Increase in population creates new challenges

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Jennifer Werner
jwerner2@radford.edu

History was made Monday, Oct. 31 when the United Nations Population Fund reported that the population of Planet Earth reached seven billion. This poses many new challenges including the ability to provide acceptable food for everyone around the globe.

Radford University student, John Kuhn, voiced his opinion on the announcement of the seven billionth growth, stating, “As far as population growth, we’re already over the planet’s carrying capacity. So, resource wise, we’re going to be in trouble soon especially considering that everyone is living longer.”

The announcement also had professors talking including literature and the environment professor, Justin Askins, “The more people, the more the environmental problems.”
According to The Global Post, Earth reached the one billion mark in 1805. By 1927, the world population had increased to two billion. Then, in 1974, the population doubled to four billion before reaching the six billion milestone on October 12, 1999.

According to Fox News, however, the U.S. Census Bureau disagreed and claimed a more than 28 million person difference, stating that the current world population is only 6,971,933,858, and won’t reach seven billion until March 2012. The United Nations later admitted that the seven billion is simply an estimate.

Although it is difficult to tell whether the world has officially reached the seven billion mark, one thing is for certain; the Earth’s population is increasing at an enormous rate.
The Global Post reported that many experts have predicted that this increase in population will cause extreme environmental destruction and cause a deficit of natural resources if there isn’t any action taken to create an enhanced sustainable way of living.

In order to feed the nine billion people reported to enter the world by the middle of the century, the global output of food production will have to increase by at least 17 percent. The problem, however, is whether there will be enough food available to the people who need it the most, according to the United Nations.

This past September, PepsiCo, the United Nations World Food Program, the PepsiCo Foundation, and the United States Agency International Development made steps for announcing a proposal to undertake the insecurity of economic and food shortages in Ethiopia by mounting the quantity of chickpeas harvested each year.

“We have to change the way we’re consuming and producing. The world is reaching limits,” said UNFPA advisor on population and economics, Michael Hermann.