Solving Population Growth Problems

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Remember on the first day of class, I asked you to list three important global environmental problems.

Here are the results of those surveys: How many of these problems are the direct or indirect result of overpopulation?

Use the applet below to explore human population growth more in depth.

If you want a printer-friendly version of this module, you can find it here in a Microsoft Word document.

It is likely that students in the United States will find that they need approximately 5 planets to sustain their lifestyles! If you want to reinforce (or contrast) the impact of undeveloped nations on resources, have your students take the quiz for an undeveloped nation.

You may wish to tell them the choices to make or you may want them to make decisions about how they think people in that country live. The above makes developed nations out to be the bad guys but that is not entirely true.This printer-friendly version should be used only to review, as it does not contain any of the interactive material, and only a skeletal version of problems solved in the module.Resource Use | Exponential Growth | Prediction | Distribution | Examples & Exercises There are 5 main concepts that our students struggle with when learning about population growth and the relationship of population to geological resource use: Students do not understand that overpopulation is the cause of many other environmental problems.Would we have such a problem with the top three -- pollution, global warming and habitat -- if world population was not so large?Other than some of the natural disasters (and even those are arguable), most of these other environmental problems are due to overpopulation.Essential to understanding the mathematics of population growth is the concept of doubling time.Doubling time is the time it takes for population to double and it is related to the rate of growth.Population grows exponentially - if the rate of natural increase (r) doesn't change.The variable r is controlled by human behavior as described below.We have seen many examples in this module that fit the exponential growth model.According to the model, when things are growing exponentially, the bigger they get the faster they grow (or in the case of decay - the smaller they get, the slower they shrink). Take a look at the graph below showing human population over time.

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