I spent a lot of time today writing a piece on my Facebook page which is where I do most of my work these days. I thought I would share that here verbatim other than tidying up the links. I hope it may help someone who may be struggling to come to terms with the issues covered. Here is a link to my Facebook page.
Having a day off from bashing America I thought I would revert to one other of my favourite memes. One that I have not recently visited. Time for a refresher.
The problem, whether considered to generally be a problem or not, is the issue of over-population. My mind was focused on this through a post by my FB friend Bev here (which is also very worth reading): Bev’s FB post That story contained a statement that the world would pass 9billion population by 2050. True, but not the whole truth. I have previously shown that there will be more than 10billion souls alive in 2050 (barring nasty but real events that could well quickly reduce our numbers drastically).
I will get to that in a minute, but Lo and Behold, while I was thinking about this I opened this post: A Timeline of Earth’s Average Temperature Since the Last Ice Age Glaciation This is an amazing timeline of human existence which shows that our current world climate conditions have never been as extreme as they are today. It is not a complete history of mankind, in that it does not include our origins and I would argue some of the time points but that it not my focus today.
One thing it does show is the very small period of time in which man has had the capability to engineer his own destruction, and the consequences of following that path projected a little way ahead.
All of that is interesting in itself and you could spend all day looking and thinking about that yourself if you had a mind to, but my purpose here is to overlay (in words) the timeline of human population growth on this fascinating picture. It won’t take long and I don’t mind if you ignore what I have to say and just take some time to consider what is already there.
First I need to rework the figures to bring them right up to date. For this I use as a basis the data from the Worldometers website (very interesting).
The current annual population growth rate is taken as around 1.13% with a net annual increase of around 86million folk and a period of 11.6 years to add the next billion people. Let’s see how that is going. Take the current net increase so far this year given as over 58.7million. We have just passed the 2/3 point in the year so if we add half of the current growth that should give us a rough figure for the whole year. It comes to 88million which gives us a period of just 11.36 years to add the next billion. Does that look like a decreasing population. Well, if you are looking through the wrong end of the telescope it might.
One step further – has the annual growth rate changed based on that figure? OK, 88million into 7.45billion (current pop. count) as a percentage is 1.18%. It does not sound much when you consider that in the 1960s the growth rate peaked around 2% but in terms of the absolute number it is a considerable increase on recent figures. All of this demonstrates that if anyone tries to tell you that the population will stabilise around 2020 they are trying to pull the wool over your eyes.
Here are the historical facts and my calculations for the future (again barring any unfortunate ‘accidents’ that may occur).
From our earliest historical beginnings, way back in the mists of time (did you follow that time-line through slowly to get some sort of feel for that?), our numbers never, as far as we know, exceeded 1 solitary billion right up until the year 1804CE (Current Era). Just 212 years and probably less than 10 generations of your ancestors ago. Make a mental note of where that position is on the time-line.
From that point, 1804, go forward 123 years to 1927. That is the period when population growth began and it took those 123 years for it to reach the next billion mark. When I was born in 1945, just 18 years later, the figure was ~2.5billion and it took just 37 years in total – that is to 1960 – to reach the next billion milestone.
Those post-war years were the period of our greatest percentage growth (but the actual numbers were minuscule compared to today’s figures – because total population was still quite small – but growing).
The move from 3billion to 4billion took just 14 years to 1974.
The move from 4billion to 5billion took just 13 years to 1987.
The move from 5billion to 6billion took just 12 years to 1999.
(Are you following this on the time-line?)
From that point it has taken just 12 years to again add the next billion.
The move from 6billion to 7billion took just 12 years to 2011.
We now stand at 7.45billion just 5 years later and it looks like we are moving to an eleven year period for new billions to be added.
Let’s project that into the future.
By 2022-3 the population could be 8billion.
By 2034-5 the population could be 9billion.
By 2046-7 the population could be 10billion.
And finally, by 2050 the population could be well on its way to 11billion.
Get the picture?
So, that’s it. That’s what faces us. And if you don’t see that as being a huge problem then I feel sorry for you. I make no representations as to what this means, action it may call for, or likely consequences. Those should all be fairly obvious.
I’m done now. Need a cup of tea.