Today on world population day, the most populous mammal on Earth is humans, it has been so from ages. The current population is 7.6 billion and this number is increasing. The global population has grown from 1 billion in 1800 to 7.616 billion in 2018.
Are there enough resources on the planet to support so many individuals? Likewise, if we do anything to manage future population growth and total resource use, the future generation will have tough times. “Let’s not forget that we have borrowed the earth from our future.” It is important to take actions to save some resources for our future.
The Population Doubling:
The doubling time of the population has been decreasing for centuries. In 1800, the population was 1 billion, it doubled almost after 3 centuries. In 1927, it was 2 billion and then doubled in 1974 to 4 billion. Probably in 2023, we can see our next population doubling, where it reaches 8 billion.
We all don’t know how much Earth can carry. The number of deaths balances the birth rate to a certain level. But, Human population are being curtailed by the Earth’s carrying capacity.
Resources For Growing Population:
Humans have invaded almost every part of the planet. If the climatic and geographical conditions are good then that region’s population is high. Example: China and India, these countries have a rich agricultural land and good climatic conditions to support humans.
Now that people have made their homes permanent over generations, they have exploited and polluted the resources surrounding their habitats. Aquifers, freshwater bodies, fertile soils, forests, oceans and what not.
Luckily, Earth provides enough resources for all individuals to meet their needs but not enough to waste. According to the Worldwatch Institute, every individual can use almost 1.9 hectares of land to meet one’s needs. But an average person uses approximately 8 hectares. If we don’t distribute and manage resources now, the future might not have any.
The availability of the most important resource that cannot be created in any labs- Freshwater has decreased. News on states fighting over fresh water is common nowadays. Day zero for Cape town is so near and very soon many cities are expected to see their day zero.
Most of the fresh water is wasted for flushing toilets, washing clothes and dishes, and watering lawns. Whereas According to WHO, 2.1 billion people lack ready access to safe drinking water, and 4.5 billion lack managed sanitation. Improper use of water cause shortage and above all, many sources if not polluted would provide water to people. In industrialized countries, most of the water sources get contaminated with pathogens, fertilizer and become toxic. Controlling birth rates might be our best prospect for raising global standards of living.
Innovations and Policies Could Help:
Current world population might not be a problem if we all managed the use of our resources. In fact, it is an opportunity for all of us to develop technologies and methods to support the population demand.
Norman Ernest Borlaug, one of the emblems of techno-optimism viewed technology as a way out of our predicament. He was best known for his work in agriculture and green revolution. He believed new plant breeds and technologies helped to feed the growing population. To Borlaug, only with more knowledge can humankind create the science that will resolve our environmental dilemmas. Innovate! Innovate! was his cry.
Just like many inventions happened during world war to meet the war demands, its time we rush our brains to find more and more innovative techniques for the growing population. Modern technologies and new policies would help to support the needs of the population.