How can we deal with rapid population growth in the midst of a climate crisis? Education, resources, and changes in mentality, answers Axel Clavier, our 8th grade guest blogger from Inconvenient Youth. We welcome Axel back for his third guest post!
Today, our impact on the environment would not be such a problem if it were not for the sheer scale of it. We are currently 6.9 billion to walk this Earth, though our numbers were not always a concern.
What was a progressive increase in population before the fifteenth century transformed into a steep climb. The world population doubled from 1492 to 1776, reaching a billion. Still growing at an accelerated rate, it tripled in just 65 years from 1945 to 2010 bringing the number of inhabitants of our planet to 6.9 billion. In 2011, we are predicted to achieve 7 billion.
“The increase from 6 billion to 7 billion is likely to take 12 years, as did the increase from 5 billion to 6 billion. Both events are unprecedented in world history” said Bill Butz, Population Reference Bureau’s president.
7 billion is a number out of the scale of everyday life, which means that many of us, including myself, have difficulty grappling with it. National Geographic made an excellent video to help us wrap our minds around it.
Today, every second, 4.45 people are born, two die, the net increase in population is about three people per second. Fortunately, the world population won’t increase forever: We are on our way towards population stabilization at 9.2 billion near the year 2050. Demographers have documented that developed nations have already stabilized, even that several countries’ total populations are decreasing, like Japan’s, as of 2004.
Population stabilization won’t happen on its own, though it is one of the things we must accomplish if we are to deal with climate change. Globally, these elements must be present in a society for this to happen:
- empowerment of women in their own societies
- widespread education of girls
- fertility management
- child health care
These are things we must work for, especially in developing countries, which have higher birth and death rates.
And yet solving the increase in population alone won’t fix the problem. We also need to address our way of life. We now have, as a species, the power to drastically change the planet around us. Forests are being destroyed, fisheries obliterated, wildlife driven extinct, and I will address this in my next post.