Too Many People, Not Enough Earths

Too Many People

It is funny how sometimes you seem to pick up on a piece of information and then for a short period you notice related items everywhere. In this case the piece I picked up on was the world’s growing population. Around Christmas time, most likely in the New Year press, I saw an article that said the population of the Earth would hit 10 billion within 40 years (by 2050); barring a pandemic or other catastrophic population impacting event.

Then I caught an article on television about population growth in Africa and one of the amazing statistics I picked up from that was that during 2010 there will be an average of 11,500,000 babies born around the world every month. That works out to 2,674,418 per week, or about 382,000 per day. For the whole year it will mean 138,000,000 (138 million) babies born which is 6.3 times the entire population of Australia.

I had a quick look at one of the Internet’s World Clocks [Ctrl+Click to open in a new Tab] and these numbers look pretty right based on what it has clocked up on this last day of January at around 10:10 p.m.

Not Enough Earths

In 1990 it was estimated by Living Plant that the Earth’s sustainable bio-capacity limit was reached when the population reached an estimated 5 billion after a rapid population explosion in the 5 years between 1985 and 1990. The bio-capacity limit being the amount of produce that can be reliably and sustainably produced by our planet.

So, doing the math, if 5 billion is the bio-capacity limit of the Earth, and everything I can find on the Web seems to support this Living Planet statement, then at the current population level of 6.8 billion we are overloading the earth by 36 percent. But, worse than this, if we arrive at the forecast 10 billion in 2050 we will be overloading the Earth’s coping mechanisms by 100 percent. That is a serious stress test.