Friday, January 7, 2011

7 Billion And Counting: Can Earth Handle It?

CaracasEarth's population stands at nearly 7 billion, and demographers project we may reach 9 billion by the middle of this century.

In the past 50 years, population has grown at a rate never before seen in human history. Pastures have become towns, cities have sprawled across the landscape, and humans now live in places once considered remote. The change is so dramatic that some scientists now refer to this as "the age of man."

But as humanity's reach expands, forests are vanishing, glaciers are melting and almost 1 billion people go hungry each day.

Robert Kunzig is a senior editor for National Geographic and author of this month's cover story, "7 Billion," which considers the possibility of the global population overwhelming the planet.

He tells NPR's Neal Conan that he believes India is emblematic of where current population growth is taking us.

"I spent a few weeks there," he says, "and there's really no place like India to get the experience of being immersed in a crowd." Kunzig describes the heat hitting Western visitors "like a brick," and dust swirling.

He says he visited two very different places in India — the South, where populations have stabilized, and Delhi, which is still growing.

"It's a typical developing-country megacity ... 20 million people, people streaming in every day," Kunzig says.

But it still lacks the infrastructure to handle the influx.

"The government tries to plan, but it's really just sort of overwhelmed by events, so people make their own way," Kunzig says. He adds that while there are "outright slums and shanty towns," there are also neighborhoods where people are building their own apartment buildings and making their way, stealing power from the electric company. Kunzig calls those neighborhoods "a hodgepodge of worlds — cows in the streets, satellite dishes on the roofs."

Because of that hodgepodge, Kunzig says he was optimistic when he left India.

"There's a tremendous energy there," he says. "I met people ... that have come in from the countryside, have built their own homes and are now devoting themselves to the education of their children." ...

via 7 Billion And Counting: Can Earth Handle It? : NPR.

This reader comment puts things in perspective:
Albert Reingewirtz (Poupic) - "I am 76 years old. When I was in school there were 2 billion people on earth. ...There is a solution to over population already but you refuse to even mention it. China solved the problem a long time ago. It is one child per couple."

Confirmation of his claim here. Our population has almost quadrupled from 2 to 7 billion people in one lifetime.  This is one big reason I choose to have no children.  Too many humans already.


Patmosboy said...

7,000,000,000 people, 1,603,008,000,000,000 square feet of land on the earth. We've got plenty of room here.

Xeno said...

Some land just can not sustain human life. Too hot, too cold, solid rock, marsh, sand, ice, thick jungle...

Where are the large areas of good land on this planet which remain untapped?

We only have this many people because we are using technology to mass produce lower quality food, in the places where this can be done. We have depleted the oceans and the quality of food seems to be dropping everywhere.

If I am wrong, why are a billion people a day going hungry?

Abrahim shumbadihum chambrazi 7th of 19882 children said...

it is too, and i say too stupendeous for a Creator to put us into a land of x2 square meters and then let us dry, let us on theories and ideas what it is and to what does the earth servs for ?

The idea of life, whichever it is, IT'S the MOST, and i mean the MOST stupid IDEA IN the WHOLE UNIVERSE!

Thank you my beloved.

It is about superseeding the material border, but you can freely say the GOD is merciful if you will not be overcrowded and overburdened by thousands of hungry ants whatever their sorts are...
And when they are all eating from the same plate, than again, you never can't fall into delusion that God-the creator really is a bad creator as believing, and with the Belief in you you will in a moment find yourself across in the another reality which is/or isn't more perfect than this one. Whaterver your experiences are, the fact is that nothing is more important and important than the Belief in love, unity, loving a women, and GodBelief. As you are aware that sooner, or later all will vanish what eye can here see, and that whatever you did, and whatever you do, cannot change that "real" fact.
So to say, if we will have to carry people on our heads, we will do such endeavours. That is the Belief.
The questions as such as: Why did God-Creator did this, what was his intentions, what does this servess for? Why all this...whatever you are asking about ...=? are meaningless. If God gived us some supranatural powers to change things with them, then this place would be even more meaningless. It's like if there is a that kind of a person, then we can conclude that our only sense is to makeourselves better, to improve ourselves, when we have to, it's like our mission. Like when watching a film, or reading a book, it' almost as perfect, and you comprehend it like that, perfect, Reality is not perfect in a sense that you are experiencing it, and it is real.

i do believe in more higher and more perfect realities and places than this one. If there's a way to prove them, i would prove them, but it all starts, and it's all experience of a person.

Nothing smart to say on, then hoping to get into a dimension which is not a planet, and where women don't force us :) to carry children with them, and where it is a place just for me, without annoying peoples and their friggin rights.

also, i will not contact you from there because i will be out of interest from doing so.

Sam said...

You've got it right, Xeno; some folks just will not be able to see overpopulation until they've been packed wall-to-wall, have starved, and have contracted diseases from non-potable water. Using "Patmosboy's" numbers, that gives each human being on the planet slightly over 5.25 acres... that's 5.25 acres to occupy, build, grow, and dispose of EVERY thing a person needs for about seventy years. However, as you have pointed out, those numbers are not dependable; much of the land is not useful, and though 5.25 acres per person is actually not enough, the real number, whatever it may be, is actually worse.

Another frightening aspect of population is that it grows much faster than most people realize. In the 1950's, the World's population was about 3 billion, and by the turn of the century it was 6 billion. It DOUBLED in a mere fifty years! Surely that sets off an alarm in the mind of any thinking person!

Sam said...

I want some of what this guy is smoking.

Pyrodin said...

There is the sea to think about, floating cities and such....

Setsuka said...

When I am ready to raise children, I shall adopt. To me, this is one solution for people who want to have a lot of children, but who are still worried about overpopulation. That way, you're raising the next generation and helping make the world a better place for them.

If our population suddenly has a drastic drop, then of course I'll make more humans, but only if it comes to that.

That's my plan.

Xeno said...

Good plan! I'm in that club too.