Population Growth and Natural Resources

No one can predict exactly how long the world population can continue to expand before life-supporting resources are exhausted. Wisdom would suggest that population expansion must be slowed and major efforts made to conserve basic resources.

Such major shifts that are needed are not apparent as yet in the world. Rapid population growth is the potential breeding ground for terrorists and global unrest. Current evidence concerning hunger and malnutrition suggests that food security is declining. The poor and destitute often become environmental refugees; global insecurity increases with food, water, energy, and biodiversity decline.


Population growth, including the spread of humans into natural habitats, causes the loss of biodiversity. Many organisms provide essential service for agriculture and other aspects of human life. For example, if bees were lost, approximately 33% of all world food would be lost. The organisms in the soil play a vital role in recycling waste organic matter and contribute to soil formation. For example, the earthworms and fungi in the soil weigh more than 3000 kg per ha. The average weight of humans per hectare in the US is only 68 kg.


The burning of fossil fuels, removal of forests, and soil erosion are all contributing to an increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and to the global warming problem; already evident are the spread of some bird and insect species northward and the loss of some alpine plants.

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