Sometime next month, a baby will be born who will take the global population above seven billion for the first time, and in all probability that birth will take place in China or India, the two countries with more than a billion inhabitants.
The United Nations has fixed October 31 as the date of the fateful birth, but events have so often proved demographers wrong in the past that the expectation is that it will be sooner rather than later.
One Billion-Mark Reached After 1800
The rate of population growth has soared over the course of recorded history: when Jesus was born, there are thought to have been around 300 million people on earth. The billion-mark was reached only after 1800, but as a measure of just how fast global population is growing, the sixth billionth living person—Bosnian Adnan Nevic—is only 11.
Those billions will be seeking food, water and other resources on a planet where, scientists say, humans are already shaping climate and the web of life.
Soon India Will Take The Lead From China
From The Hindu:
It’s also clear that the proportions will shift between the continents, driven by high birth rates in Asia and Africa. Soon India, with 1.2 billion currently, will take the lead from China, with 1.3 billion, as the world’s most populous nation..
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country today with 162 million, will see its population increase to almost 750 million by the middle of the century.
Another example: highly industrialised Germany and developing Ethiopia each have a little more than 80 million people. In another 40 years, there will probably be 174 million Ethiopians, while Germany’s population will decline to 72 million.
And the industrialised world is ageing rapidly.
This also means that relations of political power will change.
Can We Support A Population Of Seven Billion?
Can the planet Earth really support seven billion people? With some 1.5 billion people already living on less than $1.25 a day, nearly one billion people hungry and the natural world already heavily damaged, are we humans destroying ourselves?
With increasing pressure on land, food and energy sources, many believe that there will be wars between neighboring countries over water and land.
What do you think? What will be the biggest problem facing a world of seven billion people?
Photo Credit: beltzner via Creative Commons