Population Growth

POPULATION GROWTH addresses a fundamental problem: even if we can change our habits to use only clean and efficient sources of energy such as solar, wind, and water power, global environmental problems will continue to worsen if the world’s population continues to grow at the present rate. In 2015 there were over 7 billion people on Earth, with the population increasing by over 100,000 every day. (For current population number, see http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/). Yet it is difficult for students to see the effects of population growth. They are therefore asked to think about the quality of their own lives as a starting point, and to recognize how satisfying their needs takes a share of the Earth’s resources. By comparing their own lives with conditions in countries such as China and India, they will be in a better position to consider what may happen if the human population continues to grow as rapidly as it is today. Through mathematical investigations, your students will learn about factors that contribute to the rate of population growth, and the idea of carrying capacity, which relates an ecosystem to the populations it can sustain. The cultural and religious dimensions of efforts to curb population growth are sensitively discussed, and students are encouraged to form their own opinions about what can and should be done by individuals and by governments to control the growth of the global human population.

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