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  1. 1
    Peer Reviewed

    The effects of population on the depletion of fresh water.

    Wyman RJ

    Population and Development Review. 2013 Dec; 39(4):687-704.

    The most immediate environmental problem in major regions of the world is probably the scarcity of fresh water for agriculture. Insufficiency and irregularity of rainfall require the use of stored water. Both major compartments for fresh water storage -- glaciers and groundwater -- are being depleted rapidly and at similar rates. Drawdown of groundwater is primarily the result of irrigation required to supply the food needs of large populations. Glacier melt is an effect of global warming chiefly caused by high levels of industrial production and transport. However, an important fraction of glacier melt is caused by food chain emissions (agricultural greenhouse gases and black carbon or cooking soot). In toto, the loss of water resulting from food and agriculture may be significantly greater than that resulting from industrial production and transport, the factors more commonly cited. This suggests that the role of population, closely linked to food and agriculture, is central to the depletion of fresh water.
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  2. 2

    Liquid assets: How demographic changes and water management policies affect freshwater resources. Summary.

    Boberg J

    In: Liquid assets: How demographic changes and water management policies affect freshwater resources, [by] Jill Boberg. Santa Monica, California, RAND, 2005. xiii-xxiii.

    Demographic factors play an important role in environmental change, along with biophysical, economic, sociopolitical, technological, and cultural factors, all of which are interrelated. Recent demographic trends have sparked concern about the impact of the human population on a critical element of the natural environment - fresh water. In the last 70 years, the world's population has tripled in size while going from overwhelmingly rural to a near balance of urban and rural - a change that affects both how humans use water and the amount they consume. In the late 1980s, concern over a potential water crisis began to grow. Much of the resulting literature has taken an alarmist view. Numerous reports sensationalized the so-called water crisis without talking into account the local or regional nature of water resources and the relationship between supply and demand. A number of factors are cited to support the position that the earth is headed toward a water crisis. They include the following: the human population continues to grow; water withdrawals are outpacing population growth; per-capita water availability is declining; clean, potable water is less available worldwide. (excerpt)
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  3. 3

    Making the link: population, health, environment.

    Nash JG; De Souza RM

    Washington, D.C., Population Reference Bureau [PRB], MEASURE Communication, 2002 Aug. [8] p.

    The number of people on Earth, where they live, and how they live all affect the condition of the environment. People can alter the environment through their use of natural resources and the production of wastes. Changes in environmental conditions, in turn, can affect human health and well-being. Human demographic dynamics, such as the size, growth, distribution, age composition, and migration of populations, are among the many factors that can lead to environmental change. Consumption patterns, development choices, wealth and land distribution, government policies, and technology can mediate or exacerbate the effects of demographics on the environment. The precise impact of a given change depends on the interplay among all these factors, but it is clear that demographic change can affect the environment. (excerpt)
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  4. 4

    Workshop report on human population dynamics and resource demand, 30 November - 1 December 1990. IUCN -- the World Conservation Union, 18th General Assembly, Perth, Australia.

    International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources [IUCN]. Social Sciences Division. Population and Natural Resources Programme

    Gland, Switzerland, IUCN, 1991. viii, 53 p.

    A report on a human population dynamics and resource demand workshop includes a discussion of 1) the ambiguities of sustainable development 2) implementing the principals of caring for the earth, 3) families, communities and sustainable use of natural resources with examples from Australia, Korea, Nepal, Colombia, and Burkina Faso, and priorities and followup action on population and natural resources. The Appendices contain brief accounts of the preassembly meetings, the workshop agenda, a list of participants, a concept paper on population and environment links, a resolution on human population dynamics and resource demand, a resolution on women and natural resource management, a report on the meeting on future orientations of The World Conservation Union's "women and the natural resource management program," and a list of papers available on request. Ambiguities pointed out, for example, by Dr. van den Oever were that population growth, which is a demographic phenomena, needs to be considered separately from resource consumption at high levels. Another distinction was made between decreasing the rate of population growth and stopping population growth entirely. Stable populations continue to grow until they become stationary. Another distinction was made between the demographic data available and the lack of similar data on natural resources such as trees, plants, or animals. Another, discussant, Professor Malin Falkenmark, noted the lack of attention paid to the single most important resource to sustain life, water. In order to implement principles of caring for the earth, universities and students must become more involved in advocacy and in the real world. Policy decisions are difficult to make in Pakistan. Americans think that their own over-consumption needs to be checked before they can interfere in developing countries. The priorities are population growth, dealing with the inequities between rich and poor, resource consumption, and not ignoring the southern developing countries while eastern Europe currently receives attention.
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  5. 5

    [The use of water: a critical focus on the population-environment-resources relationship] El uso del agua: un enfoque critico de la relacion poblacion-ambiente-recursos.

    Vargas Velazquez S

    PAPELES DE POBLACION. 1998 Jan-Mar; 4(15):177-92.

    The case of the Laja River basin in Mexico illustrates the argument that over exploitation of water resources must be analyzed in broader terms than mere population growth. The work begins with an examination of the persistence in Mexico of a Malthusian focus in works on the relationship between population growth and the carrying capacity of river basins. Theoretical focuses that include social, cultural, and economic characteristics as well as physical factors in definitions of environment assume a systemic perspective that makes possible examination of relations between regional social systems and natural systems. The Laja basin was selected for study because of its high degree of internal ecological diversity, wide variety of agricultural systems, and multiple conflicts over water use. In the past three decades, with introduction of deep well technology and policies to promote a cheap food supply, a dualist agricultural economy has developed in which large producers growing commercial and export crops coexist with subsistence farmers who have probably reduced their use of irrigation. The river basin is deteriorating due to over exploitation of all natural resources and rapid demographic growth stemming from regional industrialization. The region has arrived at critical limits in only a few years, with the local population little involved in the process. The case suggests that proposals to stem deterioration of water resources cannot rely solely on technical solutions, but must involve achievement of consensus between the parties involved.
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  6. 6

    Beyond Malthus: sixteen dimensions of the population problem.

    Brown LR; Gardner G; Halweil B

    Washington, D.C., Worldwatch Institute, 1998 Sep. 89 p. (Worldwatch Paper No. 143)

    This study looks at 16 dimensions or effects of population growth in order to gain a better perspective on how future population trends are likely to affect the human prospect. The evidence gathered here indicates that the rapid population growth prevailing in a majority of the world's countries is not going to continue much longer. Either countries will get their act together, shifting quickly to smaller families, or death rates will rise from one or more [stresses such as AIDS, ethnic conflicts, or water shortages]. The sixteen topics are grain production, fresh water, biodiversity, climate change, oceanic fish catch, jobs, cropland, forests, housing, energy, urbanization, natural recreation areas, education, waste, meat production, and income. (EXCERPT)
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  7. 7

    Population growth and consumption.

    Chalkley K

    POPULATION TODAY. 1997 Apr; 25(4):4-5.

    The relationship between population growth, resource consumption, and environmental degradation is complex. The rise in "greenhouse gases" that will cause climatic change is clearly due to human activity, and pollutants are often concentrated in densely populated areas. However, even an area with a negative population growth, such as Russia, can experience severe environmental degradation due to poor management. Consumption patterns have the most effect on ozone depletion, while population growth threatens biodiversity of and within species through the destruction of ecosystems. Migration joins population growth and social factors, such as land inequality, as major causes of deforestation, and global demand for water is expected to increase faster than the rate of population growth. Coastal development and over-fishing threaten to deplete the oceans, while soil quality is threatened by inappropriate land use. Estimates of the earth's carrying capacity range from less than 3 billion to more than 44 billion people, indicating how difficult it is to assess this figure. Development efforts throughout the world may lead to human gains that will ultimately be negated by environmental losses. These factors have led to growing support for environmentally sustainable development.
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  8. 8

    Population growth, demographic change and environment in developing countries.

    Potrykowska A

    In: Demographic transition: the Third World scenario, edited by Aijazuddin Ahmad, Daniel Noin, H.N. Sharma. Jaipur, India, Rawat Publications, 1997. 183-204.

    This book chapter describes world population growth and distribution and patterns in China and India. The author discusses population structure and the effect of population growth on the environment. It is stated that population may double in the next 50 years. Growth of population in developing countries mandates both socioeconomic development and family planning programs. 95% of world population growth occurs in developing countries. The annual increase in total world population amounts to 87 million people. Africans are the fastest growing population in the world. Population growth does not match the distribution of world resources; it affects land use patterns, consumption patterns, and the environment. Developed country populations represent about 25% of world population, but they consume 50% of the world's food. Industrialized farming in the West uses a large proportion of world energy and financial resources. Livestock in the US consume 25% of the world's entire grain production, which is equal to the entire consumption in both India and China. The causes of hunger, malnutrition, and famine in developing countries originate in the economic and political sphere and are influenced by external factors. There is a need to increase food production and to use more advanced farming techniques. The land newly added to production each year may equal the amount of unusable land due to erosion, dryness, salt deposits, and water saturation. Agricultural demand for water is likely to double during 1970-2000. Growing food demand will create the need to increase use of chemical insecticides and fertilizers. Population pressure on the land to produce more food and cash crops leads to losses of topsoil, trees, and native plants and animals. Environmental damage is a result of poverty, affluence, land tenure systems, uncontrolled commercialization of natural resources, inadequate pollution controls, destructive farming methods, and urbanization.
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  9. 9

    The future of populous economies. China and India shape their destinies.

    Livernash R

    ENVIRONMENT. 1995 Jul-Aug; 37(6):6-11, 25-34.

    Population in 1995 was about 1.2 billion in China and about 935 million in India. Populations are expected to reach respectively 1.5 billion and 1.4 billion by 2025. These two countries now and in the future will average about 35% of total world population. This article compares the current and expected demographic, economic, and environmental conditions in China and India. How these countries manage their growth, poverty, and population will affect the region and the world as well as each nation. China's fertility is now below replacement but population momentum will increase population by about 300 million/year. India's fertility is 3.6 children/woman and India will add 450 million/year. China's population over 60 years old will reach 20% by 2020, while India's will be under 15% in 2025. China will be almost 55% urban by 2025 from 30% in the 1990s, and India will be 45% urban from 27% urban. China's economic growth has averaged over 9%/year compared to India's 5% annual growth during the 1980s and the economic decline during the 1990s. China has 12% of rural population living below the poverty line and India has about 33% of its total population impoverished. China's life expectancy is about 10 years higher. Under-five mortality is 43/1000 live births in China and 131/1000 in India. Poverty-related diseases are still high in India. China is a homogenous population with an authoritarian regime. India is a democracy with a large nongovernmental community and a heterogenous population. India has about 33% of the land area of China but over twice the agricultural land per person. About 50% of China's land and only 25% of India's land is irrigated. Water resources are problems in northern China and much of India. Air and water pollution are problems in both countries. Differences in the population-environment-development context are discussed in terms of the effects of poverty, the constraints posed by development, and the environmental impact of rising per capita consumption. It is concluded that India faces the more difficult future.
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  10. 10

    [Mankind and water] L'homme et l'eau.

    Collomb P; Levy ML; Belle P

    Paris, France, Institut National d'Etudes Demographiques [INED], 1995 Feb. 4 p. (Population et Societes No. 298)

    Water constitutes 80% of the earth's surface. It is an essential factor for development. Of all renewable resources on the planet, fresh water is the most intractable. Fresh water represents only 2.5% of all water in the world. If one includes the fresh water in polar ice caps and glaciers, it makes up 1%. All life on earth has access to only 47,000 sq. km of renewable water each year. Most of this water returns to the sea unused. An eighth falls far away from inhabited areas. So the high limit of renewable water used under technical and actual demographic conditions is 15,000 sq. km/year (2500 sq. m/person/ year). 2.5 l of water/person/day is the amount needed to satisfy just metabolic demands. In developed countries, the demand is 100 l/person/day (e.g., toilets require 8-10 l for each flush). Water consumption ranges from less than 6 to more than 800 sq. m/year/person (52 sq. m/year/person). Fresh water use is as unequal as consumption. California uses 10,000 sq. m of water/persons/year, yet it has a semi-arid climate. It is depleting its groundwater resources. Water consumption has increased 230% between 1950 and 1990. Population growth is increasing the number of countries surpassing water scarcity thresholds. Almost 80 countries now suffer from water shortages during some points of the year. 28 countries are familiar with chronic shortages. Some areas of the world already have universal deterioration of water resources. Access to fresh water is of strategic importance. More than 200 river and lake basins cross international borders. Israel exercises strict control on water usage in Jordan. Bangladesh is asking the international community to finance dams in India and Nepal to control the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers which often bring fatal floods. The solution to these problems will arise from political, economic, and technical cooperation and demographic policy.
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  11. 11

    [Man and water] L'homme et l'eau.

    Collomb P; Levy ML; Belle P

    Population et Societes. 1995 Feb; (298):1-4.

    Land availability has attracted more attention than potential shortages of fresh water as a problem of population growth. Fresh water is indispensable to life. Only about 1% of the earth's water is fresh and available for use. Of the 119,000 cu. km of water falling as precipitation each year, over half returns unused to the sea and one-eighth falls far from human population. Under current technical and demographic conditions, the upper limit of capacity in effectively utilizable renewable water does not exceed 15,000 cu. km per year, or 2500 cu. m per capita per year. An estimated 2.5 liters of water per day are necessary to meet strictly metabolic requirements. Domestic needs have been estimated at 100 liters per day or 40 cu. m per year in the most developed countries. The world average consumption is 52 cu. m, but the range is from less than 6 cu. m in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, and Bangladesh to over 200 in the US and over 800 in Australia. On average, agricultural consumption is eight times greater than domestic consumption, at 444 cu. m per inhabitant. Agricultural consumption ranges from 216 cu. m in Africa to 912 in North America. Industrial consumption averages three times domestic consumption but is unevenly distributed. Availability of fresh water is even more unequal than consumption. Water consumption more than tripled between 1950 and 1990 because of doubling of world population and increased per capita consumption. Whether a comparable increase can be expected between 1990 and 2050, when world population is projected to double again, is a serious question. It has been estimated that, by 2025, 2.8 to 3.3 billion persons will live in areas of recurring water shortage. The Food and Agriculture Organization projects that by 2025, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, and Tunisia will lose the ability to be self-sustaining in food supply because of water shortages. Several other countries with rapid population growth are also threatened. Some areas of Russia and some zones of Third World megalopolises have irreversibly damaged their water resources. Access to water is of strategic importance. More than 200 rivers and lakes cross international borders, and struggles over control of water will undoubtedly constitute a growing threat. Future strategies to conserve water will include efforts to capture rainwater and to exploit river water more fully before it flows into the sea. Ground water is likely to be the object of serious competition. Unequal distribution of water will in the long run require population redistribution.
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  12. 12

    Towards a water ethic. Viewpoint.

    Postel S

    PEOPLE AND THE PLANET. 1993; 2(2):35-6.

    We continue to expand a water supply that has ecological and economical limits. Drip irrigation techniques, rainwater harvesting, and use of water=saving plumbing fixtures can help solve our water shortage problem. The core of the predicament is that society is no longer connected to water's life=giving qualities. Modern society does not respect the natural river, the complexity of a wetland, and the intricate web of life. It considers water to be a resource only to control for human consumption. Humans do not realize that they should preserve and protect water. We need guidelines to force us to act appropriately when we must make complex decisions about natural ecosystems whose workings evade us. The ultimate goal of this water ethic should be protection of water ecosystems. Adoption of this integrated, holistic ethic would call for the use of less water when possible and to share what we have. This ethic would be part of a sustainable development code which blends economic goals with ecological criteria. The water ethic would have indicators monitoring the breakdown of ecosystems, therefore allowing us to make corrections to restore ecosystems to health. We see some of this now as Florida tries to restore the Everglades damaged by unsustainable development. We should watch to see whether Botswana will continue to keep economic development from the Okavango Delta. Governments, the World Bank, and other lending institutions should make investment decisions based on ecological sustainability. The water ethic must include a social and political commitment to meet the basic needs of the poor. International relations must also consider equity and fairness when it comes to developing water-sharing terms and treaties. Individuals need to reduce their water consumption and consumption of goods whose manufacture requires water use resulting in water pollution. Population growth needs to slow down considerably to secure out water future.
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  13. 13

    Overpopulated America.

    Davis WH

    In: Learning to listen to the land, edited by Bill Willers. Washington, D.C., Island Press, 1991. 177-82.

    The US is the most overpopulated nation on earth. The numbers of people and their activities rapidly destroy the ability of the land to sustain life. Even though India's population is almost 2.5 times larger than that of the US, Indians contribute much less to land destruction than do US citizens. To operate an air conditioner in the US, we strip-mine land in Kentucky, deposit the dirt and slate into a stream, and burn coal in a generator, causing a plume of smoke which seeds clouds resulting in early rain, rain which should be falling on farms in Minnesota. One American pollutes 3 million gallons of water; industry and agriculture use an additional 30 million gallons of water for each American. The US Army Corps of Engineers constructs dams and floods farmland, perpetuating unchecked water use. US activities constantly drain the productivity of the land. An Indian equivalent is the average number of Indians needed to make the same detrimental effect on the land's ability to sustain life as would the average American (anywhere from 25-500). Thus, the US population in Indian equivalents is at least 4 billion. Per capita gross national product of India is 38 times lower than that of the US. The US economy is based on a belief of continued growth in population and productivity, but the world is finite. Civilization is like a living organism in that its longevity is a function of its metabolism (i.e., the higher the metabolic rate, the shorter the life), so this affluence-creating economic system causes a short life span. A predicted famine will kill millions in India and in the US, but the land in India will survive, while the concrete, strip-mined landscape and silt-choked reservoirs in the US will not allow the polluted land to survive. To prevent destruction of US land, we must stop destroying land and reverse population growth. Desired family size in the US is still high (3.3).
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  14. 14

    Land, energy and water: the constraints governing ideal U.S. population size.

    Pimentel D; Pimentel M

    In: Elephants in the Volkswagen: facing the tough questions about our overcrowded country, [by] Lindsey Grant. New York, New York, W.H. Freeman, 1992. 18-31.

    Current agricultural practices reduce our agriculture base. In fact, we have reduced soil productivity by 50% in our most productive agricultural regions. We are depleting petroleum sources. Other fossil fuels are also limited. Fossil fuel use, soil erosion (8 tons of soil loss/acre/year), and misuse of other resources are jeopardizing the carrying capacity of our ecosystem. The present US growth rate is 0.8%/year. If immigration increases, the rate will increase. As the population grows, we will diminish our natural resources as is the case in China (relative same land size with a population of 1.1 billion compared to 252 million for the US). Further, the US produces and consumes about 50 times more goods and services per capita than does China. China has almost reached the carrying capacity of its agricultural system. The US does not have new arable land to support its growing population. 85% of US total water use is dedicated to agriculture. The rapid rise in water use in stressing surface and ground water resources (e.g., ground water overdraft is 25% greater than replenishment rate). Pollution, through toxic chemicals affects our air, land, and water. The aforementioned conditions highlight the need for the US to convert from use of finite supplies of fossil fuels to the use of solar energy. In 1850, biomass wood and solar power supplied 91% of our energy needs, while they supply only 3%. Fossil fuel provides 92% of our needs. Currently, US consumption of energy resources does not balance with supplies. Improved agricultural technology and a return to crop rotation would save both fossil fuels and water. Specifically, this would curb soil erosion, conserve fertile land, reduce water requirements for irrigation, and decrease pesticide and fertilizer use. Solar energy could sustain a US population of 40-100 million. if the population would practice sound energy conservation and implement sound environmental policies, this size would maintain a quality environment and a high standard of living.
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  15. 15

    Drafts: Agenda 21, Rio Declaration, Forest Principles.

    United Nations Conference on Environment and Development [UNCED] (1992: Rio de Janeiro)

    [New York, New York], United Nations, 1992. [500] p.

    Drafts of Agenda 21 of the Rio Declaration on Forest Principles is a massive and detailed account in 4 parts: 1) the preamble and the social and economic dimensions, 2) conservation and management of resources for development, 3) strengthening the role of major groups, and 4) means of implementation. There are 40 chapters largely devoted to issues concerning management of water resources. The Appendix includes the Adoption of Agreements on Environment and Development note by the Secretary General of the Conference and the Proposal by the Chairman of the Preparatory Committee of May 7, 1992; 27 principles were agreed upon. Also included is the nonlegal binding authoritative statement of principles for a global consensus on the management, conservation, and sustainable development of all types of forests by the Secretary General and the preamble and principles. Part I is concerned with international cooperation in increasing sustainable development in developing countries, the reduction of poverty, the change in consumption patterns, demographic dynamics, the protection and promotion of human health conditions, the promotion of sustainable human settlement development, and the integration of the environment and development in decision making. Part II includes atmosphere protection, integration of planning and management of land resources, deforestation, managing fragile ecosystems, conservation of biological diversity, protection of the oceans, seas, and coastal areas as well as a rational use of resources, protection of freshwater resources, environmental sound management of hazardous wastes and solid wastes and sewage, and safe and environmentally sound management of radioactive wastes. Part III is devoted to the preamble, global action for women, children and youth in sustainable development, recognition and strengthening of the role of indigenous people and communities, strengthening nongovernmental organizations, local authorities initiatives in support of Agenda 21, strengthening workers and trade unions, the scientific and technological community, and strengthening the role of farmers. Part IV identifies financial resources and mechanisms, environmentally sound technology transfer, science, promotion of education and public awareness, international institutional arrangements, international legal instruments and mechanisms, and information for decision making.
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  16. 16

    Human appropriation of the products of photosynthesis.

    Vitousek PM; Ehrlich PR; Ehrlich AH; Matson PA

    BIOSCIENCE. 1986 Jun; 36(6):368-373.

    Earth's resources are consumed by one of its 5-30 million species, homo sapiens or man, at a rate disproportionately greater than any other species. Man's impact on the biosphere is measured in terms of net primary production (NPP). NPP is the amount of energy remaining after the respiration of primary producers (mostly plants) is subtracted from the total amount of biologically fixed energy (mostly solar). Human output is determined by 1) the direct NPP used for food, fuel, fiber, or timber, which yields a low estimate, 2) all NPP of cropland devoted to human activity, and 3) both 1) and 2) and land conversion for cities or pastures as well as conversion which results in desertification and overuse of lands. This last output determination yields a high estimate. Calculations are made for global NPP and each of the 3 estimates of low, intermediate, and high human output. Data are based on estimates by Ajtay et al., Armentano and Loucks, and Houghton et al. and on the Food and Agriculture Organization's (FAO) summaries. Petagram (Pg) is used to calculate organic matter; this is equivalent to 10 to the 15th power grams or 10 to the 9th power metric tons. Carbon has been converted to organic matter by multiplying by 2.2. Matter in kilocalories has been converted to organic matter by dividing by 5. Intermediate or conservative estimates have been included. The standard of biomass is 1244 Pg and an annual NPP to 132.1. The NPP of marine and freshwater ecosystems is considered to be 92.4 Pg, which is a low estimate. The low calculation of human (5 billion persons) consumption of plants at a caloric intake of 2500 kilocalories/person/day is .91 Pg of organic matter, which equals .76 Pg of vegetable matter. The global production of human food is 1/7 Pg for grains and for human and livestock fed, or .85 Pg of dry grain material and .3 Pg in nongrain dry material with dry grain material and .3 Pg in nongrain dry material with a subtraction of 20% for water content. 34% or .39 Pg is lost to waste and spoilage. Consumption by livestock, forest usage, and aquatic ecosystems is computed. The overall estimate for human use if 7.2 Pg of organic matter/year or 3% of total NPP/year. The intermediate figures take into account, cropland, pastureland, forest use, and conversion; the overall estimate of human use is 42.6 Pg of NPP/year of 19.0% (42.6/224.5) of NPP (30.7% on land and 2.2% on seas). The high estimate yields human use of 58.1 Pg/year on land or 40% (58.1/149.6) of potential land productivity or 25% (60.1/149.8 + 92.4) of land and water NPP. The remaining 60% of land is also affected by humans. The figures reflect the current patterns of exploitation, distribution, and consumption of a much larger population. These patterns amount to using >50% of NPP of land; there must be limits to growth.
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  17. 17

    A decade of discontinuity.

    Brown LR

    WORLD WATCH. 1993 Jul-Aug; 6(4):19-26.

    Usual trends in the world have changed direction in the 1990s. We do not yet fully know the consequences of these altered trends. As population continues to grow, basic agricultural and industrial production falls (e.g., 1%/year decline in grain production and 0.6%/year decline in oil production). Moreover, world economic growth has fallen .8% annually in the early 1990s. It is feared that these shifts are not short term as were the instabilities generated during the 1973 increase in oil prices. The shifts in the 1990s are not limited to several national political leaders (e.g., OPEC), but are a result of the collision between swelling human numbers and their needs and the limitations of the earth's natural systems on the other. These limitations include the capacity of seas to produce seafood, of grasslands to yield mutton and beef, of the hydrological cycle to generate fresh water, of crops to use fertilizer, of the atmosphere to absorb carbon dioxide and chlorofluorocarbons, and of people to inhale polluted air, and of forests to resist acid rain. These constraints are forcing the realization that each nation must reduce consumption of the earth's natural resources and implement a population policy. The challenge is for social institutions to quickly check and stabilize population growth without infringing in human rights.
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  18. 18

    Urbanization and the urban environment.


    Urban health hazards in the rapidly urbanizing areas of developing countries are described, and ways to mitigate them by sustainable development are discussed. Urban health problems are serious in developing countries because population growth is so rapid, diseases of underdevelopment and poverty and of modernization are combined, and resources are so limited. The urban populations in developing countries suffer lack of safe water (25%), sewage disposal (50%), solid waste collection (30-50%), crowded living conditions, inadequate housing, indoor and outdoor air pollution, traffic, noise, and effluents from industry. These conditions result in high prevalence of asthma, bronchitis, diarrhea, respiratory infections, tuberculosis, meningitis, as well as stress, mental illness, accidents, violence, antisocial behavior, drug and alcohol abuse. Sustainable development for cities implies that meeting the needs of today's people will not compromise the life of future generations. This is difficult in cities because sustainable urban development must be linked to rural development. The more populous and spread-out the city and the richer its inhabitants, the larger is its demand on resources and the larger is the area from which it draws. Thus deforestation and soil erosion in rural areas result from city demands, but impoverish rural people, causing them to migrate to the city. Many rapidly growing South And Central American cities are sited in fragile ecozones where sustainable use of natural resources is problematic, and land is controlled by a small elite. The poorer cities in developing areas have the advantage of using resources far less wastefully than do First World city dwellers. As they develop and continue to grown, however, even they will demand substantial increases in nonrenewable resource use.
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  19. 19

    The water crisis and population. [Pamphlet collection].

    Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations [FAO]

    [Rome, Italy], FAO, [1986]. vi, [126] p.

    The dimensions of the water crisis and its implications for the population of the world is the subject of a 4-pamphlet packet distributed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Part 1 relates legends about water and details the role of water in human history. Rapid population growth and its detrimental effects on water conservation and the environmental balance are explained. Recognition of the population growth problem is urged, with government-backed family planning programs recommended. Part 2 gives a detailed explanation of the life cycle and its dependence on soil and water. Climate, vegetation, and types of water are examined in relation to their role in the distribution of available water resources. Future water resources and demand are projected for agriculture, industry, and domestic use. The disruption of the balance between man and water and the problem of water pollution are addressed, as are deforestation, desertification, drought, and the greenhouse effect. Part 3 offers a view of inland waters and agriculture, with a history of irrigation and the role of irrigation today. Rural water, its use, sources, storage, and collection are examined in relation to work distribution, family size, and sanitation. Problems arising from unsafe water supplies, including disease, infection, and malnutrition are discussed, and examples are given of small-scale projects that have successfully addressed these problems. The final section deals with water and the future. A continuing effort at water and land conservation, as well as surface water and ground water management, is urged. Irrigation planning and supporting systems, such as terracing, fallowing, and improved cropping patterns, are presented as further management techniques. Preserving existing resources, lifting, various kinds of wells, new storage methods and purification systems, are suggested to increase domestic water conservation. Examples of water projects in Africa, Asia, and the South Pacific are presented. Finally, population management and its crucial role in future water resources allocation, conservation, and distribution, is provided.
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  20. 20

    [Hunger and disease in less developed countries and en route to development (the Third World). Proposal for solutions] Hambre y enfermedades en los paises menos adelantados y en vias de desarrollo (Tercer Mundo). Propuesta de soluciones.

    Piedrola Gil G

    Anales de la Real Academia Nacional de Medicina. 1984; 101(1):39-96.

    The extent, causes, and possible solutions to problems of hunger, inequality, and disease in developing countries are discussed in this essay. Various frameworks and indicators have been proposed for identifying the poorest of nations; currently, 21 African, 9 Asian, and 1 American nation are regarded as the poorest of the poor. The 31 least developed countries, the 89 developing countries, and the 37 developed countries respectively have populations of 283 million, 3 billion; infant mortality rates of 160, 94, and 19/1000 live births; life expectancies of 45, 60, and 72 years; literacy rates of 28, 55, and 98%; per capita gross national products of $170, and $520, and $6230; and per capita public health expenditures of $1.70, $6.50, and $244. Developing countries in the year 2000 are expected to have 4.87 billion of the world's 6.2 billion inhabitants. The 3rd world contains 70% of the world's population but receives only 17% of world income. 40 million persons die of hunger or its consequences each year. Economic and social development is the only solution to problems of poverty and underdevelopment, and will require mobilization of all present and future human and material resources to achieve maximum possible wellbeing for each human being. Among principal causes of underdevelopment in the 3rd World are drought, illness, exile, socioeconomic disorder, war, and arms expenditures. Current food production and a long list of possible new technologies would be adequate to feed the world's population, but poor distribution condemns the world's people to hunger. Numerous UN agencies, organizations, and programs are dedicated to solving the problems of hunger, underdevelopment, and disease. In 1982, 600 billion dollars were spent in armanents, of $112 for each of the world's inhabitants; diversion of these resources to development goals would go a long way toward solving the problem of underdevelopment. The main problem is not lack of resources, but the need to establish a new and more just economic and distributive order along with genuine solidarity in the struggle against underdevelopment. Several steps should be taken: agricultural production should be increased with the full participation of the developng nations; the industrialized or petroleum-producing nations should aid the poor states with at least .7% and up to 5% of their gross national products for the struggle against drought, disease, illiteracy, and for the green revolution and new agropastoral technologies; prices paid to poor countries for raw materials should be fair; responsible parenthood, education, women's rights, clean drinking water, environmental sanitation and primary health care should be promoted; the arms race should be halted, and the North-South dialogue should be pursued in a spirit of goodwill and cooperation.
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  21. 21

    The Caribbean basin to the year 2000. Demographic, economic, and resource-use trends in seventeen countries: a compendium of statistics and projections

    Graham NA; Edwards KL

    Boulder, Colo./London, England, Westview Press, 1984. xv, 166 p. (A Westview Replica Edition)

    A comparative analysis of demographic, economic, and resource trends in 17 countries in and around the Caribbean is presented for the period up to the year 2000. The data are taken from a variety of national and international sources. Forecasts of selected demographic trends are made using an updated version of the GLOBESCAN data base and socioeconomic forecasting system developed by The Futures Group. Particular attention is given to the implications of the study's findings for U.S. interests and policy, including U.S. foreign assistance. The methods and data sources are first described, and individual profiles of the situation in the 17 countries are provided. The interactions of rapid population growth, economic trends, and natural resource use are then analyzed in terms of their impact on land supply, agricultural production and consumption, income, energy use, the depletion of forests, water supplies, the environment, tourism, and political instability.
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