It has been estimated that the human population of 6000 BC was about five million people, taking perhaps one million years to get there from two and a half million. The world population did not reach 500 million until almost 8,000 years later ~ about AD 1650. This means it doubled roughly once every thousand years or so. It reached a billion (or 1,000 million) people around 1850, thus doubling in some 200 years. It took only 80 years or so for the next doubling, as the population reached two billion around 1927. We completed the next doubling to four billion in 1974 (47 years) and are expecting the next doubling to 8 billion by about 2025 (51 years), with the next doubling to 16 billion by 2075? (50 years?) if it carries on going at the same rate. SIXTEEN BILLION people! – 9 billion more than we have now! If you think we are harming the earth now, how much harm do you think they will be doing to the world then. Even if the rate increase tapers off and it takes 100 years to get there (or if it doesn’t get there but only gets to say twelve billion people), that is still an unbelievable amount of people. There are still areas in the world where custom demands that they have as many children as possible for the “good” of the family. What future “good” do we think that those eleventh and twelfth children will have on this totally overpopulated and emaciated planet?
Our only hope is in reducing world population (how do we do this, and to what number?) and maintaining the reduction until we can evolve a new economics model not based on a constant growth rate of gross national product. Man as a species is capable of joyous flowering, but until population is in control, the species as a whole is going to be continuously degraded. We are using the planet’s finite resources prodigally and asking more from its rehabilitative power than its somewhat debilitated condition can provide.
– The Population Bomb by Dr. Paul R Erlich
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