Posts Tagged ‘7 billion’


Who’s Counting?

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By Cary Fowler

The following blog, written by Nourishing the Planet Advisory Group member Cary Fowler, was adapted from the Global Crop Diversity Trust’s Crop Diversity Topics.

World population just surpassed the big round number of 7,000,000,000.

Feeding another billion people will require many changes in our current food production system. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Mankind reached its first billion just as the 19th century got underway. That feat of fecundity required eons. It took us just 12 years, however, to tack on the last billion. We’re definitely on a roll.

Predictably, the latest milestone is passing by as a one-day news event. As long as I can remember, the media’s cursory coverage of population growth has been coupled with references to Malthus, who in 1798 famously asserted that population would inevitably outstrip food production. That was before the first billion.

Could the world feed so many people? The answer was obviously ‘yes’.



Four Billion New Reasons Why Food Will Become a Local Government Issue

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By Wayne Roberts

Citywatch: Whether it’s action or traction in the food world, cities are stepping up to the plate. The world is fast going urban, as are challenges of social, economic and environmental well-being. Citywatch is crucial to Worldwatch. Wayne Roberts, retired manager of the world-renowned Toronto Food Policy Council, has his eye out for the future of food in the city. 

Last week, the flashbulb explosion met the population explosion, as news cameras clicked at several newborns identified as the seventh billion humans in the world. Now that the global birthday party is over, it’s time for new thinking about preparing food for a party of seven billion.

As our population continues to grow, improving urban policies are key to ensure food security in cities. (Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

Any amount of food multiplied by seven billion is going to be a big number. Resources required will be almost seven times higher than when Thomas Malthus wrote his famous essay on human population, with its doomsday prediction that food production could never expand as rapidly as population growth, thereby condemning large numbers to hunger and want. And there’s little doubt the number will get larger, likely nine billion by 2050.

Human numbers have climbed from about 200 million in Christ’s time, to about a billion at the time of the American and French Revolutions, to some 3.5 billion during the 1960s era of birth control pills and “sexual revolution”—the term “population bomb” was coined in that decade—and then started hitting new growth plateaus every decade, not every other century or millennia. Nine billion people are expected for the birthday party in 2050.