World Population Day – An Ever Increasing Population
The purpose of “World Population Day” is to remind us of the world’s population and its various needs. The population needs are as numerous as the population itself and while some have more than they can use and are subsequently wasting it, others have almost nothing and live in abject poverty. On this day, we evaluate how the population is faring and what needs to be done to make our existence on this planet better and more sustainable.
As of 2010, the population has grown to 6,852,472,823, just short of 7 billion. With a population growing at 1.14%, it is expected that by the year 2067, the entire world population should be at 13 billion. These figures are staggering, given that as it is we are using more of the world’s resources faster than nature can replace them.
China and India are currently the world’s largest populations with 1,370,536,875 and 1,210,193,422 respectively. They make up approximately half of the world’s population and with such trends, in the words of Russell Peters, a Canadian comedian, soon there will be no black or white people. Instead, we shall have a mixture of various ethnicities that will give new meaning to the words ‘human race’.
The western world has lower population growth rates, especially the more developed nations, but at least they are growing. It is however a different story in Japan where the population has been steadily reducing since 2005. As of February 2011, 23.1% of its population was over the age of 65, recording the world’s largest number of old people.
For this year’s world population day, we should acknowledge that as a result of development, the human race is prospering and so the population is growing. The increase in population is due to better medical services so people tend to live longer and fewer children die at births. Add to this the improvement in living conditions and you have an increased life expectancy and more fertile people willing to have children.
This would imply that if living conditions improve then the population is likely to grow too. The factors that would reduce the population, such as disease and hard living, are associated with underdevelopment and yet somehow the population growth has to be reduced. China has taken a step by restricting each family to a single child so as to reduce the growth rate with the expectation of 0% growth rate by 2030.
While this method may be effective, it has been criticized by those who think that it is everyone’s right to decide how many children they want and the state should not infringe on it. Yet, it is quite obvious that if nothing is done then the population will increase with increase in development and soon we shall out-use the available resources.
In Africa, especially the regions near the deserts (Sahara and Kalahari), the people have already started to suffer the effects of too large a population. Hunger and starvation has become the order of the day while lack of medical facilities is killing many of the children. Meanwhile, in areas surrounding the forests, especially the equatorial basins in South America and Africa plus the forests in south Asia, there has been large scale encroachment as the increasing population tries to find more land for settlement.
The Bottom Line
As we celebrate world population day, we should think about what we need to do if we are to survive for another 300 years. At the rate we are expanding as a race, we may deplete earth’s resources in the next 100 years and then we will face certain extinction as a race. The desire to have a large family may be great but think about your descendants who will have to starve to death should all available land masses turn into barren deserts.