Overpopulation: Humans vs. Wildlife

By Debora Huggins

Guest Writer

Photo: Dhaka street crowds, 17 May 2006, by Ahron de Leeuw, taken from Wikipedia


When Danica May Camacho was born on October 31, 2011 in Manila, Philippines, she became an instant international celebrity by default. Camacho was declared the world’s seventh billion human (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/oct/31/seven-billionth-baby-born-philippines), according to the United Nations. Weighing in at a tiny five pounds and five ounces, the infant did not seem at all fazed as her parents met with U.N. officials eager to meet the newest arrival.

While the world marveled at the milestone, I wondered how our ever-increasing population would continue to impact the rest of the inhabitants of our planet. As Danica and future citizens of our world are born, they will need room to live and grow, which obviously takes a certain amount of space. There is a debate as to whether our planet was designed to sustain such a large population.

There are basically two sides of this debate. The first side is of the Darwinism mindset that only the strongest species survive and nature takes its course. The other side of the argument is that in order to maintain a balance, certain measures must be taken to keep all species within a “carrying capacity.” A carrying capacity is what a specific ecosystem is able to sustain for all the species that live in it. If, for example, there are too many deer in a particular area, the Department of Wildlife Service may decide to reduce that population in a number of ways. They may go and kill a specific amount of deer themselves or sell more deer licenses to hunters to help reduce the deer population.

My concern is for those species that are not overpopulated, but are losing their homes due to the increased human population, which needs more room to sustain its current number. I do not, of course, propose to use the above-mentioned method used by wildlife officials. A solution must be created that allows the other inhabitants of this planet to exist and allow the human population to continue to co-exist, too.

Some would argue that it is just a matter of each country implementing a system that would eliminate the current population growth — but  in those third-world countries where people are without basic essentials such as food, water and shelter, is birth control that much of a priority? Others may argue that if certain wildlife species go extinct, it is just nature. But I will argue that all species (including humans) are interdependent of one another and we must strive to have a carrying capacity that allows all species to live and survive. I am but one person and it will take more than just me to have that lofty goal achieved.

Percentages of the Earth's surface covered by water, dedicated to agriculture, under conversion, intact, and used for human habitation. While humans ourselves occupy only 0.05‰ of the Earth's total area, our effects are felt on one-quarter of the land. Taken from Wikipedia, by AniRaptor2001



This article represents one contributor’s opinion. What’s yours? Post a comment below, or email your own opinion piece to aggieblueprint@gmail.com.


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