It’s something not many people are willing to consider. Population control. I’m that age where peers are starting to have families and I am surprised by how many of them aren’t willing to consider that they don’t live in the same world as their parents. That there might be too many people in this world. That we possibly need to think a bit harder before we commit ourselves to the family image of having two or three children.
If you are about to start a family yourself, consider not having so many children. One of the biggest arguments for not having less children is that we don’t want to raise a single child – the “only child syndrome” sucks. Brothers and sisters are great. No one said acting responsibly was easy. But we are getting to the point where having a large family is selfish on a global level. We all want to enjoy the joys of our own family but we need to consider every single new child. Babies don’t die any more. Neither do we – at least not as quickly as we used to. Almost every child these days survives to adulthood (compared to 100 or so years ago) and every adult lives longer and longer.
The world population was estimated to pass 7 billion on Halloween of 2011 (or there abouts – there are different dates put forward and all with a margin of error of about 12 months). That is a lot of people. Less than two years later and the world has increased another eighth of a billion. Very roughly that’s 280 million new people but only 155 million died in that period. You might call me callous for saying “only” before saying “155 million died” but death is natural and should be balanced with new life. Currently, death is losing.
Here’s some stats from wikipedia:
- 7 billion – 2011 (12 years to go from 6b to 7b)
- 6 billion – 1999 (12 years to go from 5b to 6b)
- 5 billion – 1987 (13 years to go from 4b to 5b)
- 4 billion – 1974 (14 years to go from 3b to 4b)
- 3 billlion – 1960 (33 years to go from 2b to 3b)
- 2 billion – 1927 (123 years to go from 1b to 2b)
- 1 billion – 1804
In my lifetime, the world population has increased 2 billion.
In my parents lifetime, the world population has more than doubled, increasing more than 4 billion.
My grandparents are dead but were they to live to 100, they would see the world population increase 8 fold. By the time people in their 20’s and 30’s now are reaching the end of their natural lives, we may see the world population double again. I hope not.
Can the world handle it? I don’t think it can handle much more! The worst of it will be put on poorer nations as their water is used to grow food which is shipped to richer nations. But it will also affect richer nations as the poorer and middle class struggle to afford good food. I expect everyone in richer nations will still be able to eat, but whether they are still able to get clean, drinkable water and healthy food with fresh fruit and vegetables in their diet will be another thing. Even today, fresh fruit and vegetables are almost becoming something of a luxury. Clean drinkable water is something not everyone has in their house and many only drink water from a bottle. More people means more consumption means more pollution.
Can the economy handle it? The economy we live in requires constantly more input. More people to support the increase in consumption and production our economies need to be considered prosperous. Greater technology to increase production to support more people. More people means less land per person so real estate prices skyrocket and people complain that they can’t buy a house to house their family. What do you expect? Land doesn’t grow.
And the point that I was getting to is that despite our out of control population growth, no one seems willing to address it. No one considers that this is a problem and that we need to consider much more carefully how many children we have. Please don’t tell me that your town or city needs more kids. We live globally. We live on the globe. And we only have one to share between us all.