Quantcast

Where on Earth Are We Going to Put the Next Billion People?

Popular

By 2030, 1.1 billion more people are expected to be living on Earth—bringing the total to around 8.5 billion.

James Cridland / Flickr

In a new report published in the journal, Nature, authors Richard T. T. Forman, a Harvard University research professor, and Jianguo Wu, a distinguished professor of sustainability science at Arizona State University, said urban expansion alters a city's 'big seven': natural vegetation, agricultural land, clean water, jobs, housing, transport and communities.

Moving forward, the authors argue we need worldwide cooperation on a new approach to planning cities that will house all of these new people and stop our increasingly heavy ecological footprint.

"It will require international and national policies for environmental protection, urban development and human migration. And each city must develop an urban regional plan," the authors wrote.

Aa far as where people can go, Forman and Wu said they see promise in large areas in the Americas, central Africa and Asia as well as pockets of Oceania due to its warm and moist climates suitable for growing crops such as cacao, coffee, palm oil, rice and corn.

They also said metropolitan regions should encourage and develop compact communities—like ones found outside Portland, Oregon, and Canberra, Australia—which provide space for sustainable communities and limits the loss of valuable land.

"Local officials and decision-makers will need policies and incentives to encourage sustainable development in these zones, particularly in rural villages, which tend to empty out as residents move to cities for work," the authors said.

The idea and execution of city planning, they said, should be reversed to focus on building structures around valuable natural resources, not on top of them.

"Society must think globally, plan regionally, then act locally," the authors concluded.

Watch here:

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A young fingerling Chinook salmon leaps out of the water at Pillar Point Harbor in Half Moon Bay, California on May 16, 2018. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

The Trump administration is rolling back protections for endangered California fish species, a move long sought by a group of wealthy farmers that Interior Secretary David Bernhardt continued to lobby for months before he began working for the administration, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

Read More Show Less

By Gretchen Goldman

The Independent Particulate Matter Review Panel has released their consensus recommendations to the EPA administrator on the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Particulate Matter. The group of 20 independent experts, that were disbanded by Administrator Wheeler last October and reconvened last week, hosted by the Union of Concerned Scientists, has now made clear that the current particulate pollution standards don't protect public health and welfare.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
An African elephant is pictured on November 19, 2012, in Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. MARTIN BUREAU / AFP / Getty Images

The unprecedented drought that has caused a water crisis in Zimbabwe has now claimed the life of at least 55 elephants since September, according to a wildlife spokesman, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Maria Dornelas.

By John C. Cannon

Life is reshuffling itself at an unsettling clip across Earth's surface and in its oceans, a new study has found.

Read More Show Less
An Exxon station in Florida remains open despite losing its roof during Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005. Florida Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Shaun Withers

The country's largest fossil fuel company goes on trial today to face charges that it lied to investors about the safety of its assets in the face of the climate crisis and potential legislation to fight it, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
El Niño's effect on Antarctica is seen in a tabular iceberg off of Thwaites ice shelf. Jeremy Harbeck / NASA

El Niños are getting stronger due to climate change, according to a new study in Monday's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read More Show Less

By Julia Ries

  • Antibiotic resistance has doubled in the last 20 years.
  • Additionally a new study found one patient developed resistance to a last resort antibiotic in a matter of weeks.
  • Health experts say antibiotic prescriptions should only be given when absolutely necessary in order to avoid growing resistance.

Over the past decade, antibiotic resistance has emerged as one of the greatest public health threats.

Read More Show Less
Pexels


There are hundreds of millions of acres of public land in the U.S., but not everyone has had the chance to hike in a national forest or picnic in a state park.

Read More Show Less