Living Among the Many

I have understood the population explosion intellectually for a long time. I came to understand it emotionally one stinking hot night in Delhi….The temperature was well over 100 degrees and the air was a haze of dust and smoke….The streets were alive with people. People eating, people washing, people sleeping, people visiting , arguing and screaming….People begging. People defecating and urinating….

–Paul Ehrlich

Often when I travel through huge metropolitan airports, I am struck by the sheer number of fellow humans on their way somewhere, all  of them seeking and striving, dealing with their own huge web of relationships and emotions, wanting, needing and consuming like me. It is a wonder I think to myself that this little blue planet could contain so many demands, so much complexity.

Yet I have never travelled to the most populated countries in the world.  I have never witnessed a true reflection of the billions of people trying to make a life on the planet. This year, the collective human population on earth will hit 7 Billion. This is up from 2 Billion in 1930. World demographers expect that this number will swell to 9 Billion in some 30 years. How many lives can the earth support is the question and fear that demographers and politicians of the most populous countries have been asking.

One in seven people on the planet currently live in slums that are made of cardboard or worse. Billions of people go hungry every day and the problem of clean drinking water has already begun to overtake the fears of  depleting energy resources. The number of people currently living in extreme poverty is 1.4 billion. This is bad, but not as bad as things were in 1981, when there were 1.9 billion people. That was about 4 in every 10 people in the world, whereas now fewer than 1 in 4 are extremely poor.

There might be no more meaningful way to recognize the Earth Day celebration this year but to join in the work  described by Peter Singer in his recent book  The Life You Can Save: Acting Now to End World Poverty. A serious and thoughtful philosopher and bioethics professor, he was quoted saying:  “If you have bought a bottled beverage in the last week, then you can afford to help end human suffering.”  He has been named as one of the most influential people in the world and awarded the title of humanist laureate.

Since 2009, when he launched his website millions of people have pledged to contribute a percentage of their income to help reduce extreme poverty on the planet. Read about the idea and why to pledge here.  Recognizing that we are all one of billions and taking responsibility to care for the planet by caring for the people who inhabit it,  is a profoundly positive and loving way to live.  Use Earth day as the anniversary date of your pledge.

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Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola3 years ago

thanks for the info

Robert O.
Robert O.4 years ago

Thank you.

Tim Cheung
Tim C.4 years ago


Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener4 years ago

Yep, the idiocy of endless growth!

May Howie
may Howie4 years ago


Greek A.

Spaying & Neutering????

Starting with loggers, wild-life poachers, their employers, the bankers, the puppet politicians/war criminals, the morons who vote them in to power & believe the bullshit fed to them daily by the MSM??????????????

Imagine the kind of World 'WE' & 'OUR' offspring will be living in, 30 years from now!!!

Samantha Hodder
Sam Hodder4 years ago

thanks for this.

Elaina Tess
Elaina Tess4 years ago

Hi all,
I'm trying to implement a recycling program in my local Atlanta Public Schools. Please sign the petition I've started to make this goal a reality! It will only take a minute or two of your time and it's for a good cause- best of all, it's a cost-free way for you to make a positive change :) Just copy and paste the link to your browser. Thank you!

Bernadette P.
Berny p.4 years ago

I have travel a lot and lived especially in asia and this has given me a ...good idea of what millions of people mean!
I have lived a a city of 21 millions people and believe me you see everything in a city like this.

We SHOULD send EVERY head of state in such countries and ...MAKE them live there for a while...they would VERy quickly comes to the conclusion that we have to many people...where ever we live ....and that we should encourage people to have less children.
Doing this is not difficult...just tax them...the more kids you have the less benefit you have...hit people in their pockets and they will SOON react!

Betty Stark
Betty Stark4 years ago

We are ignorant and unlearned about so much that is going on in the world. Even though we see the commercials on the news and hear about all the fund raisers to help other countries who are desperately in need.What we don't hear about are the things going on in America that we should be worried about taking care of first.Our resources are being destroyed by the vast timber industry.We have the nuclear plants that God only knows how much perpetual damage we are in.Our storm and earthquake damages are getting worse each year.Our wildlife is being destroyed by the thousands.Our Medicare and medicaid is making cuts to the point that the elderly and disabled are having to choose between food,medicine,utilities,rent and transportation. We have thousand of homeless people living in cardboard boxes,under bridges or wherever they can find a little shelter.I am all for helping other nations because of natural disaster but I'm also about taking care of the American citizens first..We do have a feed the children in America.I donate for the summer cereal drive,The Battered Women s Shelter, School Supplies for needy children.Our local food and clothing missions and benefits to help whatever good cause.I am also trying to go green as much as possible. I have sent a large package of Christmas toys to a small orphanage in India one Christmas and when I received pictures back I was very surprised but also happy.