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Overpopulation has taken over our planet

Courtesy of Life Extension Advocacy Foundation

Courtesy of Life Extension Advocacy Foundation

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Here in Harrisonburg, the school board has proposed to build another high school for $76 million. This is to account for the 1,800 high schoolers that our current school can’t handle. Overcrowding in our high school has sparked a citywide debate and the new high school proposal impacts all of Harrisonburg’s tax payers. However, overpopulation doesn’t just affect the thousands of Harrisonburg residents. It is a worldwide issue that impacts all 7.5 billion people on our planet. In 1950, the world’s population was about 2.6 billion people. Currently, there are almost 7.6 billion people inhabiting the Earth. In just 67 years, our population has grown by 5 billion people. The human population is increasing at a rapid pace and many people don’t realize the impact that this is having on our planet.

The Earth has been humanity’s home for over 200,000 years. Our planet has given us all the required resources we need to survive and more. In return, we have been destroying it to contain our own growing numbers. What humans don’t realize is that industrializing our Earth has major consequences, one of which is the loss of freshwater. According to National Geographic, less than 1% of all freshwater is easily available to humans, for all other freshwater sources have either been polluted or aren’t readily accessible. We have such little water already, and with the growing population, demand for water is only increasing. The U.N. released a statement saying, “By 2030, nearly half of the world’s population will be living in areas of acute water storage.” Not only is the water crisis affecting humans, but the polluted state it is in is threatening much of marine wildlife, for over 1 million seabirds and over 100,000 sea mammals are killed every year due to pollution. If humans are not careful, the global water crisis could cause the end of our planet and all life on it.

Not just marine wildlife is affected by human overpopulation. According to speciesalliance.org, humans are causing the greatest mass extinction since the dinosaurs were eliminated. In fact, PBS states that 99.9% of all species ever are now extinct. This is especially a result of deforestation. The National Wildlife Federation reported that an estimated 100 plant and animal species go extinct every day because of deforestation. We are killing species faster than they can evolve and conservation efforts need to be made.

While this crisis is causing immense problems for our planet, it will also create issues with our own quality of life. Harvard reported that of the population increase over the next 40 years, 97% of it will be in less developed regions. With the issue of overpopulation being a major issue in places such as Sub Saharan Africa, their problems will only increase. Countries in Sub Saharan Africa currently face housing, food, water and energy issues to supply their current population due to very high birth rates. These problems will only increase as their population grows, and their length and quality of life will only decline.

All in all, overpopulation is causing problems in today’s society, which will only worsen as time goes on. There have been dystopian movies and novels based on governments trying to control the population size, but things always go wrong in them. I do believe the government should come up with of a way to prevent our population from growing so fast, but in the meantime, we should make efforts to preserve our planet. After all, there is only one Earth.

Infographic on Overpopulation: https://infograph.venngage.com/view/b6334c8f-477a-4e8b-96e8-aad917ae5665

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