Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

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Saturday, October 1, 2011

7 Billion Predicted by October 31st 2011

According to the United Nations, the world population is slated to reach 7 billion on October 31st this year. This week,  my class has been focusing on various aspects of the topic, including whether whether or not there will be enough food to feed us all, whether various governments should limit the number of children families should have, what the possible effects might be on the world climate, and whether or not there actually is a crisis or not.
The question of whether a world population of 7 billion constitutes a crisis or not depends on who or what you are reading, watching, or listening to. All of you need to do is scroll down GOOGLE, or YOU TUBE  and you can find arguments for both sides. Of course, which side has more, or better qualified experts has yet to be decided. So far the United Nations considers the subject important enough to have compiled a revision of its previous population reports. see below). National Geographic has decided to produce  a year long series on various aspects of the issue, and PBS has joined in on the effort.

Regardless of whether 7 billion  constitutes a crisis, there is no question that  there are many issues that need to be discussed, by individuals, students in classrooms, the population at large and governments worldwide. We all  need to educate ourselves - especially given the massive inequities that exist between the first world and the third world. Only then can we make informed decisions.

As the National Geographic introduction to its first issue in its seven part series put it: "Population is a complicated topic. With the worldwide population slated to top 7 billion in 2011, we decided it was one we needed to tackle. But we wanted to do it in a way that gives readers room to think. We spread out our coverage over a year, with articles that take deep dives into specific issues—demographics, food security, climate change, fertility trends, managing biodiversity—that relate to global population."

Here are a few useful links.  
You might also enjoy going to the Reading page to see a few more articles on the topic. At least two have comprehension  questions. 

image: Examples of overpopulation

The following video is a National Geographic promotion of its series on world population. It's worth watching.  My next post will feature the video 7 Million: Are You Typical. 

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