Navigation Links
Population bomb may be defused, but research reveals ticking household bomb
Date:2/11/2014

After decades of fretting about population explosion, scientists are pointing to a long-term hidden global menace.

The household. More specifically, the household explosion.

In this week's Early Online edition of Population and Environment, Jianguo "Jack" Liu, director of the Michigan State University Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, and former students Mason Bradbury and Nils Peterson present the first long-term historical look at global shifts in how people live. One large household sheltering many people is giving way across the world to households comprised of fewer people sometimes young singles, sometimes empty nesters, and sometimes just folks more enamored with privacy.

In the late 1960s, ecologist Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University sounded the alarm about population growth. Now, Liu and his colleagues are pointing out that even though population growth has been curbed, the propensity to live in smaller households is ratcheting up the impact on the natural resources and the environment worldwide.

"Long-term dynamics in human population size as well as their causes and impacts have been well documented," said Liu, who is the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability. "But little attention has been paid to long-term trends in the numbers of households, even though households are basic consumption units."

More households require more lumber and other building materials. Smaller households are generally less efficient, with fewer people using proportionally more energy, land and water. Liu, with Ehrlich and others, published a paper in Nature in 2003 noting that the number of households globally was outpacing population growth between 1985 and 2000.

The latest research delves significantly further into history. Reviewing data dating back to 1600, the researches revealing that household size has been declining in some countries for centuries, adding a largely unaccounted for nuance to human's impact on the environment. In this paper, Liu and his colleagues call for households to be more centrally included in calculating human's impact on the environment, and caution against thinking that slowing population growth is a cause for celebration.

Average household size in developed countries declined rapidly from approximately 5 members in 1893 to 2.5 at present, while the rapid decline in average household size in developing nations began around 1987. The number of households grew faster than population size in almost every country and every time.

"We've documented that the changes we're seeing in household size across the globe essentially doubles the number of homes needed per-capita," Peterson said. "This will put enormous strain on the environmental life support system we rely on, even if we achieve a state of zero population growth."

The researchers point out that the environmental footprint becomes more of a trail. The new homes usually eventually require more roads, more yards and more commercial development.


'/>"/>

Contact: Sue Nichols
nichols@msu.edu
517-432-0206
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. When populations collide
2. Population stability hope in species response to climate change
3. Genetic background of sporadic amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in the Chinese Han population
4. Study finds Catalina Island Conservancy contraception program effectively manages bison population
5. Argonne partners with Metropolitan Water Reclamation District to study Chicago River microbe population
6. New study identifies 5 distinct humpback whale populations in North Pacific
7. UI biology professor finds Goldilocks effect in snail populations
8. Population Council to present more than 40 studies at International Conference on Family Planning
9. Genetic rarity rules in wild guppy population, study finds
10. Aboriginal hunting practice increases animal populations
11. Caribbeans native predators unable to stop aggressive lionfish population growth
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/8/2017)... Report Highlights The global biosurgery market should ... 2016 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of ... An overview of the global market for biosurgery. - ... and 2016, and projections of compound annual growth rates ... the basis of product type, source, application, and region. ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... WARSAW, Ind. , Feb. 7, 2017 ... global leader in musculoskeletal healthcare, will present at the ... Lotte New York Palace Hotel on Wednesday, February 15, ... A live webcast of the presentation can be accessed ... for replay following the conference via Zimmer Biomet,s Investor ...
(Date:2/6/2017)... 2017 According to Acuity Market Intelligence, ... authorities to continue to embrace biometric and digital ... Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates and 1436 Automated ... than 163 ports of entry across the globe. ... a combined CAGR of 37%. APC Kiosks reached ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... 2017 , ... Delpor, Inc. (Delpor), a biotechnology company focused on drug delivery, ... Health (NIMH) for the further advancement of the company’s 3-month olanzapine product ( DLP-119 ... to deliver therapeutic levels of olanzapine for a period of 3 months., “We are ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017 Provectus ... or the "Company"), a clinical-stage oncology and dermatology ... the deadline to participate in its previously announced ... consisting of shares of common stock and Series ... holders of listed warrants. As ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... , Feb. 24, 2017 Symic Bio, a ... a new category of therapeutics, announced today the completion ... in peripheral artery disease. The trial will evaluate the ... therapeutic, in the reduction of restenosis following angioplasty. ... development milestone for SB-030," said Nathan Bachtell , ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... Blood Corporation (NYSE: CO ) ("CCBC" or ... laboratory testing, hematopoietic stem cell processing and stem cell ... the third quarter and first nine months of fiscal ... Quarter of Fiscal 2017 Highlights Revenues ... 18.6% to RMB200.9 million ($28.9 million). ...
Breaking Biology Technology: