10thingspdf

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10 things you should know about

URBAN OVERPOPULATION


6 billion

5 billion

4 billion

3 billion

2 billion

WORLD POPULATION

1 billion

TABLE OF CONTE NTS 01

Depletion of Food & Water

02

High Food Production

03

Lack of Green Space

04

Psychological Effects of Overcrowding

05

Constant Construction

06

Traffic Jams

07

Lower Air Quality

08

Spread of Disease

09

Job Competition

10

Restrictions

YEAR

1830


2

CITY DWEL LERS' QUALI TY OF LIFE Living in the busy city of Boston, Massachusetts, I'm able to see first-hand how our greatening population affects daily life in urban areas—where human population is most dense. A re-occuring issue that is brought up each week is the crazy amount of time that friends and family spend sitting in traffic on the way to my apartment in Roxbury. Immediately the term "overpopulation" comes to mind when hearing complaints like this; if there were less people in cities—and less cities in general—many of our stressors would cease. What is the difference between city life and life in the countryside? People. Of course we all know that there are many more people in cities than there are in the countryside—overpopulated countrysides do not even exist, as they would no longer have such great open space with all the extra bodies. But how does this difference in population and space affect us exactly? Is there a direct correlation between human population and quality of human life? In the case of overpopulation, there is.

The problem is not that people are ignoring the booming rise in population, but it is their ignorance. Although many of us face the overwhelming challenges of city life every day— between getting from place to place, costly prices, competition for jobs and resources, etc.—we do not necessary stop to think about the underlying problem: the rapidly increasing rate of our own population. We simply are not educated. The purpose in discussing a topic such as overpopulation is not to start killing people off. The point is to raise awareness. If people are able to understand the greatening population crisis and the worsening effects on which it has on each of us, they may be influenced to consider their own family plans more thoroughly. Perhaps they may chose to do so by holding off on having children, spacing births farther apart, having fewer children, or even chosing to have none at all; maybe adoption is their preference. With smaller families, parents are able to better provide for each of the members in their family. With less people, our planet is able to better provide for each of its inhabitants. In other words: quality over quantity.

1840


6 billion

5 billion

4 billion

3 billion

2 billion

1 billion

01

DEPLE TION OF FOOD & WATE R world population

2030

population in regions unaffected by water scarcity population in regions of high water stress/affected by water scarcity population in regions of water scarcity

= 1 billion people

1850


4

In states like California, there are serious water shortages. Climate change is resulting in drought, which means there is less water to go around than necessary for the population. There is not enough water for consumption, agriculture, and sanitizer. Because of this problem, restrictions on water usage has been set. Groundwater in aquifers around the world is being depleted faster than it’s being replenished. While most aquifers are replenishable, many are not— many of which are in the most populous regions. A lot of the water is used up to produce food for the nations’ city dwellers. The U.S. uses about 70% of the freshwater pumped from aquifers for agriculture and livestock production.1 Food production is so dependent on water that agriculture can use 75 to 90% of freshwater in other regions.2 Yemen is especially struggling with water supply, losing approximately 6 feet of its water table per year.3 A major factor to this problem is that the country also has one of the world’s most rapidly growing populations.

China’s Hai basin is also facing substantial water loss—approximately 40 billion tons per year. When the aquifer depletes, grain production will decline by 40 million tons—equivalent to a loss of food supply for 130 million citizens.4 Using up these groundwater sources now with agricultural production is diminishing future food security. Food supply in urban areas is greatly reliant on these finite resources in rural areas; the world’s current water scarcity will soon lead to a devastating food scarcity. Water scarcity not only contributes to food shortages but also raises food prices and increases countries’ dependence on food imports. Although their resources are depleting, groundwater reserves will become increasingly valuable due to climate change, as it contributes to more variable rainfall and an increase in droughts.

food supply relies on groundwater reserves

1860


6 billion

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1 billion

02

HIGH FOOD PROD UCTIO N

1870


6

Greater populations call for mass food production. For higher revenue and bigger production, food industries focus on efficiency; quantity over quality. To maximize food production, companies often bring pesticides and genetically modified organisms into the growing process. Unnatural chemicals allow for quick production, while GMOs provide longer shelf lives. Foods of lower quality are able to be sold at lower prices, while healthier, more natural foods come at a higher cost. With so much food production going on, healthy, more affordable foods become increasingly hard to find.

Mass food production calls for heavy crop growing, which contributes to soil erosion. Unlike natural vegetation, agriculture depletes nutrient-rich soil. Aspects of agriculture including erosion, compaction, loss of soil structure, nutrient degradation, and soil salinity effects soil quality. Soil erosion not only results in loss of fertile land/ desertification, but also increases pollution and sedimentation in streams and rivers, which causes declines in populations of fish and other species. Degraded lands are also less able to hold onto water, worsening flooding.

quality is not over quantity

1880


6 billion

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1 billion

03

PSYCH OLOG ICAL EFFEC TS OF OVER CROW DING

Overpopulation contributes to physical and behavioral problems; humans were not meant to be surrounded by so many others, and our brains are still adapting to the booming population. “It’s a common observation that people in small towns are friendlier than people in cities.”5 A recent study found that less densely packed people are friendlier towards their neighbors. One specific finding was that “for every 10 percent decrease in population density, the likelihood of residents talking to their neighbors at least once a week jumps by 10 percent. And involvement in hobby-oriented clubs increases even more significantly—by 15 percent for every 10 percent decline in density.”6 Ironically, people in more densely-populated areas tend to feel more disconnected to the people around them, as compared to lesser-populated areas, such as in country life. Because there are so many people around us, we use forms of technology such as social media to connect to all of them easily. But technology separates our minds from reality, and our social lives become virtual. Social anxiety arises from our overwhelming relationship with our smart phones, and our lessening interaction with people face-to-face.

1890


8

04

JOB COMP ETITI ON

More and more people are entering single majors every year. Colleges are popping up all over the place to support the dense populations of college students, and higher tuition fees come with it. College is becoming more of a necessity for those who strive for better, higher-paying jobs; but it doesn’t at all lessen competition for work.

increasing population means higher rates of unemployment

Cities are filled with high-stress job positions, as compared to work in the less-dense, greener countrysides. Over-populated cities like Tokyo experience too many people overworking themselves. As population increases, more job opportunities must arise as well. When job competition is too high, thousands are left unemployed. Poverty is the main cause of war and conflict, and elevated crime rates. Crime, alcoholism and drug addiction is abundant in places of poverty. People who can no longer afford the increasing costs of city life find themselves living in low-income areas such as ghettos.

1900


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05

TR AF FI C JA MS

Overcrowded cities make things like work and entertainment a hassle to get to, whether driving or taking public transportation. Traffic and congestion limits our freedom to travel whenever and wherever we please. More and more people commute into and out of the city for work each day. More commuters means more traffic; longer commute time, and more road rage. City traffic wastes time and energy, whether gas or electricity. Parking is a whole other story; from wasting time searching for a parking spot, to the cost for parking, to the distance between your parked car and your destination.

1910

If you’re not sitting in your car through traffic, you’re squeezing into a jam-packed train, bus, subway, or other means of public transportation. Public transportation is expensive, slow, and not dependable. Whether you’re driving yourself or being a bit more environmentally-friendly by using public transportation, you’re still contributing to increased CO2 emission—not only lower air quality, but global warming. Transportation will also lead to the eventual depletion of fossil fuels, and the demand for a new means of energy.

city traffic wastes valuable time and energy


1010

1920


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constant building of new housing increases costs and attracts new inhabitants into the city lack of relationship to the environment causes a wide range of behavioral problems

1930


12

06 07 CO NS TA NT CO NS TR UC TI ON

Denser cities tend to have higher cost for both housing and taxes. To support the foreverincreasing population, new housing complexes and buildings are constantly being built. Increase of housing further heightens cost and attracts more inhabitants into the city; thus, the cycle of new housing and greater population continues. New homes take over once-existing green spaces within cities, and mass amounts of construction challenge air quality. Not only does more housing rise cost, but it also blocks views, light, and air. Buildings are becoming more and more crammed, greatening the expense for homes with a view/spacious surrounding. While bigger and better housing is continuously built in order to support incoming populations, lowerincome residents are finding that they can no longer afford their homes, and are forced to move outside the densely-populated areas. Low-income areas of cities become ghettos.

DI MI NI SH IN G GR EE N SP AC E

Streets and buildings are taking the place of natural open green space, and greatening the distance between outdoor recreational areas. Many people in cities, especially children, are spending less time outdoors due to lack of outside space, which results in a wide range of behavioral problems. Nature Deficit Disorder refers to our lack of a relationship to the environment. Rather than being outside and social, people and children are spending more time inside, in front of screens. This kind of inactivity contributes to our problem with obesity. Medical costs associated with obesity and inactivity are nearly $150 billion a year.7 “For most of human history, people chased things or were chased themselves. They turned dirt over and planted seeds and saplings.”8 Research says that children who play outside are less likely to get sick, to be stressed or become aggressive, and are more adaptable to life’s unpredictable turns. “Studies show that exposure to the randomness of nature may actually boost the immune system.”9

1940


6 billion

5 billion

08

4 billion

LOWER AIR QUALITY

3 billion

2 billion

1 billion We depend on trees to cleanse the air we breathe. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, convert it into clean water and oxygen, and release it back into the atmosphere. As the population continues to grow, trees are extracted to make way for more new housing and streets. Most air pollution is created by human activity: emissions from factories, cars, planes, or aerosol cans. Air pollution is most common in large cities because of high concentration of different emission sources. Bigger cities in poor and developing nations tend to have greater air pollution than cities in developed nations. Tall buildings prevent air pollution from spreading out, creating smog—a fusing of the words “smoke” and “fog”. Foul smells from factories, garbage, or sewer systems are also considered air pollution.10 Air pollution is made up of chemicals or particles in the air such as gases, solid particles or liquid droplets. They are harmful to the health of humans, animals, and plants, and even cause damage to buildings. Air pollution is able to cause both shortterm and long-term effects on human health, as well as—as research suspects—birth defects.11

1950


14

09

SPREAD OF DISEASE

Diseases thrive off of population. Viruses spread faster in denser populations which enables deadly mutations to continue; they need population density to survive. Especially with global warming in the mix, some diseases are able to grow even faster in warmer weather. Years ago when populations weren’t so dense, viruses would invade a person’s body, but then die out when others did not contract them. Nowadays, healthy people are exposed to others’ viruses constantly. When one student gets sick, the whole school goes through an epidemic. High-traffic areas like the insides of public transportation are cesspools of bacteria and disease.

viruses need population density to survive air pollution causes short-term and long-term health effects

1960


6 billion

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10

MORE NS O I T C I R T S E R

2 billion

1 billion In order to accommodate the greatening population, the setting of policies is being encouraged. Limits are being placed on resources in order to sustain them. Places in the U.S. such as California are limiting water consumption; residential users must cut back 25% by next year12, while more and more housing is being built within cities. Because grain production requires such mass amounts of water, countries have began cutting back on their own grain production and importing has become much more favorable. Declining freshwater supply has become such an issue that several of the largest cities worldwide such as Los Angeles, Cairo, and New Delhi can only increase water consumption by reducing agricultural water use.13

limits are being placed on various resources in order to sustain them

1970

Limits on driving are also being taking into consideration. Each year, politicians in New York repeatedly propose doing the same as London has: charging people to drive into downtown. Most people in London who drive in the central city during the workday must pay a $15 fee each day. Its initiation back in 2003 (at a lower initial rate of $9) resulted in an immediate 15% decline in drivers within the fee zone, as well as improvement in traffic speed. Along with this, subways became less crowded; buses started moving fast enough that people switching from rail to bus outnumbered switches from car to rail.14 Increased housing density has been known to cause a legal limit on burning fires in fireplaces. Overpopulation also causes restriction on what people can do on their own land. In areas where people are packed in close together, actions impinge much more directly on neighbors, calling for more restrictions to be enacted. On the other hand, in more rural areas, people are much freer to build and do what they want on their own land.


16 people born globally (per 1,000 people)

2015 - current rate

people added to world population people deceased

= 6.9 million people

countries all over the world are developing ways to restrain reproduction In extreme cases of overpopulation as in China, limits on reproduction such as the one-child policy have been enacted; unauthorized births are punishable by fines. Illegal forced abortions and forced sterilization have also been observed.15 In India, only those with 2 or fewer children are eligible for election to a Gram panchayat (local government). Only these parents, who also work for the government, may be offered its facilities.16 Iran requires contraceptive courses for both males and females before a marriage license can be obtained.17

During the Post-World War II era in Singapore, eugenics policies were adopted, and anti-natalist policies flourished in the ‘60s and ‘70s: the Stop at Two program pushed for two-children families and promoted sterilization.19 In the U.S., Title X of the Public Health Service Act provides access to contraceptive services, supplies and information.20 Since the late 1990s, Uzbekistan has been pursuing a policy of forced sterilizations, hysterectomies and IUD insertions.21

this year, world population is increasing at a rate of 1.09%

22

The Population Control Health Care Bill in the country of Myanmar requires some parents to space each child 3 years apart.18

1980


6 billion

5 billion

THE FUTURE OF OUR POPULATION

4 billion

3 billion

2 billion

1 billion

Throughout history, population growth had been controlled by factors such as war, plagues and other diseases, and high infant mortality. It was not until years preceeding the Industrial Revolution that the growth rate of human population started to pick up and especially by the 1900s, begin to spike. By the beginning of the 19th century, the world population had reached a level of one billion individuals. Even prior to this time, predictions had arose which questioned our planet's sustainability. Today, we are well aware that a finite amount of land is incapable of supporting a population with an infinite potential for increase. In 1800, only 3% of the world's population inhabited cities. By the end of the 20th century, more than 47% of the world's population lived as city dwellers. If this trend continues, the world's urban population is expected to double every 38 years. The 3.2 billion people populating urban areas will increase to just about 5 billion by 2030; 60% of people will be living in cities.23

1990

Not only will our currently existing cities increase dramatically in size, but new ones will continue to appear—until the entirety of our world's population is within one mass city. Rising population will be most dramatic in the poorest and least-urbanized continents such as Asia and Africa. Over the next 25 years, most urban growth will take place in developing countries.24 Now would be a good time to indroduce the term "hypercity": one with more than 19 million inhabitants. By 2025, Asia alone will contain more than 10 of them.25


18

SOURCES 1

http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-groundwater-food-supply-20150630-story.html

2, 3, 4, 13

https://www.populationinstitute.org/external/files/Fact_Sheets/Water_and_population.pdf

5, 6

http://howmany.org/environmental_and_social_ills.php

7, 8, 9

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/nature-deficit-disorder/?_r=0

10, 11

http://education.nationalgeographic.com/encyclopedia/air-pollution/

12

http://www.scpr.org/news/2015/04/02/50747/california-drought-restrictions-faq-what-the-gover/

14

https://www.dissentmagazine.org/article/stuck-in-traffic-free-market-theory-meets-the-highway-lobby

15

http://statelists.state.gov/scripts/wa.exe?A2=ind0412c&L=dossdo&P=401

16

https://prezi.com/euqhfewwrmlb/population-growth-and-controlingproblems/

17

http://www.earth-policy.org/plan_b_updates/2001/update4ss

18

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-3093899/Myanmar-president-signs-controversial-population-law.html#ixzz3b0s5f8s3

19

http://www.populationasia.org/Publications/RP/AMCRP12.pdf

20

http://www.hhs.gov/opa/title-x-family-planning/title-x-policies/title-x-funding-history/

21

http://birthcontrolcontrollingourfuture.weebly.com/previous-poilices.html

22

http://www.geohive.com/earth/his_history3.aspx

23

http://www.forbes.com/2007/06/11/megacities-population-urbanization-biz-cx_21cities_ml_0611megacities.html

24

https://web.archive.org/web/20110218170316/http://www.energypublisher.com/article.asp?id=5307

25

http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/HE20Aa01.html

infographic information water scarcity: http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/ birth/death rates: https://www.populationinstitute.org/external/files/Fact_Sheets/Water_and_population.pdf original (unedited) photographs cover: http://i.huffpost.com/gen/1902938/images/o-OVERPOPULATION-facebook.jpg high food production: https://trinutrition2.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/spraying-pesticides.jpg psychological effects of overcrowding: http://photos2.meetupstatic.com/photos/event/e/1/2/0/highres_343737632.jpeg traffic jams: http://rivista-cdn.pittsburghmagazine.com/traffic%20tieups.jpg constant construction/diminishing green space: http://www.cn486.com/upload/2011/04/28/110428091836526.jpg lower air quality/spread of disease: http://www.adventureteaching.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Masks_Polution.jpg

2000