Tag Archives: population growth

Way of the Future (thoughts on global population growth)

Over the past 55 years, the global population has doubled. There were half the people there are now on this planet when my parents were born. At this rate, the population of earth will be over 11 billion by 2060. Terrifying statistics when one considers the strain on our planet’s resources with the population earth has now. In the documentary Climate Refugees  former US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, states that “everything in nature is related, so overpopulation, competition for resources, food, water, energy; all have an impact on each other.”  The founder of Earthday, former  US Senator Gaylord Nelson, shared a similar sentiment, that addresses the severity of consequences :

“The link between population growth and environmental degradation is made often in retrospective studies, which is why they aren’t really considered valid, but clearly more people living better lives is the hallmark of progress.  Activists worried about the environment don’t want better lives unless it means fewer lives too.  More people means more cars, trucks and buses, more air pollution, more parking lots and less green spaces.  In their progressive dystopian future, there are more chemicals, more trash and more runoff cascading down super sewers into our streams, lakes and oceans means more damage to California’s biodiversity hot-spots.  Plus, more people means more pressure on declining water supplies”

-Gaylord Nelson

The current annual global energy consumption rates are only getting higher. We have surpassed the equivalent of 3 billion metric tonnes of oil in global energy needs every year. As we all know, fossil fuels are a finite resource. For our planet to achieve such a massive annual energy quota, it is necessary to switch to renewables. I feel it almost silly to make this argument, because the facts are simple. More people on our planet will require more energy.

As resources dwindle in areas most affected by climate change, large populations will have to move to survive. This is already happening in places like the Marshal Islands and Syria. The modern refugee crisis is only going to grow in the years ahead, as climate issues become more prevalent around the globe. And exacerbating the issue is the chaotic growth of the world’s population. The “refresh rate” of our planet’s resources is not fast enough to support our growing population and the demands of modern civilization.

This has been a hard week. Swallowing this information is very difficult. The mind begins to spiral out of control when trying to absorb the hard statistics. I’ve been depressed thinking about this grave dystopian future that the evidence suggests. Will  my children see the beauty I have seen in the world? Will I be able to SHARE the wonderment in nature I have found, or will it become a history lesson? Could our species’ future lay beyond the stars?

“they’ll be moving us to mars”




The World in 2100

The world is expected to add another billion people within the next 15 years, bringing the total global population from 7.3 billion in mid-2015 to 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion by 2100, according to new estimates from the UN.

Currently, 60 percent of the global population lives in Asia, 16 percent in Africa, 10 percent in Europe, 9 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean, and only 5 percent in North America and Oceania. China and India are the largest countries in the world, together making up almost 40 percent of the world population.

The world population is growing at a gradually slower and slower pace, but it’s still growing substantially. Currently, the world adds about 83 million people per year, equivalent to roughly the population of Germany. But population growth has slowed to 1.18 percent per year from 1.24 percent a decade ago.

The UN expects population growth to continue to gradually level off. Global population is almost sure to rise in the short term but the UN says there is a 1 in 4 chance that the world population will stabilize or fall before 2100.

Some scientists suggest that the Earth can sustain 2 billion to 3 billion people at a good standard of living over the long term, but the current population of 6.5 billion — expected to rise to 8 billion — will leave an ever greater “footprint” on the planet.

In the short term, climate change may be a more important subject for intelligence officials than for military planners.

Analysts at the National Intelligence Council are trying to develop a set of early warning signs that could suggest where the next famine might arise or which countries are in most danger of being destabilized as a result of dramatic climate changes. Intelligence officials put those countries on a “stability watch list.”

It is expected that oil, and natural gas will become obsolete in 2100, we will have to move towards a renewable recourses if we want to continue on this planet.



Exponential Growth

How would you define the exponential function?

To me, it’s that complicated series of symbols, formulas, and numbers that I spent years studying in math class before I came to college.

But the exponential function is more than numbers, it’s reality. And it’s dangerous.

According to the United Nations, the global population will reach 11 billion in 2100, which means that the amount of energy we would consume at that population volume is almost inconceivable.

According to the United States Energy Information Administration the average American household uses 10,932 killowhathours (kWh) per year. As of November 2015, the US had used 81,339 Quadrillion British Thermal Units (Btu) for the year. For reference, 1 Btu =.00029 KWh. That’s a lot of energy.

According the the American Physical Society, global energy use has been increasing at a rate of 2.3% each year. This yields a doubling time of 31 years.

The US consumes energy at the 2nd fastest rate in the world, meaning that in 80 years our energy consumption will increase by 184%.


But when we reach that much consumption with that many people, will there be anything left?