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

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

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

Earth is too crowded for Utopia

by Chris Rapley

The global population is higher than the Earth can sustain, and solving environmental problems such as climate change is going to be impossible without tackling the issue, argues Chris Rapley, Director of the British Antarctic Survey. He was writing in the first of a series of environmental opinion pieces on the BBC News website entitled The Green Room. We reproduce his comments here as a contribution to a neglected topic. ... more

Asian giants will dictate future says Worldwatch
The dramatic rise of China and India presents one of the gravest threats´┐Żand greatest opportunities´┐Żfacing the world today, says the Worldwatch Institute in its newly released State of the World 2006 report. ... more

Rescue plan for a civilisation in decline
by Lester Brown

Lester Brown, influential thinker and president of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, has created waves in America with his latest book, Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble. Here, in the first of two articles extracted from the book, he outlines the challenge facing the earth and its people in the coming century. In a second article he will outline his rescue plan. ... more

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