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Center for Biological Diversity:
7 Billion and Counting 

The Huffington Post, July 13, 2012

World Population Day 2012: What Does It Mean To Be One Of Earth's 7 Billion?

By Laurie David

The Earth’s seven billionth person was born this past October -- and before the century is over, it’s estimated that there may be another three billion people on our planet.

Those numbers are so big that it’s hard to imagine what they really mean. But HuffPost blogger John Seager illustrates the enormity with a great example. Imagine Yankee stadium -- all 50,291 seats. Now picture that stadium packed on a big game day. That’s how many people are born in less than six hours, Seager says. You would need five stadiums to fit everyone born in a single 24-hour period.

This week's World Population Day was an important reminder of the challenges posed by these numbers, and how we can work to meet them.

While our planet’s human population continues to grow, the Earth itself -- of course -- does not. In the next 20 years alone, the world will need 50 percent more food than it already has, and by 2050, human resource consumption will triple, according to a report published by the United Nations Environment Programme. World Population Day may only come once a year, but these are concerns that scientists, politicians, businesspeople and others need to consider all year round.

Questions for discussion:

-- How is your life different from the lives of some of the other 7 billion people on Earth?
-- What can you do to help conserve resources?
-- How can you help people in other parts of the world who need food, healthcare, or other resources? How can you help people closer to home who need the same things?

In her cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie and every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

This article originally appeared here.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton