We are now reaching seven billion marks in terms of world population. A few countries were trying to claim their newborn babies as the world’s seven billionth baby. Eventually, the “honor” went to a boy in the Philippine. However, should we be celebrating or worrying? What is the significance of seven billion populations on earth? Where are we heading? Those are questions appeared to many of us who care about the future of our planet.
The authourity has warned that population increase may not be a good thing. The indications show that a world of seven billion people pose many challenges, and countless opportunities to make a positive difference. The main worry is the scarcity of resources to support that ever-growing population. Most of the high growth populations are from the poorer regions. This will eventually create even greater problem in terms of food supplies, healthcare and social instability.
According to the experts, disaster triggered by the growing population will lead to a Malthusian catastrophe. Political economist Thomas Malthus (1766–1834) suggested that once the world population outgrows the food and energy supply, a catastrophic situation would occur. Mass starvation and energy crisis will occur and trigger a decline in our population. In other word, we are heading towards a prospect of great misery when the world population re-adjusts itself to the “equilibrium” level.
While we seem to head towards a bleak future, there are critics who think otherwise. These people believe that rather than food supply determining population, it is the population levels that determine the production of food and energy resources. In her book The Conditions of Agricultural Growth: The Economics of Agrarian Change under Population Pressure, Ester Boserup pointed out that “necessity is the mother of invention”. Due to the population growth, human will find creative ways by inventing new technology and applying new methods to overcome the limitations. This painted a positive picture of our future, which believe that human will prevail against the nature.
Nevertheless, I believe the future is neither all bleak nor rosy. While we are able to be more creative to overcome limitations impose by nature in certain areas, we have also experienced the power of Mother Nature over us. In addition, there are social causes for misery, such as ignorance, greed, bad government, unjust laws, or war, that cause even more lost of lives. We must put our knowledge into good use to reduce suffering of the people, and at the same time be mindful about our limitations. We have the power to make the world better, but our power has its limit.
We know where we are heading towards, whether we like it or not. We just have to be prepared to what is ahead. As the world population surpasses seven billion marks, I believe being collaborative in our approach will make us more effective in reducing the negative effects of growing populations. Even that will not be enough to change everything to our advantage. We just need to do our best and our best can only be achieved when we work collaboratively.