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The Book of Genesis tells the story of creation of man God said to man befruitful and increase in numbers fill the earth and subdue it Prior to thenineteenth century it was believed that God would provide for those who cameinto the world Day 101 But in 1798 this view was shaken by Thomas MalthusAn Essay on the Principle of Population in which he concluded that whilepopulation increases geometrically agricultural production only increasesarithmetically Current evidence shows that this theory may not be far from thetruth The world population reached 6 billion on October 12 1999 and isexpected to reach 93 billion by 2050 The impact of population growth isalready felt by a majority of nations The US population has increased by 78since 1950 Growing at 3000000 per year US population is expected toapproach half a billion people in 50 years1 A number of factors drive thisgrowth At the most basic level it is because far more people are born eachyear than die Advances in nutrition and health care have increased survivalrates and longevity for much of the world and shifted the balance betweenbirths and deathsThe demands of increasing population magnify demands for natural resourcesclean air and water as well as access to wilderness areas In the future whenthere are not enough resources to go around we will see significant scarcityand a backlash of poverty A number of problems lie behind scarcity and povertyUltimately our own numbers and the lifestyles many of us choose to live driveall the critical issues we confront Left unchecked the combination ofpopulation growth and consumption- along with increasing inequity between richand poor individuals and nations-will soon threaten not only the well-being buteven the lives of a majority of people on this planetWhen population levels reach a critical threshold we then see both a decline inthe resource base and damage to the environment which supplies all thoseresources These trends reinforce each other - the damaged environment providesfewer resources and the shortage of
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