HolyCoast: Is 7 Billion Humans Really Too Many?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Is 7 Billion Humans Really Too Many?

Supposedly the world's population just hit the 7 billion mark and the "population bomb" crowd is wringing their hands.  That's a lot of people, but is it too many?  We've heard that refrain before and yet we still keep feeding all those folks somehow.

In reality, most areas where population is a problem and people can't get the food and medical care they need, it's not because of the numbers of people but because of the dysfunctional and corrupt governments that have led those countries for decades.  The nation's wealth has been skimmed off leaving only crumbs for the masses.  The result is a complete mess that can't survive without massive help from outside (kind of like #OccupyWallStreet).

Most of the rest of the world is doing just fine, thank you, and probably providing the additional bounty needed to feed those people.

So, how many is 7 billion in a historical context?  According to a report I heard today, 6.5% of all people who ever lived on earth live today.  I was kind of surprised the percentage was that high.

And what about the land area needed to hold all those people?  Are we running out of Mother Gaia upon which people can live?  Not really.  If you were to take all 7 billion and put them in one huge city with the population density of Manhattan, the city would cover an area approximately the size of Texas.  Every other part of the earth's landmass would be vacant of human population.

Granted, Manhattanites can be pretty dense, but still it seems there's plenty of land to go around.

And isn't it nice that thanks to medical advances and the lack of huge wars people can live longer these days than they used to?  Having a larger population is a sign of progress, not a reason to panic.

By the way, for those who insist on worrying, we're supposed to hit the 8 billion mark in about 12 years.


Bob Hughes said...

According to the Census Bureau, we have roughly 312 million people in the United States. 312 million divided by 7 billion is 4.46%.

And if you listen to Al Gore, our 4.46% of the population is responsible for the entire planet warming up and other global injustices.

Larry said...

"I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of."
- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

I wonder how many of those who fret most over population growth are just bigots.

Larry Sheldon said...

Now I can get in. We need all the people can get, to pay off the debt.

What was it Malthus said?