Population Facts, Statistics, and Comments
Facts, Statistics and Comments on Population - Links
- Land & Food - Food
& Oil Exports - Energy - Water
- The Economy
What Can Be Done? Realistic Immediate Actions
Pressure on Earth's Carrying Capacity Rises"
Headed for 9.2 Billion by 2050"
How much land would the global population take up if the population were condensed?
The first billion took from the dawn of humanity until 1830.
The second billion took only 100 years -- from 1830 to 1930.
Three billion more arrived in the next 60 years.
The next billion will take only 13 years (yes, just 13 years!)
-- unless there is a tremendous effort to slow world birthrates!
The ideal population of the United States was what it was
around 1950, when doors were left unlocked and factors like housing, jobs,
pace of life, crime, pollution, etc. were at comfortable levels.
Some say there is a connection between runaway population
growth and human suffering.
It has been said that while recent environmental victories
are very important, they will become meaningless if demand on the earth's
resources continues to escalate as it has in the last century.
The Chair of the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Global
Warming calls population growth the driving force in global warming.
Birth control and family planning are not available to all
men and women.
Dr. Nafis Sadik, Executive Director of the United Nations
Population Fund, recently said that, "We need to strengthen our resolve
for greater economic and social justice, gender equality and global protection....
The issues are not different problems, they are part of the same synoptic
worldview. Whether we approach it from one direction or another --
the answers and approaches are linked."
Bill McKibben, a renowned environmental author, recently
concluded in The Atlantic Monthly that, "The next fifty years are
a special time. They will decide how strong and healthy the planet
will be for centuries to come. Between now and 2050 we'll see the
zenith, or very nearly, of human population. With luck we'll never
see any greater production of carbon dioxide or toxic chemicals.
We'll never see more species extinction or soil erosion. We need
in these fifty years to be working on all parts of the equation -- on our
ways of life, on our technologies, and on our population."
It is evident the environment is being severely damaged by
the impact of rapidly growing populations and over-exploitation of the
earth's natrual resources.
There is a direct population connection between human activities,
global warming and the greenhouse effect.
Almost all of the world's people now have access to modern
family planning services, but they need to be educated and motivated to
use them to have smaller families and to gain greater independence and
The population growth in Mexico dropped 34% in 10 years,
boosting the nation's economic, social and environmental well-being.
Soap operas were the prime influence.
Concerns in the United States
LAND & FOOD PRODUCTION
At the present growth rate of 1.1% per year, the
United States' population will double to about 560 million in about the
next 60 years, if current immigration and related trends continue.
Each year over 3 million people are added to the U.S. population.
Over 70% of the United States' annual population
growth (and over 90% of California, Florida and New York) results from
Every person leaves an "ecological footprint" on
the Earth -- that amount of land which, assuming it is endowed with an
average amount of resources, is necessary to sustain one human being indefinitely.
The average American's ecological footprint is about 25 acres, an area
far greater than that taken up by one's residence and place of school or
work and other places where he or she is. Those 25 additional acres
supply the average American with food, fiber, and other resources, as well
as capacity for waste assimilation and disposal. (The average footprint
of everyone in the world is about 7 acres.) For further information
on the American ecological footprint, continue to the following links.
& OIL IMPORTS
One acre of natural habitat or farmland is converted
to built-up space or highway for each person added to the U.S. population.
More than 99.3% of the U.S. food comes from land,
while less than .5% comes from aquatic systems.
Of the nearly 470 million acres of arable land that
are now in cultivation in the U.S., more than 1 million acres are lost
from cultivation each year due to urbanization, multiplying transportation
networks, and industrial expansion. In addition, about 2 million
acres of prime cropland are lost annually by erosion, salinization, and
Iowa has lost 1/2 of its fertile topsoil after farming
there for about 100 years. Their topsoil is being lost about 30 times
faster than sustainability.
if present population gwoth and other trends continue,
over the next 60 years, both degradation adn urbanization will diminish
our arable land base of 470 million acres by 120 million acres.
Only 0.6 acres of arable land per person will be
available in 2050, whereas more tha 1.2 acres per person are needed to
provide a divers diet (currently 1.6 acres of arable land are available),
A doubling of the American population will accelerate
the need for food. For every 1% increase in food demand, the price
at the farm gate increases 4.5%.
Currently the U.S. earns $40 billion per year as
the largest food exporter in the world. About 60% of the oil used
in the U.S. is imported at a cost of $75 billion per year. About
400 gallons of oil equivalents are expended to feed each American, about
17% of all energy used, each year.
If present trends in population growth, domestic
food consumption, and topsoil loss continue, the U.S. food wxports (and
the income from them) will cease by 2030.
Fossil energy use in the U.S. has increased from
20 to as much as 1,000-fold in just four decades.
Currently, 92% of U.S. energy needs are provided
byt finite fossil fuels, with 6% of the total energy used for agricultrual
Renewable energy sources, like hydropower and biomass,
provide 8% of the U.S. energy and are increasing very slowly.
Approaching 2050, most of the oil and natural gas
in the United States will be exhausted, and world supplies will be ever
closer to depletion.
A renewable energy source, solar energy, would require
the use of about 20% of the U.S. land area (about 450 million acres) to
support a system that would supply only 1/2 of all current energy consumption,
and the U.S. oil and gas reserves will have nearly run out by 2050, leaving
us with environmentally problematic coal, or nuclear energy. The
advantage of the land space required for solar is that the solar can be
above the ground, allowing for multiple use of the land space, such as
grazing, agriculture, and warehousing.
Water is essential for all life, including productive
agriculture. Agriculture consumes about 85% of all fresh water consumed
by Americans. In the West, water shortages are increasing.
Rainfall is used directly by crops, is stored in
diverse water bodies and in underground aquifers. Groundwater provides
31% of the water used in U.S. agriculture. Groundwater is being depleted
25% in excess of recharge rates.
Even if water management were to be substantially
improved, by 2060 the 560 million Americans will have only 700 gallons/day/capita,
considered a minimum for all human needs. This assumes even distribution,
which is not the case -- much of our population and agricultural production
is in arid and semi-arid regions.
Almost every house that can afford one now owns some
type of water filter. Water quality is
decreasing, as are our sources of potable water, due to development, salinity,
In America's Forgotten Majority, Ray Teixeria
and Joel Rogers write that "from 1973 to 1988, an economy that almost doubled
in real terms, the wage of the typical worker in production and nonsupervisory
jobs (80 percent of the workforce) actually declined by 6 percent, from
$13.61 to $12.77 an hour."
To avoid the harsh outcomes projected
for the future, we must stop population growth.
We must consrve our land, water, and energy resources that are vital for
a sustainable economy, environment, and quality of life.
Family planning is essential
not just at home, but globally. Consciously lowering the global birthrate
must become an accepted practice, before calamity causes even more stringent
Careful land use planning must
supercede greed, development, and the carelessness of wealth. Farmable
topsoil must be kept undeveloped and unpaved, watersheds must be preserved,
and housing must become more efficient.
Old growth forests and original
tropical rainforests must be left unscathed to preserve the remaining valuable
species of plant and animal life necessary for medical cures and for maintaining
a fully balanced ecosystem.
Arcologies, such as the prototypical
Arcosanti being constructed in Arizona, provide
viable alternatives to the current practice of urban sprawl and the prevalent
random development for the sake of convenience and immediate profit.
The American dream of "getting
away" from it all by moving somewhere else and enjoying a pleasant
5 acres away from development" must be redirected to turning whereever
we are into our own paradise. Every residence, including apartments
and condos, must become more self-sufficient, beautiful and desireable.
Stay put an improve what you have.
Every residence must begin to raise
at least a portion of its own food.
This can be done in many forms, such as sprouts, window boxes, edible vines
up walls, gardens, cultivating abandoned lots and isolated corners, pea
patches, and shared land spaces. If everyone were actively involved
in producing food, several important advantages emerge: 1) the global food
production is increased, 2) by growing our own food, we have control over
toxins, pesticides, and poisons, and can eat the freshest, most local,
and most organic food possible, 3) the food strains can be once again diversified
and preserved, thus avoiding monocropping, seed monopolies, and genetic
Every house in the world with any solar
exposure at all should utilize solar water heaters.
Electrical use can be supplemented
or replaced by solar and wind, and can be reduced by conservation and increased
efficiency. Think what you can do where you live.
must be streamlined, non-polluting, and net-energy
inexpensive. Develop some new travel habits.
Consider riding mass transit more often,
buying an electric or hybrid car, and use your bicycle
We must remove toxins from our air,
water, soils and homes. This begins with converting our own homes
to using 100% non-toxic products.
Our values must become more
globally realistic and less selfish and consumer-driven. How big
is your ecological footprint?
Take a look at some of the organizations
you can join on the links page.
HUMAN PRESSURE ON EARTH'S CARRYING CAPACITY RISES
November 28, 2002 (ENS) - Humanity is putting increasing pressure on global
ecosystems, with consumption exceeding the Earth's biological capacity
by 20 percent, according to a new report from the Sustainability Program
of Redefining Progress, a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy organization.
WORLD POPULATION HEADED FOR 9.2 BILLION
NEW YORK, New York, December 3, 2002 (ENS)
Global population is projected to increase from 6.28 billion today to 9.2
billion by 2050, according to "The State of World Population 2002" a report
by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released today. The
least developed countries have the highest fertility and population growth,
and their populations are expected to triple in the next 50 years, from
600 million to 1.8 billion, the UN agency predicts.
One solution to population growth, homelessness and low-income housing:
Our population was just about right around 1950.
Were you a kid in the Fifties or so ?
Everybody makes fun of our childhood! Comedians
joke. Grandkids snicker. Twenty-something's shudder and say "Eeeew!"
But was our
childhood really all that bad?
Judge for yourself:
In 1953 The US population was less than 150 million...
Yet you knew more people then, and knew them better... And that was good.
The average annual salary was under $3,000... Yet our
parents could put some of it away for a rainy day and still live a decent
life... And that
A loaf of bread cost about 15 cents... But it was safe
for a five-year-old to skate to the store and buy one.. And that was good.
Prime-Time meant I Love Lucy, Ozzie and Harriet, Gunsmoke
and Lassie... So nobody ever heard of ratings or filters... And that was
We didn't have air-conditioning... So the windows stayed
up and half a dozen mothers ran outside when you fell off your bike...
Your teacher was either Miss Matthews or Mrs. Logan or
Mr. Adkins... But not Ms Becky or Mr.Dan... And that was good.
The only hazardous material you knew about... Was a patch
of grassburrs around the light pole at the corner... And that was good.
You loved to climb into a fresh bed... Because sheets
were dried on the clothesline... And that was good.
People generally lived in the same hometown with their
relatives... So "child care" meant grandparents or aunts and uncles...
And that was
Parents were respected and their rules were law.... Children
did not talk back..... and that was good.
TV was in black-and-white... But all outdoors was in glorious
color....And that was certainly good.
Your Dad knew how to adjust everybody's carburetor...
And the Dad next door knew how to adjust all the TV knobs... And that was
Your grandma grew snap beans in the back yard... And chickens
behind the garage... And that was definitely good.
And just when you were about to do something really bad...
Chances were you'd run into your Dad's high school coach... Or the nosy
from up the street... Or your little sister's piano teacher...
Or somebody from Church... ALL of whom knew your parents' phone number...
YOUR first name... And even THAT was good! ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~ ~
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