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Human population and the environment

Carrying capacity
How to read carrying capacity graphs
History of human population over the last 100,000 years
History of human population over the last 6,000 years

Human population growth

The black death – bubonic plague – spread by a bacteria living in fleas, that lived on rats, that followed trade routes.

Our history books focus on deaths in Europe.

Graph showing the effect of the black plague on European population.

Black Death population

However, the plague originated in the ancient far east, China:

Graph showing the effect of the Irish Potato famine on European population




What would happen if we exceed the Earth’s carrying capacity?

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