Food, Population And Environmental Problems: Brazil

3759 words - 15 pages

It is a fairly universal strategy to examine past and present trends in order to forecast the future. This can be commonly observed in everyday existence, as people rely on previous climate trends and recent weather phenomenon in order to make decisions such as how to dress and mode of transportation to use to go to work. Likewise, by employing the use of past and present data and trends, policymakers can make predictions of the future in order to create more effective policies, as well as find better “prescriptions” to solve existing problems (Lecture, 4/1/2010). There are existing neo-Malthusian theories, such as those made by Donella Meadows, et al., that the current trends, including increased population growth, subsequently increased resource consumption and industrialization, will eventually exhaust the limits of growth. As a result, society will suffer unintended and unpleasant consequences-- for example, higher death rates, reduced food output and massive unemployment (Lecture, 4/7/2010). While this is a mere theory, it can serve to illuminate the growing importance of examining both the history and current state of today’s industrializing and developing nations, in order to reach better outcomes in the future. A particularly useful example of such a nation is Brazil, emerging as the economic hub of South America (BBC, 1). Brazil has a plethora of escalating magnitudes, such as its evolving population growth, a growing and globalizing economy and an increasingly large presence in world affairs. As it is still considered a developing country, future policy is crucial to its success as a potential global power. Therefore, by carefully examining the past and present trends concerning population growth, resource availability in the realm of food security, and the role of environmental effects on the country, important predictions can be made regarding Brazil’s future.
The examination of the population growth of Brazil can reveal much about the choices of its residents, and the forces determining these actions. It is important to note that throughout the last fifty years, Brazil’s population has grown significantly, from 71 million in 1960, to 170 million in 2000. It subsequently became the world’s fifth most populated country (Smith, 229). Although the aggregate growth is obvious, the rate of population growth itself has slowed considerably, evident from observing the country’s rate of natural increase. Holding migration constant, rate of natural increase has steadily decreased from a peak in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. During this period of deceleration, crude birth rates have decreased rapidly, while crude death rates have also declined at a slower rate (Fig. 1). The overarching trend for net migration since the 1980’s is that people have been emigrating out of the country at an increasingly faster rate, also leading to a decline in the population. These trends can be explained by a multitude of different factors,...

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