Human beings are not the most dominant species by intelligence alone, we are also the most dominant in terms of presence. There is no other large species (in terms of size and resource requirements) in the world that comes close to the 7 billion that we number. That, is not an accomplishment. Our numbers are the single biggest problem we have created for ourselves and it is one of the 4 reasons why the world is facing this environmental crisis.
Numbers over the years
This graph speaks volumes. Since the evolution of human beings, our numbers have remained less than 500 million for most of our history. We crossed the 1 billion mark in the late 19th century and since then, our numbers have only been climbing. Even two World Wars did not make much of a difference in our growth (you can’t see even a kink on the graph above during this period). We hit the 3 billion mark in 1960, and in a span of just 50 years, we were able to shoot up to 7 billion. Our current projections show that we will soon hit 8 billion in the middle of the next decade, and 9 billion around 12 years from then. India is expected to overtake China as the most populous country in the world, a stat I will question now that China has removed the 1-child policy in it’s country.
What did this all result in?
While our numbers grew, our greed grew. Our technologies grew. Our economies grew. Our ideas to utilize the resources available to us grew. Not only were our needs met, new needs were created and met as well. Unfortunately, the land we live in, did not. The resources it hosts, did not.
Every major environmental issue we face today is a direct result of this population explosion. We needed more space to house the growing population, so we cleared the forests. We needed more food to feed this growing population, we cleared area for agriculture. We needed more water, so we dammed the rivers. We needed more ways to move around, so we came up with cars, more cars, fast cars, big cars, and all the other vehicles. We needed to meet the growing needs of the consumer, so out came the plastic making machines. All of this created huge comforts in the late 20th century, and is starting to create HAVOC in this century.
Think about it. If only we managed to curb our instinct to fornicate, we could have continued to have all these comforts and still avoided this environmental crisis! We could continue to eat meat or drive cars without worrying about emissions if there were less people. We could continue to keep the air conditioners switched on all day without breaking a sweat. Want to build a small dam? No problem, it is a small one. We don’t need a big one.
The only thing I’m trying to impress through this post today is that we can just use protection, and stop having so many children, we could really slow down the rate of this environmental crisis. Have two children. Better, have one child; he won’t be lonely, I assure you. Better still, adopt kids! There are plenty in the world who would do well to get your love. This small effort of yours will not only reduce your bills, tension and give you peace of mind. It will also, save the world.