Tuesday, August 24, 2010
The implications of 6.8 billion people
The recent rapid increase in human population, says Wikipedia, over the past two centuries has raised concerns that humans are beginning to overpopulate the Earth, and that the planet may not be able to sustain present or larger numbers of inhabitants.
The population has been growing continuously since the end of the Black Death, around the year 1400; at the beginning of the 19th century, it had reached roughly 1,000,000,000 (1 billion). Increases in life expectancy and resource availability during the industrial and green revolutions led to rapid population growth on a worldwide level. By 1960, the world population had reached 3 billion; it doubled to 6 billion over the next four decades.
The scientific consensus is that the current population expansion and accompanying increase in usage of resources is linked to threats to the ecosystem. Many environmental problems, such as rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, global warming, and pollution, were believed to be aggravated by the population expansion.