Sad Population Day

Human population upsurges

July 11th is World Population Day.

A day which we at EnviroClub think deserves a little more attention, since most of us probably missed it.

A year or so ago, as a Natural Resources Student, I discovered the key to all of the world’s growing environmental problems. Surprisingly it was incredibly obvious. It wasn’t pesticide use or chemicals in our drinking water, or even deforestation. Throughout my adventurous and studious time in college at the University of Utah I learned many things that would make a normal person sick to their stomach. But past all that, the answer to the world’s growing problems boils down to one issue:

Population

When we think of ourselves and those around us on this planet, think about this . . . If you think your son or daughter, or husband or wife, is one in a million, guess what . . . that means there are still 7,000 more just like them. Our population growth is a marvel in and of itself. I cannot even comprehend in my little valley 1 million inhabitants, but they’re there. And this valley is just one of multitudes of valleys on this planet.

The reason that population is so important is because every single person on planet Earth is a consumer. Not just in an economic sense, but more simply a biologic sense. We need resources to survive. A vegan needs how many pounds of fruits and vegetables in a lifetime? Enough to feed a small village for a year I’m sure.

The point is . . . we all need resources to lead productive lives. Those resources need to come from somewhere and that somewhere is the biosphere. Where they go after we’ve used what we can ultimately becomes pollution in the short term.

Population leads to resource depletion and pollution. And a growing population leads to growing resource depletion and growing pollution.

It’s time that the most important environmental issue of today gets addressed. If we do not get real with this simple problem, we are going to pay the ultimate price:

And that price may indeed be our population itself.

Written by Todd Lehman, Program Director at EnviroClub

photo credit: Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times