Friday, October 13, 2006

So Many People, So Little Time

According to the US Census Bureau, the population of the United States is about to hit 300 million. And this could happen any day now. With babies being born everyday and people living longer, it is no wonder that the United States population has reached this great level. But let's not celebrate this milestone just yet. Having the third largest population in the world is probably not something to be proud of, that is if you have an sense.
As compared to the rest of the world, the US is third behind China and India. The populations of both those countries already exceed one billion. And there is no sign of a slow down or halt to the exponential growth of the human population. People are living longer and keep the population at high levels. Even though we are the third largest population, our life expectancy rating is 29th at 77 years. That means in 28 other countries, people live longer than they do in the United States. We can chalk that up to better health care and diet.
But old people are the least of our worries. It's the younger ones in diapers that are really the problem. The United States is now 34th in the world for infant mortality. According to the Census Bureau, "For every 1,000 U.S. births, 7 babies die in their first year." Doing a little math, if 1,000 babies are born everyday and seven born each day die, then in a year the US population would increase by 362,445. And that doesn't include all the legal and illegal immigrants that enter the country each year.
The problem with this, is the ever increasing strain on the environment. I know that some will tell me to look out my window and see that the environment is still there. They will say that nothing negative has happened because of increased population. They will say that because they are ignorant. A gigantic increase in the population of ANY organism has an affect on the environment. People are the worst by far. We have to live in houses and houses need space and more houses means a city and cities take up more space and the viscous cycle continues. More and more land is cleared and covered over by roads and buildings. This lives nothing for other organisms and the environment suffers. Even the Census agrees saying, "The increasing U.S. population and resource use is adversely affecting multiple aspects of our environment. Evidence can be documented in terms of land use, water, forests, biodiversity, fisheries, agriculture, energy, solid and toxic waste."
What can be done? There is obviously no real solution to population growth aside from killing people off. We call that genocide and we ignore that in the US so go right ahead. If our way of life doesn't change at a population, we will not only be living on a very crowed planet, but a dying one as well. The world's population is estimated to reach 9 billion in the next 44 years. Can the Earth really support this? I'll be 69 and hopefully still alive to find out.

No comments: