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7 billion mark no cause for alarm

By Cai Hui (Beijing Morning Post)

15:40, November 02, 2011

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

Beijing, Nov.2 (People's Daily Online) --The population of the earth has reached 7 billion, causing panic worldwide.

It indeed needs attention that the growth of the global population is accelerating. It took 125 years for global population to increase from 1 billion to 2 billion, 12 years to increase from 5 billion to 6 billion, but only two years to increase from 6 billion to 7 billion.

Population growth is a geometric growth, which is quite obscure. To understand it better, we can use such a metaphor: If the water lily leaves of a pond increase by 100 percent per day and will fully cover the pond and bring a biological disaster to all the creatures of the pond on the 30th day, people probably will still not realize the risk on the 29th day, because on the 29th day the water lily leave will still cover only a half of the pond and the danger still seems to be far away.

We do not know how many people the earth could really hold, and therefore we must be highly aware of the population issue. However, it is completely unnecessary to worry too much about the current population.

First, the global economic growth is accelerating too. Since 1820, the global GDP has been growing rapidly. Karl Marx once said that the wealth that people created in the past 200 years had exceeded the all the wealth that people created in the thousands of years. Let us take China as an example. The population of China had already reached 100 million in the Song dynasty, and now, it is not a difficult thing using its current wealth to support a population more than 10 times as large as the population of the Song dynasty.

Second, people indeed consume resources that are non-renewable. However, resources can be allocated through market so they can be used efficiently.

Third, the signs of a decline in the world population have emerged. Some foreign demographers have even put forward that 8.3 billion will be a tipping point at which the world population will actually drop. Given the inertia of the increases and decreases in population, it should be worried about the fall in the number of world population, because once a trend emerges, it will hardly be reversed until several decades later.

The increase and decrease of world population is a highly professional issue that should be open to discussions and welcome different voices. The milestone of 7 billion people is not only a warning but also an inevitable result.

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Observer at 2011-11-04222.127.65.*
Don"t worry, be happy. One day (maybe soon) mother earth will burp and erase the majority of human beings from her planet. Do you know where your children are today?

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