There are 3 times as many people on this world than there were when I was born. I’m one of the last war babies.
There are 50% more people on the world than when my children were born. They’re early to middle millennials.
The news today seems to be disaster after disaster. Let’s look as a few of those disasters from the relatively recent past.
The Ethiopian Famine
In the middle 1980s there was a famine in Ethiopia and neighbouring areas. Part of the problem was a disruption of agriculture especially where two cultures (the herding nomadic Afar and the farming Oromo). They were both marginalized and because of increasing numbers they began overlapping. The herders who used to move in after crops were off were now more numerous and began moving prior to harvest. People were displaced and crops no-longer available. During the famine the population of Ethiopia was 41 million.
Today the population is 83 million and today 2 of 5 children are stunted due to lack of nutrition with more than 80% going untreated
In 1994, the Rwandan genocide took place. Hutus killed Tutsis. Up to 1 million were slaughtered. The new usually reported that the cause was a power struggle between tribes. A more in depth look shows that population pressures were another major factor. The population at that time was in the 7.25 million range (density over 400 people per km2). Political events marginalised many rural small landholders. It was Rwandan custom to divide a family’s landholding equally among heirs thus further diminishing the land owned by a family. Population pressures coupled with encouraged ethnic animosities made the other side’s land look like the solution to an already deteriorating situation. The majority massacred the minority.
The population of Rwanda today is more than 10.5 million; its budget is 40% foreign aid and the government is again repressive.
After the contested election of Jean Bertrand Aristide controversy, student protests and pressure from right wing militias led to an armed coup d’etat and Aristide being spirited out of the country. Why revolt? Again could population pressures be a part. Through the ‘80s and 90’s land holding continued to fragment and population density grew to over that of India. In 2005, the population was 9 1/4 million.
Today, ten years later, even after sever upheavals of a major earthquake and hurricane, the population is 10 2/3 million.
The Arab Spring
In 2010, a number of countries had social upheavals that have become to be known as the Arab Spring. One of the news items that struck me was the large number of unemployed young – a growing population and no work. The countries involved were Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Syria and Bahrain. The total population total for all was 118 million in 2000 and 144 million in 2010.
Today, these countries’ populations have grown substantially to 150 million even with a reduction in Syria’s population of about 4.5 million due to their civil war. These countries are still rife with civil unrest and authoritarian regimes.
Too many people
There are estimates vary on our population but they range between 2.5 and 4 times as many humans on the world as can be sustained. The news coverage we get on problems only repeats the visible symptoms. The underlying problem is too many people.
It is time to seriously consider and act on “growth.” At present It is aggravating but could very easily become our ruin
News outlets are just beginning to warn of another famine in Somalia. In 2011, there was a famine; the population was 9.5 million. Today their population is 11 million. A lot of factors aggravate a famine (political unrest, lack of infrastructure, inefficient distribution system) but surely increased population must also be considered.