Population growth has been most dramatic since the 1900s due to improvements in medical knowledge/care (disease prevention, vaccinations), as well as improvements in diet. This is especially true in LDCs where the death rate has dropped but birth rates continue to be high. Populations there are in the third stage of the demographic transition, where population explosion occurs.
Overpopulation in MDCs has minimal effects that are directly felt by people, since government can pay for material or technological solutions, whereas in LDCs people suffer from hunger, medical and environmental problems.
The increase in population of MDCs has a greater impact on the planet’s health because more affluent people consume a much greater amount of resources and contribute a greater amount of pollution.
Overpopulation is also a N-S problem because the environmental degradation occurs due to choices and actions made by people in the North, while the consequences occur in the South. Poverty in the south and the demand for improved standard of living through income causes people to sacrifice their local natural environment for development or simply to survive.
Ehrlich relates overpopulation to the long term sustainability of Earth’s cycles and the threat to all of humanity, while Cope deals more with the North-South issues and the struggles of people in less developed nations.
Ehrlich’s article is more scientific and scholarly, which fits with the audience of National Geographic magazine, and encourages people to understand the responsibility of developed nations. Cope’s article seems to lead us to the need to ensure population control in less developed countries, but makes it seem like overpopulation doesn’t have any impact here.