Knowledge is Empowering
STARTING AT THE FINISH
Have you been trying, like me, to solve Earth's problems, on their own, one at a time?
Then realised that most problems would fix themselves if humans disappeared? If so then you probably looked at the human population and wondered how it might be reduced, and when.
So you may have been relieved to hear that we reached peak children in 2005, and that peak people might occur around 2050.
1. WORLD POPULATION
When I was born in 1941 there were 3,000,000,000 (3 "short" billion) people; now, 70 years later, there are 4,000,000,000 more, i.e. now 7,000,000,000 and the United Nations estimates that the world human population could peak at just over 9,000,000,000 around 2050.
So, 4,000,000,000 more in 70 years, now another 2,300,000,000 in the next 30 years! It's not whether these people can be assimilated or not, it is simply a matter that has to be accepted and planned for.
And by the time I was 18, it was thought that there would be too many people for the planet to sustain, at some point during my lifetime. We are long past that point. Humans have spread like a cancer across the surface of the Earth.
The skin on this small blue marble that whizzes around it's own small section of this mighty universe is fast breaking up under this human pressure. As the tree and shrub cover has fallen below 30% the landscape has changed and the environment has slowly disintegrated. Like Malawi, which has little forest cover left, but fortunately no-where near like Easter Island where the culture destroyed all the trees and so self-destructed.
So, we are not past the point of no return. Yet.
The number of children (people 15 and under) peaked at 2,000,000,000 in 2005, after the world reaching and maintaining an annual birth rate of 135,000,000 about 1995. From Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health at the Karolinska Institute (the institution that decides who gets the Nobel prizes in medicine), and who himself is a Nobel Prize recipient.
Therefore, all of the population increase of 2,000,000,000 in the next 40 years will be adults, who will live longer, because of -
1. a woman's control of her reproduction,
2. basic personal cleanliness,
3. adequate food on the family table
4. and increasing better health.
These goals are being obtained by -
1. lifting of religious restrictions and male dominance,
2. an adequate and clean water supply,
3. good soils and a beneficial climate;
4. money, a lot of money.
For example poorer countries may be able to pay for the health staff to vaccinate against a virus, but they cannot pay for the often very costly vaccine. And in the poorest countries the cost of importing technology is exorbitant.
We (all people) are becoming increasingly healthy, demanding better health services, housing, and vehicles; and needing more food, more water, and more power to consume. So an increase of adults from 7,000,000,000 to 9,300,000,000, i.e. a 33% increase, would mean that all these needs may have to be increased by 40%, give or take say, ±5%. This means you, in your town.
Here, in Cairns, Australia there are currently (2011) about 140,000 people so we can expect an increase of 49,000-63,000 to 189,000-203,000. As it turns out the Cairns City Council is planning for a possible 200,000.
On the same basis, Australia, with a current population of 23,000,000 could wisely plan for a peak population somewhere between 31,050,000 and 33,350,000.