Tuesday, November 1, 2011

7 billion people

You must have heard in the news that the world population has reached 7 billion people these days. They even show images of a baby that, according to the United Nations, is supposed to be the 7 billionth person in the world. I wonder how they can be so sure of that, as it is estimated that 5 babies are born in the planet every second! Anyway, I suppose it is just symbolic.

Several questions arise: Can the world feed so many people? Are there enough resources for everybody? Will the population continue growing at the same rate?... Nobody knows for sure, but by observing the data we have today, experts can speculate about what the future will bring.

In this video by National Geographic you will learn some facts about the global population.

One fact that is easily predictable is that the regions where the population will grow faster are Africa and Asia, as this picture by Lauren Manning shows.
World population growth, by Lauren Manning

But what strikes me most is the fact that it’s only been during the last 200 years that the population has grown exponentially, while before then it used to grow slowly. This exceptional growth can be put down to the Industrial Revolution, which brought about the possibility of increasing the resources enormously as well as improving the sanitation and medical advances. This point is explained in this video by NPR.

In the following video we can hear an explanation about where and why the population is growing so rapidly. But before watching it, you can learn the meaning of some of the terms used in it. Then check what you have understood by answering the questions.

  • Billion. In USA and, since 1974, in Great Britain as well, a billion is a thousand millions (1,000,000,000), whereas in other countries such as Spain it means a million millions (1,000,000,000,000). So, be careful, don’t be misled!
  • Exponential means very fast, increasing rapidly.
  • Fertility rate or birthrate is a number that shows how many babies are born in a particular place at a particular time.
  • Developing countries are those countries that have few industries, and many poor people live in them.
  • Developed countries are those rich, highly industrialised countries.
  • A milestone is an important event in life or in history.
  • If something has doubled it is now twice as big.
  • If something has tripled it is now three times as big.
  • Growth: an increase in the number or size of something. A noun derived from the verb "grow".
  • Pregnancy is the condition of a woman who is going to have a baby.
  • Family planning is the use of birth control methods to determine the number of children a family will have.
  • Aging population is a population that is growing old.
  • Crowded means full of people.
  • To manage resources is to control the use of the raw materials that a country produces.
  • A household is the people that live together in a house.
  • A major issue is an important topic or subject.

A tip of the hat to Richard Byrne for inspiring this blogpost.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...