Before the Next Doubling

Over the past 40 years, the world's population has doubled. At some point in the latter half of the next century, today's population of 5.9 billion could double again. But because of the size of the next reproductive generation, we probably have only a relatively few years to stop that next doubling. To prevent all of the damage—ecological, economic, and social—that the next doubling is likely to cause, we must begin planning the global family with the same kind of urgency that we bring to matters of trade, or military service. Whether we realize it or not, our attempts to stabilize population—or our failure to act—will likely have consequences that far outweigh the implications of the military or commercial crisis of the moment.
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