The Impact of Human Population Growth on the Worlds Resources

Earth at night. Lights indicate human settlement.

With a current world population of over six billion people, ever-increasing human population growth inevitably has a variety of impacts on the world’s resources. Scholars have written about these impacts from many perspectives for centuries. Impacts include natural resource and energy availability, food production and distribution, environmental factors, among others.

1 Natural Resources

Larger populations require more resources, including resources for energy production, such as fossil fuels, materials for manufacturing and goods production, water and agricultural resources, and environmental resources.

2 Energy

As many areas of the world continue to see increased population growth and economic development, additional energy resources and production becomes necessary. Further energy resources, such as petroleum, coal, and natural gas will need to be tapped, and other means of energy production, including hydroelectric, geothermal, solar, wind, and nuclear resources will need to be considered and implemented.

3 Food Production and Distribution

More people means production of more agricultural and food resources. However, the problem lies less in the production of enough food for the world’s population, but rather more so in how those food resources are distributed. For example, the United States produces a surplus of food, consumes an above average amount of food, and is a large exporter of agricultural goods. Many smaller or underdeveloped nations must import much of their agricultural goods and food, or rely on international food aid, for the population to reach even a minimal nutrition level.

4 Environmental Impacts

Growing populations, increasing urbanization, increasing economic development, and rising standards of living all ultimately have a variety of environmental impacts. Such impacts include pollution levels, particularly in urban areas, pollution and degradation of streams, rivers, oceans, and other water resources, further emissions of greenhouse gases, desertification, deforestation, among others.

5 Strategies

In order to diminish negative impacts on the world’s resources by increasing human population growth, many strategies for sustainability, improvements, and technological advances should be researched, studied, considered, and implemented. New technologies may lead to better management and distribution of resources. Encouraging the strategies and mindset of sustainability, conservation, and stewardship will promote efficient use of current resources and the preservation of biodiversity.

Paul McDaniel began writing in 2007 for various online venues, including eHow, with an emphasis on travel. He holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science in geography from Samford University and the University of Tennessee and a Master of Arts in Education from the University of Alabama. He is pursuing a Ph.D. in geography from the University of North Carolina.