In 79 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions

In the past hundred years, the global
population has grown exponentially producing adverse consequences on the
environment. As stated by David Tilman, an American ecologist, and Clarence
Lehman, a professor of ecology; “Humans have greatly impacted the rates of
supply of the major nutrients that constrain the productivity, composition, and
diversity of terrestrial ecosystems.” (David Tilman and Clarence Lehman, n.d.) The
mass consumption of fossil fuels, deforestation, and improper waste control are
preeminent issues involving the rising global population and its effects on the
environment. These issues, and the aim to improve their current standpoint,
interact with the overall goal of a decelerated global population.

Mass consumption and overuse of fossil
fuels has been known to cause corrosive impacts on the environment. According
to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, an agency of the federal
government created to protect human health and the environment; “When fossil
fuels are burned, they release nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere, which
contribute to the formation of smog and acid rain.” (The Sources and Solutions:
Fossil Fuels, n.d.) Acid rain and smog, both generated by vehicle exhaust and coal
burning, have been found harmful to forests, lakes, insects, and other
wildlife. As population growth progresses, fossil fuel usage will increase,
causing detrimental side-effects to remain. Additionally, an article written by
the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, a nonprofit organization devoted
to promoting environmentally sustainable societies, reads: “…the burning of
fossil fuels was responsible for 79 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in
2010. These gases insulate the planet, and could lead to potentially
catastrophic changes in the Earth’s climate.” (Fossil Fuels, n.d.) Without a
decrease in global population growth, fossil fuel usage will continue to
increase, and greenhouse gases will continue to affect the global climate. Heavier
precipitation and flooding, longer and more destructive wildfire seasons, and
accelerated sea level rise occur as a result of global warming. In the past
year the surface temperature of the Earth has risen one degree; scientists fear
this escalation will continue if action isn’t taken to stop it. In order to
reduce the consequences produced through the burning of fossil fuels,
alternative energy sources such as renewable resources, should be promoted and
employed.

Moreover, deforestation, which is the
action of cutting down and exploiting trees, leads to habitat loss and soil
erosion. As stated by National Geographic, a global nonprofit organization
dedicated to exploring and protecting the planet; “Eighty percent of Earth’s
land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the
deforestation that destroys their homes.” (Deforestation, n.d.) Due to
destruction of their habitats, caused by the removal of trees, numerous animal
and plant species are displaced. The destruction of habitats proves to be a
growing problem, seeing as carrying capacity for animals is reduced, which
leads to population decline and possible extinction. Thus, the elimination of clear-cutting
is imperative to an unscathed forest environment, which would enable plants and
animals a permanent residency. As reported by Rhett Butler, founder and CEO of
Mongabay.com, an organization seeking to raise interest in and appreciation of
wild lands and wildlife; “The loss of trees, which anchor the soil with their
roots, causes widespread erosion throughout the tropics.” (Rhett Butler, July
22, 2012) Soil erosion can elicit desertification, flooding, infertile land,
polluted waterways and obstructed sanitation systems. The quality of soil is
dwindling as logging and population growth prevails, meaning that the more
trees cut down, the worse the soil becomes and soon only small quantities of
useful soil will be left. To prevent further destruction to the environment,
such as soil erosion, it’s critical that deforestation be eradicated.   

Furthermore, through continued increase
in the global population, there will be a surge in pollution. According to
Green Choices, a nonprofit organization aiming to provide consumer information
on green choices available; “Gases from incineration may cause air pollution
and contribute to acid rain, while the ash from incinerators may contain heavy
metals and other toxins.” (Environmental impacts, n.d.) The gases created through
the process of burning waste can generate harmful byproducts, which fortifies
air pollution. For example, common repercussions include carbon monoxide,
carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. All are known constituents of smog, acid
rain, and greenhouse gasses. Ergo, enforcement should be made to ensure the
amount of waste is reduced, ultimately leading to a smaller impact on the
environment. To continue, Marine Insight, the world’s number one complete
maritime information website, states: “Dumping involves depositing all the
waste materials from factories and industries, tankers and ships and sewerage
waste materials into the oceans and seas. Some of the materials emitted by the
industrial wastes and sewage wastes contain materials like mercury, cryolite
and DDT.” (Shamseer Mambra, Sept. 4, 2017) Ocean dumping, as described above,
poses as a threat to marine organisms and other aquatic life. For example, sea
turtles believe plastic bags found floating in a body of water are jelly fish.
Since plastic bags are not biodegradable, upon consumption of their so-called
favorite snack, blockages are caused within their digestive system, which leads
to their inevitable death. Thus, action should be taken to protect marine life
and limit waste found within todays oceans and seas.

 

On the contrary, some believe that population
growth and its effects on biodiversity are reflected in a positive manner. The U.S.
National Library of Medicine, the world’s largest biomedical library published
an article on how decreasing biodiversity allows humans to better observe
animals. (Philip Hunter, Apr. 2007) Animals have “adapted” to the pressures put
onto them by global population growth, allowing cities to become laboratory-like
areas optimal for monitoring natural selection. Nonetheless, the Business &
Biodiversity Resource Centre, run by Earthwatch Institute, an international
environmental charity, explains that human actions such as exploitation of
natural resources, deforestation, pollution and the introduction of invasive
species have all led to the degradation of biodiversity (Impacts on
biodiversity, n.d.) Biodiversity, defined as the variety and variability of
life, boosts ecosystem productivity allowing each species to have a specific
niche. Through human actions, such as the destruction of habitats and the
decline in arable land, biodiversity will continue to decrease over time. This
can result in possible extinction of certain species, or close to it. If the
global population is not decreased, then human actions such as hunting, and the
use of herbicides and pesticides will continue to harm various plant and animal
species.

Overall, exploitation of fossil fuels,
desertification, and inadmissible waste control are all caused by human actions
and the ever-growing global population. Therefore, stronger effort should go
into converting from natural resources to renewable resources, such as solar
power, hydropower, and wind power. This will lessen greenhouse gas emissions
and other side effects, like smog and acid rain. Additionally, clear-cutting
should be reduced, so soil erosion will not continue to progress and animals
will no longer have to deal with habitat loss. Waste control should be
improved, while the amount of waste used up by individuals should be lowered,
allowing waste removal processes to not have such a big impression on the
environment. Having all solutions in full-effect will push forward the main
goal for a minimal environmental impact made by human action, which is crucial
for the development of a sustainable society.