The Facts About Population Growth
- In October 2011, scientists estimate the planet's 7 billionth person was born.
- In 1968 the planet had half as many people as it has today.
- Scientists predict that by 2050, the world’s population will reach 9 billion people.
- Our planet can support more people than the current 7 billion. But we have to shape-up if we want to maintain our quality of life as the population continues to grow. Sadly, the people who will feel the strain on our resources first and most acutely are those who already without.
What We're Facing
We are running short on fresh water. It’s not what we drink that is the biggest concern; it’s what we make and the food we eat that truly gobbles up water. The UN recently declared that as soon as 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under a “water scarcity.”
Limited Land for Agriculture
There is only about half an acre of productive cropland on the planet for every person on earth. That's about half of what we need. The world food supply needs to double over a generation to keep up with demand, and if we consume land (and water) for agriculture at the rate we have for the last generation, we’ll reach our limits.
Many fish stocks have collapsed and others are on their way there, with serious consequences for people, economies and ecosystems that depend on bountiful oceans.
We have to make sure that communities around the world, especially young women, have access to education and thus to economic opportunities. Economic livelihood will lead to sustainability.
2. Water Conservation
Globally, we need to forge models for protecting rivers worldwide and invest in clean water through water funds. For example, in the Andean region of South America, the Conservancy hopes to have 32 funds in operation by 2015. The investment from those funds will protect 9 million acres of land that filters and feeds the water supply for 50 million people.
3. Sustainable Agriculture
We need to take a “sustainable intensification” approach. That is, produce more from less by using fertilizer and water with greater precision and bringing “degraded” or previously used lands back into production. Smart agriculture occurs when farmers and ranchers embrace the fact that they depend on environmental services that have to be conserved.
Make responsible choices every day to help protect our shared resources at all costs: