Monday, October 31, 2011

The Needs of A Growing Population

Today marks the day when world population reaches its 7 billion milestone.  Are we to celebrate or should we be concerned?  Things have certainly changed since 1999 when world population reached 6 billion.  It was a time when we believed that we could eradicate severe poverty and hunger as well as act in time to avert the worst effects of climate change.  With high confidence, we knew nothing could stop us.  Well things haven’t exactly worked out that way.  Facing a decade of economic distress and lacking progression in our efforts to eliminate global poverty, are we capable of meeting everyone’s needs?  Only time will tell.

It was predicted that fertility rates would continue to fall and population was anticipated to continue to drop.  Now, reaching the 7 billion mark, U.N.’s latest projects indicate that population will reach 10 billion by 2082 and will in fact continue to grow.  Contributing factors such as inability to access contraceptives in developing countries, gender inequality, and child marriage further induces the increase in fertility rates.  By implementing cost effective strategies in developing nations, fertility rates will be reduced and the health and welfare of the impoverished will be improved.

Another challenge arises; will we be able to produce enough food for the predicted population growth?  Enduring two major food crises, shrinkage in food stock and the impact of climate change on our natural resources, has magnified the concern regarding future food production.  Unfortunately, those living in severe poverty will be the most affected.  It is essential that we address the world’s poor first, get to the root of the problem. 

To ensure that population growth doesn’t exceed our Earth’s capacity, focusing our efforts on eradicating hunger, reducing severe poverty, and addressing climate change is vital.  Progression needs to take place or else we are doomed for dire consequences. 

-Georisa Chang