Will we Double to 16 Billion in 50 Years?
Can we stop the population from doubling in the next 50 years? This is a question on top of the mind of intellectuals across the globe and finding answers not just to cope with the current 8 billion inhabitants but to also stem the rate of growth.
The first billion was recorded in 1804, approximately 300,000 years after the advent of Homo Sapiens. It took 123 years to reach 2 billion in 1927 and a mere 33 years to arrive at 3 billion in 1960. From that point, the populace expanded at a dramatic rate reaching four billion in 1974 (14 years), five billion in 1987 (13 years), six billion in 1999 (12 years), and seven billion in 2011 (12 years).
According to the United Nations Population Division, the eighth billionth person was born on November 15, 2022.
Overpopulation creates situations in which our planet cannot generate adequate resources to be used by the population each year. Given our current trajectory, we will run out of resources to survive. Overpopulation will inevitably cause strain on resources. Increased population means more food, water, housing, energy, healthcare, and transportation. Let us look at some of the immediate concerns.
Impact on ecosystems Metropolitan and suburban spread has invaded natural habitats, prompting the endangerment and extinction of various species. The increase in farming to meet high demands for food has been a vital factor in deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats.
Conflicts Everyone has a claim to an adequate and fair amount of Earth’s resources. Overcrowding leads to additional demand for limited resources that directly prompts more conflict and warfare. Countries are already in conflict concerning water, land, and energy resources, and the chaos will likely increase as the population grows.
Shortage of food One of the biggest fears emerging from overpopulation is the deficiency of food. With rising demands brought by overpopulation, any disruption in the global food chain can be disastrous. Many countries rely entirely on other nations for their food requirements. Consequently, any unforeseen circumstance can deprive many people of food.
High risk of diseases and pandemic Many of the recent outbreaks that have impacted us across the globe originated from animals before encountering people. We encountered these animals due to destroying the animal’s natural habitat to accommodate the increasing population. Furthermore, given the recent pandemic, it turned out to be so clear that it is so challenging to social distance in a world occupied by so many.
It only makes sense that overpopulation will invariably lead to a shortage of resources, ecological degradation, and conflicts, but these problems aren’t unsurmountable and don’t pose a world crisis yet. Should we be concerned? To an extent, yes.
One can take measures to prevent overpopulation, but there is very little we can do to influence population growth. Instead, we can focus our energy on creating the world we want and need together. Moreover, more people imply more brains. More people also mean more labor force. A large population has the potential to make life better if we can manage the resources to support it.
We have 8 billion opportunities to make a difference, contribute, and change how we inhabit this planet. We must strive to build a world that enables everyone to live free, sustainably, and with dignity.