Overpopulation as the most important problem of the modern world

Essay, 2017

3 Pages, Grade: 1,0


Overpopulation is the most important problem facing the world today. Discuss.

According to the UN, the world population is expected to increase to almost 10 billion by the year 2050.[1] Especially in the poorest countries of the world the population keeps growing rapidly. It might not be clear for everyone that overpopulation is the most important problem facing the world today, because there are many other important issues the world has to cope with. The reason why overpopulation is the most important one is that it is the cause of many other problems such as intensive livestock farming, climate change and habitat loss.

Firstly, in order to feed the growing number of people, the use of intensive livestock farming is widely used in most of the Western countries which is a huge problem. Already 99% of the farms in the USA are using intensive livestock farming[2]. The consequences for the animals’ welfare are alarming: Often they have very little space to live on, suffer from injuries and have a reduced life expectancy.[3] In addition, intensive farming is also harming our own health. In the United States antibiotics are commonly used in livestock. According to the FDA, 80% of all antibiotics sold in 2009 were given to livestock animals[4] and as a result, those antibiotics are less effective when given to humans. It might be argued that not overpopulation is the most important reason for intensive farming but mainly our growing appetite for meat and that the simple solution would be to eat less meat. Yet, according to the WHO, the demand for meat is still growing[5] so a decline in meat consumption is not in sight.

Another problem which overpopulation is responsible for is global warming. By burning fossil fuels, clearing forests and intensive farming we produce greenhouse gases. The more people on earth, the more we will produce. It should also be emphasized that global warming causes the sea level to rise[6]. Consequently, islands and low-lying areas are under threat of being flooded, endangering the humans’ and animals’ habitat. One might object here, that it’s not simply the growing amount of people on earth which causes global warming but also their behaviour. If we changed our habits and cared more about our environment we could possibly stop or reduce the reasons for global warming. But are we willing to do this when even one of the most powerful men, the recently elected Donald Trump, does not take the problem seriously, claiming that ՙՙthe concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive”[7]?

Finally, animals’ natural habitats are cleared for the humans’ growing needs. So far, already approximately 50% of the world’s original forests has vanished. Regarding the fact that tropical rain forests are home to at least half the Earth’s species[8], habitat loss might pose the greatest threat to our planet’s biodiversity. Again, it could be argued that we need to change our behaviour which leads us back to the issue of meat consumption. Avegetarian diet would be much less resource-intensive than a meat and dairy based one but as stated above, the demand for meat is likely to increase.

In conclusion, overpopulation is the most important problem facing the

world today because it is the initial trigger for intensive livestock farming, climate change and habitat loss. The consequences for humans and biodiversity in general are drastic and cannot be ignored. If the world’s population keeps growing as expected and we keep acting as currently, those problems cannot be solved.

The question remains as to how the problem of overpopulation can be tackled. As mentioned in the beginning, the population is growing especially in the poorest countries of the world. The vast majority of the people there is badly educated and to make a living they are having lots of children who have to work and gain money at an early age. Consequently, those children cannot receive education and the vicious circle goes on and on. It is our responsibility to bring education to those countries and to provide them better opportunities. With a lot of commitment, we will be able to break the vicious circle.


[1] "World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations". esa.un.org. Retrieved 2017-01-14.

[2] Environmental Protection Agency, Producers’ Compliance Guide for CAFOs, August 2003.

[3] "Mercy For Animals - World's Leading Farmed Animal Rights and Vegan Advocacy Organization - Mercy For Animals". Mercy For Animals. December 17, 2014. Retrieved 2017-01-14

[4] "H.R. 965: Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2011". March 9, 2011. Retrieved 2017/01/15

[5] http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/3_foodconsumption/en/index4.html Retrieved 2017/01/16

[6] http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/ Retrieved 2017/01/15

[7] https://twitter.com/realdonaldtrump/status/265895292191248385?lang=de Retrieved 2017/01/16

[8] http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/species/problems/habitat_loss_degradation Retrieved 2017/01/15

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Overpopulation as the most important problem of the modern world
Cologne University of Applied Sciences  (Institur für Translation und Mehrsprachige Kommunikation)
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Michelle Büchel (Author), 2017, Overpopulation as the most important problem of the modern world, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/385516


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