Tragedy of the Commons and the problem of overpopulation and resource demand among the American society.

Essay by CamelKrisUniversity, Master'sA+, April 2003

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Tragedy of the Commons: Overpopulation and Resource Demand

Hardin's "Tragedy of the Commons" thesis provides a great example and forewarning of overpopulation and resource demand (Burger & Gochfeld, 1998). Overpopulation is likely the world's chief concern. With this population increase comes the demand on resources. We, as a global society, keep tapping into these resources; resources that may already be close to depletion or no longer function they way they used to. This creates a huge sustainability issue for citizens worldwide; not an issue we are going to take lightly when our offspring are brought into the world.

First off, human population creates strains on our common-pool resources; resources that are designated as common property. As a subcategory, common-pool resources exist in the commons context. "The concept of commons is a useful model for understanding environmental management and sustainability" (Burger & Gochfeld, 1998, p. 136). As population grows, we as a global community need to be aware of the strains that we place on the environment as our consumerism keeps increasing.

Without focusing on the sustainability for a future society, we will eventually deplete most of our now available resources. Our children and future generations will be the people in charge of developing new alternatives or figuring out a way to restore common-pool resources.

Secondly, in the commons there are many resources held in common (common-pool resources) by a group of people. Every single one of these persons has access to these resources and may greatly advantage from them. One of the main concerns that stick out most to me is that of water-related issues, especially wetlands. Wetlands have many different functions. They can serve as breeding grounds, water filters, and are considered to be a major component of watersheds and the larger...