Professor Ian Roberts, one of the study’s authors, told BBC why these numbers matter:
When people think about environmental sustainability, they immediately focus on population. Actually, when it comes down to it – it’s not how many mouths there are to feed, it’s how much flesh there is on the planet.
The heavier we are, the more energy it takes to feed us. It take more fuel to operate our vehicles. Everything we do or buy ends up requiring more resources. The implications are dizzying.
Pointing the finger at family size in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa turns out to be a boomerang. As the US population increases from 310 million in 2010 to a projected 403 million in 2050, the heftier population will “have important implications for world energy requirements.”
The authors of this study caution:
Tackling population fatness may be critical to world food security and ecological sustainability.
Blaming and shaming won’t work. This is a global issue. Each of us holds a piece of the solution puzzle.
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Photo 1: Thinkstock; Photo 2 from Kyle May via Flickr Creative Commons; Photo 3 from santian via Flickr Creative Commons
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