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The Effects of Population Increase on the Environment

As inevitable as death and taxes, the population of the world will continue to grow until the government intervenes. The gross increase in population will generally lead to adverse effects on the environment. In the anthology, A Forest of Voices, an entry titled “Is It Too Late? ” by Anthony Weston deals with the history of legislation for the protection of the environment and stories of it’s destruction that are all too real. Seemingly, as the population increases, so should the level of intelligence for a sample population which would necessarily lead to a certain form of protection to the environment.

It would seem quite apparent that an increase in population has a causal relationship with the status of the environment. Some factors that may lead to this are underlying, though. When this notion comes to mind, the immediate reaction may be that a population increase would deem more space to be required for the new population. This includes any area that is necessary for human survival, such as farmland area, water consumption, area to reside, and the production of all products necessary for an individual to function in society. There are statistics to prove this theory.

All of the statistics given are a 20 year projection from 1990 to 2010 (Bryant). The projection shows that the population will increase just fewer than 2 billion in this period (Bryant). This would be about a 33% increase in population (Bryant). The study shows that in these 20 years, the amount of fish caught will increase 20%; the area of cropland will increase 5%; and the area of forests will decrease by 7% (Bryant). Granted these figures do not look too dangerous, but we are already three-quarters of the way through the projection. From these statistics, the future is starting to seem bleak.

From these figures, it can be derived that the resources on Earth will eventually be depleted by the hand of man. As grim as the future may seem, there might be some hope just over the horizon. When an increase in population occurs, it must be taken into account that as the years pass the knowledge of the human race will increase. It could be assumed that as our intelligence increases, our means of survival will become more systematic with relation to the earth. Take for example the notion of ecology. It was not until the human race was semi-intelligent enough that the notion of ecology came about.

Even still, not enough people respect the world in which they live. It was not until 1973 that a law enacted to protect the species that were extinction. It took three dozen species to go extinct in the decade before the Endangered Species Act went into legislation to stop ignorance from diminish the wildlife in the United States (Weston 355). This shows that it takes a gross lack of intelligence (which I will equate, for arguments sake, with a lack of awareness or an abundance of arrogance) to show the public that maybe we should not be killing animals that are near extinction.

To begin discussion about the destruction, it must be taken into account that the human race is arrogant by nature. It could be called mankind’s fatal flaw. This can be shown through the colonization of America. In the beginning, America was truly the untouched beauty. Buffalo were in overabundance in the Great Plains, and in New England, lobsters were so common that they were used for not only eating, but for potato fertilizer (Weston 354). Now it is not the case, the Buffalo are confined to few sanctuaries across the U. S. and lobster, not as common anymore, are considered somewhat of a delicacy in many restaurants.

It may seem trivial, but the reason that “civilized” man came to America is because of arrogance. Now, to the best of my knowledge, the Mayflower brought the outcast Puritans from England to America. The Puritans were a people of conviction; otherwise they would have dealt with the lack of religious freedom in England. Both of the aforementioned parties are arrogant, for a lack of tolerance of another man’s religion is seen as arrogance by today’s standards; and the conviction to leave one’s home and travel through barley-charted waters to an relatively unknown place in search of a better home may also be seen as a form of arrogance.

The example of the early settlers is not the only instance that arrogance is related to environmental destruction. Wars, unnecessary expansion of habitat, and hunting (especially animals protected under the Endangered Species Act) are all products of arrogance that have lead to devastation of the Earth’s ecosystems. As stated before, arrogance and an increase in population are both contributing factors of the cause of the environmental destruction that we faced with today. The problem that is the main focus of concern is if an increase in population necessitates an increase of arrogance.

It does seem to be a causal relation between the two, unless the intelligence level is taken into account. If the intelligence doubles every X amount of years, then the level of arrogance should decrease; although it probably will not half itself in the same X amount of years. Since population can only increase within a temporal relation, there will be a fluctuation in the levels of arrogance and intelligence. Intelligence will increase faster than our level of arrogance will decrease. As more people become more intelligent, there arrogance should dissipate when they realize all of the carnage they have caused, which is only a matter of time.

Through certain forms of induction and deduction, it has been found that there is a correlation between population increase and problems in the environment. Now this conclusion is merely a derivation from certain given truths. Those truths being that; the human race is arrogant, a lack of intelligence is logically equivalent to a certain level of arrogance, and as intelligence increases, arrogance decreases. All of theses given truths have been induced through the writer’s interpretation of the world. I see humans as arrogant by nature.

I notice people of higher intellect may have an ego, but do not necessarily have a high level of arrogance. I also notice, on the other end of the spectrum, that the less intelligent a person is, the more likely that person is to be arrogant. Looking back on the last century, or so, there has been underlying instances of a world-wide call for awareness of the environment but nothing great has come to fruition. I guess that is what happens when you have a Texan as the President of the “best” nation on Earth.

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