Class Notes (838,786)
Canada (511,086)
Geography (1,356)

11 10 Lecture Notes - Does the world have too many people.docx

12 Pages
Unlock Document

Geography 3312A/B
Haroon Akram Lodhi

Does the World Have Too Many People? Population  We live in new times o sometime in October 2011 world population moved beyond 7 billion o India will soon have more people than China o on 23 May 2007 the global urban population, for the first time in human history, became bigger than the global rural population o Does the world have too many people?  World population dramatically took off after 1800…  …and even more noticeably after 1950, especially in developing countries 2100 Project: 10.1 billion  10,000 years ago, when settled agriculture began, the world’s population was perhaps 5 million  2000 years ago, during Roman times, the population reached 250 million  By 1427, world population reached perhaps 427 million  By 1800 population reached 1 billion  From 1900 to 1950 the world’s population grew from 1.6 to 2.5 billion people  Now, it is more than 7 billion  Thus, over a century, the population has grown by a factor of four, which is historically unprecedented Birth and Death Rates  Population growth is caused by birth rates (number of births per 1000 people in a given year) exceeding death rates (number of deaths per 1000 people in a given year) An intersection between those who die and those who live  Birth rates and death rates have been in decline, but: o birth rates have been declining more rapidly than death rates in rich countries  births > deaths while both decline o death rates have been declining more rapidly than birth rates in poor countries  deaths > births while both decline  The result: population growth in poor countries has greatly exceeded population growth in rich countries  These trends in births and deaths builds in more population growth, because many people in poor countries have yet to reach their reproductive age—there is a population growth momentum that will not slow until late in the century, at around 10 billion This seven billionth baby won’t be counted until 15 years from now – babies born now create growth for the 2020s and 2030s. Population distribution - 1960 Population distribution – 2050 Africa is bigger, Europe is smaller  In 1950, 2 Europeans for every African  In 2050, 2 Africans for every European  Africa is the epicentre for poverty. It would imply that there is a potential for a massive worsening of poverty. This is both a threat and an opportunity to end poverty  Why has the death rate declined? • increased life spans—people everywhere live longer • cuts in infant mortality (the number of deaths of children under 1 per 1000 live births)—children everywhere are less likely to die due to simple improvements in medicine  Both have contributed to declines in birth rates: if fewer deaths, there is less need for the economic support of a larger family  We’re two parents with two children – one of the two is likely to die. The response of a parent in a poor country where a child is insurance for the future (they will provide for you) is to have another child – and if one is likely to die, you’re going to have two. Which means you’re really having four. But if you know your second child is likely to live, you’re less likely to have those two other years.  This is a very positive sign of development  Consider: promotion programs that educate people about the importance of handwashing and/or providing free soap save lives and are cheap  So, for every US$1000 spent on sanitation and hygiene promotion programs people in a community will live in total an average of 300 years longer (ie, disability-adjusted life years [DALYS]), or just of US$3 per DALY  Simple, cheap hygiene fixes can have a crazy dramatic impact Fertility Rates  Future population growth depends critically on the relationship between death rates and fertility rates (the number of live births per 1000 women between 15 and 44)  The key indication of trends – it’s very simple to estimate the fertile rate at which the population is stable – no increase, no decrease.  Is the replacement level (the fertility level at which women are having only enough children to replace their parents) exceeded, and to what degree?  A replacement level of 2.1 births per adult female holds a population stable  Women are having less babies, as a whole Replacement Rates  Currently, there are many rich countries with replacement rates far below 2.1, indicating that the population is at best stable or declining  Japan: 1.25; Spain: 1.3; Canada: 1.48; Ireland: 1.99; and others  However, in some poor countries the fertility rate exceeds 4, generating large increases in population  In Ethiopia, for example, every mother has 5 children: the population increases by 2.5 million every year  Is the world overpopulated? 1. It is worth noting that the population density of Bangladesh, where 150 million people live, is, at 1000 per square kilometre, the same as Fremont, California, south of San Francisco Bay 2. High fertility rates are now the exception, not the rule o Asian fertility rates:  Singapore, 1.22  South Korea, 1.15  Hong Kong, 1.04  Taiwan, 1.03  In the developing world as a whole, fertility rates fell from 6 to 3 between 1950 and 2000, and in some places dropped far more dramatically  This decline in fertility is unprecedented – we’ve never seen declines in population like this before  North America, Asia and Europe are below replacement level; Latin America and Oceania (which normal people call Australia) are at replacement; Africa is about double replacement  the average Ecuadorian woman had 5 children; in 2001, the number was less than 3  the average Thai woman had 3.5 children in 1980; in 2001, the number was less than 2.1  Even in Ethiopia: in 1950 she had 7 children; in 2009 it is 5 China’s Influence  Much is driven by China, with an official fertility rate of 1.8 for more than 15 years – China's population should drop by 450 million between 2025 and 2100!  They have a “one child policy” and have for years – it only applies to people in cities; if your first child is a girl, you can get an exemption. How nice. Why has fertility dropped?  Family planning technologies were used by 10 – 12% of developing country households in the early 1960s; now it is over 60 %  The global rate of population growth is slowing down at an historically unprecedented rate, but population momentum continues to drive up the number of people  The momentum is still driving the population, but the momentum has slowed. Good job world  Even in Africa, if its 1970s fertility rate had been maintained there would have been 8 % more people by now  Overall, by 2050 only 51 countries will reach replacement rates! Problems  This brings with it 3 less obvious problems 1. In 2010 7.6% of the world's population is over 65; by 2100, 22.3% will be – who will support them? 2. China and India will have major male – female discrepancies – tens of millions of men will not be able to marry You can choose which foetus to abort – every lady has a man if she wants one, but lots and lots of men have to be gay. Seriously though, this can cause social disorder because China and India are both view marriage as being very important to society. 3. Africa will grow from 1 bn to 3.6 bn – with important implications for global inequality But is the world overpopulated? Carrying Capacity  But this does not answer the question: is the world overpopulated?  Carrying capacity: the idea that there are a finite number of people who can be supported without degrading the natural environment and social, economic and cultural systems  It is an indirect measure of the maximum level of stress that the ecosystem can maintain  That stress is real: human beings have o exploited 50% of the photosynthetic potential of the planet o put ¼ of the carbon dioxide now in the atmosphere o to use 60% of global accessible river run-off o been responsible for 60% of the earth’s nitrogen fixation o been responsible for 1/5 of all plant invasions o made ¼ of all bird species extinct over 2 millennia o have overexploited more than ½ of the world’s fisheries  Human activities dominate the world, and not always for good—but we are in charge!  Carrying capacity is particularly promoted by o certain groups within the global environmental movement o the ideas of Paul Ehrlich (The Population Bomb) and Garrett Hardin (The Tragedy of the Commons)  Some suggest a planetary carrying capacity figure of 12 billion; some 2!  Yet the concept is of limited use (Cohen 1995) o With what distribution of material well-being o With what technology? o With what domestic and international political institutions? o With what domestic and international economic arrangements? o With what domestic and international demographic arrangements? o In what physical, chemical and biological environments? o With what variability or stability? o With what risk or robustness? o For how long? o With what values, tastes and fashions?  Thus, under certain conditions, the planet could support 15 billion, but under other conditions only 1 billion—or less!  A particular problem of increased population is the view that an inability to sustain carrying capacity generates ecological degradation  To reduce poverty we should reduce the number of people – too many people competing over too few resources Machakos  Machakos: where, with rapid population growth, ecological conservation has deepened  A place in Eastern Kenya where the fertility rate was six o more sustainable land use, in terms of tenure, crops, livestock and land management (soil, water and tree management) o changes in social institutions, farming and income systems to sustain the ecology  1937/1991: Machakos demonstrates that the link between population and degradation is not convincing  There are many other examples that could be drawn upon  Moreover, ecological problems are globally not uniform Ecological Crisis  The ecological crisis is not the same for the rich and the poor; they face significantly different crises  The ecological crisis of the poor is a function of their poverty; the ecological crisis of the rich is a function of their prosperity  So the causes of the ecological crisis cannot be evenly attributed to the rich and the poor: they must be disproportionately borne by the rich, who are by far responsible for the bulk of the environmental problems that the planet faces because of overconsumption  One should not be sanguine about the impact of population growth on the planet: but barring the next 50 years in Africa, many parts of the world are more likely to face population pressures in the form of an ageing population  Too many old people :D  We actually have enough food to feed 10 billion people, but we feed animals  That's you!  As for Africa, the solutions are well known: o reproductive health services  o female education o increased incomes  Population growth nonetheless signals important changes in processes of international development 1. Urbanization o 1950: 86 cities with a population of more than 1 million o 2006: 400 o 2015: 550 o 2/3 of global population increases are in urban areas o 2006 urban population (3.17 billion) is greater than the global population in 1960 Even if people are predominantly rural right now, by 2030, the majority of people will live in cities  Cities are the products of trade: initially, food crops, and then the manufactures that they produce  Trade has expanded astronomically: and with it, cities  So, for example, Dongguan, in southern China, a town with tens of thousands in the late 1980s. At the confluence of the Pearl River megalopolis, it now has a population of 7 million and produces 30 % of all the magnetic recording heads used in hard drives in the world and 16 % of all the world’s electronic keyboards o factories cluster, to economize on skills and infrastructure o workers migrate to places where their skills are in demand o business services cluster around growth poles  Why? Cheap transport makes vertical specialization and higher productivity in global supply chains possible  But t
More Less

Related notes for Geography 3312A/B

Log In


Join OneClass

Access over 10 million pages of study
documents for 1.3 million courses.

Sign up

Join to view


By registering, I agree to the Terms and Privacy Policies
Already have an account?
Just a few more details

So we can recommend you notes for your school.

Reset Password

Please enter below the email address you registered with and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Add your courses

Get notes from the top students in your class.