Population = all the inhabitants of a particular town, area, or country
Current World Population Figure
We are 7 billion – Paul Ehrlich published his book The Population Bomb in 1968. And slowly, the bomb has gone off. This weekend marks the world population reaching 7 billion, the latest billion having been added in just 12 years. Paul Ehrlich reflects on the growth of world population and the problems it poses.
Peoplequake In his book Peoplequake, Fred Pearce argues that it’s not our population that is endangering the planet but rather individual consumption.
People and Planet – Broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough presents the 2011 RSA President’s Lecture. The dangers facing the earth’s ecosystems are well known and the subject of great concern at all levels. Climate change is high on the list. But there is an underlying and associated cause – population growth. Indeed, in Sir David Attenborough’s view, there is no major problem facing our planet that would not be easier to solve if there were fewer people and no problem that does not become harder – and ultimately impossible to solve – with ever more. And yet there seems to be a taboo on bringing the subject into the open.
Why the hunter-gatherer holds the key to our survival – – Pandora’s Seed: Why The Hunter-Gatherer Holds the Key to Our Survival traces the origin of many of today’s crises to a fundamental mismatch between our biology and the agricultural lifestyle humans developed during the Neolithic Revolution 10,000 years ago. In his book, Spencer Wells uses the latest genetic and anthropological data to demonstrate that although humankind’s ability to control our own food supply is what propelled us into the modern world, it had many downsides that we’re just now beginning to recognise.
Malthus and the New World – People love to hate him, but when historian Alison Bashford stumbled across the 1803 edition of Malthus’s ‘Essay on the Principle of Population’, an updated version of the first publication in 1798, she saw the British parson and political economist in a whole new light. The 1803 edition contained extra chapters, one of which examined population through the experience of the young colony of NSW. Alison Bashford began to realise that there was a great deal more in Malthus’s thesis than had been assumed-his study of the New World raised questions about colonialism, occupation, land, and how we share it- deeply moral and enduring concerns, which the contemporary world continues to grapple with.
Multiplication – “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” says God in the book of Genesis. Today, with a global population hitting seven billion, can we now say we’ve filled the earth, and set the commandment aside? Or should we be more worried about declining fertility rates? This week Encounter explores the numbers and the ethics behind the population debate.
Does Population Matter? – One of the world’s leading geographers Professor Danny Dorling visits the RSA to argue that our concerns over population growth may be overblown.
He aha te mea nui ki tēnei ao? Māku e ki atu. He tangata, he tangata, he tangata. (What is the most important thing in the world? I would reply that it is people, people, people.)
– Maori proverb, cited online RadioNZ (poster)