World population nears 7 billion: Can we handle it? – 10/18/2011

For Your Entertainment (FYE)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44928812/ns/world_news/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soylent_Green

“”My father had 25 children — I have only 14 so far, and expect to produce more in the future,” says Kasadha, who has two wives. He considers a large family a sign of success and a guarantee of support in his old age.”

“As of Oct. 31, according to the U.N. Population Fund, there will be 7 billion people sharing Earth’s land and resources.

In Western Europe, Japan and Russia, it will be an ironic milestone amid worries about low birthrates and aging populations. In China and India, the two most populous nations, it’s an occasion to reassess policies that have already slowed once-rapid growth.

But in Burundi, Uganda and the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, the demographic news is mostly sobering as the region staggers under the double burden of the world’s highest birthrates and deepest poverty. The regional population of nearly 900 million could reach 2 billion in 40 years at current rates, accounting for about half of the projected global population growth over that span.”

 

“”Most of that growth will be in Africa’s cities, and in those cities it will almost all be in slums where living conditions are horrible,” said John Bongaarts of the Population Council, a New York-based research organization.”

 

“Experts say most of Africa — and other high-growth developing nations such as Afghanistan and Pakistan — will be hard-pressed to furnish enough food, water and jobs for their people, especially without major new family-planning initiatives.”

 

“”Extreme poverty and large families tend to reinforce each other,” says Lester Brown, the environmental analyst who heads the Earth Policy Institute in Washington. “The challenge is to intervene in that cycle and accelerate the shift to smaller families.”

Without such intervention, Brown says, food and water shortages could fuel political destabilization in developing regions.”

 

“Spain used to give parents 2,500 euros (more than $3,000) for every newborn child to encourage families to reverse the country’s low birth rate. But the checks stopped coming with Spain’s austerity measures, raising the question of who will pay the bills to support the elderly in the years ahead.”

 

“It’s a question bedeviling many European countries which have grappled for years over how to cope with shrinking birth rates and aging populations — and are now faced with a financial crisis that has forced some to cut back on family-friendly government incentives.

Spain and Italy, both forced to enact painful austerity measures in a bid to narrow budget deficits, are battling common problems: Women have chosen to have their first child at a later age, and the difficulties of finding jobs and affordable housing are discouraging some couples from having any children at all.”

 

“Unlike many countries in Europe, France’s population is growing slightly but steadily every year. It has one of the highest birth rates in the European Union with around 2 children per woman.

One reason is immigration to France by Africans with large-family traditions.”

 

“”The environment is being destroyed by the growing population. Trees are being cut down in big numbers and even now we can’t get enough firewood to cook food,” he said. “In the near future, we will starve.””

 

“”Children were a good labor force in the past when there was enough space to cultivate,” she said. “Today I can’t even feed my family properly. My kids just spend days doing nothing.””

 

” I worry about the world my 2-year old (read 9 months-old) is inheriting. The plentiful food, energy and water we took for granted are nearly gone…looks like a Soylent Green world from here on out.”

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