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Population growth and the degradation of the environment
Pages 10 (2510 words)
There is a very close relationship between biodiversity loss and human population growth. Quite simply, the more people there are, the more we push aside wild plants and animals. As our population has grown, other species have had to adapt to living in confined reserves or enclaves, lest they go extinct…
In our case this is because the relationship between human population growth and wildlife extinctions is not always direct. We are a species with an insatiable appetite for resources, and we sometimes use them irresponsibly. Thus, it could be argued, what we do and how we survive may be more important to our impact on other species than the simple effect of our great numbers.
Thus we need solid evidence to establish that, over the broad sweep of time, there is a close tie between the simple count of people on the planet and the diminishing count of other species. In other words, the impact of our large population would be great even if we were to behave differently. If there is such a link, then it is particularly frightening, for there are now over six billion people on the planet.
Nature has been "comparatively sparing" in the space and resources necessary to support both wildlife and a human population. Malthus was the economist who warned us in 1798 that the human population would grow more quickly than the resources necessary to sustain it. Now I know that Malthus and his ideas have been much maligned over the years by optimists who see no problem with human population growth. Thus in 1998, the two hundredth anniversary of his publication went almost without notice. The following year, the milestone number of A.D. ...
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