Save the date

The world’s population hits 7 billion on 26 August 2011. That seems very precise to me. Is there some kind of digital scanner hooked up to pediatric departments globally? Maybe we should have countdown clocks displayed on the bodies of pregnant women. Reminds me slightly of the reverse – the death clock www.findyourfate.com

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6 Responses to Save the date

  1. Perhaps we should present the happy mom of the 7 billionth arrival with a nice token of Gaia’s appreciation — one of those old-time, live cannon balls with a lighted fuse sticking out of it and the earth painted on it.

  2. Richard says:

    Bit harsh! Personally I don’t see population per se as the issue – it’s how and what 7 billion people consume that’s the problem.

  3. Harsh, of course, but it was just in jest.

    How is what 7 billion people consume distinguishable from the fact of 7 billion people? How is it not a problem?

  4. Richard Watson says:

    We’ve ben here before, in the 1700s and the 1970s. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthusian_catastrophe

    It might be a problem but personally I’m optimistic about it. My view is that’s it’s not the number per se but what resources people consume. Note that on most indicators we are heading in the right direction in spite of population growth. Extreme poverty has halved since 1981, infant mortality has declined markedly and literacy has improved.

    Clearly there are still problems around food/water but we are at least moving in the right direction. Don’t forget the impact of GMO either (whether you like it or not).

    On a pessimistic note, what I would say is that whilst availability of food isn’t an issue (i.e. we are quite able to grow enough for everyone if we want to) the price of food will be an issue, especially if people continue to shift consumption to meat, we grow bio-fuels rather than food and we take into account floods and drought.

  5. Malthus, meh!

    What the 7 billion consumes still remains inseperable from the 7 billion doing the consuming, since the supply of resources is surely measured by the demand placed on same. What study has poverty halving, infant mortality declining and literacy improving?

    I find it inscrutable that the EU, say, would impose quotas that essentially ask farmers to burn or destroy surpluses when there is still hunger anywhere in the world. It’s even more mind-boggling that our species spends more on making instruments to kill each other when that money could be used to improve the quality of life for all on our little planet. War has always been more profitable than peace, it seems, but your optimism is really encouraging. Thanks for your response and keep up your inspiring work.

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