How Many People??
There was a report the other day on PBS titled "How Many People Can Live on Planet Earth" or something like that. I Tivo'd it and watched about half of it tonight.
Water, as we are all too aware, is growing more and more scarce in the world. Fresh water that is, the stuff you can drink. They talked about how many places in the world are in constant water shortages. It's all due to our use of water; in manufacturing and farming mostly; but the population growth puts a strain on what water there is. After all we don't make or create water in any quantities. There is some very slight that is produced as a byproduct of some processes but for the most part the water that we have now was here 500,000 years ago, either locked up in a glacier or somewhere else.
In 1800 there were less than a billion people on the planet, by 1950 or thereabouts the number was just under 2.5 billion world wide. Today, just 60 years later it is closing in on 7 billion and projected to reach 9B by 2050. Most of that population growth is due to advances in medicine and also industrialization and engineered crops that have higher yields as well as other advances. But the extension of a persons life as well as being able to treat injuries and illnesses is what caused the population to rocket skyward in the 1800s up to today. Before that the world population remained roughly the same for hundreds of years they claim.
The world population is increasing at the rate of 200,000 people a day.
They also talked about how there is little tillable land in the world that is not already under the plow. Here in the US our urban sprawl chips away at farm land as the pressure (at least here in NJ) for farmers to sell their land for huge sums so developers can put up homes and condos. That has of course slowed considerable in the past couple years with the economic crisis but its still happening. NJ has a farmland preservation act which I have not research the particulars of but basically it locks up the land to be used for farming only. In exchange they get some sort of tax break and I think they can sell some small percentage of land that borders on a roadway for single family homes with a minimum lot size of 1 acre I think but I'm not sure of that. I know all the lists sold off around here are 1 acre in size but that is probably controlled by zoning not the Farm Act.
Anyway, we need to stop taking good land for homes and malls and condos. We need to preserve forests too as they are a critical part of the watershed and the whole water cycle.
On the report they talked about how some governments and corporations are buying land in other countries and using it to grow crops that are then exported back home.
If it airs again in your area I suggest you watch it.
Here it is on YouTube (I should have known)