Well, here it is. A few minutes ago I captured, as closely as I could, the Worldometers’ population clock tick over to the count of seven and three quarter billion humans alive on the planet Earth.
Yes, I know that births and deaths don’t work like a clock, but some time around now is when that milestone is reached. It is only 12 December and, at a rate of increase of 1 million every 4-5 days, there is likely to be a further 4 million or so added to the Net Population Growth of almost 77 million by the end of the year, bringing our annual net increase to around 81 million – as it has been averaging for so many years now.
They, the authorities, tell us that the rate of population increase is steadily, if only gradually, decreasing. And while that is true, it is quite irrelevant to the real picture. Since 1980 – the last 40 years – the actual population increase every year has been around or well above 80 million. That is a 40 year trend, and even if the growth rate does diminish slowly, the actual increase is likely to remain at that figure for many years to come (I will add my usual ‘barring accidents’ rider to that, since a huge growth in the death rate cannot be ruled out from now on, resulting in massive population decline – which is entirely out of scope for anyone’s ability to plan for the future).
Let’s put this into perspective. At something like 81 million annual growth, 1 billion extra people will be trying to share Earth’s produce and resources every 12 years and 4 months (approximately). And we are set to reach the 8th billion milestone almost exactly 3 years from now – give or take a week or two. That is around the end of 2022.
If that trend continues for another 40 years or so, we will be well on our way to a 12 billion population level by 2070. Of course that again is subject to the ‘barring accidents’ rider. They don’t tend to mention these things in the official estimates. The only way that we could get to that point still with only around 10 billion, as they suggest, is for over 2 billion extra deaths over and above normal levels throughout those years. Only a fool would suggest that births are going to decrease sufficient to bring that about, if they actually decrease at all. Of course there are a great many ways that many more than 2 billion extra deaths could be on the cards for humanity. Some of the main ones I mention below.
I will simply say, perhaps just to remind you, that this (net population growth) is one of the factors that is driving climate change, the level of unrest in nations all over the Earth, and the instability of global economies and social systems. All of those things, separately or together, are fully capable of ensuring soaring death rates for even the now most stable of human cultures.