Nov 01

7 Billion………
Person # 7 billion was born sometime yesterday on this earth. We were just at 1 Billion in 1804. It took about 1800 years to reach that first Billion. 100 years later in 1900 the population was 1.6 Billion. And now in 2011 it is 7 Billion. That is a daunting number which will rise to 9 Billion in the next 35 years. http://bit.ly/s3C3t9 I am not sure why this particular number is the one the media has decided to focus attention on. I don’t recall much bluster in the past when we hit 4,5 or 6 Billion. But this time we are collectively calling our attention to think about it.

Despite our growing population the world has continued to improve the overall standard of living of the world’s populations. Here is a fascinating animated graphic of the last 200 years when the world’s population moved from 1 Billion to 7 Billion. http://www.wimp.com/countriesyears/ If we can continue on the trajectory predicted in this graphic everything should turn out fine. If not, then we’ve got to come up with some better solutions.

I wonder how long our planet can withstand such an assault of population expansion? Of course, there are other equally daunting economic consequences if the populations stops growing or even declines. This is a very complex problem, as most problems facing us today are.

The resources are finite but the number of people aren’t. I have to hope that somewhere in those 7 Billion people is someone with a solution that can move us from a extractive/consumptive society to something dramatically different. Of course, that change could not possibly be without some pain. I wonder if the pain will be in my lifetime or my children’s or beyond. At what point are we all going to be willing to step forward for some sort of collective sacrifice to make change? Or will we just wait as we have historically for change to be thrust upon us?

I’d like to see a more open discussion in society instead of all the fighting and self-interest. Surely we could come together and define the big questions. Discuss the big questions.

What do you think are some of the big questions? Leave your comments here and maybe we can start a conversation. A similar question was asked yesterday on Richard Branson’s blog from the Elder conference in Brazil. You can look there as well for some ideas http://bit.ly/vSOELv

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