Earth is too crowded for Utopia


Introduction: Planet Under Pressure

Food: An estimated 1 in 6 people suffer from hunger and malnutrition while attempts to grow food are damaging swathes of productive land.

Water: By 2025, two-thirds of the world's people are likely to be living in areas of acute water stress.

Energy: Oil production could peak and supplies start to decline by 2010

Climate change: The world's greatest environmental challenge, according to the UK prime minister Tony Blair, with increased storms, floods, drought and species losses predicted.

Biodiversity: Many scientists think the Earth is now entering its sixth great extinction phase.

Pollution: Hazardous chemicals are now found in the bodies of all new-born babies, and an estimated one in four people worldwide are exposed to unhealthy concentrations of air pollutants.

Can the planet feed us?

The world does produce enough to feed everyone. But the food is often in the wrong place, or unaffordable, or can't be stored long enough. So making sure everyone has enough to eat is more about politics than science.

Earth is too crowded for Utopia

So if we believe that the size of the human "footprint" is a serious problem (and there is much evidence for this) then a rational view would be that along with a raft of measures to reduce the footprint per person, the issue of population management must be addressed.


BBC NEWS | Science/Nature