Booming populations, rising economies, threatened biodiversity: the tropics will never be the same
For those living either north or south of the tropics, images of this green ring around the Earth’s equator often include verdant rainforests, exotic animals, and unchanging weather; but they may also be of entrenched poverty, unstable governments, and appalling environmental destruction. A massive new report, The State of the Tropics, however, finds that the truth is far more complicated-and much more interesting.
Starting with Aristotle’s misguided belief that no civilization could thrive in the tropics, the region-which covers around 40 percent of the world’s surface-has long been defined by views from the outside. But, according to the report’s co-author Sandra Harding, that must change.
“At a time of increasing concern about social, environmental and economic sustainability, a different approach is long overdue,” writes Harding, Vice-Chancellor and President of James Cook University. “It is time to recognize and acknowledge the tropics as a region defined from within, rather than without, to embrace the wisdom and experience of its peoples.”
Compiled by 12 institutions, the 400-plus page report attempts to explore the full region of the tropics, including demographics, health, science, economics, biodiversity, and climate change, among other issues. It finds that major changes are afoot in the region, including incredible population growth, rising economic importance, clashes over land-use, imperiled biodiversity, and worsening impacts of climate change.
Current World Population
Net Growth During Your Visit