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Human Population Growth and the Environment

Human Population Growth and the Environment

Describe the historical pattern of growth of the worldwide human population since our origin. Include in this historic overview the changes that have happened technologically, medically, culturally and nutritionally to result in major population changes over time. Relate the growth of the human population to our ecological footprint and explain the idea of limits to population growth known as the carrying capacity. Relative to carrying capacity, what may result from unbridled continued growth of our population? How does the size of the human population contribute to environmental degradation? Why must we take the human population size into account when we attempt to develop environmental restoration projects?

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Solution Preview

Ah, the classic human growth question. Well, the thing to remember here is that most of the 7+ billion people on Earth have come into being in the last 150 years. Since the dawn of man until the Industrial Revolution in the 1800s, the world's population was less than 1 billion. Considering that is a span of over 500,000 years, that is a not a lot of growth at all. The Industrial Revolution created better technology and better living conditions, so people were more apt to have children. They also moved from the farms into the cities for work, giving them access to all kinds of new things. Health care also improved. After this, the population remained constant until the end of WWII, which started what was called the "baby boom." Soldiers had been away from their loved ones for a long time (not to mention a very dangerous time). When they returned home, what better way to show they were appreciated and missed than saying, "How about I slip into something more comfortable?" Viola! Nine months later boatloads of babies were being born. This drastically increased the population.

The next big event that effected population size what in the 1960's ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the growth of human population over time. It describes how and why humans have reproduced as well as they have and explains how a population of this size will impact the environment.