This is a low level revision of an automatic translation of the original page in Catalan. I apologize for any errors it may contain.
The year 2011 ends with a world, the only one we have for the time being, with 7 billion people. No one knows for sure, but the day when humanity officially reached this figure was Monday 31 October and, symbolically, Danica Camcho, a girl born in the Philippines was selected as the seven billion girl (1).
Is this good news or bad news? Is the world too populated, is the population not a problem or is it better that the population grows?
There is no doubt that the fact that the population growth is a tribute to the social and medical advances that make fewer children die at birth and allow people to live longer and in better health and quality of life. Life expectancy has risen from 48 years in 1950 to 68 during the first decade of the twenty-first century (2).
The question is obviously complex. For example, it can be argued that population is not the problem but consumption is (3), but I think that people that are consuming less must approach the conditions of those in developed countries, and that means increasing consumption; or that population is not a problem, but inequality is (4), but making living conditions of the entire world population more alike seems impossible without at the same time increasing the consumption of nonrenewable natural resources.
Perhaps the most extreme argument against the population being a problem is the statement that natural resources do not have physical limits, tht are only limited by our imagination and our technology and that "More people and more development mean more resources. Not less"(5).
Still, all this is most relevant only if we think we ... Animals and plants have it worse. There may be those who think there are millions of species in the world and that the loss of a few of them is not so important after all or that we can live in a world with fewer species, if we preserve those that really matter to us, but I do not think this is the solution.
LThe current crisis demonstrates that the human race itself is not succeeding particularly well. Overpopulation is a problem to be addressed, although not the only one. Stopping population growth can cause problems in a growing economy, but this doesn't make possible indefinite growth.
We must move towards a stationary economy that includes a limitation or even reduction in world population. I will talk about this in the second part of this post.
- World's 'seven billionth baby' is born
- United Nations Population Fund. The State of World Population 2011.
- Fred Pearce, On World Population Day, take note: population isn’t the problem. Grist, 2010
- Andrew Simms. A rising population is not the problem – growing inequality is. The Guardian, 1 November 2011
- Sheldon Richman, The Population Problem That Isn't. July 1993