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Current Problems

    Most of the world's population growth occurs in third world countries.  Eight countries, mostly in Africa and Asia, are predicted to contribute half of the growth.  At the same time, many third world countries want first world countries' lifestyles.  Some of the things that the third world countries want are cars, televisions, and other western consumer goods.  China, with a population of 1.4 billion, is encouraging private car ownership.  If this trend continues, China will probably pass the U.S. in global warming gas emissions by 2015.

    There are five major environmental problems that are related to overpopulation and overconsumption.  Deforestation happens when people cut down forests faster than the trees can regrow.  Some cultures overused their resources and brought their own downfall, like on Easter Island.  Other cultures abused their ecosystems.  Plato warned his people not to cut down so many trees or overgraze their fields. Today Greece is nearly a desert and most of the forests are gone.  Animal extinction occurs when people destroy animal habitats, making it impossible for the animals to live.  Exotic invasion happens when people introduce a new species of animal or plant to live in (and often take over) a non-native habitat.  Global warming is one of the biggest problems facing the Earth. This increases the temperature of the Earth and changes the habitat of the whole world.  Coral reef destruction happens when coral reefs are destroyed by water temperature increases and pollution.  Most pollution problems are made worse by overpopulation and overconsumption. 

    If the current human population is causing all of these problems, then, as the population of the earth increases, the problems will overlap  and increase exponentially.

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