World Population

“The United Nations estimates that next Monday, October 31, 2011, the world’s population will reach 7 billion. Just 200 years ago, there were only 1 billion people on the planet, and over the next 150 years, that number grew to 3 billion. But in the past 50 years, the world’s population has more than doubled, and it is projected to grow to 15 billion by the year 2100. As the UN points out, this increasing rate of change brings with it enormous challenges. Meeting the basic needs of so many will meaning growing, shipping, and distributing more food while providing more clean water, health care, and shelter — all without inflicting too much further damage on our environment.” (The Atlantic, Oct 24)

 The picture was taken  earlier this year as Bangladeshi muslims were boarding a train to return home after a religious festival. The train was described as “overcrowded”.

The population density in such places is hard for us Aussies to take in! And when we travel in the Outback, we can go for hours without seeing a single person. I find the arguments for limiting our population to about 30 million quite persuasive, but by the standards of many countries, that is outrageously conservative, and treating ourselves to spatial luxury that they can barely imagine.

The implications of world population growth are to my mind alarming. Unless you’re a “denier”, you’d have to concede that we’re already experiencing some worrying changes — global warming, pollution, extinction of species, deforestation, depletion of resources, etc. I find it hard to see how the planet will be still coping within the lifetimes of our children.


About dazzlerplus

Writing about the things that interest me helps me to discover what I think. One of my loves is the Australian Outback, and I travel out there often, and when possible take friends with me.
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3 Responses to World Population

  1. Anne says:

    Water is our biggest issue and we seem not to be able to educate our population of this glaring fact.

  2. dazzlerplus says:

    As an example of the sparse population to be found in Outback Australia, the Diamantina Shire in south-west Queensland is the second largest shire in that state, with an area of approximately 95,000 square kilometres and a population of 350 people. The 95,000 square kilometres includes three towns – Birdsville, Bedourie and Betoota. The average population density is .0037 people per sq km.

    By comparison, Hong Kong has an average population density of 6,300 people per sq km. If the Diamantina Shire had the same population density as Hong Kong, its population would be about 60 million. And the Diamantina Shire Council would have a few more things to think about!

  3. I agree with Anne about the water. Councils and the State Government keep allowing more subdivisions when there is not enough water to go around. Not many are lucky enough to be free of water restrictions.

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