MCDB 150 - Lecture 12 - Human and Environmental Impacts

Lecture 12 - Human and Environmental Impacts


Until recently, the world population has been growing faster than exponentially. Although the growth rate has slowed somewhat, there are about 80 million more people each year and about 3 billion more will be added by 2050 (a 50% increase). Population will probably increase more beyond that. Such growth is unprecedented and we cannot predict its long-term effects. The environmental impact of this population increase is bound to be astronomic. Large populations engender two problems: over-consumption in the rich countries which leads to environmental misery, and under-consumption in the poor countries which leads to human misery. People living in abject poverty ($1 per day) don't limit their fertility. Factory jobs in poor countries pay double that, approximately $2 per day. For population to stabilize, income must rise. If population is to increase by 50%, income needs to double--we are looking at a tripling of the world economy. The environment is currently overstressed. Can it survive a tripling of the economy?



Weeks, Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, pp. xix-xx, 1, 4-6

Sengupta, "In Bombay, Public Indignity Is Poverty's Partner."

Ying, Daughter of the River

LaFraniere, "Another School Barrier for African Girls: No Toilet."

Deutsch, "A Not-So-Simple Plan to Keep African Girls in School."

Bumiller, May You Be the Mother of a Hundred Sons, Ch. 5

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