A week from today, October 31, 2011, our planet will see its population hit the seven billion mark for the first time ever.

How should we look at a world of seven billion people? A challenge, indeed, as ever more people means ever more mouths to feed; minds to educate; crops to grow; and bodies to protect, heal, employ and house. At the same time, our world’s growing population represent an opportunity; an opportunity to engage our mutual energies, technologies, and intellect in order to set our world on a track toward a healthy and sustainable future.

The Public Health Institute (www.phi.org) is pleased to launch today a series of blogs that reflect on a world of seven billion and that touch on just some of the tremendous challenges and opportunities that such an historic mark presents and provides.

In the coming days, readers will learn about the power and potential of youth, including most particularly adolescent girls, to lead us toward a healthier and more equitable future. We will hear about the changing patterns of disease in a more populous world; a world in which non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases, are rapidly overtaking infectious diseases as the primary cause of death and disability. PHI experts will discuss how aging populations will challenge societies to employ new tools to meet their needs; and how climate change is already posing challenges to women and their families throughout the world.

Join us over the coming days to learn and contribute to the dialogue! And for more information:

- Follow the UN’s important discussions on these issues at www.7billionactions.org

- See and hear diverse perspectives on a world of seven billion at the Pulitzer Center’s YouTube site here

- Read my article in this summer’s issue of Ms. Magazine here:

- Listen to a series of discussions this week on seven billion on Public Radio International’s The Takeaway here:

I’ll be interviewed on tomorrow's Takeaway (10/25 at 7:48 am ET), so listen and let me know what you think!

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