(Photo credit: Grist.org)
The world’s population is growing like never before. For every twelve years, one billion people are added to the planet. That is about 220,000 people every day. By 2050, the world will be home to about 9.6 billion people according to new projections in population trend. What these numbers may translate to in the long term could very well be pressure on current limited natural resources, strain on water and food supply, over crowdedness, increased air and environmental pollution, and unfavorable conditions for the global economy. While increased population may not directly cause these problems, they greatly contribute to their complications. The rise of population is mainly in developing nations, where women are having more children, and family size is among the highest in the world. Already, one out of every seven people alive go to bed hungry, and every day 25,000 people die of malnutrition and hunger-related diseases, with almost 18,000 of this number being children under the age of five. About one billion people lack access to sufficient water for consumption, agriculture and sanitation, and melting glaciers due to climate change has threatened the water supply for billions. Fortunately, with a favorable population, the world could very well sustain itself for centuries to come. A slower population growth will see greater investment in education, health care, job creation, and other improvements that help boost living standards. How we now preserve or abuse the environment could largely determine whether current conditions improve or deteriorate, and help us avoid future ecological disasters.