World Population Reaches 7 Billion Apparently there are 6,999,999,999 of you around me out there. Living in a rural area looking out at woodlands with no evidence of neighbors while I write this creates a comforting illusion, but this is most likely temporal even at this local level. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, in the video below, says, "To keep the kind of economy we have today, and that many in the poor world aspire to reach in the future, is already imposing unprecedented, extremely dangerous, and unsolved problems of human impact on the natural environment."
Ecological Costs Sachs discusses the ecological costs, noting deforestation and pollution, of feeding 7 billion people. The power generation necessary for 7 billion people is staggering, requiring the burning of coal, oil, and gas which results in 30 billion tons of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere annually and ultimately climate change. The world population continues upwards at 75 - 80 million people per year. More people, more pressure on the Earth's resources. The current economic system is already unsustainable for water, biodiversity, climate change, pollution, etc. and Sachs says, "We have absolutely an unsolved, first-rate conundrum that is a challenge for the whole world." Sachs reiterates Malthus' warning that the human population would press against the finite limits of the planet and agrees this is "absolutely correct". "It is a focal and central challenge for the planet in the decades ahead." A "decent and sustainable world" is the mission of the Earth Institute and the reason for Jeffrey Sachs video.
The 7 Billion Challenge The rapid rise in the world's population to 7 billion - from 6 billion just a dozen years ago - poses enormous challenges. In this video, Earth Institute Director Jeffrey D. Sachs talks about the stresses our population already puts on the planet, and the mission of the institute to tackle those problems and promote sustainable development.
7 Billion People The UN estimates that the 7 billionth baby will be born on October 31, 2011.
The Earth Institute brings together the people and tools needed to address some of the world's most difficult problems, from climate change and environmental degradation, to poverty, disease and the sustainable use of resources.
|International Union for Conservation of Nature|
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