A home for seven billion

According to the United Nations Population Fund, the world’s population ballooned to 7 billion on Oct. 31. Just 200 years ago, that number was 1 billion.

The United Nations (UN) marked the milestone with much fanfare, and has invited the people of the world to help celebrate by sharing 7 billion stories on www.7billionactions.org.

In the past 50 years, the global population has more than doubled and the UN projects that it could possibly grow to 15 billion by the year 2100. The U.S. Census Bureau, which does its own world population estimate, projects that the 7 billion point will be reached in mid-March 2012.

As international organizations point out, this increasing rate of change brings with it massive challenges. Meeting the basic needs of so many will mean growing, shipping and distributing more food, providing more clean water, health care and shelter, and attempting to avoid causing further damage to our environment.

One answer to counter such problems is a slower human birth rate, which has already been accomplished in many developed nations. Contraceptives are increasingly gaining acceptance, and women are delaying childbearing. This trend should continue and expand in less developed nations. Alone, however, it is not enough to ensure that Earth remains hospitable to future generations.

Information for this article taken from online.wsj.com and heraldtribune.com

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