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‘How Many Humans Can the Earth Support?’ Mathematics Professor Addresses Ahead of World Population Day

The Conversation | Business Insider | CNBC.com | MSN News | Salon
July 10th, 2018 by 

Associate Professor Andrew Hwang of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department.
Andrew Hwang, associate professor of mathematics. Photo by Austin Bosworth

When the first World Population Day was observed in 1990, the global population stood at a little over five billion. It’s now over half that, measuring 7.5 to 7.6 billion individuals. Is this exponential growth sustainable for Mother Earth?

Writing for The Conversation in advance of World Population Day, Andrew Hwang, associate professor of mathematics at the College of the Holy Cross, breaks down the numbers for us. According to his calculations using data from environmental think tank Worldwatch Institute, “the Earth can support at most one-fifth of the present population, 1.5 billion people, at an American standard of living.”

Hwang goes on to say, “As a mathematician, I believe reducing birth rates substantially is our best prospect for raising global standards of living. As a citizen, I believe nudging human behavior, by encouraging smaller families, is our most humane hope.”

To read more, visit TheConversation.com.

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