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Natural Perspectives: What will our grandchildren see?

January 05, 2011|By Vic Leipzig and Lou Murray
(Courtesy Lou Murray )

Vic and I took off for Big Bear Lake on Christmas to enjoy the snow there. The roads were clear, but there were several inches of snow on the ground, making a beautiful scene.

Our son Scott rented a large house on the lake so we could have our traditional post-Christmas snow play. It was large enough to hold the whole family — Scott, Nicole, Nicole's mother Maria and the three granddaughters, plus Vic and me.

We made good use of the fireplace, keeping a cozy fire going from morning until bedtime. I confess to spending most of my time parked in front of the fire with a good book. With a fully equipped modern kitchen at our disposal, we cooked all of our meals at the house.

All three little girls enjoyed the snow, especially when their dad pulled them on a sled. I showed them how to make snowballs, which they promptly threw at their Papa Vic. At age 2, Megan doesn't have much of a throwing arm, so she sneaked up behind Vic to smack snowballs into the small of his back. With the twins mounting a frontal assault and Megan behind, poor Vic was beleaguered.

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The twins turned 5 while we were there. Megan's birthday is several days after the twins'. I didn't want her to feel left out, so I let her open the present from us at the twins' birthday party. Her mom said that she coveted her sisters' indoor sleeping bags, so I got her one of her own.

When Megan saw that her gift was a sleeping bag, she was beside herself with joy.

"It's just what I always wanted my whole life," she exclaimed. That cracked us up. Her "whole life" has been all of 3 years.

But it got Vic to wondering what life would be like when Megan was our age. Sixty-five years from now, Vic and I will be long gone. But we can speculate on some things.

Growth of the human population is one of the most pressing problems that people will face in the future. The world's population is projected to reach 7 billion in the next two years. In my lifetime, the world's population has tripled. Megan will never see that kind of increase.

Fortunately, the rate of population growth has slowed. But it still continues and over the next 50 years is expected to rise by another 2 billion to 5 billion people. Many experts say that the human population will level off at around 9 billion. We'll reach that number around 2040. Others believe that the population will reach 12 billion before leveling off.

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