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7 Billion and Counting

On October 31, 2011, the world's population reached 7 billion people. What does this mean?

Question: If standing upright, could you fit the 7 billion people in the state of Washington?

In an Op-Ed piece (10/24/2011) in the New York Times, Joel Cohen, a mathematical biologist, raised many additional concerns:

  • The world's population is expected to be 8 billion by 2025, 9 billion by 2043, and 10 billion by 2083
  • Nearly half the world lives on $2 a day, or less
  • More than 800 million people live in slums
  • About 900 million people suffer chronic undernourishment
  • In Africa and South Asia, more than half of the children are height-stunted due to chronic hunger
  • Though world produces 2.3 billion metric tons of grain (enough to feed 9-11 billion people), only 46% of the grain is eatened by humans (34% is eaten by domestic animals and 19% is used for fuels, plastics, etc.)
  • More than 1 billion people live without adequate, renewable supplies of fresh water
  • Of the 208 million pregnancies in 2008, 86 million were unintended
  • In developing companies, the urban population is expected to grow by 1 million people every 5 days through 2030
  • By 2070, elderly people will outnumber children under age 15
Staggering staistics....that need action, not just discussion.