As of today, October 31, 2011, the population of our planet has reached 7 billion people. And yet, as we speak, folks in cities all over the world are sitting in fetid tents in squalid encampments, protesting that they don't have a big enough piece of the pie. Well, the pie just got a whole lot smaller. Unfortunately, the areas of the world least equipped to accommodate extra people are the areas where population is expanding at the most rapid rate. In North America, however, the population is expanding so slowly, governments are concerned about maintaining productivity. In the bigger picture, the earth is made up of the *haves* and the *have-nots*. As we edge even more quickly to the 8 billion mark, here are some things to consider.
In 1974, the population of the earth was 4 billion, and in just under 30 years, we have almost doubled. China makes up 19% of the world's population. 50.4% of the world's population are male, and 50.5% of the world's population live in cities. One in three of those city dwellers lives in a slum. The median age of the world's population is 29. A staggering 73% of the world's population does not use the internet. One in eight of the world's population is undernourished. One in three of the world's population lacks a hygienic toilet. The birthrate in Germany, Canada, Russia, Australia and Brazil hovers between 1.4 and 1.9. The birthrate in the United States is 2.5. The birth rate in Niger is 7.2.
According to an article in this week's Time Magazine, the earth has enough resources for everyone on the planet, the resources are just not being distributed to everyone. People don't have access to resources because of extreme poverty and corrupt government regimes. I am fortunate enough to live in a country that did not have a housing bubble or any housing collapse or mortgage failures. Our banks did not get overextended, did not have to be bailed out, and are still lending. Unemployment and poverty remain lower than at any other time since the 1960s. There are so many jobs in Alberta, the immigration department is fast-tracking immigrants from other countries who apply here for work. Our country is really one of the more fortunate ones.
The economic crisis is world-wide and impacts everyone on the planet, but probably none more so than the billions of people who live in extreme poverty. We need to slow down the population expansion before we hit 8 billion, in 14 years.