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Sierra Daily

Oct 25, 2011

Baby 7 Billion

The other day I asked my 9-year-old to guess how many people there were in the world. "A couple million?" she suggested. I pointed my thumb upward. "A hundred million?" Thumb still up. "A billion?" Thumb up, at which point she gave up. Demographers calculate, I informed her, that any day now (if it has not happened already), the 7 billionth human will be born. She was shocked. As well she might be! Since she was born, according to this ingenious calculator from the (UK) Guardian, 700 million more souls have joined us. Since I was, back in the middle of the last century, the world's population has increased by more than 250 percent.

Talking about this clearly very large problem is remarkably difficult. The subject is riddled with rhetorical and moral landmines, often becoming literally inhumane. What a relief, then, to find the smart discussion going on at RH Reality Check on the occasion of Baby 7 Billion. I hope you get the food and schooling you need, Baby, because we're going to need everyone's help to get out of this one.

--Paul Rauber 

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