Population: The Growing Problem Essay

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Population: The Growing Problem

History of Earth's Population

From the beginning of time until 1850, the world population had been steadily growing until it finally reached the point of one billion people. Hurray for our species, we are successful and have been able to make adaptations in order to survive! Then, only 80 years later, the world population doubled to a whopping 2 billion citizens. After that, the doubling time was sliced once again. By 1960, just thirty years later, three billion people called Earth "home." Seventeen year later, in 1977, the world population hit four billion people. In 1986, nine short years later, we reached a population of 5 billion inhabitants. Sometime in the next few years, we are looking at
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Malthus' predictions and preaching about famine were a bit of foreshadowing of the tragic Irish Famine in the 1840s. When failure of the potato crop occurred for several successive years, this produced a devastating famine. "Between 1841 and 1851, Ireland's population fell from 8.2 million to 6.6 million through starvation [and] disease..." (Grolier Electronic Dictionary 1996). Also, an even more explicit example of Malthus' warnings happened in China between 1850 and 1890 when 50 million to 70 million people died as a result of a successive string of famines. Granted, the Taiping Rebellion added to the carnage, but the bottom line is that people were hungry and did not have adequate food to survive (Scanlon 1997).

In 1955, Karl Sax was Professor of botany at Harvard University and published a public warning about the implications of overpopulation in the book Standing Room Only. In this book, Sax warns the human race about the grave danger with which we are faced. When describing the current situation, then a population of 2.4 billion, and the speed at which humans are reproducing, he cautions the reader by predicting that "...at these current rates, the world population could reach 4,000 million by the end of the century" (Sax 1955). This milestone of 4 billion people was reached only twenty-two years after publication of this prediction (Davidson 1995).

Current Understanding of the
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