The population of the World is reaching a staggering 7 Billion inhabitants this week, marking a critical time for us to consider the conservation of natural resources to ensure a sustainable planet for future generations before sucking up all the good out of it. Experts are already releasing their estimates of the population growth till the end of the century. One forthcoming United Nations report estimates that the number may reach 15 billion – more than double current levels, and 5 billion more than what was previously predicted. So what does this mean for our planet and its resources?
The first billion people accumulated over a leisurely interval, from the origins of humans hundreds of thousands of years ago to the early 1800s. Adding the second billion took another 120 or so years. Then, in the last 50 years, humanity more than doubled, surging from three billion in 1959 to four billion in 1974, five billion in 1987 and six billion in 1998. This rate of population increase has no historical precedent.
Joel E. Cohen, a mathematical biologist and the head of the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University and Columbia University, the author of “How Many People Can the Earth Support?, wrote,
“If we spend our wealth — our material, environmental, human and financial capital — faster than we increase it by savings and investment, we will shift the costs of the prosperity that some enjoy today onto future generations. The mismatch between the short-term incentives that guide our political and economic institutions and even our families, on one hand, and our long-term aspirations, on the other, is severe.”
“We must increase the probability that every child born will be wanted and well cared for and have decent prospects for a good life. We must conserve more, and more wisely use, the energy, water, land, materials and biological diversity with which we are blessed.”
Human demands on earth have grown enormously, though the atmosphere, the oceans and the continents are no bigger now than they were since the beginning of humanity. Already, more than a billion people live without an adequate, renewable supply of fresh water!
The United Nations Population Division anticipates 8 billion people by 2025, 9 billion by 2043 and 10 billion by 2083. India will have more people than China shortly after 2020, and sub-Saharan Africa will have more people than India before 2040.
Will earth withstand the whopping growth in population rates? Will humans be instinct in 100 years? let us know what you think of earth’s sustainability in the comments section below