Overshoot: Population and the Looming Disasters of the 21st Century
by David Jordan
Description The human population has increased sixfold in little over 150 years and may already be well past its safe and sustainable level. ... Show synopsis Description The human population has increased sixfold in little over 150 years and may already be well past its safe and sustainable level. Forests are rapidly disappearing and deserts are expanding. Much if the world's agricultural land is degraded, water crisis and peak oil are looming and the planet is dangerously heating up. 70% of biologists believe that the sixth mass extinction is underway. Meanwhile the world adds 78 million extra people every year - a population the size of Germany. 2.5 billion will be added by 2050. Every day 24,000 people die of hunger and its related diseases and 100,000 people are added to the world's slum population. The author draws on publications such as the Millennium Ecosystem Report, various UN reports and those of the IPCC, together with news articles from around the world to examine the health of the planet and what the future may hold. About the Author David Jordan is an honours graduate and public servant. He is an enthusiastic researcher of genetics, evolutionary biology and environmental issues with a particular interest in population and its impacts and consequences. He has had one other book published to date: Clinical Depression: Unleashing the Terminator. Book Extracts " INTRODUCTION In the last 150 years the human race has undergone a massive population explosion due to improvements in life expectancy, in medicine and in agriculture supported by cheap and abundant fossil fuels. However it has become a population overshoot with numbers exceeding the earth's safe carrying capacity. The world population in 1804 was 1 billion. By 1900 it had reached 1.6 billion. By 2000 it was 6.1 billion. By 2007, 6.7 billion. The world's population now grows by some 78 million every year. That's like adding a country the size of Germany every year. The consequences are diminishing resources, the destruction of the natural environment, the sixth mass extinction in the planets history and global warming. Over the last 20 years the world population has increased by 34%. To sustain present consumption levels we would need a planet 25% larger. With the population soaring to a projected 9.2 billion by 2050 there is bound to be a crunch, most likely several crunches. By 2050 it is estimated that we will be consuming the resources of two planets and the implications for future generations are ominous. This essay explains when how and why this population explosion took place and examines some of the present and possible future consequences for people and the planet.