Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP peopleandplanet.net
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Drinking rainwater from banana leaf, Nigeria. (c) I. Uwanaka/UNEP
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population pressures > features

Humanity is the greatest challenge

by John Feeney

The growth in human population and rising consumption have exceeded the planet's ability to support us, argues John Feeney, writer and editor of growthmadness.org. It is time, he says, to ring the alarm bells and take radical action in order to avert unspeakable consequences. "We're out of our league, influencing systems we don't understand" he says. ... more

Stabilising population is a climate 'must'

by Fred Meyerson

Human population continues to grow by more than 75 million people annually. Since the first Earth Day in 1970, global population and annual carbon dioxide emissions have both increased by about 70 per cent. As a result, per capita emission rates remain steady at about 1.2 metric tons (mt) of carbon per person per year. ... more

Defusing the population bomb
by Carl Haub

World population reached 6 billion in 1999, 6.5 billion in 2006 and is expected to top 7 billion in 2012. The key factor in this growth is the number of babies born to each mother. Replacement level is 2.1. Forty years ago women in the developing world were having triple that number, and a population explosion loomed. So where are we today? We asked the eminent demographer, Carl Haub, to provide the answer. ... more

Closing the 'baby gap'

by Barbara Crossette

Industrialised nations fret about their declining population, but the more pressing problem is that developing nations can't control their growth, says Barbara Crossette, former New York Times correspondent in Asia and chief of the paper's UN bureau. ... more

One-child policy brings mothers prosperity - and pain
by Valerie Sartor

After 30 years of efforts, exponential population growth has been effectively controlled in China. The fertility rate is now 13 births per thousand people, the population growth rate 0.6 per cent (www.cia.gov). But China's one-child policy has brought pain as well as prosperity to Chinese women, says Valerie Sartor in this exclusive despatch. ... more

Habitable earth is shrinking
by Lester R. Brown

Our early twenty-first century civilization is being squeezed between advancing deserts and rising seas. Measured by the land area that can support human habitation, the earth is shrinking. ... more

China is facing 'environmental apocalypse'
China's environmental crisis has now reached the point where it threatens world stability - but the country's economic dynamism and scope for innovation could make it the world leader in a sustainable future according to a report released today to coincide with the visit to London of the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. ... more

Many charts of women's progress remain blank
by Thalif Deen

The lack of vital gender-related statistics - on population, health, education and labour - is distorting the social and economic position of women worldwide, according to a new UN report. ... more

Population hearings open in UK parliament
Parliamentary Hearings have opened in London into how population growth is effecting the UN Millennium Development Goals. This is widely seen as significant in view of the fact that neither Population nor Reproductive Health were listed in the seven goals set out by the United Nations at the turn of the century. Indeed population has been an almost taboo subject in international discussions since 1994 when the Cairo Conference on Population and Development put the emphasis on reproductive health and rights. ... more

Re-thinking the world's economic future
by Lester Brown

Last month we published the first of two articles by Lester Brown, President of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, drawn from his new book, in which he set out the reasons why we must urgently restructure the world economy in the face of the additional consumption pressures from the two Asian giants, China and India. In this second article he describes how this might be done. ... more

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