“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 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.