It is time for celebration in the US as they are a trifle away from the coveted 300 million population mark. Pessimists would argue that it is still far behind the gigantic population figures of China or India whose combined population is almost 80 times more than that of the US. But the inherent extension of this American population growth is alarming as the very same American population is consuming almost 5 times more than what India and China combined consume today.
The rising American population has been characterised by high urbanisation. Not only has the urban population moved up from 40% to double the figure in the last century, the metropolitisation has also been staggering. By 2000, nearly 50% of American population has been living in Sub-urban areas, while about 80% lived in the broader metropolitan areas. Land use pattern of the US has also changed significantly as more land is being acquired for bringing low density development in urban and semi-urban areas. It is estimated that the US loses a mammoth 3000 acres of farmland (mostly forest land and other environmentally vulnerable areas) daily, for such pursuits.
To compound matters further, the skewed development pattern has brought grievous pollution to the water bodies and aquifers of the country. It is reported that 98% of rivers and streams do not meet the sea due to extensive damming and diversions. Also, about 40% of the rivers and 46% of lakes are labeled as too polluted for fishing or for swimming. If these damages were not enough, it needs to be reported that Americans, though being less then 5% of world population, consume about a quarter of the world energy output. It is catastrophic as the expected demand for 20 years from now is slated to rise to at least 40% above the present level. As such, currently the Americans are generously contributing to about 25% of global emission. With rising population, this exhaust is likely to go up by a minimum of 43% in the next 15 years. Being a non signatory to the Kyoto protocol, there is no inhibition that stops this blatant violation of environmental ethics. Moreover, being the largest consumer of the forest products, the per capita consumption of woods has been at mind-boggling ten times the world level. Presently, of the 7000 odd plant and animal species listed in the list of endangered species, US cannot support the original habitat of more than 50% species.
So as the population increases, it would have a definite impact on the global environment and the sustenance of many developing and underdeveloped countries of the world. The exploitative world order is being expanded by the rising American population and most importantly, by the luxurious living pattern. So before controlling population in other countries, the international community should create funds for 'aiding' birth control measures in Great America!