By James Engms
World population by the billions
1 billion - 1804
2 billion - 1927
3 billion - 1959
4 billion - 1974
5 billion - 1987
6 billion - 1999*
7 billion - 2011
*Year when the milestone was observed by the United Nations.
each of us is one of these statistics... a number... except, we're among those who eat regularly... so far!
Seven billion is already facing us with horrendous problems, including almost 1 billion people hungry and contributing greatly to the chances of catastrophic climate disruption. But the next 2 billion people the demographers expect by 2050 will cause much more environmental damage than did the last 2 billion added to our population — a classic nonlinearity. That is because human beings are smart, and picked the low-hanging fruit first. Thus each added individual, on average, must now be fed from more marginal land, supplied with water from more distant or more polluted sources, obtain the metals required to make the products he or she consumes from poorer ores, etc.
Many past human societies have collapsed, with overpopulation playing a significant role. But today, for the first time, a global civilization is in peril, and nothing significant is being done about it in societies insane enough to believe that growth can be perpetual.
Women in every country should be given equal rights and opportunities with men, and every sexually active human being should be given access to excellent birth control methods, and, in case they fail, backup abortion. Governments should all adopt the slogan "patriotic citizens stop at two children" and adjust tax and other policies to discourage over-reproducers and those unethical elements in society that are pronatalist.
The current redistribution of wealth from poor to rich must be halted, and overconsumption by the rich must be controlled with programs such as those that transformed consumption patterns in the United States when it entered World War II. A rapid transition away from the use of fossil fuels should be started immediately, as should rebuilding of human water-handling infrastructure with much more attention to resilience. Leaders should be taught enough arithmetic to allow them to grasp the consequences
American biologist, Bing professor of population studies and professor of biological sciences at Stanford University and author of the 1968 best-seller, "The Population Bomb"