Crowded beach in India. Photo: seeveeaar

In a finite world, why do we promote infinite growth?

THE WORLD’S POPULATION is now officially 7 billion strong, according to this article at The Guardian. On Sunday, October 30th, just before midnight, Danica Camacho was born. She was chosen by the UN to mark the milestone, despite accuracy questions about the projection, which many groups don’t believe will happen until next year.

Click to enlarge. Image via Wikimedia Commons

To spotlight the occasion and to bring attention to forthcoming challenges with the world’s booming population, October 31st was chosen as “Seven Billion Day” (anyone have any Halloween costume ideas?), although the United States Census Bureau has March 2012 earmarked for this. Besides a cake given to her by the UN when she was born, Danica has been given an education scholarship and the family some money to help them open a shop.

What really grabbed my attention though was the fact that the world’s 6th-billion baby is only 12 years old. We hit one billion people in 1804 — it took 123 years to double that to two billion. It then only took 47 years to double that to four billion in 1974. If projections are correct, that will double to eight billion in 2027, only 53 years later.

At 1.3 billion (19.3%), China has the largest population followed by India with 1.2 billion (17%). The United States comes in at third with over 312 million (4.5%). How much can the Earth sustain? What will happen if our population continues to grow at its current rate? According to the below video, by 2025 — around the time we’re expected to reach eight billion — 1 in 3 people will be affected by a shortage of fresh water, food production will have to double (causing more strain on the environment), and demand for energy will, of course, be much greater.

The video puts forth a few suggestions on how to tackle this (pardon the pun) growing problem. I plan on being around in 2025. It will be very interesting to see what changes, if any, will have been made.

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