A World of 7 Billion People
This past October the world’s population hit 7 billion people. This is a considerable moment in time for the human species. Demographers have estimated that the worlds 7 billionth human originated in India and the sex is likely to be a boy. While there is no way to know for certain, the numbers were based on the fact that the world highest rate of birth occurs in India. One in five births in the world originates in the South Asian region.
Just twelve years ago, earth reached the six billion number mark in terms of population, and one hundred years ago there were only an estimated one an half billion people worldwide. Looking back, the exponential explosion of the population is a cause for alarm. Rev. Thomas Malthus wrote and interesting paper titled An Essay on the Principle of Population in 1798, in it he stated that
“power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man.”
This is turning out to be true; the resources needed per person are beginning to fall short of the supply.
This is a hard topic for most nations to tackle. The answers are not firm when it comes to population control; most lawmakers who dare to bring up the topic are accused of colonialism, racism, and misanthropy. Folks on the opposite side of the aisle assert that the extreme rise in population is not the problem but the increased consumption of finite items such as fossil fuels. Those living in highly commercialized areas in large concentrations actually consume more resources than those who live in more rural areas. A report published in France predicts that there are enough resources to feed the current population until 2050, when the population is set to hit nine billion. When it comes to consumption, the same report shows an average US citizen as having the same carbon emission footprint of 248 Ethiopians. If people in more wealthy areas of the world reduce their consumption then the effects of the worlds increased population can be lessened.
While it is exciting to say that there are seven billion people on the earth, a complicated demographic reality lies behind it. In more developed nations, the population growth has decreased and almost stopped, whereas in less developed nations, the birth rate is still between two and five children per woman. There is no easy solution, each region must develop an implement their own systems for population control. For example, although the US population has increased by ten percent in the last ten years, the increase is mainly due to immigration and not births. The goal should be reducing the per person consumption.
In lesser developed countries, per person consumption is much lower, however the per household population density is much higher. This could be due to the lack of information about fertility and sexual health options or due to social and cultural restrictions when it comes to such issues. As mentioned previously, each region and country must come up with solutions to the global population problem.
Photo Credit: Some rights reserved by John Tarantino – The Environmental Blog
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