Timon Singh

Earth's Population Will Hit 7 Billion People This Year

by , 07/19/11

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It seems like only yesterday that the planet’s population hit 6 billion, but in fact it was 12 years ago in 1999. This year, the planet will hit the next big milestone – the UN Population Division just announced that the world’s human population will hit 7 billion on Halloween 2011. Unfortunately, 7 Billion Day means that as we continue to dominate the planet, we are stretching natural resources, fresh water and food supplies to their limit while increasing our environmental impact exponentially.

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The increase of a billion people in 12 years is worrying, especially since the global population only reached one billion in the early 19th century. In the following 150 years the earth’s population rose by 1.5 billion people, and in just the past 60 years the population has exploded with an increase of 4.5 billion people.

This is not a good thing, as we continue to consume more water, food and fuel then we can create. That’s not even considering the increase in carbon and nitrogen we are responsible for and the natural species we have made extinct through our presence.

All in all this means that in the next 20 years, our population growth is predicted to see a ‘perfect storm’ as the population rises to 8 billion people and our demand for food increases by 50 percent, water by 30 percent and energy by 50 percent. It’s enough to make you start building a survival shelter in your garden right now.

So what can we do? Adopt a one-child policy like China? Grow more food? Switch to renewable sources of energy? Well, yes to the last two. As each generation is born, we are going to have to adapt our diets, our energy sources and how we live if we are to survive a global humanitarian disaster. After all it is not our numbers that are the problem ( 7 billion people could fit into Los Angeles apparently) — it is the resources we currently crave. Our consumption grossly outweighs our needs and, unless we address that the world is not going to change.

According to UN scientists, our impact is creating an epoch called the Anthropocene. This is: “a break with the geologic past marked by humanity’s long-term alteration of the natural world and its biota.” In short, we are inadvertently bringing on the sixth mass extinction because our desires are too great, our technologies have had too great an impact on the environment, and our use of the land is unsustainable.

+ UN Population Division

Via The Guardian

Images © Arenamontanus and Loozrboy

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10 Comments

  1. Wmice July 26, 2011 at 9:42 am

    in 100 years…………Soilent GREEN !!!!!

  2. lazyreader July 19, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    @Twiddler: 90 percent of all life on Earth are unicellular microbes, you may cause an extinction every time you wash your hands. Now of that less than 10 percent that are multi-cellular most are still microscopic. Of that remainder, only a fraction are actually animals, the rest being plants and fungi. And of those animals, 97 percent of that consists of primitive invertebrates like arthropods, molluscs, Cnidarian, sponges, worms, etc. Now were down to the remaining 3 percent that are vertebrates (fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals). You’ve just narrowed down life on Earth to a fraction and given high priority to fashionable animals with no regards to the overwhelming mass of creatures that are just as important to nature if not more important. Conservationists only care about cute creatures that make good versions of stuffed animals to sell and hold almost no value towards most species that most tend to ignore.

  3. zalzalahbuttsaab July 19, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    what percentage of the 7 billiob is using the majority of the earth’s resources?

  4. tazguy July 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    All along the simple answer to combat overpopulation was to completely embrace homosexuality through the entire planet. You see, gay men and women can never, ever have children by accident. They can only adopt or get a surrogate involved. Since societies for many centuries have condemned homosexuals, many gays have turned to going into a “fake” hetro relationship and have had children to further cement this “relationship” to the outside world.
    Think about it. Humans have no real natural predators with our intelligence. This is truly natures natural way to stop our population from exploding BUT many religions crave to increase their people numbers and the best way to do that is to convince people that they must have babies. Gays dont have babies so they are not good at building numbers and must be banished!!
    All sounds crazy but it makes sense!!! :-)
    Think about it with an open mind.

  5. twiddler July 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    It isn’t bad enough to have 7 billion people; we have billions of cars, houses, materials, live stocks, roads, deforestation, landfills, etc. etc.

    Population is growing and the planet is getting smaller. We have already caused so much damage to the planet; it’s just a matter of time before world catastrophe wipes out 90% of life on earth.

  6. Hyncharas July 19, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    I think the struggle with our world is partly due to the fact society doesn’t actually want to alter the status quo. Let’s introduce a few examples of this:

    – Many fuel companies are introducing biofuels, but still insist on mining billions of tonnes of Oil and Natural Gas.

    – Solar power is popping up everywhere, but the technology is so old that it lacks any proper evolution for concrete jungles or countryside devleopment.

    – Other renewable sources would help cut back on our carbon footprint, but politics in most countries simply don’t want to invest billions of pound in implementation.

    There is also the matter of the Economic Crisis worldwide. In the UK we are experiencing fallout in regards to the Defense Budget where some projects are more expensive to scrap than to continue, whilst riots in other countries are occurring from rises in taxing and and inability to maintain infrastructure. the truth is governments are not talking to the general public; they are just carrying on regardless without finding ways to solve these problems…

    Embracing renewable energy, “floating city” concepts and other, similar technologies many seem apocryphal to politicians, but they are a future we just must accept as the way forward for our species and our planet, and we need to talk to each other better to avoid the mistakes of the past.

  7. caeman July 19, 2011 at 8:36 am

    We have the ability to grow enough food to feed everyone on the planet. We may need to shift some of those resources to things like salt water farms (fish and plants that live in salt water), but it is possible. And we can make fresh water from sea water — which if we do enough of, we can lower sea levels.

    We have plenty of space on this planet for a few billion more. Since deserts cannot grow food, entire swathes of Arizona and Texas could be turned into tract housing.

  8. he July 18, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Now we can overwhelm the alien invasion with our utterly massive numbers! whoohoo!

  9. throughwires July 18, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    to see such a dramatic increase in population is very frightening and intense. As a young adult I look to the future wondering how I can add to the environment and my surroundings rather than take from it. As my generation begins to have children, how can we justify such desires for a larger family or really a family at all where bringing new people into this world may prove to be more challenging in the near future than we expect. I always monitor how much I consume and I know even now as i try to be reductive as I can, I seem to not be where I can be. In many ways, I look to the ways of much simpler people and even animals like dogs and cats who finds happiness in many ways without the aid so much materialistic interaction. Just looking to the past, we can see that we have not evolved in certain ways. for so long, there was a much stronger harmony.

    But maybe these transitions are necessary and this is the only way change will occur as we dry everything up.

  10. TruJustice July 18, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    It was good to see the note that the 7 billiion could all be housed in Los angeles but if you gave them the state of texas they would be able to have a proper house and yard. Trith is the resources are sufficient but there are those whose greed is unchecked. Obesity rages in developed nations while the third world starves. Resources in the third world are exploited by the first world while the peoples of the third world nation lack incomes to afford the products the first world made from their raw materials. When the first world nations go into debt they increase their borrowing while the third world has to devalue their currency or face sanctions. The first world’s materialism will be the reason for any negative impacts that comes with the world’s growing population. The first world’s arrogance in trying to force countries of low population density to reduce their population growth in order to access development loans, funding illegal birth reductions, and interfering in their politics in order to favor first world corporations that seek to slake their thirst for the wealth of the third world.
    I prefer that the population grow as the repurcussion wil bring the first world to the realization of their culpability.
    The more the Third world’s population grows the less the first world will be able to get the third world politicians to accept their extortions. Looking forward to the next 2 billion

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