Analyze the type of growth exhibited by the human population and its effect on the environment.
Population growth is primarily caused by natural increase, that is, the excess of births over deaths. But in any particular region, migration will cause population growth when the amount of immigration exceeds the amount of emigration. [ And in the United Kingdom at present, migration is a greater cause of population growth than natural increase. Both population growth and migration can affect
the quality of the natural environment, the likelihood of conflict, and social cohesion between ethnic groups. In our view, the significance of both population growth and migration are often underestimated by governments and non-governmental organisations. 1. Population growth is one of the most significant long-term causes of serious global environmental deterioration. This growth has already taken the global population beyond carrying capacity.
2. The impact of a population on the environment depends on P, population size and A, affluence or per capita consumption, and T, how current technology affects environmental impact. Hence the well known impact equation I=P×A×T.
3. Great stress had been laid, in the media, by environmental organisations and by governments on the importance of reducing environmental impact by, first, reducing consumption in 'developed' countries, where per capita consumption greatly exceeds that in 'developing' countries, and second, by improving technology. Both these are obviously important. But generally, the importance of reducing population growth has been denied, side-lined or completely ignored.
4. Immigration into a country can significantly contribute to total population growth, as it is doing in the UK. Yet governments in the industrialised countries tend to stress the benefits of such migration rather than adverse effects.
5. Continued population growth and immigration have social consequences. For a sparsely populated country, population growth can bring real benefits. But beyond a certain point continued population growth has the potential to create tensions and even conflict amongst groups within countries and between countries.
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