Population growth is a global issue and cause for concern for the entire human race. Due to the recent trends of population increase around the world, it is important to become educated and aware of the factors that cause populations to grow and the problems that occur due to this growth.
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Historically, the population in areas around the world has remained relatively stable. Humans have existed on the planet for centuries, living long enough to reproduce successfully with offspring that survive to do the same for the next generation. While earlier generations of humans generally did not live very long by today's standards, historically speaking, the population stayed fairly stable. Any growth or decrease in population size was the result of natural factors, such as food surplus or shortage, or environmental disruption of some sort. However, over the last couple of centuries there have been drastic increases in population size due to rapid population growth on a global level.
Scientific discoveries led to a variety of technological advances and inventions that significantly impacted people's lives. These developments eventually led to industrialisation and made the production of goods more efficient than it had ever been before. This led to improvements in the overall quality of life; people could house and clothe themselves and their families more effectively. Surviving harsh winters without falling victim to death or disease was now possible due to heating systems that allowed people to stay warm, as well as proper garments. Advances in science made it possible for people to take better care of themselves through the practice of basic hygiene and sanitary food storage and refrigeration. As a result of people being healthier, they lived longer, and the population grew.
The increase in the average length of a human life affected the amount of children they could reproduce during their reproductive years. In addition, improvements in basic health meant that many, if not all, of the offspring would survive until they too could have children. Whereas many babies used to die as infants, modern medicine coupled with better nutrition during pregnancy made it possible for a mother to give birth to many healthy children. It became common to see multi-generational families, with grandparent and great grandparent surviving to see their descendants. The population growth occurred quite rapidly because people had more children and survival until old age became common. However, as Western nations were just beginning to realise it was time to have fewer children, less developed countries began to pick up on many of these advances, and their populations exploded in growth as well.
Population growth has resulted in overpopulation on a national and global level. The increased demand for food, shelter and other elements necessary for survival has strained the natural resources of the planet. Existing arable land produces lots of food, but people around the world continue to starve because populations have grown so significantly and distributing food to all is a logistical--and political--nightmare. Many individuals in extremely overpopulated countries continue to reproduce despite the lack of resources to support their children. The scope of the world's population problem is enormous. It is already being felt by those in developing countries, and it is only a matter of time before the population problem begins to negatively impact individuals in Western nations, despite the population control methods that might be used in such countries.
In order to minimise current and future population growth, a global effort will have to be undertaken by the countries who can afford to do so. This means educating those in less affluent countries regarding the function and usage of various birth control methods in addition to an understanding of the broader scope of the causes and problems of population growth. It is important to realise that many places of the world are still without technologies such as Internet and television, or may not have access to educational resources. Education is the first key step in a solution to population growth, because choices regarding reproduction are unlikely to be altered without an awareness of population problems. People need to have fewer children in order to slow population growth.
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