actually decreases).
Factually correct, but a complex
modern example: high
populations AND high quality of life
The power of population is indefinitely
greater than the power in the earth to
produce subsistence for man.
Population when unchecked, increases in
a geometrical ratio (exponentially).
Subsistence increases only in an
arithmetical ratio (linearly).
There is a myth that, since the world population might
find standing space on the Isle of Wight, there must
be plenty of land to go round. Wrong. There are vast
stretches of land that are likely to remain
unproductive and therefore unpopulated. It is
estimated that only 20% of the earth land is capable
of use for agriculture and habitation.
In developing countries this pressure of numbers
results in hunger, poor sanitation and poverty.
In developed countries it leads to concerns about
the pollution of land, water and atmosphere and the
deterioration of social facilities.
Overpopulation is related to the natural
human resources available in an area
and causes major problems to which
solutions cannot easily be found.
Overpopulation is where are too many
for the resources in the country.
It is not only due to the numbers but also to
carrying capacity: maximum number f
individuals an area can support on a
sustained basis given the prevailing
Carrying capacity is related to the level of
economic development: how the
population is able to make use of land.
MDCs, with better source usage and
access to imported food, do not have the
same experience with population density as
Growth rate= Birth Rate – Death Rate
1.1%= 1.9% - 0.8% (as of 2012)
Of these the Birth Rate is the most
important contributor, specifically the
Fertility Rate (#children/woman)
Why? Because death rates have
Global BR = 1.9% (95% in developing
Lessons on population control from
Thailand, South Korea, Japan, India, and
- Invest in Family Planning
- Reduce poverty
- Elevate the status of women
Global DR = 0.8% (equal between developing
and developed countries)
Low death rates due to:
- Medical treatments,
- Better food supplies and nutrition,
- improvements in sanitation, and
- Access to clean water
Lower DR is the main reason for the global
Refers to the impact of economic
development on birth and death rates.
Responsible for the gradual reduction in
population growth rates during the late-
First noted by demographers for changes
in 19th- century Europe, the DT is a critical
1. 1. The preindustrial stage when there is little
population growth because harsh social conditions
led to both high death and high birth rates.
2. The transitional stage, when industrialization begins
and health care improves, resulting in lowered death
rates, but birth rate remains high. Most of the
developing world here.
3. The industrial stage, when the birth rate drops due to
modernization. Many developed countries here.
4. Finally, the preindustrial stage is recognized by further
reductions in birth rates, approaching or even below
zero population growth. Approximately 13% of the
world population is in this stage.
Countries must try to relieve the pressure
of population on resources. China offers
a system of incentives including fines and
job demotions for over productive
Expansive population policies:
Communist countries such as Russia and
China, as well as the Nazis, encouraged
large families in the past.
Now some European countries are doing
so again, with tax incentives and other
measures, to counter their aging
Policies are intended to encourage the
population to increase the birth rate; i.e.,
increase the population.
These types of policies would be
implemented in Stage 4 countries where
the birth rate has been declining.
e.g.: Russian Day of Conception
An opposite approach is a eugenic
population policy, such as the way the
Nazis treated mental defectives, the
Jews and others.
Some have accused Japan of this type
of policy due its discrimination against
non- Japanese, with tax incentives and
the allocation of its resources.
Lastly, there are restrictive policies, such
as are now pursued in India and China,
and which range from the tolerance of
birth control on the low end of restriction
of the prohibition of large families or the
one-child policy of China.
With some 1200 million people, China
stress the need to stabilize its population
and to maintain the recent rise in living
standards. Social workers urge families to
comply and provide means of birth
control. Couples with only one child
received social benefits. The rate of
increase has steadily fallen enough
though rural families have not readily
From 1983 the Chinese government has
attempted to control the ever increasing
population. Special social workers or
Nannies visit all houses with women of
child bearing age on a regular basis to
check that they are not pregnant. In
fact, any couple who intend to have a
child are meant to ask for permission
prior to conception.
Or-what about the friction of distance? Is it
Despite the Roman Catholic Church
opposition to birth control, the countries
nearest the Vatican have the lowest CBR.
Meanwhile- the Philippines, very far from
Rome, are experiencing growth of 2.2%.
Church and state have fought over the
issue, and the church appears to be
In Saudi Arabia where Mecca is located,
there is 3% growth rate, one of the worlds
Yet in Indonesia, the growth rate is only
1.6%: Muslim leaders objected to birth
control, but the government was able to
negate their influence and institute a
family planning program.