I am Rebecca Hung. It is my honor to be here today to talk about the problem of overpopulation.
Do you know queuing up is an unavoidable part of our lives? You can see many long queues everywhere in Hong Kong. Last weekend, I went out for lunch with my friend. When we got to the restaurant, there were so many people waiting for tables that we had to wait for an hour before we could finally sit down and enjoy our meal. Sounds familiar to you, right? I am sure some of you have had similar experience. You may wonder: Are there not enough restaurants in Hong Kong? Or are there too many people in Hong Kong? Yes, there are simply too many people in Hong Kong. We are facing the problem of overpopulation, but do you know that overpopulation has also become a world problem?
According to the United Nations, the estimated world population has already exceeded 7 billion and the figure is still growing day by day.
You may ask what the figure means to our world. Can’t the world accommodate 7 billion people, or even another 7 billion people? Let me tell you, 7 billion people are already too much for our world to bear.
First of all, let me ask you a question. Can you live without electricity? I guess most of you will answer no, because all of us use electricity. Electricity is a basic necessity in today’s world. Because of the growing population, the demand for electricity keeps growing. Let’s take a look at China. To generate more electricity to meet the increasing demand, China is building nuclear plants all over the country and is planning to build even more. These nuclear plants may pose unimaginable hazards not only to China, but also to the world. Just take a look at the nuclear plant in Fukushima and you will agree with me. All human lives will finally be in jeopardy if we keep building more nuclear plants. But it seems that some countries, especially China, are still resorting to nuclear energy for its growing population.
Another serious problem caused by overpopulation is food shortage. Thousands, mostly children, die of hunger every day in different parts of the world. According to the United Nations, by 2012 the number of malnourished people in the world had already reached 1020 million. In Africa, already 6 million people died of famine and malnourishment. Although, today, we have advanced agricultural technology, the supply simply cannot meet the demand. Why? Because when the world population becomes bigger, there will be more people desiring more food. At the same time, more agricultural lands have to be used for urban development. That means fewer lands can be used for agricultural production. Then, the supply of food drops.
And, the problem of food shortage is further aggravated by the uneven distribution of the world’s total food. China, with her huge population and wealthier people, is demanding more and more food, and this results in even less food for the already underprivileged and underdeveloped areas.
Let’s go back to agricultural technology. You may ask: if we develop even more advanced technology, will we be able to feed the entire world? Yes, we may be able to feed the entire world if we have very advanced technology. But the food we produce may be harmful to human body. Then, we, humans, will eventually suffer.
Besides food shortage, global warming is another problem worsened by overpopulation. With an increasing population, there are more human activities, and more greenhouse gases are released to the atmosphere, and this worsens the greenhouse effect. Yes, the whole world is trying to cut carbon dioxide emission and we are trying to be less polluting. But we can’t deny the fact that overpopulation aggravates global warming. And global warming causes a whole bunch of environmental problems. Look at the super typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban. At the United Nations climate summit in Warsaw, the lead negotiator of the Philippines, Naderev Sano, said Haiyan was like nothing they had ever experienced before, or perhaps nothing that any country had ever experienced before.
So, to deal with environmental problems, we can’t just look at the environmental factors, we also have to look at the problem of overpopulation.
All in all, the overpopulation problem is affecting the whole world; we cannot turn a blind eye to it.
I sincerely hope that all of you can learn more about overpopulation from my sharing.