A lot of people aren’t too keen on downward trends in the human population. But, the thing is that humans put a lot of environmental stress on the planet, or more specifically in this case; water stress. Climate change is already upon us and, boy, is it messing up water source availability. It’s evident we need to consider effects of our global footprint. I propose that slowing the growth of our numbers would be beneficial to our dear planet. This is not just for the sake up the environment, animals, plants – things you should care about – but for humanity’s sake as well!

Water is used in everything. You drink water, your food contains water, and your body is made up mostly of water! What about other things; the more “behind the scenes but extremely common” uses? Agriculture uses a great amount of water to grow the plants, and liquid fertilizer contains it, too. Think about all those farm animals and what it takes to care for them. Cattle raising is notoriously bad for the environment, including water consumption. How about your printer ink, toothpaste, mouthwash, steam iron, and liquid soap? Even things that aren’t liquid require water because of the manufacturing process!

There’s trouble with the amount of consumption people do with water when our species distribution is so dense. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for animals and plants to live and get the water they need. On top of this, we have global warming; something that humans have caused and something that the Earth has to pay for. Because of that there is this chaotic climate change. The daffodils were growing by the end of February where I live and now they are in full bloom, but the last frost date is between the end of March and the beginning of April! With the weather being so much warmer – not just here, but globally – water issues would arise. The increasing of population just worsens this.

Let’s look at the Southwest in the U.S. The number of people is growing, so there is a definite increase in demand. Meanwhile, climate change has increased the amount and severity of droughts there. There has been an increase in events of wildfires and it takes a lot of resources to put them out. A lot of farmland is in that area as well. Since this area is affected so harshly by environmental issues, it’s been increasingly hard to cope with it. It can be said that the more human dense an area is the more problems arise and, in this case, more water stress.

On the other side, we have Germany. Their country is environmentally conscious and aren’t having much issue with their water consumption. Germans have implemented many water saving practices and use them in agriculture as well as other industries such as technology. They also have a shrinking population which means less demand for water. It would be wise to follow their example – to a point.

I don’t believe trying to decrease the human population is an answer to our problems. Having our numbers decrease over time could cause havoc, and if that were to be global it would become chaos. Less numbers mean more jobs not being taken up, and in turn companies would lose money. In the U.S., that’d be detrimental with how capitalism-based we are. The government wouldn’t get as much funding with the missing tax money. It takes a long time for them to create proper solutions and for us to adapt, plus add in how divided this country is currently, and we’d become vulnerable in such a case. I’m not entirely sure about other countries but, in my ignorance, I believe that we all would be in the same boat in that if our population grows too much and water becomes so scarce we’d be clawing at each other’s throats.

Either that or we would stand in solidarity in a united world. World peace, hurray! Global warming solved, oh boy!

However, slowing the growth in the number of humans would be beneficial to the water crisis and not so apocalyptic. As can be seen by the cases of the Southwest and Germany, demand has a huge impact on available water. This doesn’t mean, “stop copulating, you sillies,” but there are many ways to keep those happy accidents from happening with a partner. If someone wants to have a child, adoption is always an option! In that case, you aren’t just satisfying your need to be a parent, but you’re giving a child a home – something that a lot of kids don’t have. While raising them, you’ll even be able to say, “I’m doing a small favor to the environment and helping others get the water they need.”

Don’t put off trying for that baby you want in your belly yet, ladies! A stable population trend wouldn’t be possible without birthing new children (who may come up with brilliant solutions for global warming and the various issues it causes). We just need to be aware of the impact having a lot of new babies can have, not just on the family level but on the whole Earth. Keeping on our heads and not birthing four or ten children would benefit this cause. Water is a necessity, and if we want humanity to last, we need to have the awareness about our environment to be able to do what is necessary to help it. At this point it is our obligation as the ones that caused this mess in the first place.

Inspired by:

Griggs, Mary Beth. “stressed out: gauging global water worries.” Popular Science March/April 2017: 8-9. Magazine.