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WSU Newsline: World population tops 7 billion; creates challenges
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 9:00 AM

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification.

Go to http://www.wichita.edu/newsline to get the current Wichita State University Newsline. If you cannot access the Newsline at the Web address above, contact Joe Kleinsasser at (316) 978-3013 or cell (316) 204-8266 or joe.kleinsasser@wichita.edu. Newsline cuts may be edited to suit your needs. If you have additional questions for Charles Koeber after listening to the WSU Newsline, please contact him at (316) 978-6659 or chuck.koeber@wichita.edu.

Background:
The world population reached 7 billion people about Oct. 31, according to United Nations estimates. Wichita State University sociologist Charles Koeber says we're dependent on growth for our economy and to sustain our population, but with finite resources, there are some important questions about how much we can grow.

Voice wrap:
Announcer: Without a lot of fanfare, the world population topped 7 billion people about Oct. 31, according to United Nations' estimates. The actual date may be fuzzy, but there's no mistaking the challenges facing the world, according to Wichita State University sociologist Charles Koeber.

Koeber: "If you listen to politicians and economists, we are dependent on growth for our economy and to sustain our population, so growth is not necessarily a bad thing. However, when you look at the world consisting of a finite amount of resources, it does raise some important questions about how much we can grow."

Announcer: Koeber says population alone isn't the only issue. For example, the United States, an affluent country with a lower level of population, is using a disproportionate amount of resources and contributing to a disproportionate amount of waste and pollution. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.

Sound bite #1
Koeber says most of us can't comprehend how large 7 billion is. The sound bite is 12 seconds and the outcue is "it actually is."

Koeber: "So the population being 7 billion, that's a very large number. However, it's been a very large number for a very long time, and I don't think people can really comprehend how large it actually is."

Sound bite #2
Koeber compares 7 billion to a birthday. The sound bite is 12 seconds and the outcue is "what 7 billion is."

Koeber: "Seven billion is kind of like a birthday. When you're 5 or 10 years old, it's a big deal. That's when we had maybe 1 or 2 billion. But when you get into your 40s and 50s, it's just another birthday, and that's what 7 billion is."

Sound bite #3
Koeber says environmental sustainability and energy are key issues. The sound bite is 19 seconds and the outcue is "we're consuming them."

Koeber: "Environmental sustainability and energy are key issues. When we look down the road, we have to be able to replace our sources of energy and our natural environmental resources at a rate that's equal to that which we're consuming them."

Sound bite #4
Koeber says the level of affluence is another issue. The sound bite is 17 seconds and the outcue is "waste and pollution."

Koeber: "Population alone is not the only issue. You have to look at the level of affluence. So, for example, the United States, a very affluent country with a lower level of population, is using a disproportionate amount of resources and contributing to a disproportionate amount of waste and pollution."

Sound bite #5
Koeber says the problem in less developed countries is survival and needs. The sound bite is 16 seconds and the outcue is "daily basis."

Koeber: "In lesser developed countries that have large populations, the problem is more related to survival and needs. So they may be using up their resources at incredibly fast rates just for the population to survive and stay alive on a daily basis."

Sounds bite #6
Koeber says a larger population globally makes the issue of food more complicated. The sound bite is 21 seconds and the outcue is "in different areas."

Koeber: "A larger population globally makes the issue of food more complicated. And while technology has kept up in being able to produce enough food, the problem is distribution, and you have all sorts of factors including civil strife, politics, economic policy that interfere with the distribution of food in different areas."

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Contact: Charles Koeber, (316) 978-6659 or chuck.koeber@wichita.edu.