Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tipping Point

I was looking for some inspiration. The thrilling and fun filled life I have lead could fill volumes. Just re-read my piece on sump pumps and you would have to agree. Mike is one exciting dude.

But does it have to always be about me? Should it always be about me? I am sure if I looked hard enough, I would find something, someone who is pushing the edge as hard as I am. Afterall, there are 6 billion plus other souls on this planet. 6 billion stories just waiting to be told. 6 billion people struggling to get through the day.

I sit here and contemplate this number. 6 billion people. 6,602,224,175 to be exact as of July, 2007. As hard as I try, I have trouble getting my mind around this number. All I can do is imagine the planet as a 5 gallon bucket filling up with BBs. And while some may contend the bucket is already overflowing, I can't go there. 40 years ago, I remember a doomdays prediction that once we hit 5 billion it was all over. We were done. Used up and waiting for that great species ending event to finish us off.

Yet here we are. 6.6 billion souls rubbing shoulders, exchanging fluids, and breaking bread. And the hammer still has not come down. Apparently Mother Earth has a greater capacity to deal with crowds than we thought. But wondering how much longer she will is certainly beginning to take center stage.
According to this site, the World's population grows at the rate of around 3 people per second. That's 180 people per minute. 10,800 more mouths to feed per hour. In a day, 200,000 plus mothers have fulfilled their duty dropping 259,000 babies onto the planet. Even if these numbers are on the high side, it is without a doubt a signifigant uptick every day.

In case numbers of people are hard to imagine. Here's another fact that drives home how crowded we are becoming. 6.6 billion people gives us a worldwide population density of almost 113 people per square mile. Alone this figure might also be a ho hummer. Compare it to the 67 people per square mile in 1970 and I think the increase becomes more telling. It is indeed a small world afterall. And getting smaller all the time.

It does not take much of a leap to understand that a tipping point is in our future. At some point, there will be an adjustment. It won't be pretty.

4 comments:

PresterJohn said...

Will Doctor Malthus please report to delivery, stat. Paging Dr. Malthus, delivery, stat.

MRMacrum said...

Anthony Burgess took Malthusian ideas to the brink of absurdity and then tossed them over the edge. His "The Wanting Seed" is about the funniest and yet still makes you think about overpopulation I ever read. In Burgess' world homosexuality is pushed as being patriotic. Wars happen just to help decrease the population. And cannibalism is not really frowned upon.

Noah said...

Okay, your new nickname is now "The Crumudgeonator"

PresterJohn said...

Am not familiar with Burgess ... though do remember reading Swift's "Modest Proposal" on how the poverty damned Irish could help themselves by feeding their English masters.

A kind of Irish "Soylent Green" ...