*Undeveloped countries with large (and growing) populations also put a strain on the local environment and the limited resources that they have.*Countries that struggle to meet growing demands for food, fresh water, timber, fiber and fuel can alter the fragile ecosystems in their area, putting a great strain on the limited resources that they have to draw from (ICTSD.org).

When the population doubles, N = 2N In many ways, it is similar to half-life.

But instead of the time it takes for half the isotopes to decay, it is the time it takes for a known quantity to double.

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.

To help students understand this, one of my colleagues asks her students to list three important local and global environmental issues as part of a survey on the first day of class.

During the following lecture, she presents overpopulation as the top environmental problem: It may surprise many of you to find out that overpopulation is a leading global environmental problem.

The characterization of overpopulation as the cause of many environmental problems may be an oversimplification.

Consumption of natural resources also plays an important role in straining the environment.

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.

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