THE RAPID POPULATION GROWTH- MYTH OR TRUTH?

“The rapid population growth” concept is heard more often than ever nowadays in people’s daily life. One may think at first that it’s some kind of a fanciful conspiracy theory but when it is searched more profoundly, it is seen that this is a concept, a reality, far beyond one’s imaginary production.

Before the modern ages and the Industrial Revolution, populations’ lifespan were different. In ancient and medieval times, the average age to die was 35 and  infants and children died at a horrific rate (some say up to 1/3 of all died before the age of 5) and a significant percentage of women died in association with childbirth: 5% perhaps from the birth itself, the main causes were lack of hygene, diseases, bad nourishment and human actions (wars and battles). Now, the life expectancy raised to 80 years old but with that, the rapid and inconsistent population growth came. Technological advances brought people a better quality life, especially to those who are in MEDCs (More Economically Developed Countries). ın sharp contrast, those who live in LEDCs (Less “ “), population growth means, in most cases, more death. The consequences of the rapid population growth varies between areas, it is especially a bigger problem in urban areas. Especially in LEDCs, disparities between urban-rural areas is dramatic. Although in LEDCs, it turns the cities into huge slums, the rapid population growth has very severe effects on both sides’ cities .  By the middle of the 21st century, it is estimated that the urban population of these counties will more than double, increasing from 2.5 billion in 2009 to almost 5.2 billion in 2050.

The biggest problems are the environmental problems. It is because people put a huge collective demand upon the world. “Trends such as the loss of half of the planet’s forests, the depletion of most of its major fisheries, and the alteration of its atmosphere and climate are closely related to the fact that human population expanded from mere millions in prehistoric times to over six billion today,” says Robert Engelman of Population Action International. Many basic resources are strained by the current population : Food, water, air quality due to high consumption of oil and gas, forests and oceans.  Apart from that, the overcrowding which is due to the R.P.G, has economical-social results such as : wars and armed conflicts due to water resource sharing, nutrition problems which are caused as more people are faced with unsanitary sources of food. If left unaffected, it will sweep through an entire population. In some cases, entire countries may be affected by the situation. Finding a solution often requires a multi-national effort.  Waste control is another problem which can, if uncontrolled, even cause massive public diseases. Furthermore, rise in unemployment rates and housing problems become the reasons of even more urban problems. Clearly, the high population growth, especially in LEDCs have great effects on society due to their fragile structures and there is also the fact that the population growth rate is the highest in LEDC countries, which also effect MEDCs with immigration waves. But maybe the reproach should be made to the side which seems to have no part in this, to more developed countries where citizens have high-consumption lifestyles that eventually exacerbate problems of population growth. According to a research, Americans, who represent only 4 percent of world population, consume 25 percent of all resources. Or for example, 1 british consume equally as 22 Malawians (an isle) in a day. Industrialized countries contribute far more to climate change, ozone depletion and overfishing than developing countries (LEDCs). And as more and more residents of developing countries get access to Western media, or immigrate to the United States, they want to emulate the consumption-heavy lifestyles they see on their televisions and read about on the Internet.


Ultimately, this rapid and inconsistent population growth will be causing more problems in the near future. The rapid population growth is regarded currently as one of the biggest problems the world has ever faced. The reason is simple, more people means more consumption; more consumption means less resource; and less resource means more conflict.  Simply, infinite growth is unsustainable in a finite world. In addition to that, the high consumption lifestyles and the depletion of world’s ecosystems seem to harm the whole world, which is already finite and unique.  So maybe it’s the right time for everyone to disregard every depressing news they read and instead, start thinking about them. Without thinking, it is not possible to find any solutions; without finding any solutions, it is not possible to live any longer on this planet.

-Sinan Onukar  (Konuk Yazar)

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