World population is 7.2 billion today and still growing. The United Nations projects that world population will likely reach 10.9 billion by the end of the century, but if fertility rates were to remain constant, world population could soar to 27 billion!
Here’s why that’s vitally important to all of us:
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Our population is growing rapidly.
The United Nations projects that world population will likely reach 10.9 billion by the end of the century, but if fertility rates were to remain constant, world population could soar to 27 billion!
Even current population and consumption patterns are unsustainable.
On August 20th of last year, the Global Footprint Network reported that we had already used up all of the renewable resources that the Earth could generate in one year’s time. Each year we use more resources than nature can renew, GHG emissions rise, forests and rivers shrink, water levels fall, and fisheries collapse.
Water scarcity is reaching crisis proportions.
Humanity’s demand for fresh water is expected to increase by 40% in the next 20 years, and by 2025 we will need the equivalent of 20 more Nile Rivers to meet the world’s growing demand for water.
The World Resources Institutes (WRI) estimates that 36 countries are currently experiencing “very high” water stress, meaning that they consume more than 80% of their renewable water resources every year.
14 of those countries will increase their populations by 80 percent or more by 2050.
We’re running out of land for food production.
We use 38% of the world’s land to produce food: an area equal to South America and Africa combined.
Because of population growth and changing diets (i.e. increased consumption of meat), researchers at the University of Minnesota project that the world’s farmers will need to boost crop production by 100-to-110% by 2050, but the actual increase in crop production is likely to be in the range of 38-to-67%.
We’re triggering mass extinction.
In the history of planet earth there have been five mass extinctions of plant and animal species, but scientists warn that humanity is triggering the sixth mass extinction.
A recent study
published in Science magazine estimates that plant and animal species are now being extinguished at a rate that is 1,000 times the natural rate. The number of species classified as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature more than doubled from 1,880 in 2000 to 4,345 in 2014.
Millions live in poverty and hunger.
About 1.2 billion people today live on less than $1.25 a day, and about 2.4 billion people today live on less than $2.00 a day.
There are 870 million hungry people in the world: about 1 out of 8. The population of Africa in 2014 is1.1 billion and is expected to reach 2.4 billion by 2050. Rapid population growth has complicated efforts to reduce poverty and eliminate hunger in Africa.
The population of Niger, which ranks as the world’s poorest country according to the UN’s 2013 Multidimensional Poverty Index, could nearly quadruple its population by 2050, unless fertility rates fall faster than currently projected.
To find out more about these issues and what we can all be doing to address them, click here