Population and Environment relations


The population growth and the environment we live in are closely related. The major forces behind change in population are fertility, mortality, and increased migration. The rates are different all across the entire world and essentially are higher in developing countries. One reason is due to the lack of funds to obtain contraceptives. Mortality rates refer to the number of deaths. A society with a large number of old people will have high death rates, therefore, a negative population change. Migration is an important demographic parameter. It involves the movement of people in and out of a particular area. Conflict, search for employment and a better life have caused the movement of people, especially into urban areas. When the migration is high into a region the resultant population growth can be significantly high. The three factors can be used to make projections about changes in population into the future.

The impacts of population change on the environment due to urbanization are numerous. A great number of rural dwellers move into cities in search of better living standards; that movement from the rural areas to the cities is known as urbanization. Population growth brings problems to the environment leading to such as climate change and food scarcity. Population change has heavy consequences throughout the entire society. The patterns of consumption of individuals in urban centres differs from those in rural regions. They take up more of energy, food, and durable goods than the rural people. Due to the high consumption of energy, a lot of exploitation is done in order to satisfy the populations. The increased use of fossil fuels affects the environment and is a major contributor to global warming and climate change. The urban people have more vehicles leading to more pollution. Air pollution is a major problem of urbanization. Industries and automobiles are a major part of the urban areas. Water pollution is another problem of overpopulated urban areas. The disposal of rubbish and wastes into water degrades its quality. Urbanization leads to the destruction of natural habitats such as wetlands and important ecosystems.

The analysis of the effects of population change on the main sociological perspectives is key to offering insight that assist in the understanding issues that relate to population growth. The first theoretical perspective is functionalism. It considers population growth to have certain components; death, migration and birth which are essential to any society. The major assumption is that the environment and population affect one another. Having a steady and a population growth around the norm is important for any particular community. Population growth that exceeds the optimum leads to negative effects. Environmental problems can be expected in an industrialized community and in fatal conditions the problems are intolerable. Functionalism looks at pollution and the other environmental issues as consequences which are unavoidable in society of today. The society’s economy shows the significance of population changes.

The rapid growth of population leads overcrowding and uses up the important resources including food substances and brings harm to the environment. Functionalism generally emphasizes the reasons for how the environment and population affect one another. Environmental problems have dire negative impacts for the people. While the rapid population growth causes environmental problems then also does minimal population growth.

The second theoretical perspective, social conflict theory does not consider the growth of the population as a not to be ignored problem. It creates an assumption that the world has food that is enough together with the other resources in place to see to the wants of a growing population. The presence of food shortages and other problems involved in meeting population needs are reflected in the decisions of political and economic elites in developing nations to hinder food and other resources from getting to the citizens of their countries. They are also reflected in decisions of multinational bodies that deprive these nations of their naturally born resources. This theory dictates that the problem of population growth exists not because of the lack of food and other resources but due to the poor and unfair distribution of these resources. Efforts are needed to satisfy the peoples food and other resources needs which must place their main concern on fair distribution in a more equitable manner.

The theory also recognizes that majority of the developing nations that have population growth being more than that which is desired. The theory places blame on this nations governments to readily avail family planning and educate the women in regard to fertility and independence where both help control birth rates. The theory has the assumption that the environmental issues experienced worldwide are unavoidable as they spring from one, multinational bodies engage in activities that lead to pollution of water, air and the land. Secondly, the American nation and the other governments do not have adequate regulations that create limitations on pollution causing activities and lack to strongly enforce necessary regulations against pollution.

The third theoretical perspective symbolic interactionism gives up four types of understanding of environmental and population problems. At first, it seeks the understanding of the reasons why individuals participate or lack to in acts linked to growth of the population and to such other issues such as embracing family planning and environmental activities such as recycling and reusing. The understanding is important to understand why the people get or not into particular acts related to the issues. Secondly, it places emphasis on individual’s perceptions of environmental problems and population changes. Public attitudes play a significant part in problems persistence. Therefore, it is really necessary to have knowledge of the reasons in regard to the public statements on the issues. Efforts to look into the issues can, therefore, be better concentrated on. Thirdly, symbolic interactionism creates the assumption that environmental problems and population changes to an extent are social constructions. These issues are not seen as social problems not until a sufficient number of people or organization both in the private and public sector visualize them as such. For instance, the ban on lead was as a result of efforts from environmental groups and the reasons offered by scientifically that show growing amount of the lead dangers. Finally, the theory suggests that individuals from different cultures and varying social backgrounds might have varying understanding of environmental problems and population issues. It is important to have an appreciation for the different perceptions if the population issues and environmental problems are to be addressed.

Environmental sociology emphasizes that environmental problems are due to human activity and their decision making. Another note is that the environmental problems affect the low-income nations. The environmental problems include air and water pollution, climate change, global warming and hazardous waste disposal. The three sociological perceptions that are social conflict theory, functionalism, and symbolic interactionism help understand effects of population change on the environment.

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