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Just too many?

Malthus was wrong; we're not facing worldwide famine. But the 20-year silence on population growth is calamitous for the environment and poverty

By Bronwen Maddox   November 2011

Migrant workers travel home to Mali and Niger, 2006, on a two to three week journey across the Sahara from Libya

If you type the words “population clock” into a search engine, a ten-digit number appears. Its first figure represents 6bn, and its second, 900m; two and a half times a second, the units column ticks by. It’s hard to credit that each click represents one human birth—where? Karachi? Nairobi? Birmingham? Sometime on 31st October, the clock will show that the total number of people on the planet has reached 7,000,000,000.

And then? “There is a common myth that the…

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