8 billion inhabitants on Earth: bad news for our planet?

News hardware 8 billion inhabitants on Earth: bad news for our planet?

Our planet has been evolving for billions of years. It is estimated that Homo Sapiens appeared about 300,000 years ago on our planet. Between agricultural, medical and industrial revolution, all our knowledge has pushed us to end up with 8 billion people on our blue planet. But is it really that bad news?

It’s official, we are 8 billion on Earth

It is this November 15, 2022 that theUN officially announced that we have passed the milestone of 8 billion people on Earth. In all, it will have taken no less than 12 years for us to go from 7 to 8 billion, and tell yourself that we were “only” 6.1 billion in the year 2000. During the 1970s, we estimates the human population at 4 billion, we can officially say that the number of people living on Earth has literally doubled in the space of 50 years.

According to the UN, this growth is due to our life expectancy being much longer on average than in recent decades. Hygiene is better respected, medical solutions more effective, which prevents a good part of the population from dying during childbirth or surgery.

In some countries still in the midst of demographic transition, such as certain regions of Africa, there were approximately 4.5 children per woman in 2017. And for good reason, the inhabitants are slowly beginning to benefit from more effective medical care, and therefore, women have much less risk of losing their child during the first years of their life.

Despite policies of severe restrictions as in China, the one-child law has clearly not borne fruit since it would take more than a century for it to be effective. Either way, as you will have understood, we are living longer, with better medical conditions than even 50 years ago.

During a press conference, Natalia Kanem, the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund wanted to reassure everyone:

This is a milestone for humanity. Some think that our world is overpopulated, with so many people who cannot survive because of their limited resources. I am here to say it clearly, this number of humans living on Earth should not be a source of fear.

As mentioned above, it is in sub-Saharan Africa that the UN notes a clear demographic growth during the last decades. But beware, ecologically speaking, the inhabitants emit much less greenhouse gases than the wealthiest populations, located in particular in North America, Europe and East Asia (China, Japan, Korea).

Are we “too many” on the blue planet?

Talking about too many is not something we are able to judge. Technically, we clearly produce enough to feed people around the world, but the problem remains the distribution of these resources.

To give you an idea, 48 African countries emitted less than 1% of global CO² emissions in 1751. It is the United States that hold the world record, with more than 400 billion tonnes of CO² since 1751, and they in particular are responsible for 25% of emissions since this same date, i.e. twice as much as China… Which unfortunately is progressing at a glance…

The UN foresees the milestone of 9 billion inhabitants crossed by the year 2037, that is to say 15 years for 1 billion additional inhabitants. The figures will continue to swell, but obviously, all this will take more and more time to double as we have seen between the 70s and today. And for good reason, the demographic transitions that operate more and more in the less well-off regions will contain this potential “overpopulation”, women will therefore have fewer children, but who will live longer and in better health.

As you will have understood, there are more of us, but this is not a problem in itself. Everything will be played on the policies of distribution of resources, but also of births all around the globe. Some areas are much more populated than others, in particular due to the attraction effect of large cities, where people move to work and live there.

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8 billion inhabitants on Earth: bad news for our planet?

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