Unprecedented over-consumption in developed countries and high fertility rates in the least developed countries are threatening the natural environment and human well-being, according to a new report by The Royal Society.
Their conclusions are not as grim as those of population analyst Paul Ehrlich, but they centre around the same two issues: unsustainable population growth and the need to redistribute natural resources.
The report puts forth three recommendations that they consider crucial to alleviating the problems:
1) The international community must bring the 1.3 billion people living on less than $1.25 per day out of absolute poverty, and reduce the inequality that persists in the world today.
2) Developed and emerging economies must reduce material consumption levels through dramatic improvements in resource use efficiency such as finding novel ways to reduce waste; investing in sustainable resources, technologies and infrastructures; and “systematically decoupling economic activity from environmental impact.”
3) Developed nations must address the urgent need for reproductive health and voluntary family planning programs by providing universal access at a cost of an estimated $6 billion per year.
United Nations projections indicate that the human population will reach between 8 and 11 billion by 2050, with most of the growth coming in the least developed countries.
The population of the Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, is predicted to double from nearly 60 million people in 2005 to approximately 120 million by 2020.
[via BBC News]
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