Technology and its Effect on Population Growth

 With more people on this planet the demand for water will grow. Unlike food there is a clear limit to the amount of water, but it is unevenly distributed – Scotland receives far too much for the amount of people living in the country compared to somewhere like Sudan which receives too little. This means that in the future, transportation of water between countries has to improve. Also as 97% of the world’s water is salt water technology for purifying this water is going to have to improve as, presently, it is quite expensive to purify water. Already in Africa 14 countries are facing water-scarcity and the number will continue to grow, in 2025 a possible 25 will be in the same position. One of the most developed countries in Africa relies very heavily on the Nile for its water to rise and flood its fields to fertilize them but again drought is a problem and it is expected that only 25% of the water in the Nile today will still be lowing there in the year 2100. These are the problems that will be facing scientists sooner rather than later.

Technology for increasing the efficiency and amount of the crop’s yield (e.g. new pesticides) is beginning to slow and plateau in more developed countries, meaning that food supplies will not fall but nor will they rise as quickly as they were when there were frequent advances.  But it is with technology and more precisely genetically modified crops that some of our hopes probably lie as, if people accept eating GM food, the scale for modification of food is huge; from making crops yield more to increasing animal production efficiency.

Although economically this sounds like good news, there is a lot of doubt as to whether the benefits outweigh the negative sides. These sides include the effects on human health and on the environment (e.g. if genetically modified animals got out and bred with wild animals the effects could be disastrous) also animal rights activists complain that, in many cases, it is cruel for the animal.

Other technology that is used to increase yield and resistance is selective breeding (which is effectively a more natural version of genetically modifying an animal or plant by selecting the best and breeding them together to create a better variant of that crop or animal) related to that with the example of crops is creating hybrid crops by breeding 2 different types of crop to create a stronger better crop. Pesticides are commonly use in farms to kill weeds but unfortunately they can drain into nearby rivers poisoning them and the animals whose habitat is that area. When a predator preys and eats from that area of the river from, for example, a fish it to will be poisoned as well. As it has eaten more than 1 of poisoned fish, the level of toxicity will go up. This will carry on through the food chain which means that the top predator will have the highest toxicity of all.