Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 | Author:

I believe that in order for anyone to be able to solve a problem effectively, they need to understand the causes of the problem first. That is why I was happy to learn the five causes of global environmental problems in the first week of class. Without fixing these five problems, (1) population growth, (2) unsustainable resource use, (3) poverty, (4) excluding environmental costs from market prices, and (5) trying to manage nature without knowing enough about it, we will unfortunately continue to degrade our Earth. I believe that these five problems are directly related to the Poverty Cycle. For this blog, I will focus on the first three environmental problems, which I feel are the most pressing issues.

I think that population growth is the most pressing issue for the world because with every single baby being born, we add more and more stress on our already stressed environment. And with about 2.5 babies being born every second, we can’t afford to wait any longer! Couples of all countries need to be respectful of the Earth and limit themselves to 2 kids (which would maintain a stable population level), especially since Mother Nature is known to strike back…

Now, linked to population growth is unsustainable resource use, our second environmental problem. As human population continues to grow at an exponential rate, there is huge demand for resources. However, it is estimated by some that the Earth can only support around 7 billion people. We are projected to reach that maximum in the next year or so! Where are all of the resources to support 9 billion or 12 billion people going to come from? Since we are already unsustainable in the use of our resources (ex: we’re running out of important energy sources such as oil and coal), a growing population will inevitably lead to poverty, which then leads to even more unsustainable resource use.

But are we doomed? Not necessarily. Only if the global community (yes, that includes you) continues to ignore the need to lead a responsible and sustainable lifestyle (including making sacrifices like giving up your SUV…).

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  1. kcallaha7 says:

    Thanks Dr. S!

  2. Dr. Szulczewski says:

    What an insightful and informative follow-up, Kristen! You make so many good points here, I can’t wait to hear more of your analysis in future posts.

  3. Kristen Callahan says:


    Unfortunately, I think the only resources we can increase are renewable ones like wood, plants, animals, etc. Resources such as oil and eventually coal will run out on Earth. Let me just clarify one point: I think that the U.S. has done a good job increasing our resources, especially by replanting trees and sustainably farming crops. I think the biggest problems are overseas in developing countries where population growth is out of control and environmental degradation is present. In those countries they don’t spread go green ideas in the workplace and to their children because they are mainly focused on just surviving. At this point I don’t have any ideas on how how to mandate or suggest the amount of kids people can have, especially since a law like that would never pass in the U.S. However, I can only hope that people realize it is in the best interests (due to overpopulation and environmental degradation) of their offspring to have maybe 2 kids instead of 5. I have thought about how electric cars will of course use electricity and other resources…but I just think that at this point, any progress we can make trying to ween ourselves off of gasoline is a step towards a more sustainable future.

  4. stella says:

    here are my questions:

    what can we do to increase resources? Shouldn’t we start somewhere small and move give like the go green initiative? Starting at home,taking this into the workplace, and passing on to our children.

    how can we mandate or suggest how many children people should have? I’m not saying I don’t agree however this great country was brought together on free will, not to mention a lot of peoples religious beliefs do not include birth control.

    so hybrid and electric are the newfad however have you loked into how much of our resources these electric cars will use to run,way worse than those suvs.