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Wilton Feels Effects of Global Population Spurt

WILTON, Conn. – The world's population is mushrooming, and even though it isn't growing at that pace in places like Wilton, the effects are felt nevertheless, says Wilton resident and population expert Vicky Markham.

“People don’t just exist, they do things," says Markham. "They need to have shelter, food, education, jobs, recreation and to transport things. Each individual needs resources to do that.” 

And with global population increasing at five people born per second every day --- it recently passed the 7 billion mark -- those resources are shrinking, according to Markham, who heads the Center for Environment and Population, a nonprofit research and advocacy group based in New Canaan.

“We are anecdotally seeing evidence all around us of how growth is affecting our town,” Markham said. “That’s in the form of land-use change, new houses, increased number of vehicles, the roads being expanded and increased number of children in our schools.”

There are more deer and coyote in the area, Markham said, because the town has encroached on their habitats. So the question remains, what can the town do to reduce stresses on the environment.

“In several ways, I think Wilton is a leader in how it deals with growth issues and how it deals with environmental sustainability issues,” Markham said, pointing to solar panels on the high school roof, the educational programs put on by the Wilton Library and the fact that the town center is becoming more walkable.

But she thinks Wilton could go further, for instance by banning plastic bags as Westport has done. 

“I think a combination of individual action and responsibility and teaching children about it will make a difference,” Markham said.

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