7 Billion: How Did We Get So Big So Fast?

It was just over two centuries ago that the global population was 1 billion — in 1804. But better medicine and improved agriculture resulted in higher life expectancy for children, dramatically increasing the world population, especially in the West.

As higher standards of living and better health care are reaching more parts of the world, the rates of fertility — and population growth — have started to slow down, though the population will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.

U.N. forecasts suggest the world population could hit a peak of 10.1 billion by 2100 before beginning to decline. But exact numbers are hard to come by — just small variations in fertility rates could mean a population of 15 billion by the end of the century.

[npr]

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2 Responses to 7 Billion: How Did We Get So Big So Fast?

  1. No, the world can not hold all those people. It's bursting at the seams now. The only way we have managed this many is by paving over huge forrests with gigantic vertical buildings (to store us), genetically modifying food (to feed us), and abusing underground lakes (aquifers) in order to farm in less than ideal areas, because we've paved over the more fertile lands. The next step is going to be ocean desalination, because we simply will not have enough water for everyone.

    And that sounds ok, until you look at the expense, and energy required to do it. Even if that is negated, there's the next issue – you can only ration down so far. Demand will continue to grow, unchecked, until we actually alter the salinity of the oceans globally. This will have disasterous effects on both the food chain, and the climate.

    People just can not accept that the birth rate is the problem. They make myriad excuses, or hold their ears and cite China in a thoughtless knee-jerk reaction. This is due, in no small part, to the child fetish we have in developed nations, and a lack of care or understanding of the larger picture in undeveloped nations.