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3 billion previously expected. 7a). Smallpox has been completely eradicated and polio has been vanquished except in a few countries. Since 1990 more than 800 million people have gained access to improved water supplies and modern sanitation. In spite of population growth that added nearly a billion people to the world during the 1990s, the number of people facing food insecurity and chronic hunger during this period actually declined by about 40 million. Renewable Energy There has been dramatic and surprising progress in the transition to renewable energy sources.
What should we do about this? Can we reduce our consumption rates? Can we find alternative methods to maintain conveniences and a consumption-based economy with lower environmental costs? These are critical questions as we seek to ensure a reasonable future for our grandchildren. What is the state of poverty and wealth today? In 2011 the student-led Occupy Wall Street movement used the statistic “99 percent” to draw attention to growing economic disparities in the United States. S. population controls a disproportionate share—over 35 percent—of the nation’s wealth.
In a world of food surpluses, currently more than 850 million people are chronically undernourished, and at least 60 million people face acute food shortages due to weather, politics, or war (fig. 6b). Clean Water Water may be the most critical resource in the twenty-first century. 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water, and twice that many don’t have adequate sanitation. Polluted water contributes to the death of more than 15 million people every year, most of them children under age 5.