Population Overload!

How will the growing world population affect us?

There are nearly seven billion people on Earth today, more than twice as many people on Earth today as there were 45 years ago.


When the ancient Egyptian pyramids were built, there were fewer than 30 million people on our planet. When London’s Big Ben was being built, the world’s population reached one billion for the first time. When Mount Rushmore in the United States was being carved – in the late 1920s – the world’s population reached two billion.


The United Nations predicts that by 2050, Earth’s population will rise by more than 30 per cent to 8.91 billion.

Food

  • Today, all the world’s farms occupy an area equal to that of the entire continent of South America.
  • If the population were to double overnight, demand for food would increase and supply would decrease, so the price of food would likely jump dramatically.
  • To find more food for this new world, hungry countries would probably turn to the oceans more than ever.

Housing

  • It can take over 100 trees to build just one wood-framed house, so five million homes require a forest the size of Rhode Island in the United States.
  • If the population doubled in an instant, cities near large bodies of fresh water might eventually mushroom in size, housing millions of people in large skyscrapers.

Water

  • In New York, the water system is designed to handle more than 3.8 billion litres of water each day. With twice as many people taking baths and flushing toilets, the amount of water that gushes though an aging sewer system doubles.
  • The lack of clean water could cause the outbreak of diseases such as cholera and typhoid fever.
  • Water covers 70 percent of the planet, but only three percent of that is freshwater – and most of that is locked up in glaciers and icecaps.
  • The average household uses over 870 litres of water a day for showering, washing our clothes and doing the dishes.
  • A lack of water could stall the housing boom, because it takes more than 300,000 litres of water to make 1 tonne of steel.

Power

  • A worldwide building boom would put enormous pressure on the power systems, and coal is one of the quickest solutions.
  • With the massive expansion of our power system, pollution will be increasingly toxic.
  • In 1952, thousands of people died during the great Smog. If the population doubled, it would be much worse. In a world of more than 14 billion people, cities are the best solution, because they use half as much electricity as families who live in houses.

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