Population Should Equal Sustainability…But Does It Really?

The term “Mother Earth” has been dangerously misinterpreted by the people who purposely meant to do so. In fact, we are the adopted parents and the planet is our aging child, that we have not done a very good job of raising or nurturing. If there was a social services, or some type of child protection service for planets, Earth would have been taken away from us by now for being abusive and irresponsible guardians. The previous parents who were responsible for the planet such as Dinosaurs, Bipedal Apes, Homo Habilis and the rest of the Homo species ( ignoring ours, being the Homo Sapiens sapiens) were responsible and took very good care of Earth. They did not abuse the Earth’s natural resources, or exploit the planet for what she offered them. Instead, they were grateful to be apart of the Earth’s story. Somewhere along the line, roughly between 1770-1840, the Industrial Revolution gave human beings the idea that they could play God to planet Earth (Wright, 1995), and only within the past decade, have we started trying to play God to planet Mars as well. When technology took over the planet, everything changed. The irony is that technology was born to improve our quality of life, however it has in turn, ended up contributing to the decline of that quality. The concept of people always wanting more and something better has morphed technology into an enemy of the planet. Obviously the ideal of erasing the damage already done is impossible, hence we must ask ourselves, how can we as parents of the planet, improve this issue? Before we do that, we need to specifically identify what negative impact technology has had on our population.

evolution lazy
Fig 1: Image displaying how technology made human immobile and lazy ( Pinto, 2000).
The term population has different facets to it, but can generally be defined as “the summation of all the organisms of the same group or species, which live in a particular geographical area, and have the capability of interbreeding” (Wikipedia, 2015). It was announced in 2012, that the estimated world population exceeded 7.2 billion, therefore as of today, that number has significantly increased and cannot represent a specific number, as various countries including Nigeria, India and China have not been able to release exact data related to this (Wikipedia,2015). Different scientists with a variety of research backgrounds all seem to have a holistic conclusion about the population; They feel that “In the future, the world’s population is expected to peak, after which it will decline due to economic reasons, health concerns, land exhaustion and environmental hazards. According to one report, it is very likely that the world’s population will stop growing before the end of the 21st century. Further, there is some likelihood that population will actually decline before 2100. Population has already declined in the last decade or two in Eastern Europe, the Baltics and in the Commonwealth of Independent” (Friedman, 2015). The reality is that people want to blame the growing population on the problems related to environmental and social issues such as landfills and exploitations of various fossil fuels, however it is mainly due to the technology being abused by this population, not necessarily because of the  amount of population that now inhabit Earth. More people should mean more brains and more hands to heal the planet, but instead, people have become infatuated with satisfying their personal needs, instead of the needs of their planet that is providing them with the necessities to live. People stack up landfills with toxins and waste, however they do not stop to think how their food will grow in the soil if the soil continues to get poisoned with these toxins. Sure the invention of GMO products is a bonus, but is it really, when the chemicals being used to produce those GMO products are more harmful then helpful to a person’s health as well as the oceans and the air we breath? Technology has also made people lazier and has led to increased obesity as you can see in the video link below (ISD, 2015). Therefore we are caught in a vicious cycle of misinterpretation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eqjech_6dc0

Notice that scientists claim that the world population decline will be the result of 4 things, however those four things, really stem from one thing; Technology. Let’s break it down in the following flow chart:

good flow
Fig 2: Flow Chart displaying the connection between technology and a declining population. Diagram Credit: Iheanyichukwu Obia

Overpopulation is a disease currently plaguing Earth, and people are quickly trying to find any solution to this issue, as they have always tried to find the fastest way to fix problems. Nonetheless, the fastest solution is not always the best solution. Some nations including China feel that it is necessary to implement a one child policy, which only allows some citizens to have one child for up to 3 decades (Gander, 2015); This it is morally wrong. Justification for these policies stem from “one of the ideas most emphasized by the Stockholm Resilience Centre is the susceptibility of key Earth System processes to ‘tipping points.’ They believe that exceeding these thresholds risks triggering abrupt environmental change” (UNEP, 2012). Environmentally, it makes sense to have more people populating the planet, because it would lead to more hands and brains to help with sustaining not only the human race, but the planet as well. However technology has made people lazy and has given them an excuse to blame their problems on irrelevant factors. The TBL Simulator is a good example for this as it is very difficult to maintain a successful and profitable city in the game. As a group, on many occasions trying to play this game, we ran into the issue of using too much money to build our cities. This was great in the beginning and our cities looked great, but we quickly lost a large part of our population to homelessness (which in the real world could lead to an increase in crime as well as social support). With a lack of housing and necessities in response to the growing population per year in the TBL Simulator, the overall city revenue decreased as it became too difficult to keep everyone safely housed and social support funding increased. As we experienced with the TBL Simulator, once the population goes out of control, it is too difficult to save the city and continue on in the game. A contributing factor to this was obviously the decrease in city revenue, as this caused an imbalance with the bottom line. If there was a way to begin the game by using low cost energy, housing and other basic necessities in order to establish and maintain a community, then we could gradually increase the revenue over time and there would be a good chance of keeping the balance in the game with an over population issue. Larger commercial buildings need to be built and this will create move jobs, thus maintaining a good employment system. Through this, homelessness could be lowered, if not erased. Our group found it very difficult to maintain a decent score and to keep our balance in the game due to over population. With over population comes the need for more buildings and more resources being abused. However once we figured out how to evenly distribute those resources, and how to reuse those resources, we were able to maintain a good balance. This showed us that overpopulation really isn’t the issue, but how we use our resources, and how we use technology to our benefit truly matters.

If we, the population, attempt to educate ourselves on this issue, we can change things for the better for not only ourselves, but for Earth as well. Instead of finding easier, fast methods, we need to re-evaluate our lifestyle choices and understand how we can use technology for our benefit in sustaining our population. Whether it be on a personal level through household decisions, or on a larger scale, across the globe, through implementing a system that is available for everybody. The infamous statistic that our population will drastically decline in the upcoming years in simply unacceptable, especially for such a technology induced society like the one we live in toady. We need to start utilizing technology for what it was originally create for- to sustain and improve human’s quality of life, not deplete it.

SHOUT OUT

This week we are giving a BIG shout out to National Geographic for profiling a few new companies that are taking food packaging to the next level by allowing people to either eat it. They also profiled some companies that are creating packaging that will alert you when your food is actually spoiling, and containers that can self decompose into the soil ( Albright, 2015). Check out the link below.

http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2015/07/21/food-packaging-have-your-cake-and-eat-the-wrapper-too/

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