Population

United Nations recently announced that the world’s human ill hit 7 billion on Halloween this year. The increase of a billion people in 12 years is worrying, especially since the global population only reached one billion in the early 19th century.

In just the past 60 years the population has exploded with an increase of 4.5 billion people.



It is precisely because our population is so large and growing so fast that we must care, ever more with each generation, how much we as individuals are out of sync with environmental sustainability.

Population

World population from 1800 to 2100, based on UN 2004 projections (red, orange, green) and US Census Bureau historical estimates

So should we be afraid on the day we gain a 7 billionth living human being, especially considering UN demographers are now projecting anywhere between 6.2 billion and 15.8 billion people at the end of the century? Fear is not a particularly productive response — courage and a determination to act in the face of risk are the answer. And in this case, there is so much to be done to heal and make sustainable a world of 7 billion breathing human beings that cowering would be not just fatalistic but stupid.

Population



Action means doing a lot of different things right now. We can’t stop the growth of our numbers in any acceptable way immediately. But we can put in place conditions that will support an early end to growth, possibly making this year’s the last billion-population day we ever mark. We can elevate the autonomy of women to make life-changing decisions for themselves. We can lower birth rates by assuring that women become pregnant only when they themselves decide to bear a child.

Simultaneously, we need a swift transformation of energy, water, and materials consumption through conservation, efficiency, and green technologies.

read more: inhabitat