The Population Bomb Is Still Ticking (1-10-16)
Every day there are twice as many births as deaths. Every second, more than five people are born. Dumbarton scholar and writer Howard Morland was on hand Jan. 10 to help Adult Ed examine what the future holds.
Using charts, graphs, and slides, Morland traced population growth back to the Neanderthals and up to the present. "By 10,000 B.C.E., humans had reached the ends of the earth, but their populations were limited," said Morland, who blamed the growth failure on the invention of warfare tools. "I think homicide was the reason those populations did not expand," he said. Paul Ehrlich
Within the last 200 years, the world's population has exploded. Morland showed Adult Ed a hockey graph depicting how 1 billion people will be added every 12 years. In other slides, Dumbartonians saw statistics showing rising life expectancy rates and global median ages, in addition to population growths and declines in specific countries.
In 1968 Paul Ehrlich published his landmark book, The Population Bomb, in which he predicted the world's population would max out by 2000. And in 1972 a book titled Limits to Growth appeared with similar predictions. "You can pick the date of an expected collapse," Morland said, "but collapse is a country-by-country thing." To illustrate, Morland told Adult Ed that countries with six or more children per family would double their population in 20 years. In countries with families of 0-2 children, no population growth would occur. Women in warrior clan countries are expected to have as many children as possible.
Some concerted efforts indicate the population-explosion problem won't have to solve itself. Women in poor countries are better educated now and many in rural areas are moving to cities. People worldwide are also more aware of global climate change and its impact on both human and animal populations.
--By Ginny Finch