World population clock is ticking: It’s time to change

By Janelle Mathews

Campus Life Editor

At the beginning of November, the Duggar family from TLC’s TV series “19 Kids and Counting” an­nounced that they were expecting their 20th child. This event raises a lot of questions, but I immediately thought about their contributions to human population growth. The human population is growing at an exponential rate, and can the earth even support this rapid growth?

According to the World Bank and United Nations, 227,000 people on average are added to the world’s population every day. This growth is mostly occurring in developing countries where living conditions are not the best. However, the pop­ulation of some developed coun­tries like Germany and Russia is de­clining because they have an older population which is dying faster than babies are being born. This helps balance out the rapid growth of developing countries like Guate­mala, Saudi Arabia, and Nigeria.

The United Nations predicts that by 2050 there will be a human pop­ulation of between 7.8-10.8 billion people. Having already surpassed the 7 billion mark this year, I think the most probable estimate will be closer to the 10.8 billion mark.

What does the growing popu­lation mean for the resources on earth? The Worldwide Fund for Nature found that “humanity needs the equivalent of about 1.3 earths to indefinitely supply the current aver­age use of renewable resources per person, and if the number of peo­ple and the average use of renew­able resources per person continue growing as projected, by around 2035 supplying such resources in­definitely will require the equiva­lent of two planet earths.”

We will need two earths to sup­port our lifestyles in less than 30 years. However, we only have one earth, so what can we do to reduce our impact on the earth?

G. Tyler Miller and Scott E. Spool­man think that humans have be­tween 50-100 years to make critical cultural changes towards sustain­ability, or we will be doomed to con­tinue on our path of unsustainabil­ity. To be more sustainable, humans need to become more dependent on solar energy both indirectly and directly including wind and flow­ing water to fulfill our heating and electricity needs, and we also need to prevent the ruin of the earth’s natural processes, ecosystems, and species. Finally, humans should start implementing more pollution prevention strategies than pollu­tion cleanup strategies by leaving the earth’s natural chemical cycles alone. This includes not overload­ing them with damaging chemicals and not removing natural chemicals such as oil faster than the cycles can replace them.

We are at a critical point in the history of humans. Do we change our lifestyles to help preserve a bet­ter future for generations to come, or do we continue on our path of igno­rance? The choice is really up to us.

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