With Planet Earth projected to hit a human population of 7 billion people before the end of 2011, many questions arise. What is the effect on our planet and is there a limit to how many human beings planet earth can support?
There is a limit to the amount of natural resources our planet can provide to sustain an ever-increasing population. With about 260 people being born every minute and only about 100 people dying in the same time, all the indications show the world’s biggest problem is not climate change, economics, health or education, it is the reason why we have these issues in the first place, human overpopulation. There are simply far too many people on earth than we can deal with at the moment. Unless there is a radical shift in the mentality and acceptance that we all have to contribute and change our behaviour, it is likely that our living environment will get a lot worse before it gets better.
Our amazing ingenuity and adversity to survive and adapt has meant we can now inhabit any part of the earth’s surface. We weren’t built to live in some of the most inhospitable places like the Arctic or the deserts, but with the use of tools, electricity and transportation we can now live in any environment, day or night, anywhere we like. Once we get where we want to go we can use tools to hunt and grow food and build shelter and a community. Previously, this is what happened to our ancestors, but they were limited into where they could settle by the availability of food and accessibility of the area.
The way in which we have colonized some parts of the earth could not have been possible without our ability to use animals such as horses and dogs to help us in transporting goods and people over long distances in otherwise impassable terrain. Our ability to grow food, capture animals and store food was the key to our prolonged existence and evolution. Through education and ingenuity this has gradually led us to where we are now. Pockets of wealthy and poor people at different stages in their evolution. Look at any nation and you will find an imbalance.
In developed countries the amount of working people are being out numbered by the elderly. The baby-boomers, arguably the most affluent generation to ever live are now all reaching retirement and they will all require care in some form or other. Lifespans are getting longer and birth rates are decreasing in much of Europe and North America. The developing world on the other hand is reproducing much more, this will mean that the poverty numbers will increase, and this will threaten the environment as the proper infrastructure to support these people does not exist.
It is projected that Africa and Asia (mainly India) will increase in population substantially, while Europe, Japan and South Korea are likely to shrink. Immigration will add to the increasing number of people in North America and Australia. Educating and curing the developing countries of diseases and changing their daily behaviour is the most crucial thing we can do to stop them having so many children and allow a more sustainable population in future.
There will come a time when governments cannot possibly provide a continual supply of jobs, housing and healthcare or safety to their people. This will mean that more people will live in poverty and crime will increase. The amount that each person consumes is increasing continually. People need more items to live a comfortable life these days. More gasoline for their cars, more electricity for their gadgets, more money for an ever more expensive world. Sadly people don’t realize these things cannot be produced without a damaging effect to our environment. More oil, fish, wood and water coupled with a constant need to consume will mean that in as little as a few hundred years there will be a serious shortage of materials and food from natural resources leading to more pollution, less food, higher costs and a large number of animals going extinct. The earth’s natural resources are finite, so we have to seriously think how to slow the population increase for the sake of future generations.