Global Population Trends implications and consequences Paul Sutton [email protected] Department of Geography University of Denver Coming to grips with demographic history Human Population Milestones 1800 1930 1960 1975 1987 1999 human population reaches human population reaches human population reaches human population reaches human population reaches human population reaches 1 Billion 2 Billion 3 Billion 4 Billion 5 Billion 6 Billion My father was born in 1926. Of these 6 milestones he saw The world reach 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and maybe 7 Billion (6 of the 7 milestones in a single human lifetime) The Graphical History of Human Population Growth “Human beings – mammals of the 50 kilogram weight class and members of a group, the primates, otherwise noted for scarcity – have become a hundred times more numerous than any other land animal of comparable size in the history of life. By every conceivable measure, humanity is ecologically abnormal. Our species appropriates between 20 and 40 per cent of the solar energy captured in organic material by land plants. There is no way that we can draw upon the resources of the planet to such a degree without drastically reducing the state of most other species.” From E.O. Wilson’s book: “The Diversity of Life” Basic Contemporary Population Reality Some Introductory Questions: ~6.8 Billion What is the annual Percentage Growth rate of the Planet? ~1.2% 1) How many people live on the Earth Right now? 2) 3) If this rate remained constant, how long would it take for the Earth’s population to double? (the rule of 69) ~58 Years 4) How many people are added to the Earth’s Population: Every Year? ~80,000,000 __________ Every Day?____________ ~200,000 ~9,000 Every Hour?__________ ~3 Every Second?__________ 5) How many abortions happen every year? ~42,000,000 What’s in store for future populations? Is this graph possible? What does zero population growth mean? What does a sustainable economy look like? What does the graph imply about total population? Population Growth Rates are going down but …… • • • • • • • Global rate over 2% in the early 1960’s Global rate has dropped to ~1.2% today. But…. 1.2% of 7 billion is: 84 million per year (today) Whereas … 2.2% of 3 billion is: 66 million per year. (1960) Did the 2005 Tsunami in Indonesia cause negative growth in the global population? Questions about Carrying Capacity must be asked The global human population that the earth can sustain indefinitely • Most estimates of the world’s carrying capacity are in the range of 4-15 billion people (how are they made?) • In your lifetime, the earth already has, or soon will, reach carrying capacity • Population growth is THE major contributor to concerns about Energy Supply, Housing Shortages, Hunger, and Environmental Degradation….. Inter-related Problems • Population growth puts stresses on systems in interrelated ways. Think of Food, Water, and Energy. Think of methanol in gasoline. Corn as food becomes corn as fuel. More SUVs or more Tortillas? The following slides describe 16 dimensions of the population problem (adapted from World Watch paper #143) 1) Grain Production & Population 2) Fresh Water Supplies & Population • Many rivers are dry or almost dry when they reach the sea (Colorado, Yellow River, Nile) • Many aquifers are being ‘mined’ for water. • “As the growing demand for water collides with the limits of supply, countries typically satisfy rising urban and residential demands by diverting water from irrigation. They then import grain to offset the loss of irrigation water. Since it takes at least 1,000 tons of water to produce a ton of grain.” 3) Biodiversity and Population In the half a billion years of complex life, geology reveals five mass extinctions. All were caused by the smash of big extraterrestrial bodies into Earth or by stupendous geological forces. Biologists and conservationists call today’s extinction the Sixth Great Extinction in light of its magnitude. This extinction stands apart, though, because cosmic or geological forces do not cause it. It has a biological cause. One species. Us. Homo sapiens. Due to its cause, and heeding our moral compass and sense of justice, perhaps we should NOT call today’s ecological crisis the “Sixth Mass Extinction.” Rather, we perhaps should call it the First Mass Murder of Life. Never before has a single species escaped out of the confines of its ecosystems to become a global, geological force and then to spread across Earth to almost every ecosystem, and then remake and in many cases waste those ecosystems. Never before has a single species consumed so much of the rest of life into itself. Factoid: Homo Sapiens consumes 40% of NPP. From: http://rewilding.org/populationgrowth.html 4) Climate Change and Population The now famous CO2 graph (global averages over time) A map of the driving force 5) Oceanic Fish Catch and Population Note: These declines are DESPITE vastly improved technology • Source: The encyclopedia of the earth • http://www.eoearth.org/article/Marine_fisheries 6) Jobs and Population Growth From article by Heidi Shierholz at Economic Policy Institute Are we supposed to expect 10% unemployment now? • Did the Black Plague cause the Renaissance? 7) Cropland and Population Growth • In October of 2009 the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization held a high level expert forum titled “How To Feed The World in 2050” (http://www.fao.org/wsfs/forum2050/wsfs-forum/en/ ). The forum reviewed projections of population and economic growth to the year 2050. Population numbers are expected to rise to 9 billion by 2050, with 70% of the population living in urban areas. Incomes are expected to continue to rise, leading to more protein consumption. It is also anticipated that there will be growth in the use of crops for biofuels. Based on these projections the forum members came to the following conclusions : • The 2050 demand for food and agricultural products will rise by 70% compared to 2009. To meet this demand, 70 million hectares of new cropland will be needed. 50 million hectares of cropland will be lost in developed countries, primarily due to urbanization. • Big Key Point: Growth in Population and Standard of Living will require a DOUBLING of Global agricultural land area by 2050 – Really ? 8) Forests and Population Growth Population growth (Blue) Forest Loss (Red) in major World regions 1990 to Present Deforestation in the Amazon Is visible from Space 9) Housing and Population Growth Pictures are worth 1,000 words What do you think the water and sewer systems are like in the world Right now? Add 3 Billion people by 2050. Will they get better? Please tell us how? 10) Energy and Population Growth Food production has been Dependent on Oil Energy. Future water production via Desalinization will require Lots of energy. Oil is going away. Population growth continues. Facts of Discovery and production to the year 2000 How related do you think the oil Production curve and the population Growth rate curve really are? Scary rhetorical figure? 11) Urbanization and Population Growth New World Order In 1950 there was just one city with a population of more than ten millionNew York. In 2015 there will be 21, and the number of urban areas with population between five and ten million will shoot from 7 to 37. This growth will occur mainly in developing countries, those least equipped to provide transportation, housing, water, and sewers. Asia and Africa, now more than 2/3 rural, will be half urban by 2025. Never have urban populations expanded so fast. “Humanity has not been down this road before”, write urbanists Peter Hall and Ulrich Pfeiffer. “there are no precedents, no guideposts” Image Taken from National Geographic Magazine Special issue on Cities of the World 12) Natural Recreation Areas and Population Growth Here in the U.S. we have to Reserve campsites and often Deal with crowding in our National Parks. In other Countries people harvest Plants and animals out of their ‘protected’ areas for their own Survival. Ahhh… The serenity of being back to Nature at Yellowstone NP…….. 13) Education and Population Growth Even here in the United States (arguably the wealthiest nation in the world) we can’t seem to maintain an effective education System. Imagine trying to establish one in a poor developing country with A rapidly growing population. 14) Waste and Population Growth We have created massive Oceanic patches of garbage That we were until recently Unaware of. The atmosphere Is hosting our waste CO2 with Potentially devastating Great Pacific Plastic Garbage Gyre (above) Consequences. The waste we Do deal with going into landfills And sewage systems is getting Increasingly expensive to handle. How will this get better with 3 billion more people in the next 40 years? Other oceanic garbage gyres 15) Meat and Population Growth Global carrying Capacity is Higher if we all become Vegetarians. Increasing meat Consumption Accelerates extensification of Agricultural land. Over 1/3 of all grain goes to Feeding poultry and livestock. Do YOU want to become a vegetarian to make room for a larger population? 16) Income and Population Growth Are there limits to growth? Is our global economy outgrowing our global ecosystems Ability to support it? To what extent does ‘Zero Sum Game’ apply to human life and Resources on the earth? What happened after the Black Plague? (e.g. when population declined) Rising Wages Land Reform Technological Innovation Higher Incomes Overpopulation – Talk about it Peter Alcorn on the world in 2200 (TED Talk) http://www.ted.com/talks/pete_alcorn_s_vision_of_a_better_world.html Beneficial Economic Effects of the U.N.’s projected declining global population Predicts the future will be better then. But skips over why the world’s global population Will drop. You could make the same argument about how much better it is on Easter Island since the collapse of its population. The transition was no fun. “If we can make it through the next 150 years…….” Well that’s the hard question isn’t it. How to make it through the next 150 years. Those are the years you and I and our children will have to live through. I don’t Want them to look like the Plague. Talking about and then addressing the very real and fundamental problems of Population growth is essential to avoid that. Overpopulation is a taboo topic of conversation. End the taboo. A better talk on Population Challenges by Hans Rosling (TED talk) http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_on_global_population_growth.html Policy Observation Carbon Sequestration and Population Growth The $7 cost of abating a ton of CO2 using family planning compares with $24 for wind power, $51 for solar, $57-83 for coal plants with carbon capture and storage, $92 for plug-in hybrid vehicles and $131 for electric vehicles http://www.triplepundit.com/2009/09/study-finds-family-planning-cheapest-way-to-prevent-climate-change/ The “Tech” solutions to Carbon Sequestration do nothing for Agricultural land expansion, biodiversity preservation, urbanization Problems, water shortages, etc. The family planning approach helps in all dimensions. What are we waiting for? Questions?