Environmental impact of population growth



Earth's population currently numbers 5.4 billion; even given optimistic assumptions for reduction in growth rates, the number will double by the middle of the next century with most of the increase in the developing countries. Rapid population growth in the developing world raises the fundamental dilemma of how to alleviate chronic hunger and poverty in the short run while preserving the atmosphere and ecosystem services required for long-term human and biospheric sustenance. This dilemma, and the compromises required to solve it, were discussed by twenty-five researchers from five countries at the Aspen Global Change Institute 1992 Summer Science Session III, Food, Conservation, and Global Environmental Change: Is Compromise Possible?, held from August 16 to 28, in Aspen, Colo.