Overpopulation Image


Nov 24, 2014Canadian, Environment, Science&Tech, World News

QR Link

Access this article on a mobile device

QR Code


Do you know the projections for your country’s population?


Right click this link to download the mp3.


Right click this link to download a printable PDF file for this conversation.


Alex Bodnar: So um, do you think we have a population problem in the world?

José Cruz: Yes I do! Haha boy, do IPutting ‘boy’ in front of a grammatical question creates a stronger exclamation, ‘Boy, did you lose weight!’(0:07) do! Yes!. Absolutely, I do.

Alex: Uh like where are we now? Are there…

José: 7.2, 7.1.

Alex: Billion, and uh where are we headed?

José: I’ll ask you. (Mm-hmm) What do you think is a dangerous number? BecausePeople often pronounce 'because' as ‘cuz' (written with an apostrophe as ‘cuz) um, I remember talking to some people and I asked- and because I already think 7 billion is too much- I think, we’re… well, we’re not at the tipping point or anything yet but um when I was a kid, 4 billion was like a big number to me. (Mm-hmm) And then about what? 1960s was about 4 billion, um, when you get to like, the early 80s, five. (Mm-hmm) And then we went from the 80s into about the mid-nineties and suddenly it was about six and I goI go can mean ‘I think to myself…’ or ‘I say…’(0:57), “holy cow, that was fast!”

Alex: Mm-hmm. There’s an ambulance outside.

José: Yeah sorry, I was like…

Alex: Maybe there’s one less person in the world.

José: Yeah could be yeah! Or maybe uh, I-maybe a baby’s being born. Um and then from the- from the mid-nineties to now, right?. Uh, you know again another billion.

Alex: I don’t know it’s it’s hard to fathom uh, such a such a huge number.

José: So so my question again, what do you think is a dangerous number?

Alex: A dangerous number would be.. I don’t know uh, well if we were to double the population to 14 billion in a short amount of time I would imagine that’s dangerous.

José: There was uh actually, now that you mention it'Now that you mention it' is an expression to point out that the next idea came as a result of what the other person just said. (1:47) there was a documentary that I was watching on one of the um science sort of channels, and it said, what if the world population immediately tomorrow, with nothing else changing immediately tomorrow went to 14 billion and they were showing all kinds of things like food shortages, and um, fuel shortages, and line ups (Mm-hmm) for this and that, and um, you know, literally your house would have twice as many people in it. (Mmm) imagine that, you know. (Mm-hmm) And and I I thought it was, it was a little over the top'over the top' means 'exaggerated', or 'excessive' (2:15) in the situation it was providing because of course it’s it’s ridiculous (Mm-hmm) that the world population should double, but they were saying that unless we start finding new ways for even like the shipping capacity of fuel (Mm-hmm) you know more like um, pipelines and and more cargo lines. and more of these, in America this is a problem: trains blowing up because they’re full of fuel. Uh they derail and stuff (Yeah) Unless all of that is changed, uh shipping is changed and retail space is changed and and elevated, we can’t accommodate even 10 billion (Hmm) And that’s the proportion that would be in America, much less where the real population change would be which is in the poorer countries.

Alex: Oh, the majority of population these days at least in the developed world uh, has been moving and is uh in the cities, in the urban areas and the way growth has gone in Canada, uh I don’t like the way that looks. Uh, there’s so much urban sprawl. Uh there’s something to be said for population density. (Mm-hmm) Uh uh, the way it’s done, um like in Japan uh in some Japanese cities. But mind youBut mind you means ‘but it’s important to remember that ~’(3:28 in Japan, uh there isn’t much choice because uh, there isn’t room for growth in that way.

José: There isn’t a lot of room for growth, but the projections for Japan is depopulation. (Yeah yeah) It’s an interesting conundrum, right? (Yes) Uh Japan is expected to drop to something like… The population is now about 125 million. It’s expected to drop to something like 70 million, 80 million José was low in his numbers. Projections see the population at about 90-100m. by 2050. See the link in 'Pointers' below(Mm-hmm) by 2050. That’s what’s expected to happen here, and then you hear these numbers about, what was it 20 million? The environs of Mexico City is 20 million people.

Alex: You could be right, yeah.

José: That is, uh wh- that’s unbelievable! That’s going to be fi- what is it, twenty percent? No I’m sorry twenty-five percent of the population of the entire country of Japan lives around the city of Mexico.

Alex: Or or, it’s the majority of the population of Canada (Yeah) is one Mexican city.

José: Is one Mexican city! (Yeah) Uh woah, what the heck.

Alex: I I remember years ago uh seeing footage on TV of Mexico City uh so much smog and pollution and I don’t know if they’ve changed anything. I don’t know if they’ve brought in any environmental laws, but uh if not much has changed, then I wonder how safe it is to live for your health there.


What do you think will be the world’s population in 2050? Will it go up or down?

How would the world improve if there were fewer/more people?

Read about the tipping point on Wikipedia: (or ask your teacher)

The Tipping Point

IPSS projections for Japan population in 2050

Take the quiz

QR Link

Access this article on your mobile device

QR Code

GoldFish Audio cover


Alex Bodnar Image

Alex Bodnar


Harriston, Ontario

José Domingo Cruz image

José Domingo Cruz


Vancouver, British Columbia


  • words (including pause words)
  • minutes in the mp3 audio
  • words per minute for this article

Continue practicing your English fluency with the related posts above, or navigate to other authentic conversations using the Previous and Next buttons below.


To spritz only part of this conversation, highlight the text you want and click the “SPRITZ NOW!” button. Clicking the button without any text highlighted will spritz the entire page.

To quickly adjust the words per minute (wpm), you can use the left and right arrow keys.

Writing comments will help your English writing skills. Feel free to ask questions and share opinions. We try to respond to all comments we get on the site. test


  1. I think 7 billion is a dangerous number. 7 billion is the number of the world population now. Recently, I have heard the news about an increase in the world population. It is said that we will not have food in the future. I can’t imagine the life without food. I got scared when I know this information. I thought that an increase in the world population is a good thing. However, I changed my opinion when I knew that food shortages due to an increase in the world population.
    I didn’t think that overpopulation is a scary thing. However, I have a reason for my past thinking. The reason is a decline in Japan’s population. Japan is facing problems of depopulation. There are a lot of problems concerning depopulation. I have heard the news that the idea that Japanese government give a family money every time the family have a baby was suggested. Recently, various ideas for solving depopulation have been suggested in Japan.
    I hope that the population of Japan increases. However, people around the world will be in danger of food shortages from overpopulation in the future, and so I think politicians around the world must come up with how to solve this problem. The above is what I thought after I read this article.

  2. I knew that the world’s population was growing every year, but I hadn’t really thought about it seriously, because Japan’s population was decreasing. The reason for this is that Japan’s population is declining. I felt that the decline in population was more dangerous than the increase in population, but when I thought about it, I realized that population growth is directly related to a lot of problems. As was mentioned in the talk, the problems of food shortages and the depletion of resources due to population growth are not familiar to Japan and do not seem very real, so we tend to forget them. The SDGs have been set as goals to be tackled by all countries in the world, and they all share the common goal of leaving no one behind. Many of these goals are related to population growth, such as the issue of poverty in developing countries. In order to create a sustainable planet, if the population increases any further, we will run out of capacity. We also need to create a society in which our future generations can live in peace. I think it is difficult to achieve this goal easily, but I hope that this will change gradually.

  3. I think that our planet will not be able to afford supporting us anymore. The number of population is getting higher and higher and some people say that we will suffer from the shortage of food, oil, other resources and so on. But some surveys show that the growth od this number will end up at 11 billion according the book whose title is “FACT FULLNESS”. On the other hand, in developed countries such as Japan, they will become aged society with a low birth rate and they cannot afford supporting their citizens anyway.
    Considering these problems, I came up with two ideas to solve them.
    First solution is that people living in overpopulation-countries will move to countries which is developed countries and aim for balancing population. But there is one problem that they have to make a new immigration policy.
    Second solution is that we invent new ways to produce food and aim for more effective living way. Some scientists are doing a research about vertical farming and aquafarming using ICT.
    In conclusion, we cannot escape from overpopulation problem, but we can find solutions to solve these problems using our technology.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!