Depending on who’s counting, the planet’s human population either just hit seven billion or will some time soon (my desktop gadget says 6,925,052,273).
Glenn, at Be Bold, Be Gentle, passes along a quote from Dupont VP Jim Borel:
“This month, the global population reached 7 billion. Each year, the world population grows by about 78 million people — equivalent to the population of Germany. By 2050, world population will be 9 billion, growing to 10 billion by turn of the century. Feeding and providing nutrition for this growing population — and doing it in a sustainable manner — may be the defining challenge of this century.”
Feeding the world is going to be one of the critical issues facing us throughout the century. Given current trends, world population could peak at around 10 billion later in the century, and then begin a slow decline.
I need to give more thought to the whole issue of food and population. I’d be interested in your thoughts on these questions:
- Has the human race fulfilled the Genesis 1 command to “be fruitful and multiply?”
- Can we sustainably feed 10 billion people?
- What are the greatest challenges before us as we seek to feed Earth’s growing population? (I think of water shortages, land degradation, apathy, and political will).
- What is the best approach to feeding the world? Genetically modified foods? Large-scale corporate farming? Small-scale family farming?
- In what ways can Christians be involved in being part of the solution to feeding another three billion or more people in this century?
Grace and Peace
I always find books and articles about the future to be fascinating. Here are some quotes from Futurologist Richard Watson’s 2050 vision: goodbye Belgium, hello brain transplants in the Telegraph.
[T]he environment will remain vitally important, but climate change won’t be the only game in town – the approach of peak oil, peak coal, peak gas, peak water, peak uranium and even peak people (a severe shortage of workers in many parts of the world) will also have an impact, and require a profound shift towards sustainability.
All of these have an Earth-science link! Sustainability is a key concept that we, as a society, are rather slow to grasp.
In Japan, the percentage of people aged over 75 is forecast to increase by 36 per cent between 2005 and 2015, meaning that taxes would have to go up by 175 per cent in a generation to maintain current levels of benefit.
What if the young people rebel against paying for us in our old age? I’ve heard it said that the generation that chose to be pro-choice in their 20s will regret it when they are the unwanted ones in their 70s.
In political and economic terms, the shift of power to the east, and the rise of countries such as China and India, will continue.
India and China are rising in science and technology as well.
It is estimated that by 2020, only 10 per cent of financial transactions will be in cash. We can safely predict that the idea of money as a physical object might well become extinct not long after – especially if a global pandemic starts us thinking about all the germs on those grubby notes. Instead, digital transactions will be made through computers, or cell phones, or even chips inserted into our forearms.
What would Hal Lindsey say? [Side note: Coins carry fewer germs than paper money]
Grace and Peace.