22 Sep '11, 8am

World population hits 7 billion today. But should you be scared? Learn all about it in our special series.

World population hits 7 billion today. But should you be scared? Learn all about it in our special series.

The world population will hit 7 billion on Halloween this year, according to a guesstimate from the U.N. (Who knew those goons with the black helicopters had such a macabre sense of humor?) So, should you be scared? On the one hand, does the number 7 billion really matter? Didn’t we stop worrying about population decades ago when overblown predictions of global famine failed to come to pass? Aren’t birthrates declining all over the world, with some rich countries actually starting to shrink? Can’t technology enable more people to live better on fewer resources? Don’t we have bigger problems to worry about—the economy, war, human rights, Toddlers & Tiaras ? On the other hand, in an age of runaway climate change and peak oil and water scarcity and disappearing biodiversity, is population growth more worrisome than ever? Shouldn’t it be particularly concerning in countries ri...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/article/series/2011-09-22-7-billion-...

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