Wednesday, August 03, 2011

7-Billion Hits and Counting

How I wish my blog would get that much hits.

We humans have been very busy procreating and ensuring that our species will continue forever. We’ve been so successful at it that our population is set to reach the 7 billion mark later this year. Quite an achievement wouldn’t you say? Well, that remains to be seen.

We hit the 6 billion mark back in 1999, and it took only 12 years for another billion people to be added. This high rate of growth is seen only in the past 5 decades or so. It was recent as 1960 that the population was 3 billion. In a narrow span of 50+ years it has jumped its way to 7 billion. According to UN projections, the populations will reach 10.1 billion by 2100.

Sadly, research by David Bloom, a professor of economics and demographics at the Harvard School of Public Health, shows that most of this growth will be seen in the developing nations, not the developed ones. A lot of challenges will be faced by these nations to sustain their people. Poverty is sure to increase along with the competition for limited resources.

The research also shows that the growth rate of developed nations are likely to remain flat, but it has the challenge that there will be less working age adults to support the retired community.

“In the next 40 years, virtually all (97%) of the world's 2.3 billion projected increase will be in the underdeveloped regions, with nearly half (49%) in Africa.”

However, according to Mr. Bloom these challenges can be overcome if we are willing to take some serious action.

"Those challenges are not insurmountable, but we cannot deal with them by sticking our heads in the sand. We have to tackle some tough issues ranging from the unmet need for contraception among hundreds of millions of women and the huge knowledge-action gaps we see in the area of child survival, to the reform of retirement policy and the development of global immigration policy. It's just plain irresponsible to sit by idly while humankind experiences full force the perils of demographic change,"

Call me a pessimist, but I believe the world is already straining its resources to sustain the current population. Almost half the population, around 3.5 billion, lives on less than $2.50 a day. I’m doubtful that it will improve anytime soon. I’ll be very happy if I’m proven wrong. Ok, if by some miracle people start to care for each other and alleviate poverty, the more important question to ask is whether our planet can continue to support us.

I believe one way to tackle things is to improve on what is categorized as sustainable technologies. These include Renewable energy, sustainable living, organic agriculture, environmental economics, and environmental technology. With these, we could probably reduce the stress we place on the planet’s resources.

“In the last 200 years the population of our planet has grown exponentially, at a rate of 1.9% per year. If it continued at this rate, with the population doubling every 40 years, by 2600 we would all be standing literally shoulder to shoulder.”
Stephen Hawking

“Short of nuclear war itself, population growth is the gravest issue the world faces. If we do not act, the problem will be solved by famine, riots, insurrection and war.”
Robert McNamara, Former World Bank President

Some interesting reads:


PP said...

you're not being a pessimist, you're being realistic. the world simply cant sustain the rate at which we use up resources.

imo, one of the simplest solutions is to promote birth control more actively.

Azrael said...

Yep, that's true. But most people will consider it as being pessimistic, since they don't want to deal with the realistic situation, especially here.