My World is Overflowing Passed the Brim

by Alissa Kim on March 26, 2014

There’s a cup.


Now fill it with water.

Let time pass.

Soon, the water will reach the brim.

And overflow.

Taking this simple action of pouring water into a cup and breaking it down into multiple scenes gives me goosebumps. I think that everything comes with a set limit. This limit may be hard to define, but let’s call it “carrying capacity” for the sake of this blog. Carrying capacity is defined as the limit at which an environment can support a population, according to Anne Nadakavukaren in Our Global Environment. If the cup represents our world and the water portrays the people, then we have far-surpassed the world’s capacity, creating a destructive flood in the end.

You see, the world can only take so much. Although we go about our daily lives worrying about our own problems, we often forget that every day, the human population is growing exponentially. Around the time of World War Two, the world population was a little over 2 billion. That number has nearly tripled to 6.9 billion in present day. When you look at the data and graphs year by year, the population does not seem to change much, but looking at it from a broader view, the numbers have spiked up drastically—which scares me.

I specifically remember in junior high school, my world history teacher talked about the 1970’s famine in China and how the government restricted families to have only one child. Because of these childbearing rules, parents would often perform abortions, especially if the child was a female. (Males had more cultural value than females because females would usually get married off into other families, whereas males could support the parents in later years).

Now you might be thinking that these restrictions were placed because of a resource problem, but overpopulation itself depletes the world’s resources as a whole. Americans are only 5% of the world’s population, but produces 25% of all greenhouse gases. The carbon emissions and fossil fuels add up when considering all the other countries in the world that use resources. Additional people mean that we need more room on the earth, causing us to transform the land surface by clearing out rain forests. We are constantly losing animal and plant life—every 20 minutes in fact. Over 40% of the groundwater in the US is contaminated by industrial, agriculture, and household pollution, making it difficult and costly to purify. And these are only a couple of the many impacts that overpopulation has on our world today.

There are actions we can take though.

One easy way is to buy less things and used things. Americans today have so many unnecessary household items and always have an excuse to buy the latest items. If we just reuse old items, we would be using less resources to create new things. Eating a certain way can also help save resources—such as being vegetarian! For example, one acre of land can produce 123 pounds of beefs, or 30,000 pounds of potatoes. (So why not have more potatoes?) Regarding water, 23 times more water is used to produce 1 ton of beef, or 1 ton of grain). If we just make small changes in our lifestyles, we can make a big enough change to reduce and remove the harmful outcomes of overpopulation.

The water is at the brim.

Let’s stop pouring now

To prevent the flood of overpopulation.



Our Global Environment 7th Edition

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