Earth has officially hit a human population of eight billion people. In the lead up to Earth Day, we should recognize how this rapid population growth has affected animal populations around the world.
A report in Reuters published last December chronicled how human beings are fueling an extinction crisis that puts one million animals at risk. Once a species goes extinct, the ecosystem it was a part can also collapse.
“Whatever role that species played within an ecosystem is lost too, whether that’s pollinating certain plants, churning nutrients in soil, fertilizing forests or keeping other animal populations in check, among other things. If that function was crucial to the health of an ecosystem, the animals’ disappearance can cause a landscape to transform.”
A recent article published in Our Endangered World echoes this message. This comprehensive article lays out the link between overpopulation and its negative effect on animal life. The article stated “1259 species of animals, plants, and aquatic creatures” are listed as “critically endangered.” It added that 25 species have already gone extinct in the 21st century. Human overpopulation has directly contributed to this crisis.
The conclusion of the article hit home on the fact that Earth has a finite supply of resources for both humans and animals.
“Overpopulation has a number of negative consequences for animals. Higher worldwide population levels will put additional strain on the planet’s resources, resulting in greater resource consumption and waste production inefficiency.
This inefficiency in resource usage and waste creation is exacerbated by the fact that the earth has a limited supply of resources to support life, implying that there are boundaries to how much individuals may consume without harming themselves.”
We here at CAPS have also previously blogged on this topic, and pointed out that more people means less space for animal habitat, less resources animals require to live, and a greater strain on the environment.
This Earth Day, we should keep in mind that the negative consequences of human overpopulation affect all life on this planet. Human beings however, are the only species with the power to change things so we can live in balance with nature. We have a duty to ourselves, animals, and planet Earth to take action to solve this problem before it’s too late.