Late in the day for a first post, usually way-earlier I’d have at least one piece up about something-or-another, but got involved with other stuff, then discovered I had to replace the battery in my Jeep Comanche, which took time and space (and money), and then, of course, a nap.
I’m retired, already!
A news surf later and a story popped out on how dense the quickly-rising human population, for instance: ‘The authors of this new study said roughly 14 percent of all the people who ever existed were alive today.’
(Illustration: Pablo Picasso’s ‘The Tragedy,’ found here).
Published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and apparently just released to the media today, paints a bleak picture of way-more than a shitload of people. First sentence in the study’s abstract: ‘The inexorable demographic momentum of the global human population is rapidly eroding Earth’s life-support system.’
The Press Association (Yahoo)‘s description: ‘Population growth is so out of control that even stringent restrictions on childbirth, disastrous pandemics or a third world war would not make it manageable by the turn of the next century, researchers claim.’
And from Science magazine: ‘The business-as-usual model matched U.N. projections of 12 billion people by 2100, giving the researchers confidence in their model. But they also saw booming population growth even when they introduced global catastrophic deaths of up to 5 percent of the population, the same seen in World War I, World War II, and the Spanish flu.’
Some details from the BBC:
These growing numbers mean a greater impact on the environment than ever, with worries about the conversion of forests for agriculture, the rise of urbanisation, the pressure on species, pollution, and climate change.
The picture is complicated by the fact that while the overall figures have been growing, the world’s per-capita fertility has been declining for several decades.
The impact on the environment has increased substantially, however, because of rising affluence and consumption rates.
Many experts have argued the best way of tackling this impact is to facilitate a rapid transition to much lower fertility rates.
“We’ve gone past the point where we can do it easily, just by the sheer magnitude of the population, what we call the demographic momentum.
“We just can’t stop it fast enough,” said Prof Corey Bradshaw from the University of Adelaide.
“Even draconian measures for fertility control still won’t arrest that growth rate — we’re talking century-scale reductions rather than decadal scale, because of the magnitude.”
“Our work reveals that effective family planning and reproduction education worldwide have great potential to constrain the size of the human population and alleviate pressure on resource availability over the longer term,” said Prof Barry Brook from the University of Tasmania.
“Our great-great-great-great grandchildren might ultimately benefit from such planning, but people alive today will not.”
A climate rapidly shifting ain’t gonna help — see that, four ‘great‘ before granddad.The world’s population this Saturday evening towards the end of October 2014 is a few million over 7 billion, and the totals are rolling over and over (via WorldoMeters).