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Debate: overpopulation and aid

The final of the Concern Debates takes place today. Sandford Park School and Largy College will be debating the motion: “Developing countries must reverse their population growth as a condition for receiving overseas aid.” 

I’m sure our finalists will have some great points to make on this topic later on. To whet your appetites until then, here are some of my own thoughts on the subject. 

Seven billion people?

Planet Earth may feel just a little more crowded on 26 August this year. That’s because we will welcome our seven billionth inhabitant.

Of course, we don’t know who they will be or at exactly what time they will arrive. But we can be pretty sure he or she will be born in the developing world. It seems hard to believe that just 12 years ago our population reached six billion.  

And it seems as though our numbers will continue to grow. According to a United Nations report released just last week, in 2050 we’ll be a planet of 9.3 billion people and by 2100 we will stand at over 10.1 billion strong.

Need and greed

Is this a cause for concern? Can the world keep on carrying so many people? Or is it as Ghandi once said: "The world has enough for everyone’s need but not everyone’s greed."

Different arguments

There are those who will argue that it’s not about world population but about consumption of the world’s resources. When it comes to that, it’s not the developing world, but the so-called “developed world” that must change its ways. 

Also, it’s almost certainly true that the poorest people in the world are the ones who will suffer most from overpopulation. So, it could be argued that if we really want to help them we must find ways to reverse their population growth.

It should be an interesting debate!