The issues of overpopulation affect many different principles and policies such as the sustainability principle, equity principle and precautionary principle. In Ace Smith’s article Overpopulation - The Biggest Threat to our Planet's Survival he addresses these points and urges for something to be done about the world’s overpopulation crisis.
The sustainability principal states that the Earth does not have an unlimited carry capacity and eventually we will run out of space and resources. This relates extremely well to overpopulation because an unsustainable planet will be caused by too many people. Some people now believe that with new technologies the earth will be able to maintain an always growing population. This solution may work in developed countries where the new food production techniques or recycling plants are available. But the greatest population increases are in developing countries that are not well off financially and unable to support themselves. So really, without decreasing the population there is little than can be done especially in developing countries to support sustainable development. Another point of sustainability is the ecological footprint of individuals which again is too large for the planet to successfully support.
Intergenerational equity takes in to consideration the distribution of rewards and burdens not just in the current generation but for present generations. With the topic of overpopulation the more children that people have now may increase their present day benefits. But with a larger population there will inevitably be greater carbon emissions, use of more resources and other negative effects towards the environment. Some people argue that future generations do not exist yet and we will not know what kind of needs they will have. They will not be able to reprimand us for not taking care of the environment so why should we make ourselves suffer in the present day? But the opposition assumes that future generations have the right to clean air, food and water. I believe that they are right and we need to take care of the environment to future generations can live and prosper.
The precautionary principle can also be applied to this situation by stating that the population is increasing at an alarming rate and in the present day it seems to be causing problems with a lack of resources to support everyone or increased carbon emissions. Although some people do not believe this problem is evident it can be assumed that the more people on the earth the greater the carbon emissions and thus a detrimental effect on the environment. But it is unknown all the effects of overpopulation so is it better to act now and cut down the population manually or let nature run its course and hope that the planet can support us? It is generally thought to be better to reduce our population now to protect us from unforeseen consequences in the future.
The overpopulation problem affects many different aspects of the environment and society. This can be seen through use of the sustainability principle, equity principle and precautionary principle.
Smith, A. (2008, August 13). Overpopulation - the biggest threat to our planet's survival. Retrieved from http://www.articlesbase.com/environment-articles/overpopulation-the-biggest-threat-to-our-planets-survival-520631.html