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Anthropological Perspective

Choose an Environmental Issue Population Growth, that is of particular Interest to you. State clearly how an anthropological perspective can enhance the  understanding of your chosen Environmental Issue.

Anthropology is the way of living of man as it is the study of how people relate socially and the cultural beliefs that dictate their development. Population growth, on the other hand, is the increased number of individuals in a population. There are three community aspects of growth that anthropologists focus on, for instance, the dynamics of population, population and culture and population processes in Aboriginal and peasant communities (Kagitabasi, 2013). Anthropologists have put into concept the issue of population growth to the migration of people on the planet however in the current years; anthropologists are attributing population growth to migration, mortality, and migration (Therivel, 2012). There are cultural aspects that relate to population growth include empathy, how people are organized politically, and social relationships among other features. Cultural issues in the society are the main determinants of population growth in a particular community. Although the problem of population growth is usually based on science, anthropology includes a cultural view of its description (Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, 2011).

Johnson Maker-Adeng and Fernando Alonso-Marroquin see population growth as the increase in the number of people in the world as a considerable increase of people in various communities. The trend in the change in population change today is alarming as the number of persons occupying the surface of the earth is increasing uncontrollably (Anderson, 2010). The perception drawn by the two anthropologists is that the change in population is determined by the carrying capacity of an environment. The carrying capacity refers to the ability of a biological environment to sustain the maximum number of individuals for an indefinite period, with the availability of food, water, and space in it. In today's world, the world has promised increased food and other necessities to people through the development of new technology and industrialization process (Ruttan, 2013).

Johnson and Fernando view that the increased population growth rate has been as a result of industrialization and technological development hence increasing the carrying capacity of the world. Industrialization and new technological advancement have increased the number of wages that workers receive (Barlett, 2016). The growing level of income has brought about increased levels of all aspects of human life such as increased productivity hence greater availability of food. Availability of food promotes the birthrate standards as people can easily feed their families. Also, the industrialization period has seen increased sanitation levels thus decreasing the number of communicable diseases spread hence reducing the death rate. Additionally, the fertility rate has gone up as a result of the improved standards of living. Therefore, the number of birth rates has increased continuously (Nanda and Warms, 2010).

Johnson and Fernando carrying capacity view on the increasing population growth rate can be used to resolve the strain brought about in the environment through the application of policies and educational advice to the local people. It is important to note that when the number of individuals’ increases, the environment around them is strained hence the resources available become scarce (Bernard and Gravlee, 2014). Regarding this anthropologist perception, the government and other non-governmental institutions are tasked with the responsibility of coming up with policies that are aimed at reducing the level at which the population is growing. For instance, the government can put in place a minimum number of children per household and set a reward for the families that can maintain the specified number. By doing so, the population growth will be established while the carrying capacity of the environment will be increased indefinitely.

Theoretical Approach


The education institutions should also be included in the movement aimed to reduce the number of people in the world. Individuals should be educated on the effects of increased population growth in the environment that consequently affects their lifestyles. For instance, individuals should have a representation of a decrease in the availability of clean air and drinking water in their surroundings as a result of human activity. Industrialization has seen an increase in the use of the machinery of which many use fuel to drive them (Castles, De Haas and Miller, 2013). The smoke that is produced when running the motor is released into the atmosphere hence resulting in increased air pollution. Air pollution in return leads to increased respiratory diseases in humans. An educational program about the perception given by the anthropologists will promote a decreased human activity towards environmental degradation hence the availability of adequate and clean resources will be increased.  The environmental carrying capacity to hold the increasing population will be enhanced as a result of conservation of the available natural resources.

The Malthusian theory of population growth reveals that the increase of growth of population is as a consequence of an increase in the number of birth rates hence referred to as an exponential growth. In this theory, the relationship between the resources available in the environment and the population growth is critically analysed (Christiansen and Fenchel, 2012). The theorist reveals that when an environment is adequately equipped with resources, the productivity level and the health status of the local inhabitant's increases. When there is an increased level of health in a particular population, then the birth rates increase and also the mortality rate decreases hence promoting a greater level of the growth of the population. However, it is also revealed that in an event the increased population growth rate is not checked, the resources in the environment will be depleted thus leading to conflicts among individuals in a bid to survive.

The anthropologists' perception about population growth is supported and represented by Malthus in his theory of population growth. The argument exposes that the carrying capacity of a biological environment is supposed to handle a specified number of individuals comfortably using the exploitation of the available resources. When some factors in the environment change, then the impact is felt all around the environment setting. For instance, when industrialization and use of new technology were introduced there was an increase in the availability of food hence the number of people also increased (Galor, 2011). However, the increase in population led to increased environmental degradation as the resources in the environment become depleted hence health issues become problematic leading a big proportion of unhealthy people in the world.

Malthusian population growth theory provided that for human beings to survive then there should be adequate provision of subsistence food supply. In case the food supply is reduced or minimised then the population growth decreases relatively. Also, the rate at which food is produced affects the rate at which population grows. The relationship between the food production and population growth is not directly proportional because the increase in growth of individuals in a society is recorded faster than the level of food production (Gammage, 2011). The increase in population is termed as a symmetrical progression while growth in food production is termed as an arithmetic advancement. Malthus noted that an increase in the number of individuals in populations closely related to the increase in subsistence production except hindered by some big checks.

Limitations of Malthusian theory

Malthusian theory faces limitations as it mainly focuses on food production and population growth. He discusses that when the level of subsistence or food increases the population also grows. A fact that is not true because Great Britain is experiencing a high standard of population growth whereas the level of food production is consistent. In Britain, the standard of population growth is being promoted by other means of productivity rather than food and agricultural production (Godfray et al., 2010).The theorist held that the standards of living of the people are raised until the minimum survival rate is reached however this claim is refuted in developed countries because their growth in population is dependent on the development of other production levels.

Malthus tried to show that an increase in population was as a result of an increase in birthrate which consequently raised the standards of living. The claim is held as not being satisfactory because in western countries, the feeling towards children has significantly reduced and as a result, their standard of living is increasing as opposed to the theory. Also, there is evidence that reveals that the less the number of children in a household the higher the economic status hence increased standards of living (Knox and Marston, 2013). The theory faces critics regarding this proposition because people have turned to new methods of family planning which include the use of contraceptives so as to manage the number of children they can bring up. When there are a few children to be nurtured, the economic stability of the society increases hence their standards of living are improved (Morgan, 2012).


Finally, the Malthusian theory assumed the effect of industrialization and introduction of new technological advancements. Malthusian associated population growth with increased birth rate and increased production of food but ignored the fact that industrialization and new technology promotes the production level hence the wages of workers are raised.  When workers are paid well, they can increase their standards of living by accessing better health care, better housing, and sanitation services hence refuting that the increased rates of births are responsible for increased standards of living as stated by Malthus in his theory. Also in some progressive nations, the level of food production is recorded to be higher than the growth in population because of the development of new means of production (King, 2012). The introduction of improved pesticides, seeds and agricultural machinery is responsible for the increased amounts of food in a nation. Again, the theory faces a limitation due to the assumption that food increment leads to increased population growth (Maestre, Salguero-Gomez and Quero, 2012).

In Australia there exists a community that is known as Aborigines living in the remote areas of the country. The Aborigines are among the minority groups found in Australia whose life expectancy is 17 years less than the other communities the reason being that they do not have medical care services hence die from diseases such as diabetes which can be prevented. The community expresses a very close connection to tribal lands as part of their cultural belief. Therefore, any aspect affecting their property will have grievous outcomes to the members of this community (Gammage, 2011). In Australia, this community will be the hardest hit because it lives in the dry areas of the country; therefore, food availability and distribution will be a challenge to them. Additionally, the increase in climatic temperatures will result in increased rates of diseases in their land. Due to their connectivity to their lands, the climate change will expose them to suffering spiritually as they observe their lands being devoured by the effects of climate change.


The increased rates of temperatures lead to increased periods of hot weather which are reported as a major challenge for the local people living in the rural areas of the country. The elderly in these communities are at higher risk than the rest of the members of the community as they are not able to deal with a condition known as heat stress brought about by the upsurge of levels of temperature (Hirner, 2010).Heat stress complications may range from serious conditions such as cardiovascular problems and respiratory conditions to a less severe condition such as heat rash. The community feels a loss and suffers when their land is dry because they may be forced to migrate to other areas if the condition persists hence losing the spiritual connectivity with their land.

Conclusion

In conclusion, population growth is noted as the increase in the number of individuals in the globe. Increased population growth can be promoted by some cultural aspects that include kinship, the health of people, fertility, migration and political organization of community among others. Johnson and Fernando are anthropologists that provide carrying capacity of an area and industrialization as the main causes of population growth. They held that increased industrialization provided less strain on the environment hence its carrying capacity is increased. The perspective would be given to improving the situation through educational and policies aimed at reducing the growth of population in the world. Malthus, a population growth theorist, implied that there exists a relationship between the increase in population and the environment hence the population would grow about the available resources in the environment. However, the theory faced some limitations such as he focused on the increase of birth rate as the primary cause of greater population hence living standards a fact denied by records and world studies.

References

Anderson, C., 2010. On Population Dynamics. Population, 80, p.100.

Barlett, P.F. ed., 2016. Agricultural decision making: Anthropological contributions to rural development. Academic Press.

Bernard, H.R and Gravlee, C.C.eds., 2014. Handbook of methods in cultural anthropology. Rowman & Littlefield.

Castles, S., De Haas, H. and Miller, M.J., 2013. The age of migration: International population movements in the modern world. Palgrave Macmillan.

Christiansen, F.B. and Fenchel, T.M., 2012. Theories of populations in biological communities (Vol. 20). Springer Science & Business Media.

Galor, O., 2011. Unified growth theory. Princeton University Press.

Gammage, W., 2011. The biggest estate on earth: how Aborigines made Australia. Allen & Unwin.

Godfray, H.C.J., Beddington, J.R., Crute, I.R., Haddad, L., Lawrence, D., Muir, J.F., Pretty, J., Robinson, S., Thomas, S.M. and Toulmin, C., 2010. Food security: the challenge of feeding 9 billion people. science, 327(5967), pp.812-818.

Hirner, S., 2010. Aborigines in Australia.

Kagitcibasi, C. 2013. Family, self, and human development across cultures: Theory and applications. Routledge.

Knox, P.L. and Marston, S.A., 2013. Human geography: Places and regions in global context. Pearson.

King, A.D., 2012. Colonial urban development: Culture, social power and environment. Routledge.

Maestre, F.T., Salguero-Gómez, R. and Quero, J.L., 2012. It is getting hotter in here: determining and projecting the impacts of global environmental change on drylands.

Morgan, R.K., 2012. Environmental impact assessment: the state of the art. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 30(1), pp.5-14.

Nanda, S. and Warms, R.L., 2010. Cultural anthropology. Cengage Learning.

Ruttan, V.W., 2013. Sustainable growth in agricultural production. The Impact of Population Growth on Well-being in Developing Countries, p.139.

Trompenaars, F. and Hampden-Turner, C., 2011. Riding the waves of culture: Understanding diversity in global business. Nicholas Brealey Publishing.

Therivel, R., 2012. Strategic environmental assessment in action. Routledge.

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