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7 Billion Humans and Growing…

7 Billion Humans and Growing…

What would you tell the human species about the fact this month there will be seven billion of us, and just twelve years ago there were only six? According to this CNN guest column by Dr. Jeffrey Sachs in 1999 the human population was six billion and this month it will go to seven. How long will it take to get to eight billion? One projection says it will be 2025, so that is just fourteen years to get to the next billion, but it could also be 2030, which would be nineteen years. Nine billion could be reached by 2045-2050.

Oddly, many news stories about environmental and social problems omit a very important contributor: overpopulation and the still-increasing number of humans. Many human-animal conflict stories focus on the violence or fear aspects, but don’t focus very much on the fact large-scale human population growth is what is driving transfer of once natural habitats into development projects such as road construction, farmland, shopping centers and residences. To put it simply, where will all the additional people go if the human population continues to grow?

The answer is: on land that supported natural ecosystems existing as habitats for wild animals and plants. The ongoing loss of natural species is being driven by destruction of habitat, over-development, climate change, greed and lack of awareness. As more and more natural landscapes are lost, isn’t there a self-perpetuating effect where people who grow up without nature around them don’t care if more is converted to parking lots and shopping malls?

The human population in 1350 may have been just 370 million. If we as a species had then developed the foresight to practice some restraint in family planning, and kept the human population low so today there were only 3 billion of us, would there have been far fewer extinctions of others species that also live on this planet?

Dr. Sachs put it this way, “The world’s agricultural systems are already dangerously overstretched. Rainforests are being cut down to make way for new farms; groundwater used for irrigation is being depleted; greenhouse gases emitted from agricultural activities are a major factor in global climate change; fertilizers are poisoning estuaries; and countless species are threatened with extinction as we grab their land and water and destroy their habitats.” (Source: CNN.com)

Image Credit: Ahron de Leeuw

Related Links


World Population Day
Dumbing Down the American Population

Read more: Children, Do Good, Environment, General Health, News & Issues

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111 comments

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4:56AM PDT on Sep 26, 2012

It might be and it might not. Personally i think when we reach a surtain number things are going to happen regardless to what WE human want. But before that, (and it will take a long time if we stop waste), we have to STOP producing, producing, producing only to get more and more money! That is the really problem. WE produce as if there was twice or trippel as much people as of today. Look at the mountains of food and all the stuff on junkyard`s!!!!! We behave as there are NO tomorrow! I get bored listen to the many "knowhow`s" that say we are to many on this planet, HEY you can put the whole world`s population in Texas and each would have around 0,2 acres as garden. YOU DON`T NEED REST OF THE WORLD FOR FOODPRODUCTION, DO YOU?

1:07AM PDT on Sep 23, 2012

It does seem like a hopeless scenario, doesn't it. Mind you, we still have time to correct our behaviors, eating habits and eco-systems. We must act quickly.

6:43PM PDT on Jun 20, 2012

scary shit...

8:55AM PDT on Oct 31, 2011

7 Billion humans better start using some birth control !

12:20PM PDT on Oct 22, 2011

There is a breeding war between the Christians and Muslims going on right now. There seems to be no stopping them. It remains to be seen how the power elite is going to handle the population explosion. It looks like they are just going to let it go until we all sufficate in our own feces.

8:18PM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

Good article. When is enough enough? I do believe that humanity will hit a wall and suffer the consequences in the future. Too bad it won't be those who had a hand in creating this mess that won't experience that decline first hand. That would be justice!

There is more to life than a world full of self important humans living in denial about their role in the earth's declines and how dependant they are upon healthy ecosystems, that they compromise daily.

10:29AM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

Amen to Shalvah

9:46AM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

In the 1970's Planned Parenthood ran ads on TV about over population and birth control.....now the U.S. is trying to abolish Planned Parenthood. It is just astounding to me that the corporations are so greedy they refuse to look at reality.

The earth is a finite resource. There are already too many of us. That is all that needs to be said, but people must think about this and understand it. I did not have children and I really don't care if the world goes to hell in a handbasket and people become extinct, because I actually think that would be best. Humans are a blight on the universe.

8:00AM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

I just turned 50 today and when I checked my number I found that when I was born in 1961 there were about 3.2 billion people which means that in my life time the population has more than doubled!
I wish for conscious awakening of all human beings so that we may live in a peaceful, harmonious world!

4:16AM PDT on Oct 21, 2011

No one should be having more than two children anymore, one or none is ideal. I don't know why humanity doesn't think there is a population cap, and once a population reaches it's cap if it doesn't level off (which humanity hasn't/won't do) it will crash. There's no way around it, we cannot keep growing forever, and we're not going to stop until we've destroyed the environment; and humanity will follow nature to the grave.

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people are talking

Interesting. Thanks Samantha.

I personally stay with them until the end (I lost 2). Its really hard to see them go when you don't…

Yum. Thank you!

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