Science for a Crowded Planet
Mark Myers, former director, U.S. Geological Survey.
The Earth’s resources are immense, but not unlimited. For instance, nearly half of the world’s original forest cover has been lost, and each year another 16 million hectares are cut or burned. Water is another resource that has been greatly affected. Water shortages are expected to affect nearly 3 billion people in 2025. Air pollution has also become a global environmental problem. It not only affects the quality of the air we breathe, but it also impacts the land and the water. The World Health Organization states that 2.4 million people die each year from causes directly attributable to air pollution.
On top of the depletion of its basic resources, the Earth’s population has exploded. Even though population growth has slowed, the absolute number of people continues to climb; by 2050 the world’s population is expected to rise by 40% to 9.1 billion. As population and demand for natural resources continue to grow, environmental limits will become increasingly apparent. Improving living standards without destroying the environment will become a global challenge.
Population Growth, Natural Resources, Air Pollution
Myers, Mark. "Science for a Crowded Planet." Ensemble video, 01:19:44. February 26, 2009. https://ensemble.dickinson.edu/Watch/Tk3d9P8K