Another Inconvenient Truth: The World’s Growing Population Poses a Malthusian Dilemma

May 14, 2010 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to those who responded to Science Magazine’s one-sided treatment of food demands without discussion of how to address population growth (found at The published letters are found at Thanks to Kathy McKee for this link, and thanks to Merloyd Ludington, Roger Plenty, Peter Salonius, Joel Marx and Kathy McGee from this mailing list for their postings.

Thanks to Joe Bish for this article from Scientific American.

By 2050, the world will host nine billion people—and that’s if population growth slows in much of the developing world. Today, at least one billion people are chronically malnourished or starving. Simply to maintain that sad state of affairs would require the clearing (read: deforestation) of 900 million additional hectares of land, according to Pedro Sanchez, director of the Tropical Agriculture and Rural Environment Program at The Earth Institute at Columbia University.

The bad news beyond the impacts on people, plants and animals of that kind of deforestation: There isn’t that much land available. At most, we might be able to add 100 million hectares to the 4.3 billion already under cultivation worldwide.

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Current World Population


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