World Population: 6 Billion

This past summer, the world’s population reached a staggering 6 billion, a figure projected by the U.S. Census Bureau. What’s even scarier than that is the fact that the world’s population has doubled in less than 40 years.

Even though there has been a gradual slowing of the overall rate, the world’s population is still increasing by about 78 million people each year. Whatever happened to zero population growth?

Amy Coen of Population Action International puts things in perspective: “It took all of human history for the world’s population to reach 1 billion in 1804 but little more than 150 years to reach 3 billion in 1960. Now, not quite 40 years later, we are twice that number. Every 20 minutes the world adds another 3,500 human lives but loses one or more entire species of animal or plant life, at least 27,000 species per year.” And the group’s latest projections say the population could double again by the year 2050.

The United States is the third most populous nation after China and India, even though 71-percent of its women use some form of family planning. And it still has the highest fertility rate among industrialized nations. The United States is expected to double its 270 million people in the next 60 years according to Peter Kostmayer of Zero Population Growth. The United States is also the “melting pot” for every other ethnic group on the face of the earth that supports huge families.

The biggest problems are in poor countries where it is expected that 95-percent of future population will occur. These are the same countries that already can’t provide proper housing, education, medical facilities, food and water sources. And about 1 billion teenagers are just now entering their reproductive years – considered a major reason for the continued population growth.

Other scary projections: by 2025, one billion people will be over age 60, although few efforts are being made to care for them medically or socially.

Some thoughts and questions: We don’t need anymore people on earth; there are way too many now. In fact, there were way too many back in 1960. Does the human animal have the right to obliterate every other species to make more room for his own? Should poor nations that have already proved incapable of supporting their massive populations continue to be subsidized by other nations so that the poor nations can continue their rampant procreation? Should nations whose religion or tradition calls for large families be tolerated by the rest of humanity? Should teenagers be allowed to procreate? How do you stop people who care nothing about the environment from procreating? Should we just procreate until every last resource on the face of the planet is used up and then worry about it later? That does seem to be the way things are going now.

When people get worried about the population, what do they do? Well, in Southern California they build more homes and mini-malls for the expected onslaught and wonder if the Colorado River’s water supply will be enough. I gather that’s how the rest of the planet’s authorities think too. In Southern California, it’s the Mexicans who supply the largest in population growth; in New York, it’s the Puerto Ricans. What’s in common? How about their Latin tradition and the stupid Catholic Church, an entity that thinks it’s better to bring hordes of babies into the world and then let them die in agony from starvation and disease rather than eliminate them through a more kindly birth control pill or even abortion.

Does that sound racist? It’s not. It’s common sense. But God forbid anyone should speak the truth! Mexico has exported all of its problems into the United States for many years now, including a non-stop population that the country itself cannot control. Other nations are just as guilty in their own environments.

In the animal kingdom, if the environment cannot support the population, it dies out. In the human kingdom, it’s medicated, educated and told to have a good life and make more children.

Human beings have no more rights than any other species. They only think they do and one day in the not too distant future, that fact will become abundantly clear … when there is no more space, when there is no more water, when our garbage is miles high, when our pollution is so thick no one can breathe, when our industrial waste has so poisoned the earth that nothing more can grow, when we have killed every last species of animal and plant. Of course by then, we will have figured a way to travel the universe and take our sick mentality elsewhere. (original post August, 1999)

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7 responses to “World Population: 6 Billion

  1. I was simply questioning if the problems predicted if the world population ever reached that high a level in the near future (and it doesn’t appear likely) would actually occur.

    People can exist and not do terrible things to the environment. Getting them not to, rightly, is part of the efforts of environmentalism as a whole.

    Also, there is a false assumption that if there were fewer people (than there are now) that those remaining would not chose to do even more terrible things to the environment that, in the sum of their damage, surpass the damage caused by those who would no longer be present.

  2. They come from people’s choices more than people’s numbers. If you compare someone from the UK to someone from Zambia the ecological impact of the person from the UK is likely to be a hundred times greater. This isn’t because of any great genetic or basic needs difference between someone from Zambia and someone from the UK. But what this does show is how choices (including how wealth is used-thus economics) are vastly more important than the number of people.

    I would go so far as to say the focus on population size is misdirected enough that people of individual nations are more likely to know the emissions per person ratio than emissions per unit of economic activity. Economic practices are much more likely to be a direct cause of emissions. One of this lack of knowledge is the general feeling I get not just from people on the street but many environmentalists who are supposed to be concerned about emissions.

    Also you’re not likely to experience quality of life at population size 40 billion because while people are complaining about population size its growth seems to be slowing-and I’ve seen projections that indicate a complete stop in population growth between 9 and 11 billion people. I would ask that if the conditions really had to be bad at 40 billion people but the truth is that people today are complaining with the vastly smaller 6 billion that are around now-and that makes me ask if this is really necessary. Thus I have more doubts about overpopulation concerns because I suspect they are misdirected or overblown .

    • You keep trying to make this an “either – or – issue” . What people do as much as how many people are doing it is all tied together and both affect our environment in many, many ways. You seem to be missing this point.

  3. I mentioned this yesterday but I don’t see it as a comment so I’ll repeat (sorry if the end result is a double-post, but since I haven’t seen my earlier comment I don’t think that is likely).

    Not worried about 6 billion. If estimates are that the world can support a range of 30-40 billion people than is not disturbing number. Much ado about nothing?

    I notice how you jump between world population and national population…. well which is the problem? If you are concerned about humans eating/burning/trashing everything on the planet then the focus of concern is world population (in which case people walking over lines we make on maps doesn’t really matter). If you are worried about national problems (and nations can have problems) how is it that you manage to complain about Mexicans coming up north while you ignore problems the USA causes down there. We have NAFTA and that messed up their agricultural system (how many Mexican unemployed were farmers?), we have a massive market for illegal drugs and send billions through it to criminal organizations in Mexico-which are fighting a bloody battle between themselves and the legal government there, and we have so many guns floating around up here that it becomes easy to send some down there to make the fighting that much worse.

    As pollution is a real concern, how is it that it seems to be dropping a bit when the economy slows down but the population growth rate hasn’t? How is it that it has gotten so bad in many nations the same time that growth rates have slowed down there? Is complaining about population growth missing the point when it comes to the problems relating to that “our garbage is miles high, when our pollution is so thick no one can breathe, when our industrial waste has so poisoned the earth that nothing more can grow”?

    • Thank you for your interest in this subject. However, in view of the very rapid climate changes we have been experiencing, plus the enormous strain on the environment and its resources, this planet could not support 30-40 billion people. And, let’s not forget the quality of life standards that would suffer greatly as well. World population and national population are both concerns. This post was not meant to answer every social issue – like guns and drugs – problems which have increased over the years as well. I’m sure there are many more we can add to the mix. NAFTA is a disaster but Mexicans had their own agricultural problems prior to any trade agreement. Whether pollution drops a bit at this point is almost irrelevant as it is way too high to begin with. Take us back to the 1960s then maybe you have a point. We have a responsibility to this planet and to protect other species. We have not met that responsibility as far as I’m concerned. – Susan

      • Thank you for noting my interest, though I find myself having more doubts when it comes to overpopulation.

        But that rapid climate change you refer to is mainly a result of fossil fuel use (at least as far as I’m aware). Since population size doesn’t relate to fossil fuel use then connecting population size to climate change is also inaccurate-is more misleading than informing.

        Lifestyles and economic practices relate to energy use and through it fossil fuel use. Thus in order to deal with the last one the focus should be on the first three (lifestyles, economy, & energy use), not so much population size.

        Also, while the same source that I got the 40 billion number from stated we would all have to eat gruel if it happened (support for part of what you said), where is the proof that quality of life would really be negatively impacted simply because there are more people? Quality of life may improve or decline for many reasons that have an arguably greater impact than population size. Saying population size lowers quality of life assumes that as a factor it both overtakes all other factors and is utterly negative, both of which are arguably assumptions and may not actually play out.

      • Where do you think all those lifestyles and economic practices come from if not from people? Of course fossil fuel use is related to what people do and how many are doing them. As far as quality of life issues — eating gruel 3 times a day because there is no land left or it’s fully depleted IS a quality of life issue. And not a “quality” I’d be anxious to experience.

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