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Nov 15, 2022: The world's population reaches 8 billion

Started by buster, November 13, 2022, 01:04:18 PM

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buster

The exact date is an approximation of course, but this Tues is the date selected.

For those used to these big numbers it may seem ho-hum. But since the day I was born, the world's population has more than tripled. Sounds a little dangerous to me.

When I was a teen, Oakville, Ancaster, Dundas, Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, Pickering and on and on were all discrete entities. Now it's one mass of buildings. The 401 didn't exist way back when. Now the GTA has engulfed it.

Those who have studied biology realize that population booms of any species are followed by a sharp decline. That's what all the other animals are hoping for anyway.

So take note on Tuesday - 8 billion.
Growing up from childhood and becoming an adult is highly overrated.

Jason

I wonder who the 8 billionth baby will be and where?

"Those who have studied biology realize that population booms of any species are followed by a sharp decline."

If there's no intervention, yes, because the population outstrips the food supply and starvation begins. It's followed by a population decline and then the food source recovers and the population booms again. It's the natural cycle. We're far from natural nowadays. I started to write a short essay on this subject but realized, smartly, that nobody would read it.

So suffice it to say that a huge decrease in the death rate and no decrease in the birth rate caused a huge population increase for most of the 20th century. Once economies developed, education became more widespread and birth control was invented (in that order), women (and reasonable men) could hold off having children or have fewer. Among developed nations, the population is increasing at a slower rate and will be soon flattened out.

As developing nations get the same things, their populations will do the same. Eventually, the world population will stabilize and it may start to fall but it likely won't be because it was part of a boom-bust cycle. We still have mammoth amounts of food. Canadians threw out half of it last year. People starve in some places because of distribution, not because there isn't enough.

That's if climate change doesn't kill us, a supervolcano explodes or an asteroid hits us. But, you can't have everything. Where would you put it all?
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Jason

Wikipedia has a good article on this:

"The growth rate declined to 1.1% between 2015 and 2020 and is projected to decline further in the course of the 21st century.[7][8] The global population is still increasing, but there is significant uncertainty about its long-term trajectory due to changing rates of fertility and mortality.[9] The UN Department of Economics and Social Affairs projects between 9 and 10 billion people by 2050, and gives an 80% confidence interval of 10ââ,¬â€œ12 billion by the end of the 21st century,[2] with a growth rate by then of zero.[8] Other demographers predict that the human population will begin to decline in the second half of the 21st century.[10]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population

Suffice it to say we can't really say when it will stabilize because our population is already so huge that even small changes in prediction in the growth rates will have a huge impact on when that happens. But nobody believes it will keep increasing (and that's not because of running out of food).


This is interesting, too:

"According to linear interpolation and extrapolation of UNDESA population estimates, the world population has doubled, or will double, in the years listed in the tables below (with two different starting points). During the 2nd millennium, each doubling took roughly half as long as the previous doubling, fitting the hyperbolic growth model mentioned above. However, after 2024, it is unlikely that there will be another doubling of the global population in the 21st century.[142]"

Obviously, they were predicting 8 billion in 2024, so we're a bit early! But if you look at the time between doubling, which was shortening, has now gone flat. From the period 1927 to 1974 (47 years), the population doubled from 2 to 4 billion. For the population to double again has taken... 48 years. It should have taken only 24 so the growth rate is obviously slowing.
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* Motorola Edge (2022) phone with Android 13

fox

According to this article, the world's population may stop growing soon, and we may not reach 9 billion.
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buster

Always hard to predict, but I suspect the damage has already been done, and not by our massive population, but by our technology and incursions into the natural world. Too many rabbits do not result in highways and garbage dumps, but humans carry a lot of baggage.

And I'm not pessimistic. For one thing we're going to have some spectacular weather channel shows over the next decade. And we are all participating in a great science experiment that involves the entire ecosystem. The intellectual stimulation will be invigorating.

We know about the lack of water from the 20 year drought in the western USA. We have read about the thousands of deaths in Europe from surprising heat levels. Floods and fires are becoming commonplace. But there is always the unexpected Black Swan that shows up and we say, "Didn't see that coming."
Growing up from childhood and becoming an adult is highly overrated.