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population

Population


Our population is rising at an unsustainable rate:

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Bigger, better, more! More people, more jobs, more money, more cities, more consumers. We live in a world that thinks all growth is good. But is it?

At the end of each day, the world has over 200,000 more mouths to feed than it had the day before; at the end of every week, 1.5 million more; at the close of each year, nearly 80 million more. Humans, who numbered 4.5 billion in the 1980’s, are now over 6 billion, and will probably exceed nine billion by 2050. Most of that increase will come in the poorer countries of the earth, exacerbating all of the consequent problems, among them shortages of food and water, depletion of energy supplies, deterioration of the environment, incitement to local and regional conflicts, and breakdown of the social order. Clearly, the continued increase in populations will produce a bleak future for all the earth’s inhabitants.
The need to reduce our rapid rate of growth, indeed to reduce the current and projected size of the human population, is urgent. Complicating the task of reducing populations are those who for various reasons advocate a continued increase and those who object to practical methods of population limitation, such as birth control and abortion, as well as those who simply turn their backs on the problem, refusing even to recognize the obvious. One legitimate function of education is the clearly enunciated recognition of social problems and the enlightened advocacy of social solutions. -
By Philip Appleman

Population policy and the environment joint international position statement
Optimum Population Trust: OPT


Conclusion: Current population growth is environmentally unsustainable.

The good news is that we are finally waking up to the population problem and being brave enough to speak about it. This is a start. In the UK the birth rate is at 1.7, which is below the 'replacement rate' of two (ie. two adults being 'replaced' by two children), and this means that gradually at this rate the UK population will decrease. But citizens of developed countries over-consume by so much that this small fall in numbers isn't nearly enough on its own. In the developing world some steps are being taken to control high birth rates through legislation and education. But they are modest. But for their own reasons, developing nations are beginning to realise the absolute necessity of lower populations.

"If growth continued at this rate...by 2600 we would all be standing literally shoulder to shoulder" - Steven Hawking

Reports: 
PSN: Population and Climate Change: Is there a link? If so, what are the priorities for action?
DFID: Synthesis of Population Project Evaluations
Impacts of Climate Change on Chinese Agriculture