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Ella Estopare, Online Editor & Columnist

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With about 7.7 billion people, the Earth suffers everyday at the hands of every single person that inhabits this planet. As our population continues to grow exponentially, the Earth has to deal with the greatest threat to the environment: human overpopulation.

Human overpopulation is the puppet master behind all the other devastating environmental issues that we face today, such as habitat and species loss, pollution, and global warming. According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, over one third of the Earth’s species are in danger of extinction due to pollution and habitat loss. It’s also estimated that the Earth loses about three different species forever every hour. As the human population continues to grow, the rate of pollution increases and so does the rate of habitat loss. Humans, being at the very top of the food chain, dominate the Earth and leave little for the rest of Earth’s species to thrive off of.

As our population continues to climb in the billions, we not only destroy the earth, but we also end up hurting ourselves. “Today humanity uses the equivalent of 1.5 planets to provide the resources we use and absorb our waste. This means it now takes the Earth one year and six months to regenerate what we use in a year”, says the Global Footprint Network, which means that sooner than later, the overpopulation of humans will deplete all of Earth’s finite resources, which includes fossil fuels, farmable land and freshwater. Only about .003 percent of all of Earth’s water is safe for human use, yet water pollution continues to rise as the population grows, and the UN projects that by 2025, “nearly half of the world’s people will be living in areas of acute water shortage.” Because the population grows so quickly and the resources regenerate at a significantly slower rate, resources will become too scarce to support every human on Earth, and the countries that will suffer the most are those that have the largest population growth rate.

As we grow and develop, the Earth does not follow us. We need to recognize, as the only species on Earth that can invoke change, that we are the only ones who can stop the total degradation of Earth.