This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013

Today is Earth Day 2013, coordinated by the Earth Day Network. The emphasis this year is on climate change, which is obviously a huge issue, especially when there are so many people in the world who do not yet appreciate the impact that humans are having on the environment. Ever since my involvement in the first Earth Day in 1970, my focus has always been on population growth--reminding people of the underlying reason for our exponentially larger impact on the environment than ever before in history. Two hundred years ago there were scarcely one billion people on the planet--the same number that the Earth Day Network believes will be involved globally in today's celebration of the planet. By the time of the first Earth Day in 1970 the population had climbed to 3.7 billion--a 2.7 billion increase over the previous 170 years. That increase in population, coupled with clearly growing environmental problems, led to global alarm. Yet between 1970 and today, only 43 years later, we have added another 3.4 billion. We have nearly doubled in number since that first Earth Day (and, no, I don't think that Earth Day caused this!). How could we NOT have impacted the planet. The very same technology that allows us to live longer lives and thus grow exponentially in number also has serious side-effects that we tend to ignore, and of course we ignore them at our own peril. I'll repeat my comment from last year that every day needs to be Earth Day.

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