The Problem of Population Growth and the Solution of Population Planning

3072 Words 13 Pages
The Problem of Population Growth and the Solution of Population Planning


Human population growth, overpopulation, and earth’s biological carrying capacity have been concerns of scientists for many years. In 1679 Antoni van Leeuwenhoek estimated that the maximum number of people Earth can support is 13.4 billion and estimates have continued to vary drastically since then (Cohen, 1995). There are many ecological indicators, including desertification and water problems, which point to the likelihood that we are approaching our limit. There are many sub issues within this overall problem that must be addressed in order to work towards solving this problem, including sustainable living, water shortages, etc. However,
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This was then multiplied by the area of the region and then all the regions were summed. Another method used by analysts was fitting mathematical curves to historical population sizes and extrapolating them into the future. A third method was to focus on a single assumed constraint on population, such as food, and how much of that constraint is needed for survival. However, this method does not take into account other constraints. A fourth method used was to reduce multiple requirements needed for survival to the amount of a single factor. For example, food, paper, timber, etc. were reduced to the area of land required to grow or produce them. A fifth method used involves the idea of population size being constrained by multiple independent factors, or the sum total of constraints. Liebig’s law of the minimum is used here, which states that the population size of a species is constrained by whatever resource is in shortest supply. The sixth method used involves the idea that population size is constrained by multiple interdependent factors and scientists have used system models to describe this. This method is probably the most accurate since it allows for changes in endogenous and exogenous variables. It takes into account that carrying capacity is always changing and is not static. Another idea that has been brought up, but not employed, is that nations should calculate their human carrying capacity separately. However, resources needed often