Population and Sustainability


For the Blog
By Kawsu Ceesay
As at today, the global population stands at about 6.8 billion inhabitants. China and India together account for over a third of the current total. All around the globe, the various economies are facing difficulties related to population growth and sustainability. For example there is less water for every cattle herder in the horn of Africa, less land for farmers tilling the slopes and scarcer and higher priced energy and food. The global economy is down with massive job losses particularly in the Global North.
As we debate our way out of the current economic downturn and environmental crisis, we have to ask ouselves if downshift in human numbers will put the environment on a mvore sustainable path.My own guess is a BIG YES. However, it is not just a downshift in human numbers that will bring about sustainability but also the way we continue to behave. According to Robert Engelman, vice president for programmes at the Worldwatch Insttitute, the behaviour of a dozen people in one place sometimes has more environmental impact than that of a few hundred somewhere else.
Falling human numbers will immensely benefit environmental sustainability. And the way to achieve this is as follows:
1. to make sure that every woman bears a child in good health when she wants a child
2. all women and girls should have unlimited access to good quality education
The above suggestion may be part of the recipe to achive a drop in population growth globally as research has indicated that women with at least secondary school education tend to have fewer children than those with no secondary school education or with no education at all.


One Response to “Population and Sustainability”

  1. mdiate Says:

    Population growth refers to change in the size of a population which can be either positive or negative over time, depending on the balance of births and deaths. If there are many deaths, the world’s population will grow very slowly or can even decline. Population growth is measured in both absolute and relative terms. Absolute growth is the difference in numbers between a poulation over time; for example, in 1950 the world’s population was 4 billion, and in 2000 it was 6 billion, a growth of 2 billion.
    To some, the growth of the world’s population has been the cause of much alarm. Even though greater food availability is part of the explanation for the ever-increasing population, at one time it seemed unthinkable that the world could support so many people. The relationship between population growth and the human food supply has, in fact, been the subject of a heated debate for hundreds of years. On one side are the so-called neo-Malthusians, named for the English clergyman Thomas Malthus. In 1798 Malthus wrote the “Essay on the Principle of population”, in which he argued that population has a tendency to increase geometrically (or more appropriately stated, exponentially), but food production increases arithmetically. Thus, population will eventually outstrip food supply, the result being many deaths from starvation. Neo-Malthusians tend not to share Malthus’s analysis in its entirety; they simply share his belief that it is possible to have too many people in the world. The world, in other words, can become “overpopulated” if the number of people exceeds a carrying capacity determined by food availability and environmental resources.

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