Thursday, October 27, 2011

Population to Hit 7 Billion on Halloween

Level: Intermediate
Billions of People
The United Nations says the world’s population is set to reach seven billion on October 31. Analysts are wondering whether it is a coincidence this milestone falls on Halloween. The U.N. Population Fund predicts that some time on Monday, the world will welcome its seven billionth person. They also forecast that the baby will be born in India. The birth of a newborn baby is usually a source of joy, but this one has got alarm bells ringing with environmentalists. They say the world cannot cope with so many mouths to feed. The population has exploded in the past two centuries. In the early 1800s, there were just a billion of us; in 1960 that figure had trebled to three billion. Half a century later, that figure has more than doubled.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University's Earth Institute told CNN that “the consequences for humanity could be grim." Other experts also paint a bleak picture. CNN's Jack Cafferty warned of an "unsustainable" population of 9 billion and stated that "at some point there's not going to be enough stuff for everybody." The New York Times declared that "the Earth is full [and that] we are eating into our future”. John Davis, editor of the Earth First! Journal, went even further by saying we had no right to take so much from the Earth: "Human beings have no more value as species than slugs," he said. Critics say humans have the ability for billions of us to live on our planet in a sustainable way.


Vocabulary Words: Read the vocabulary words and the definitions. Make your own sentence using the vocabulary word/s afterwards.
1. coincidence (n.) - the occurrence of two or more events at one time by chance (and not planned)
ExampleOur meeting in France was pure coincidence.

2. milestone (n.) - a significant event
Example: A milestone in the history of technology has been reached when mobile phones were invented.
 
3. forecast (v.) - predict
Example: They forecast a defeat for the Prime Minister.

4. treble (v.) - to make or become three times as much
Example: The number of RareJob tutors trebled in just one year!

5. grim (adj.) - harsh, depressing or gloomy situation
ExampleThe grim task of burying the victims is very difficult to do.

6. slug (n.) - a worm-like animal
Example: There are many slugs near the river.

Comprehension check: Answer the questions based on the article.
1. What did the United Nations say about the world's population?
2. How did the population change from the 1800's up to this year?
3. What can happen to the earth and humans if the population continues to increase?

Viewpoint Discussion: AGREE or DISAGREE.
1. We can still solve the population crisis.
2. The time will come when people will have to live in neighboring planets.

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