title:Beyond 7 Billion
name:Rick Loomis(Los Angels Times)


Frequently there are at least two women and their newborns per bed in the recovery room of the busiest birthing hospital in Manila. The Philippines, at about 94 million people, is the 12th largest nation by population and its expected to go up to 141 million people by 2040. From 1990 to 2008, just 18 years, the population nearly doubled in size.


Yolanda Naz prepares a family meal of rice and vegetables since she typically can’t afford meat. If there is not enough food, only the children eat. Naz, her husband, end eight children live together in a rat infested, two-room shack. Naz was denied access to birth control in her younger years due to the heavy influence of the Catholic Church on the Philippine government and now struggles to care for them on a daily basis.


Barefoot children play in the sludge of Tondo, a vast dump in Manila where thousands of people exist in makeshift homes and make a living by sifting through the refuse of others. More and more people in the Philippines and throughout the world are residing in slums as the population balloons and economic situations decline.


Zhang Yujia, 6, watches cartoons in the house her parents bought in Xiamen, China, with a $100,000 interest-free government loan. The loan was an incentive payment for her parents to keep their family small. For three decades, the world’s most populous country has been aggressively working to limit its population growth. The effort has succeeded in significant ways, yet the nation’s huge and still-growing population, along with its rising affluence, is taking a heavy toll environmentally.


Workers tear out a street in Taiyuan to make way for something new. China is busily expanding its urban areas to accommodate the masses of people migrating from the countryside in search of a better life. As the population explodes beyond seven billion people, necessary expansion points toward an unprecedented era of urban expansion and city-building in the coming decades.


A field of stumps reveals clear-cutting that has occurred on the steep slopes above the headwaters of the Yangtze River. The denuded hillside is located on a winding road through Shangri-La, a place renamed by local boosters to entice tourists to this area in Southwest China. Man has destroyed around half of the world’s original forests, with most of the damage being done in the last 50 years. Forests are critical habitat for many species.


Members of the Egyptian army pray with protesters during Egypt’s revolution. Known collectively as the Arab Spring, these popularly driven uprisings brought down the governments of several countries. Frustrated ambitions in fast-growing countries have left many in the younger generation with few prospects and little to lose.


Protesters in Tahrir Square, the focal point of Egypt’s revolution, react to President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement that he would not step down. Thousands of young people, many unemployed men pessimistic about their futures and representative of a volatile youth bulge present in fast-growing nations – had taken to the streets during sometimes-violent protests. Under pressure, Mubarak stepped down from power the following day.


Mamta Kumhar, still a child herself at 15 years old, holds her youngest child in the room that she and her husband share with her extended family in rural India. Hoping for better economic standing in the future, Ramjee, her husband, took Mamta to get her tubes tied after the birth of their second child. Both had come from large families so this action marked a shift in the perceived value of a large versus small family.


A farm worker threshes rice over a barrel during the harvest in Punjab. In Punjab, the country’s breadbasket, grain production is crucial to feeding the rest of India. “If these grains were not available from Punjab, this country would starve,” says agricultural economist SS Johl of Punjab Agricultural University. Barring a breakthrough of some kind, India will again have to rely on handouts or imported grain to feed its growing multitudes.


Preschoolers sit with empty bowls as they wait for a porridge of lentils and rice. “We are doing the best we can,” said Anup Murari Rajan, an officer with CARE India, which provides free meals at 32,000 community centers in the state of Uttar Pradesh. “These slums are increasing day by day.”


Samburu women line up to visit a mobile camel clinic as it passes near their rural village on its month-long trek. The clinic, along with offering basic medical services, quietly provides birth control and family planning education to populations of women traditionally known to have large families. The guise of free health care services offer women a chance to momentarily slip away from their husbands, who often would not approve of proactive family planning.


Newly arriving refugees, mostly Somalis, crowd into line to be admitted into Dadaab, the largest refugee camp in the world. At times, more than 1000 refugees arrive each day, surviving an arduous journey across a stark and forbidding landscape just to get there. Once admitted, they join the more than 450,000 people already there.


Refugees line up once every two weeks to be resupplied with the basic food necessities for survival inside Dadaab, an inhospitable landscape where many Somalis have fled to escape the drought and violence in their own country. Flour, dried peas and salt are among the few items they receive in measured amounts.


Saad Siyat, 2, takes his last breath inside Dadaab’s Camp Ifo clinic after he had been brought there malnourished and unconscious. A doctor tried CPR to resuscitate the young Somali boy who had recently arrived to the camp, but was unsuccessful. Deaths are not uncommon in the camp, where refugees are often undernourished and living conditions are harsh.