In the 21st century with the global population quickly rounding off to 7 billion people. There are many more hidden issues that are waiting in the dark. These issues only come up at humanities darkest moments shining through. Malthusian checks may be an explanation for all this and it certainly has evidence that supports it.
These multiple issues involve a global famine, economic meltdown due to lack of resources and population explosion. All three of these are closely linked together and each will severely impact the other. As we are just finishing up 2010 it’s been a decade of ups and downs in the 21st century. We’ve seen 9/11, economic meltdowns, climate theories and a time of action, theories on global famine, oil spills in the seas and many, many more things.
One prominent and pressing issue is the coming global famine, it may not seem like much right now but there are many people in third world countries around the world definitely feeling it. We feel it in terms of, oh! Did you notice the price for a handful of apples have gone up? Or did you notice that rise in chips or something? There are countries like Pakistan facing worse, they are actually facing a famine right now it’s known as the ‘forgotten famine’ why? Easy because hardly anyone knows about it. The flooding in Pakistan has made things worse and with a slightly corrupt government things are absolutely horrible in Pakistan at the moment. Pakistan was also facing a drought, a drought then a flood has dire consequences. The land is most likely now diseased and barren as well as eroded. This paints a picture that leaves little for the imagination to fill in.
Population growth is adding pressure on food reserves around the world especially on vegetables, fruit and grains, especially rice. You’ve seen the prices go up in the supermarkets and shops. Rice is a staple food and heavily relied upon in Asia. Without it there will be an extreme problem of famine in that area. Population growth is already pushing the rice reserves with our current farmers only being able to just barely produce enough for the world. This statistic is from the IRRI (International Rice Research Institute).
So as population continues to grow at this pace the agriculture industry will logically begin to bloom would it not? Here is the catch no it will not. As population begins to grow the ideology of the ‘American Dream’ spreads to the far corners of the world. People would rather work in an office then do back breaking work on a farm or plantation. With our common goal of trying to get all developing countries to the platform where all developed countries are as well as trying to give them the same opportunities (not saying this is bad) short cuts and back door deals would most certainly have happened. Why? Because we all know that politicians are corrupt and mostly only think of what’s in it for them.
So as population grows and developing countries edge closer to the world of the developed countries the short cuts used to take them there from poor farmers to rich farmers is simple. The use of crude oil and genetically modified plants. Something I forgot to mention is that an increase in population will also lead to an increase in land used for people to live on meaning there will be less land to farm on as well. Now back to my prior point so the use of crude oil and genetically modified plants can already in itself have detrimental affects on the planet.
Genetically modified plants, yes are a wonderful thing but should we really be messing with nature? Is that really the way to go? We mess around with nature so many times now look at what’s happening we’re facing a hastened climate change! So the problem with Genetically modified things is that they can not adapt. It’s as simple as that in a world we’re the climate is changing and you can literally see and feel it is that is an extremely important problem. The worlds temperature and climate was not what it used to be. Also at the current rate of change in the climate right now, those plants are just not going to cut it. Another issue is that now hardly anything is sacred. A company in the United States is planning on genetically modifying salmon. They are planning on modifying a living and breathing creature. I find that absolutely sick. Other than all this in Punjab, India they were the beneficiaries of ‘the Green Revolution‘. Punjab was facing a famine and were given the first generation of GM seeds. This benefited them greatly but the cost of using those seeds are now very, very public. The overuse of pesticides, irrigation and fertilisers have made the land completely and utterly barren. Nothing will grow now, not only this all the water has been poisoned with pesticides. Not only this but the farmers in Punjab are now ridden with debt due to the high cost of the fertilisers and pesticides. A retired school teacher Jarnail Singh said “It ruined our soil, our environment, our water table. Used to be we had fairs in villages where people would come together and have fun. Now we gather in medical centers. The government has sacrificed the people of Punjab for grain.”
To my next point, the economic meltdown, with the influx of population and money in developing countries also lead to an influx of greediness and ‘everything new’. Deforestation may have been slowed down at the moment but does this also include illegal logging? As well as the use of palm oil that is destroying the habitat and killing of Orang-utans. Our greed for more, new, and shiny is leaving a very big mark on the Earth. Something else is that the Amazon forest is shrinking now there is also a drought. What many people don’t know is that in the Amazon there are still a hundred or so Amazonian tribes that have no knowledge nor have met anyone from the 21st Century. The thing about this is that illegal loggers are going into the Amazon and ruthlessly killing those tribes people because they are seen as ‘less than human’. Not only is this a crime but a wealth of knowledge is disappearing right now. And there is little we can do unless this is all made out to the public so we can actually act and say no to illegal logging. The need for more shiny items and us being materialistic is having detrimental affects on people. The influx of rubbish is being shipped off to developing countries to take care of as well as the labour work is being sent to them. It’s good that they are getting an opportunity to work and make money but they are often working in horrid conditions.
What I am trying to get at is, another malthusian check is due, we’ve already experienced famine, drought and an economic meltdown which has only so far reinforced Malthus’s view on things and as 2012 looms closer, (I’m not an believer of the myth) you can’t help but think maybe in 2012 the next check will reveal itself?
For further reading feel free to check out this article from the National Geographic: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2009/06/cheap-food/bourne-text/7