Monday, October 31, 2011

7,000,000,000

The human population officially arrived at this magical number today. The first question I asked myself was, " how do they know?". I google and found this website which doesn't really give a formula on how the human population is tracked. At best the actual human population is a guesstimate and our concern is not the preciseness of the number but the impact of these diverse humanity on each other and on the environment that finds it more and more difficult to sustain them. According to this report the world received its 6th billion human being 12 years ago and in this period population growth actually slowed down, which mean the 8 billion target may be reached 12 or more years from now but that depends on the fertility rates of the various sub-cultures and race groups. Still it is mind boggling to think that within the next century the world population can potentially grow by another 7 billion (assuming growth rate of a billion every 12 - 13 years), although growth rates are declining. THIS website projects the population to reach 9.5 billion by 2050. However Wikipedia article projects slower population growth in the coming decades, taking 13 to 15 years to reach the next billion level. While we are most unlikely to be around to feel the impact of a very packed humanity I certainly feel we won't be more civilized than now in the manner we deal with one another. I was reminded of a science experiment I read during my schooldays of mice. Mice are actually nice creatures to each other. However the experiment showed when mice population grew within a confined space to a point when scarcity of food and water, space congestion, poor hygiene and pollution start to irritate the mice they became aggressive and no longer the nice creature they once were. What I learned from this, which still stayed fresh in my mind, is that we are potentially selfish creatures, mice or human. When our survival or comfort zone is compromised we too can turn aggressive and protective.

As the world turns we will live in more hostile environment. The more conducive places will attract more migrants. They become over populated and over competitive. You already see it in places like Mexico, Calcutta, Shanghai, Bangkok, Jakarta and Hong Kong. Where do people turn for refuge? Families grow closer, so will people sharing similar faith, tradition and interests. We become selective in dealing with new acquaintance to ensure they match our interests and preferences. For most of us who can manage our time and resources comfortably we will be blessed immeasurably in the midst of a growing tide of human population forging a life for themselves, hoping to be successful and secured for their future and that of their children.

Seven billion. Most of us just let the number slip by as we find it quite irrelevant since most of the world is very distant from the familiar family and friends who are our real world. Chances are they number less than seven hundred.

If you are still curious about the accuracy of the human population, well, it is an extrapolation of statistics from the United Nations Population Division.

Interesting related articles:
Welcome to a very full world, Danica
The Seven Billion Person Question
World Population would have touched 7 billion a few years ago
Find out where you fit in Earth's 7 billion people
Population is not the problem
The end of population growth

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Peter,i have no idea how they keep tab AND ITS INTERESTING TO LEARN, but i contibuted 4 headcount to the 7 billion on earth directly and indirectly add another 5 so i am in a way responsible for 9 of the 7 billion count ahahahahahaha,and i am sure you also have contibuted to make up 7 billion and for that we thank God,for the blessings.Happy to say that God willing production has not stop that is indirectly,because directly factory close ahahahahaha from AL MAL

Peter Yew said...

Dear Al, it is just a man-made number, even deciding Danica as the 7th billion child is pooh pooh rubbish, a symbolic thingy. Every second, several thousand people die and more born. How do they track these numbers? Yea we have 'ceased operation' but we set up 'new factories' that are productive. Next year two more will be added.

As written my big worry is how we degenerate as a species when fighting for limited resources and space make us more animalistic than human. For now, be the best we can. Cheers. Peter.

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