Residing in a suburb of New York City, experiencing the daily challenges of bumper to bumper traffic and elbowing my way through crowds, I have been given a wake-up all. Overcrowding is not a healthy existence, and one of the main cures for keeping the numbers of people in check is simple–birth control. Birth control can be a key factor in the overall existence and health of our population and environment. To maintain and control the population and its growth patterns, individuals should adhere to some form of birth control. Whether it be the use of condoms or birth control pills and other methods that reduce reproduction, we can be on the path to eliminate the threats to our public health and environmental issues that are suffering due to overpopulation.
Using the “hypocrisy” manipulation for individuals may aid in the usage of such control methods. With the arousal of dissonance, individuals may take heed in their past behaviors and focus more on the outcomes and shortcomings that may arise for oneself and others in the environment. In studies regarding the use of condoms, it was noted that the hypocrisy manipulation offered the results of greater intentions to utilize condoms as opposed to past behavioral patterns (Aronson et al., 1991).
I was devastated to discover that in my community alone the life expectancy is lower that the other five surrounding boroughs. Staten Island, New York has the highest death rates per 100,000 people in the five boroughs due to cancer, chronic lower respiratory, disease, and heart disease (Donnelly, 2012). These illnesses have been attributed to the environment where I live. The abundance of people have afforded crowded conditions that cause extreme situations that affect one’s personal health. When it comes to exhaust from vehicles that crowd the roads, fumes from ferries that transports thousands of people per day to their jobs, and overall pollution due to the supply and demand to keep the city functioning, a person’s health is at risk on a daily basis. On a brighter note, if these people and generations before them had practiced some sort of birth control, the population would not be so devastating today and the quality of life in my community would not be so unhealthy and filthy. To drive into a shopping plaza and have another driver threaten your life for the parking spot proves that there is definitely devastating effects of overcrowding and human existence. This has happened to me on more than one occasion and has become an acceptable norm. There have been deaths related to this topic in my community.
Not only can overpopulation affect one’s health and living conditions, but also it can have a devastating impact on our food and water supply. Overpopulation can also pressure our coastal ecosystems, fisheries, and forests. Our biological diversity is compromised regarding agriculture and medicine. Plants and animal species are forced into extinction due to the population boom and demands. This problem reaches a global environmental problem. Demands for food, irreplaceable depletion of natural resources and harmful effects to our entire ecosystems are just some of the problems that are encountered with human overpopulation. Depletion of the stratospheric ozone, along with systemically polluting our soil, air, water, and food supply is another effect of overcrowding in the environment.
Studies have suggested that if the population growth was curbed, global poverty and even a simple reduction of carbon emission per year would be reduced. Global problems such as climate change, poverty and lack of resources can be resolved if family planning is encouraged (Kristof, 2011). Not only does overpopulation lead to greater poverty and lower standards of living, but exposure to pollution, environmental hazards, toxic substances and other health risk factors rise to deadly levels. If the process of reproduction is curtailed through the use of birth control practice, our environment can take a breath and improve its living standards. Investments can be utilized to boost productivity and help the economies flourish. Our supply for natural resources can be offered time to replenish itself and not be diminish due to high demands placed on it by overpopulation. The water supply can be conserved more, and the agricultural and industrial areas can better themselves by increasing productivity and supplies.
In conclusion, birth control methods can help in slowing down the population growth. With this in motion, the living standards will improve, along with the protection of our natural resources. The population size will stabilize and individuals can sustain a more favorable standard of living. With the population growth being curtailed through birth control, our resources, environment, and sustainable development can be maintained and improved. Whether on a global scale or as experienced on a smaller scale in my own community, the impact of overpopulation can be harmful and unhealthy, both to the physical and mental capacities of a person. This is an interesting parallel, but the end result can help us live a longer, healthier existence.
Aronson, E., Fried, C., & Stone, J. (1991). Overcoming denial: Increasing the intention to use condoms through the induction of hypocrisy. American Journal of Public Health, 18, 1636-1640.
Donnelly, F. (2012) Want to live longer? Staten Island may not be your place. Staten Island Advance, pp. 3, 4.
Kristof, N. D. (2011, November 2). The Birth Control Solution. The New York Times, pp. 24, 25.