Let’s Cozy Up—All 7 Billion of Us

World Population: 7 billion

Image credit: National Geographic

China may abide by a “one-child” policy, but that hasn’t slowed down the rest of the world.  According to a recent  New York Times article, UN demographers announced that, as of November 1, there are 7 billion of us walking the globe (10+09). Overpopulation is in full force.

It’s a vast world, but we’re bumping shoulders more and more.  We zigzag our way through life—working, eating and sleeping; building things up and tearing them down; changing, connecting, learning and trying to make sense of it all.  We try to remember, as Charles Eames once said, that “…while we may think we are different from other people in some ways and at some moments, the fact of the matter is that we’re a hell of a lot more like each other than we are different, and we’re certainly more like each other than we’re like a tree or a stone.”  Fundamentally, we’re quite similar.

Our brains each have about 10+10 neurons and 10+14 synapses.  On average, our hearts beat about 100,000 times every day (10+05), and about 35 million times each year (10+07), according to NOVA.  That means that in our collective lifetimes our hearts will beat 1.75 x 10+19 times.  The blood cells pumping through our hearts to sustain us are only 10-18 cubic meters.  National Geographic reports that our lungs have 600 million alveoli (10+08), and together, we breathe in roughly 1.7 trillion gallons of air every day (10+13).

All 7 billion of us are made up of the same stuff.  And all we can hope is that, until we’ve had our last thought, last beat and last breath, we do something positive and inspiring for the world around us.  Ironically, it turns out one of the best things we can do, is work toward implementing policies that will address our swelling population growth.

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One Comment

  1. Benny
    Posted November 2, 2011 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    More people on the planet isn’t the problem, but rather issues like inequality and bad infrastructure are. There are many reasons to celebrate 7 billion on the planet – this milestone proves how ingenious we are, that we’re better at keeping more people alive longer now than ever before, and we have more brains to create and develop more useful technologies and innovations to accommodate a growing population. Yes, there are still problems of starvation and lower standards of living for many on the planet, but neither history nor mathematical logic bears out the conclusion that population pessimists reached – which, btw, only views humanity as consumers and not producers. Where there are these problems, we need to go about creating more for everyone rather than curbing our numbers. In the Victorian times, the world’s population was a small fraction of what it is now, yet there was still poverty. What changed and improved our lives in the West was not going down from 1 billion to less, but improving sanitation, healthcare, our general standards of living, and discovering and taking advantage of scientific breakthroughs. We should see humanity as a solution and not the problem. I came across a spoof recently that parodies the many ridiculous overpopulation fears/paranoia – it is hilarious and brilliant! http://www.worldbytes.org/get-off-my-planet-happy-birthday-7-billion/

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