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Contribution Of Population Growth To Global Warming Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 1753 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Population may refers to all the members of a particular species within an ecosystem and live in the same geographical area. Birth, deaths, and migration are the major factors that determine whether and how much the size of a population changes. Organisms join a population through birth or immigration and leave it through death or emigration. A population would remain stable if there are many individuals join and leave. Conversely, population growth occurs when the number of births plus immigrants exceeds the number of deaths plus immigrants.

According to U.S. Census Bureau, the total world population, estimated to be 6.87billion as at 22 September 2010. And according to United Nations Population Division, the world population will increase by 2.5 billion over the next 40 years.

Today, it is broadly thought a larger population leads to greater emissions. Generally, the scientists believe that as the population has grown, emissions of carbon dioxide have increased in proportion, and it would contribute to the acid rain and global warming. But how is it actually contributed to acid rain and global warming? To answer this question, it would be important to understand the nature of acid rain and global warming.

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Acid rain is a form of pollution that can cause lots damages to the natural ecosystem, to man-made objects (e.g. buildings), as well as harm human health. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide are the primary causes of acid rain. When combined with water vapor in the atmosphere, nitrogen dioxides and sulfur dioxide are converted to nitric acid and sulfur dioxide respectively (Audesirk, et al., 2005, p.853-54). Days later, these acids fall with rainwater, eating away at buildings, damaging trees, rendering lakes lifeless.

Another serious environmental issue, global warming, which is an increase in the earth’s temperature. It happens when greenhouse gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, water vapor and nitrous oxide) trap heat and light from the sun in Earth’s atmosphere which increase the temperature.

Both acid rain and global warming can cause severe impacts to plant life, aquatic life, man-made object, and human life. To be sure, these growing environmental issues are not natural phenomenon, rather they are man-made.

Nowadays, human unethical activities which mainly came from the toxic gases discharged by the factories has polluted global atmosphere that are a direct result of acid rain. Notable, life on Earth is dependent on carbon dioxide to regulate our planet’s temperature, yet too much of the CO2 can create a heat up over our atmosphere. For this reason, the unsustainable population growth and excessive consumption can rise up levels of carbon dioxide which result in the earth’s climate been altered in serious ways.

How does the population growth contribute to acid rain and global warming?

During ancient times, primitive people were sustained by dependent on the energy flowing from the sun. But as the population grew and technology increased, humans began to act more and more independently of these natural processes. For example, the Industrial Revolution began during mid-nineteenth century, resulted in a tremendous increase in our reliance on energy from fossil fuels (i.e. coal, petroleum and natural gas) for heat, light, transportation, and industry as well as agriculture sector.

Today, we can see that many multinational corporations spend huge amount of money to make foreign direct investment (set up plant or factory) in emerging countries such as China and India to benefit from the cost advantage. This implies that more factories are set up abroad and the result is that more toxic gases being discharged to the atmosphere.

Moreover, as more countries have industrialized, human industrial activities have discharged more nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere. For example, United States discharge about 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere annually, two-third of it from power plants burning coal or oil (Audesirk et al., 2005, p.853-54). Consequently, the excess emission of these gases has contributed to acid rain.

As mentioned earlier, human population growth is increasing in a rapid way annually. In other words, the demand for houses increases as well. In such circumstance, there are more and more trees being cutting down to supply more land for houses and thus deforestation happen in many places.

Besides, the demand on raw materials for building houses would generate more chemicals and gases that pollute the environment. And, during the construction, the transportation such as trucks moving around would generate more carbon dioxide that further destroy the ozone layer and eventually result more acid rain.

When we parked our car at the parking lot on a hot day, we can feel the hot when we get in to the car few hours later. A simple reason is that the heat and light from the sun get into the car, but it can’t get back out. This is what the greenhouse effect does to our earth, thus result in a gradual increase in the earth’s temperature. We know that, people like to stay in the house to enjoying cool air-conditioner while watching TV, surfing web via computer, store favorite food in refrigerator and so on.

However, they never realized that electricity cause pollution in many ways. When they do these things, they are causing more greenhouse gasses to be sent into the air. For this reason, in most cases, fossil fuels are burned to create electricity. Many pollutants are sent to the air when fossil fuels are burned. Imagine, large amount of households are using electricity every day, and the electric providers would need to burn many tons of fossil fuels to supply electric to the household, and their activities directly contribute to the global warming.

A further contribution of population growth is through the vehicular pollution. As the population increases, the demand and usage of automobiles and other machines will increase as well. The activities of burning fossil fuels by a growing number of vehicles have amplified the natural greenhouse effect, producing global warming. According to Nationmaster (2005), countries like United States, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Australia and Malta have a large number on the possession of motor vehicles. Particularly in United States, the statistic shows that there are 765 vehicles per 100 people. Notable, the statistic had not included trucks and buses on the road. Therefore, vehicular pollution are considered largest source of air pollution which also the killer of our earth.

So far, we have discussed the human population growth and their activities have contributed to these two environmental problem. What about animals? In fact, animal population growth also a threat to environment. According to a report by United Nation, livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. With increased population, people are consuming more meat products today. The global livestock sector is growing in a rapid way than other sectors.

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However, such rapid growth is not a good indication. Based on United Nation’s report, cattle produce more harmful greenhouse gases to atmosphere. Human activities in livestock sector accounts for 65% of nitrous oxide which can cause global warming; while livestock accounts for 37% of methane contribution and 64% of ammonia which is largely produced by the digest system of ruminants (i.e. cow and sheep) contributes significantly to acid rain.

Throughout the above discussion, we can see that how population growth contributes to today’s serious environmental problem. In fact, whatever we doing every day, we are actually contributed to these two environmental problems. Imagine, as the population growth, more and more people will contribute more unwanted toxic to the earth and eventually worsen the earth’s health.

Human, as the most intelligent animals on the earth; we should do something to reduce the pollution. In terms of government, rules and regulation are needed to control the emission of toxic gases, and also regulate in birth control. Furthermore, government should also increase the public awareness through different media and campaigns.

Individual can also make a difference to prevent these environmental problems to be further worsened. For example, it is encourage driving less to curb the vehicular pollution. Additionally, reducing the usage of electricity, and consuming more organic food because organic soil absorb large amount of carbon dioxide.

In a nutshell, it is global responsibility to protect the earth; after all, there are no other planets but earth that could allow human to live.

Audesirk, T., Audesirk, G. and Byers, B.E. 2005. Biology life on earth. 7th ed. United States.Prentice Hall.

Nationmaster. 2005. Transportation statistic, motor vehicles (most recent) by country. [online] Available from: http://www.nationmaster.com/red/graph/tra_mot_veh-transportation-motor-vehiclesHYPERLINK “http://www.nationmaster.com/red/graph/tra_mot_veh-transportation-motor-vehicles&b_map=1″&HYPERLINK “http://www.nationmaster.com/red/graph/tra_mot_veh-transportation-motor-vehicles&b_map=1″b_map=1 [Accessed 26 September 2010]

United Nation. 2006. Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN report warns. [online] Available from: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsID=20772HYPERLINK “http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsID=20772&CR1=warning”&HYPERLINK “http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsID=20772&CR1=warning”CR1=warning [Accessed 26 September 2010]

US Census Bureau. 2010. World popclock projection. [online] Available from:

http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/popclockworld.html [Accessed 22 September 2010]

United Nation Population Division. World population will increase by 2.5 billion by 2050; people over 60 to increase by more than 1 billion. [online] Available from: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2007/pop952.doc.htm [Accessed 22 September 2010]

Cheng, M. and Kennedy, K. No date. Population growth and society. [online] Available from:

http://www.umich.edu/~gs265/society/populationgrowth.htm [Accessed 23 September 2010]


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