Population Pops

The world population is estimated to swell and hit 11bn in 2100 with 70% chance of continuous rise. This is according to a research conducted by an international team including UN experts. This poses grave challenges to economic, health and social cohesion. Tonight I’d like to focus on 3 specific concerns – food crisis, crowded transportation and aging population.

Population growth is not the only factor that contributes to the food supply crisis but it is the most discussed demographic dimension because of its very direct impact on the growth in food demand. As the world population grows, great pressure is being placed on fertile land, water, energy and biological resources to provide adequate supply of food. Even if these resources are never depleted it will decline significantly because it must be divided among more people. Water resources are under great stress as populous countries require and withdraw more water from rivers and lakes. In Africa fertility rates have increased from 5.99 to 6.17 since 1960. This means 6 to 7 children per mother over her lifetime. Experts believe that a strong political commitment to contraception can sharply slow this population growth.

Growth in population naturally causes growth in car ownership but increase in public transport system seldom go along with population increase and this is certainly the case in the Philippines. There is rapid urban growth that has dispersed the population causing transport problems in Manila. People move in to the city in search for better paying jobs and work opportunities. Manila accounts for approx 18% of the country’s population and 28% of its motor vehicles on barely .2% of the country’s land area. EDSA highway that connects the north and south of the metropolitan area runs 24 km. On most of its lengths, EDSA is a controlled access highway, 3-5 lanes wide on each direction. According to MMDA data as of May 2009, there are 316,345 vehicles per day traveling through EDSA of which 12, 689 are buses. Bus over supply ironically contradicts its usefulness forcing commuters to use their own cars that only worsens traffic congestion. To de-congest the road, a Unified Vehicular Reduction Program was implemented in 2003 more popularly known as the number coding.

Based on Canada population clock as of August 30th this year, Canada’s population is at 34,652,978. Canada is facing unprecedented demographic change particularly in the area of aging population. According to statistics, the number of people aged 65 or more could double in the next 20 years. The reason for this is 2-fold: there has been a drop in birth rate and life expectancy climbed from 68 to 78. Over the next 50 years the increasing proportion of seniors will have a tremendous impact on Canada’s economic growth. This poses challenges on aging workforce, labor shortage, increase competition for skilled workers and higher public health care spending. There will be relatively more people claiming pension benefits and less people working and paying income taxes. A few of the evident solutions on this issue is the increase in participation rate – making it easier for people over the age of 65 to keep working. Another way is raising the retirement age. The Government of Canada in its 2012 Budget announced that beginning April 2023, the age of eligibility for Old Age Security pension will increase from 65 to 67. Immigration is also a way to defuse the impact of an aging population because immigration is often from younger people.

Food crisis, crowded transportation and aging population – 3 out of the many challenges that the world is now faced with. What is the government doing? How do we combat these challenges? Essentially, solutions are simple but execution is almost always where we hit a snag. We need to empower women and families to plan how many children they want. Education and job opportunities especially for women would be a huge contribution. Increase awareness of environmental and social costs of population growth. These are certainly not solutions that one man can accomplish alone and definitely will not resolve the issue overnight, but it is a start and we can do something to help. It may be a tiny step, but remember, you, me, we can do something.

***
I wrote this speech for the 7th speech of the Competent Communications manual. The objectives of her speech are:

• Collect information about the topic
• Carefully support the points and opinions with specific facts, examples and illustrations gathered through research