According to a survey conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit environmental group, half of those polled believe the world population is growing too fast, and 54 percent feel that balancing the world’s population will help protect the environment.

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The world’s population continues to grow (Image source: solidether, Flickr)

With the world population over 7 billion, a majority of American voters believe population growth is a major concern to the health and survival of the world’s animal species. According to a survey conducted by the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit environmental group, half of those polled believe the world population is growing too fast, and 54 percent feel that balancing the world’s population will help protect the environment.

The results of the survey, highlighted in an article by the Los Angeles Times, are helping to spread the word about the environmental effects of population growth. “Thank God, someone is talking about this critical issue,” said one Center volunteer. Discussions have included the moral responsibility of ensuring the protection of the world’s ecology. The Los Angeles Times examines the survey results in more detail.

Sixty-one percent of respondents expressed concerned about disappearing wildlife. Depending how the question was phrased, 57% to 64% of respondents said population growth was having an adverse effect. If widespread wildlife extinctions were unavoidable without slowing human population growth, 60% agreed that society has a moral responsibility to address the problem.

Even with the poll results showing strong views toward society’s obligation to stem the effects of population growth on the planet’s ecosystem, it is unlikely any small-scale change will have lasting impact. With the United Nations predicting a global population of 9.1 billion by 2050, the effects of population growth on the planet’s ecology are certain to continue unless drastic changes take place.

Thus far, we have witnessed dramatic modifications to Earth’s ecosystem. Over the past two decades, Britain has seen a 70 percent decline in butterfly species and a 54 percent decline in bird species, according to an article by the Guardian, which quotes botanist Sandra Knapp as noting that the data coming from Britain is a “canary for the rest of the globe.”

Some conservation experts believe we are in an age of mass extinction. The journal Science notes that “Earth’s creatures are on the brink of a sixth mass extinction, comparable to the one that wiped out the dinosaurs.” Reports point to human causes for the current mass extinction, with population growth a major concern.

Most of those who took part in the survey have an understanding that human population growth is having devastating effects on the planet’s ecosystem, while also believing that it is the moral responsibility of humans to take necessary actions to stem further ecological decline.

While the statistics show dramatic declines in Earth’s plant and animal species, hope is not lost. The journal Science notes that “[t]he silver lining in this dark cloud is that if humans work quickly to protect endangered and threatened species and their habitats now, the mass extinction can be prevented or at least delayed by thousands of years…”