The 7 billion bodies question

A lot of people are worrying about the world population this week as we approach 7 billion. (US and World population clock.) I am an optimist; I believe we can find new resources, develop new technologies and use the existing resources and technologies more appropriately. That is, we can be much, much more efficient. We can reduce the impact of the industrial revolution on the planet, even as we approach 10 billion people in the coming decades.

The blunt, inefficient tools of the industrial age create pollution and waste. We can use information technologies to put an end to this. The old tools were great in their day — in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. It is time to move on to the information age.

Aren’t we there? No, we are not out of the industrial age. It is premature to declare that we have entered the information age. Smart phones, mass communications and the Internet are just the tip of the iceberg of necessary advances. We must educate and inform ourselves. We must make a transition to much greater efficiency to lessen our waste of resources.

Freedom, education and wealth are excellent ways to promote the stabilization of the population. Population grows more slowly in places with freedom, education and wealth. Education and awareness lead to changes in the patterns of our behavior. We freedom, education and wealth we develop new technologies and tools that can lessen the impact of humans on the planet.

A lot of Americans are ready to criticize other countries for their population growth. Let’s stop finger pointing. It’s easy to talk about what other people should do. Find a mirror and take a look. Education and self dicipline are great tools for each of us to apply to get our literal and figurative houses in order. Nearly every major issue facing the US today would be resolved if we were more efficient and less wasteful.

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One Response

  1. This is something that has been on my mind a lot lately, looking at large industrial projects in Para state which are still operating under the mindset of the past- that resources are infinite, in a practical sense. We’ve seen such incredible waste here, and the problem at times seems to be that the philosophies guiding industrial development have not caught up to the technology now available- now, it IS conceivable that in the coming century or so we COULD use up the entirety of certain resources, at current and project rates of consumption. We COULD clear an entire Amazon’s worth of forest. But clearly, we don’t NEED to, and doing so would be a travesty. It seems obvious that those who start making the hard choices now and investing in increasing the efficiency of their processes are going to be the winners in the long run, but it’s hard to pit future sustainability against quick and easy profit…

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