Future Population

Have you ever wondered how many people could fit on Earth? Likely there’s more now than at any other time in Earth’s history, almost 8 billion. Yet what of the future? The World Bank predicts a peak of about 11 billion sometime this century. Or, there’s talk of a human population crash with the total dropping greatly. Yet, the population might just keep climbing to some, eventual maximum. That is, we don’t yet know how many people could possibly fit.

Let’s say the population remains the same as today. If so, then we certainly know the problems and for the most part the solutions. Such as, we’re on track to addressing climate change. We understand the importance of biodiversity and the value in preserving it. And, we realize that finite fossil fuels need be replaced by renewable energy sources. That is, the Earth might sustain the current population.

However, what of a population that continues to climb? A consequence is increasing pressures on Earth systems as people demand more energy, more food, more resources. That is, instead of solving problems, we’re exacerbating them. Climate change is quicker and greater. People use more land for themselves thus allocating less for biodiversity. And, we need all sources of energy even those not sustainable. This lack of sustainability means that Earth systems fail and eventually fewer people could fit on Earth.

Is there value in setting a maximum to the number of people on Earth? How would you calculate this value? And more important, how would you enforce this value?
Great Bear Lake


Imagine being a politician today. Or actual any day. While you may have visions of power and control, I see a person who has anything but. Rather, I see a person who is trying to build consensus amongst voters and constituents so as to define a better direction. That is, they aim to choose a future rather than have the future choose. While so many seem to have wonderful ideals, the desire of the populace seems to be for greater ease and luxury no matter what the cost. And politicians have usually acknowledged this.

Now what does a politician do if the status quo looks ugly? If ease and luxury might be only temporary? A simple metric is the human population. This metric continues to increase exponentially. This is no surprise as humans have pretty well eliminated all natural predators. Our numbers will keep rising. Unless we acknowledge that there may be too many people, they will rise. And we may decide to act. But how many is too many? And what actions would a politician allow to change the status quo?

Another metric is the consumption of non-renewable resources. The consumption continues to increase for the simple reason that the number of people keeps increasing. If the effects of the consumption were negligible then there’s no problem. But there are effects. The greatest being called ‘climate change’. That is, exhaust from oxidation of non-renewables is changing the atmosphere. Which changes the weather. Yet our lifestyles rely upon non-renewable resources. Thus, we’d have to lower our lifestyles, our luxury, to reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources. Would a politician be able to build consensus to reduce lifestyles?

In simple words, with the acknowledgement that the status quo is untenable, a politician needs to enact change. They need to convince the populace, who hold the real power, that change is needed. And they need to introduce a tenable option. Without this, a politician is simply along for the ride. And their visions of power and control are illusory, briefly held in time.

A Freeze