Fighting Against Overpopulation: A Personal Battle
On Tuesday, 11 July the United Nations marked the 27th World Population Day. Since its inception, Earth’s population has grown from a little over 5 billion to 7.6 billion. This is a very large number and we cannot afford to ignore this problem.
Every single human life on this planet matters, but every single human life also has certain needs. The ideal would be for every child to receive proper nutrition, shelter and education but unfortunately that is not the case. This planet of ours is magnificent with all its wonders and contrasts, with habitats ranging from tropical rainforests to dry desert landscapes. This is reflected in the vast cultural and circumstantial differences under which we live. In the same city, there are children enjoying any and all luxury available to them while other children struggle with hunger and beg on street corners.
One can almost hear the earth groan under the weight as the borders of towns and suburbs stand on the verge of bursting trying to accommodate the influx of more and more human lives. Our planet is overpopulated and she is struggling to meet our needs with the added pressure of consumerism.
What are the effects of overpopulation?
The most obvious side effect to overpopulation is space. The more people there are the more space is needed to house and school them. Thereafter more businesses are needed to employ them. What most tend to overlook, conveniently, is what happens to our surroundings when we keep on expanding. One of the first side effects is the loss of habitat. This might seem to some as an unfortunate consequence but necessary for our species to survive, but what they forget is that it is all connected.
The more habitat we ruin in our quest for the perfect house the greater the impact of issues such as global warming and environmental pollution. It is sad that once again the existence of global warming has become a topic of debate, but let’s say that it is not a myth. What happens when you place a person in an airtight room with 1 oxygen producing plant? He or she will live a pretty secluded life, but at least they will be able to breathe. Now what happens when he or she decides that they want some company and invites a friend in to stay? At first they won’t notice anything, but after a while the oxygen levels in the room will become less and less. They are aware of this but not concerned as they are both fine and enjoying each other’s company. The problem comes when they decide to have children. All of a sudden the room feels too small and the air becomes thin, but all of these humans share the same rights and deserve to live as equals.
This is a very crude and rudimentary scenario but it is exactly what is happening on this planet. We must realise that just like the fauna and flora we are inhabitants of this planet and rely on a delicate balance to survive. The more people we add to the “room” the more we aggravate the forces behind global warming.
How do we fight against overpopulation?
The answer will never lie with reducing the current population, but we must reduce the possible future population. This is very difficult as it is in the nature of most to settle down and start a family. There are those millennials who wish a different lifestyle for themselves, but unfortunately there aren’t enough of us. A very large reason for this is because it is not just in our nature to reproduce but it is also in many cultures. Every newlywed couple faces the onslaught of “so when are you guys having kids?” the moment they come back from their honeymoon. It is just the way it is and has been for thousands of years, but that doesn’t mean that it has to stay that way.
This is the one battle that each and every one of us can fight. We have to stand up against the ridicule that couples face who decide not to have children. There are so many contraceptive options available, but there is still a certain taboo associated with discussing these products openly. Instead of pulling a face when someone says they do not wish to have children, applaud them and tell them they are helping to save the future of our planet. Also, we must realise that with all the rights we enjoy we have a great responsibility. The easiest way to exercise this responsibility is in the daily choices we make. Choose to recycle, say no to the plastic drinking straw. Going green has never been more fashionable or easier so there is no excuse for any of us not to partake in this battle.