What shall we do with our packed planet?
The official number of people on our planet is 6,000,000,000. Six billion!
The world's population is growing very quickly. It adds up to 184 people every minute, 11,040 every hour, 264,960 every day and 97 million every year! Just imagine how many people there will be on our planet by the year 2150 if the present trend continues.
Of course, the world's population hasn't always grown so quickly. In fact, the number of people on the planet started off growing very slowly. That's because people didn't live as long as they do today.
As time passed, better medical care and nutrition and cleaner water helped people live longer. Population growth began to pick up speed. Before long, the world's population doubled — and it has kept doubling!
Every new person added to the planet needs food, water, shelter, clothes and fuel. More people mean more cars, roads, schools, hospitals and shops.
The trouble is our planet's riches are limited. Take water, for example: although water covers most of the planet, less than 1% of it can be used for drinking and washing. One out of every 13 people around the world does not always have enough clean water.
Food shortages are even more common.
In many countries, there is simply not enough food to feed the growing populations. 150 million children in the world suffer from poor health because of food shortages. Worldwide, 1 of every 7 people does not get enough to eat. As more people drive more cars, use more electricity, throw away more litter, and cut down more trees, our planet becomes more and more polluted.
Although every person uses the planet's resources, some people use a lot more than others. The richest billion people — especially Americans — use the most resources. They also produce the most waste.
Of course, having 6 billion people also means that there is more brainpower around to find a way out.

Last Updated (Sunday, 21 February 2010 12:45)