The Population Bomb's Fuse Grows Shorter

If we don't halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity - and will leave a ravaged world.
Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry W. Kendall 023934

At the time of the signing of the US Constitution the World's population was one billion. At the turn of the last century it had reached a shade over one and a half billion. When John F. Kennedy became President in 1960 the population stood at 3 billion; 39 years later in 1999 it hit six billion and at the end of 2010 it will be seven billion. Demographers have projected that in 2050 the population will be 9.5 billion. However based on the current rate of growth (1.17 %/year) the population less than a decade later, in 2059, will be 12 billion. This means that from the beginning of the 20th century until 2060 World population will have increased eight fold. At some point in the not to distant future, some hard nosed decisions will have to be made and realistic, effective action will have to be undertaken.

Limiting population by voluntary compliance would be the ideal – and the least likely to be effective. Much less popular but more effective is legal compliance with strict consequences for the non-compliant. The third option is to let the immutable laws of ecology have their way and there will be a rapid, and very messy, reduction in population.

New innovations and improved technology will stave off the inevitable for a while – but it will only be a temporary reprieve without a stabilization of the population.

The population problem will be complicated by the decrease in arable land, depletion of raw materials and availability of fresh water . Global warming, be it natural or anthropogenic, will further complicate the problem. And, perhaps the greatest obstacle to a comprehensive program to control population will be the vested interests. The uber-wealthy, the faceless corporate drones, and the inevitable religious fundamentalists, all of whom are addicted to their power “drug” and will fight any real or perceived threat to it, using their bought and pliant “lawmakers” and the occasional army.

If there is a solution to this it escapes me – I'm afraid option 3 will be the default choice.

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Comment by Jim DePaulo on February 6, 2010 at 2:34pm
@ Rusty
A FAIR and regulated market, capitalist system, which unfortunately doesn't esist.
Comment by sacha on February 5, 2010 at 7:12pm
“May we live long and die out”

I was a member long before I ever heard of them.
Comment by Rusty Gunn. on February 5, 2010 at 6:37pm
Glen Watson wrote: "His advice to turn all the golf courses into homes for the homeless was a great idea too."

I REALLY do hope this was meant humorously!
Comment by Rusty Gunn. on February 5, 2010 at 6:32pm
Carver wrote: "Another correlation is that as the overall wealth of a population increases the growth rate goes down."

And perhaps, Carver, you'd like to tell the folks here just WHAT economic system generates the most wealth for the most people?!
Comment by Jim DePaulo on February 5, 2010 at 5:55pm
Another correlation is that as the overall wealth of a population increases the growth rate goes down. The highest growth rates are in the poorest countries - despite the high infant mortality.
Comment by Tom Thompson on February 5, 2010 at 5:53pm
Thanks for posting this article in BOLD ITALIC HUGE FONT. I was able to read it from the next room while making supper. Haha, just kidding.

This is a subject I think about frequently. Global warming and increasing population are certainly tied together. Another point that bears repeating is that industrialized nations with educated citizens breed at a much lower rate than poor uneducated people in less developed countries. Expending more effort to educate these people and help them catch up to the rest of the world, along with doing the same locally, may be what is required to stem the tide.

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