Overpopulation: A Growing Crisis Ignored by Many

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Conclusion
  3. Work Cited


It is irritating to walk in a crowd where a full step is hard to reach; walking has become a problem due to overpopulation. Living in a finite world, being selfish has become something normal to many; when before being selfless was something to aim for in an everyday task. Now, with too many people, we think about ourselves and let others deal with their own problems in their own way. When a person is left in darkness with no help or attention, no one can see the pain and suffering they are going through. In the article, “The Island of Plenty” published by Newsweek in 1974, the author, Johnson C. Montgomery, tries to change the minds of couples who are planning to have a family by explaining the effects they would cause the future if they have too many kids. On the other hand, he also suggests we leave those who are not as fortunate and require more help to be left alone without assistance, and that is not a way to improve a situation. Because many do not think of overpopulation as a problem, it is not brought out to light like many other topics. Overpopulation is an excess in capacity and has become a problem many try to ignore, but the planet can’t cope with so many people. Solutions need to be found and people need to awaken from their lifelong sleep to take a look at their surroundings.

Johnson C. Montgomery, born in 1934, “was a California attorney and an early member of the Zero Population Growth organization”(Montgomery).In the article, “Island of Plenty”, Montgomery proposes an idea for the United States to separate itself from the rest of the world. He states that with the help we give others, we are not helping ourselves improve and live the way we need to; we are only setting ourselves up for failure. Montgomery says, “The problem is not that there is too little food. The problem is there are too many people—many too many. It is not that the children should never have been born. It is simply that we have mindlessly tried to cram too many of us into too short a time span” (Montgomery). He says that we should not provide others with aid anymore because no matter what we do or how we help they won’t help solve the overpopulation problem; however, we shouldn’t need to take the help away from those in need for a solution. Being compassionate is something human, but Montgomery states that to solve this problem we need to use his strategy although considered “inhumane” (Montgomery). Zero Population Growth, or ZPG, is a corporation that wanted to create a solution to the problem of overpopulation. Being one of the originals in ZPG, Montgomery considers himself one of the first that had a vasectomy. Overall, Montgomery proposes we no longer allow ourselves to feel sympathy for those in need who are not in the United States. Overpopulation has been a problem in progress that seems to be worsening at a blink of an eye, but the U.S should continue foreign aid and help those in need.

Overpopulation is “when a species exceeds” the amount in the capacity of its role (“What is overpopulation”). According to George Morris, from an article in PubMed, overpopulation is “the state of the population when there are more people than can live on the earth in comfort, happiness, and health and still leave the world a fit place for future generations'. In many situations, “overpopulation is associated with negative environmental and economic outcomes ranging from the impacts of over-farming, deforestation, and water pollution to eutrophication and global warming” (Leblanc). As population rates continue to increase overpopulation will have effects on us and the planet which will slowly have an unreachable solution.

The planet can adjust and cope with what it’s given, but there so much the planet can sustain. The earth’s carrying capacity is uncertain but is estimated between 500 million and one trillion. The population at this year is more than seven billion and counting. When the population continues to grow, deforestation increases as well. More people means more wood for building and more firewood. Globally, the forests have “more than twice the amount of carbon dioxide than is found in the atmosphere. As forests are cleared and burned, that CO2 is released into the atmosphere, accounting for an estimated 25 percent of total greenhouse gas production.” Greenhouse gasses are like a blanket that absorbs radiation and is “preventing it from escaping into outer space. The net effect is the gradual heating of Earth's atmosphere and surface, a process known as global warming” (Lallanila). Global warming has been causing many of the problems we are experiencing today; for example, the oceans have been heating up and have almost doubled since 1992. As to California, it has been experiencing many wildfires that have been polluting the air. The planet can do so much, but it is up to us to help it improve and diminish the overpopulation problem.

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Most problems come to light when everyone begins to notice the effects it causes. Many people have done research and essays on overpopulation, and have come to the conclusion it is not the best for us; for example, “Thomas Malthus’s Essay on Population warned that out-of-control population growth would deplete resources and bring about widespread famine”(Follet). After his death, this problem was put aside and forgotten for two hundred years until 1968 when Biologist, Paul Ehrlich, published The Population Bomb, “which opened with the lines, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now.” Although the problem was brought out to light, population rates continued to rise. Birth rates increased in places with families in poverty. For instance; Chinese, Indian, and African families reproduce more for different reasons like; in order to bring money to the family, because mortality rates are higher than those who are richer, and because they have “limited access to contraception” (Noakes). Poverty has always been a known problem, and with prices rising what feels like every second, those in need have to find a way to survive without committing a crime. Compared to rural families, those who are richer strive towards having a smaller family. Because China, Africa, and India are places to see how overpopulation has affected people, we can use them as an inspiration to solve overpopulation (Forbes).

China’s one-child policy was created to control the size of its population due to an overpopulating crisis. The problem began “during the period of Mao Zedong's leadership in China, the birth rate fell from 37 per thousand to 20 per thousand,” and families were encouraged to “have as many children as possible.” Families began growing and the population began rising causing overpopulation and leading up to new policies. The distinct form of birth planning compared to other countries’ policies has brought many critics to comment on how bad of an idea that is. This program was introduced in 1979; however, in 1980 a new policy was introduced allowing “rural parents a second child if the first was a daughter.” The one-child policy lasted for three decades, until 2015 when it was removed and changed to allow any family to have two children (“Wiki One-child policy”). Limiting the amount of children in a family could be one of the best solutions to our increasing population. Having two children is something beneficial to a family; for example, children will be better companions for each other in case of a busy parent schedule. A policy to follow is one that can lead us to a healthier world, and we need to help each other reach that goal.

For many years, the world population has been increasing rapidly every second. Africa and India for example, are expected to grow in the following thirty-two years. India’s population will continue to increase from “1.3 billion to 1.65 billion”; on the other hand, Africa is expected to double from 1.2 billion to “4.4 billion by the end of this century”(Wooldridge).

Problems that could affect us in the future and the next generations to come should always be something we need to worry about, even if it means changing our lifestyle to create a solution. Overpopulation has become a huge problem that has been affecting us for many years. Corporations and many food industries have tried to adapt to the growth in population to satisfy their customer’s needs. Many food industries have been using new strategies to produce their own products and enhance their food production; for example, industries that produce chicken “are arguably the most genetically manipulated of all animals, forced to grow 65 times faster than their bodies normally would, and the industry continually seeks to increase their growth rate” (free from harm staff writers). The chickens are given more than they can consume and they are fattened up and slaughtered in about 2 months or less; when the lifespan of a chicken is usually 10-15 years. With food being manipulated and chemicals being used to enhance production, we could be affected in the worst possible way. When too many artificial ingredients are in the product, we are at risk of experiencing bad health. Our health should be taken into consideration when producing the food, we consume. Being at risk of having bad health is not only something to try and prevent, but something many can’t afford. Medical attention and medications have increased in the past years; “in 2013, 56% of people struggled to pay for health care” (Amadeo). Montgomery said in his article that the United States should isolate from the rest of the world, but instead, we should come together despite our differences and history to save the future.

Every problem is said to have a solution, so even the problems that seem unreachable must have a solution. Just like the hardest math problem has a solution that many feels is impossible to get, overpopulation has one too. The one obvious solution would be having fewer kids. For those who are starting a family, you might consider having safer sexual performances. To prevent having too many kids, there are education in family planning and contraceptives. Just like China has a two-child policy, us as Americans should find something to control the population. Although having a set rule that you could only have two kids is something many can’t see as doing, we need to see how us reproducing more than we can support is impacting the kid’s future. China’s two-child policy has been adopted by other countries as well and it has had positive effects. For example, Vietnam has found this strategy successful since their “total fertility rate in Vietnam dropped from 5.6 in 1979 to 3.2 by 1993.” (” Wiki Two-child Policy”) However, this policy has also brought some negative outputs, like sex-based preference, abortion increase, and criticism. While many are blindfolded and ignore problems like overpopulation, those who are looking for solutions are empowering men and women to think before they make a decision.

Human rights are inherited to all human being regardless of where they come from and how they look when they are born. We are all born with the right to make our own decisions and choose what we want to do. These rights include 'the right to life and liberty, freedom from slavery and torture, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to work and education, and many more” (“Human rights”). However, overpopulation is a human right issue. We are given the right to a family, food, and shelter, but when we overproduce in family, we are not allowing others who can’t afford shelter or food to not have that right. We are taking away the right to food and shelter when we only think about our and our family’s needs. Becoming a parent means doing the most you can for your kids to have everything they need, regardless if you are overusing and wasting resources and materials others in need could use. Montgomery said we should only care for ourselves and let others who can’t do that die; however, he is taking the right of happiness and life from others (“Human Rights”). Overpopulation has become a problem many need to see and as long as we all put it aside, the steps to create a solution will never be taken into consideration. (Add why I also agree with Montgomery)


In conclusion, overpopulation has been an increasing problem many try to ignore and make excuses for it. The excuses are like a barrier that does not allow us to see the real problem in the other side; the other side has the impacts overpopulation has been having on us and our planet, but no one seems to notice. If the problem continues to grow, we will have a greenhouse effect, which is as explained above, a blanket that absorbs radiation and is “preventing it from escaping into outer space. The net effect is the gradual heating of Earth's atmosphere and surface, a process known as global warming” (Lallanila). Overpopulation will worsen the global warming we are experiencing at this moment. The cold is warming up and the places that are already warm are heating up, causing the planet to react with many natural disasters and wildfires all over California. As the world population counties to increase by the second, the risk of exposing our health to more severe problems becomes something unpreventable. With an overcrowded planet, we will have more: diseases; more immigrants, as people like to call them; and an unreachable solution. When we don’t consider our lives and the lives of future generations, we are placing ourselves in an unwanted situation we will be complaining about in the future. It is our job, not just those in power, to help the planet that has helped us for many years. It is our job to consider the lives of others and not just our own because we are all living in the same world. It is our job to create a possible solution for our overpopulated world. It is our job to not leave anyone behind if they can’t walk beside us. However, it is not our job to treat the planet as another unworthy object because Earth is our home and once it is destroyed there is no planet B.

Work Cited

  1. Amadeo, Kimberly. “What Rising Health Care Costs Mean for You,” The Balance, Oct. 1,2019. thebalance.com/healthcare-costs-3306068
  2. Follett, Chelsea. “How big of a problem is overpopulation?” Forbes, Jul 30, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/07/30/how-big-of-a-problem-is- overpopulation/ - 7244d8c2216a
  3. Free from harm staff writers. “17 Chicken Facts the Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know,” free from harm, Aug. 28,2014. freefromharm.org/animalagriculture/chicken-facts-industry-doesnt-want-know/
  4. “Human Rights” United Nations. www.un.org/en/sections/issues-depth/human-rights/
  5. Lallanila, Marc. “What is the Greenhouse effects?” Live Science, March, 08,2018. livescience.com/37743-greenhouse-effect.html
  6. Leblanc, Rick. “The environmental impacts of overpopulation,” The balances, Aug 31,2018. thebalancesmb.com/how-overpopulation-impacts-the-environment-4172964
  7. Lin, Doris. “Human Overpopulation,” ThoughtCo., July 03, 2019. thoughtco.com/effects-of- human-overpopulation-127867
  8. Noakes, Zoe. “Why do the Poor Have Large Families?” Compassion, Jan 11, 2017. compassion.com.au/blog/why-do-the-poor-have-large-families
  9. “Two-child policy,” Wikipedia, Oct 14. 2019. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-child policy
  10. “What is overpopulation?” PubMed, Dec 17,1988. though'tco.com/effects-of-human- overpopulation-127867
  11. Whiting, Kate. “David Attenborough: The planet can’t cope with overpopulation,” World
  12. Economic Forum, Oct 9, 2018. weforum.org/agenda/2018/10/david-Attenborough-warns-planet-cant-cope-with-overpopulation/
  13. https://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc_28_4/tsc_28_4_wooldridge.shtml
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