Environmental degradation is one of the key challenges facing the human race in the 21st century. With the ever-increasing population, the rate through which the environment is destroyed has reached intolerable levels. Human activities have led to air, water, and soil pollution. Plants and animals habitats have also been depleted forests destroyed and global warming continuing. The rate of environmental degradation is disproportionately faster than increase in world population.
The relationship between population size and environmental quality is dynamic and complex. The linearity thought as used by the IPAT formulation (Harte, 226) no longer applies. It is now evident that the consequences of environmental protection are non-linear to population increase. Thresholds, synergies, and feedback mechanisms can best explain this. According to threshold, a small stress to the system produces less or no effect, but when the stress reaches a certain level, the effect will increase more than proportionately. For example, a small increase in marine temperature will have no effect on coral reefs life, but when the temperature reaches a certain level; the coral reefs will die bleach and die. Combine effects of two causes may create more environmental effects than the two causes in isolation i.e. synergetic effect increases the impact on the environment. Direct and indirect feedback on the environment when disturbed has also caused adverse effects in more than proportionate levels. Other reasons why environmental degradation is disproportionately more than the population is the exhaustion of natural processes.
The impact of environmental destruction by human activities due to increase in population will lead to the extinction of the human race. Why are nations, not addressing this situation? One also wonders whether various rules and regulations set in international conventions are being adhered to.