A couple of months ago, I put in a graph showing the increase in world population. We zoomed to 7 billion, from 1 billion, in 150 odd years.
India’s population, from the history that I have read, was about 400 million in the early part of the last century. We have – or seem to have – added 800 million in the last one hundred years.
Someone wrote to me, saying that as per estimates, the world’s population should stabilise at about 15 billion in the next 100 years.
As I sat under that tree, sipping my chai, by the banks of the river, my mind started to wander.
Blimey, it said!
Witness a country like India. 800 million people being added. As these people – my people – start to grow out of poverty, they will demand the goods and services that have been the privilege of people in the West.
There is a lot of discussion about, for instance, how the car market will grow. As the population grows, the number of cars increase and traffic jams increase. We have awful roads, planned with no thought to proper traffic flow, or to creating parking space. This leads to slow moving traffic, belching out pollutants, and a lot of bad temper. My prediction: the car market will eventually collapse simply because we will run out of space!
Despite the Arctic Blasts in the USA, we have seen hotter summers in India. In the town where I grew up in India, we used to have snow fall from November to March. Nowadays, we get a whisper of snow in January (in that town).
The increasing populations place increasing demands on the environment. A simple thought. Where will we accommodate these extra millions? So, property developers place increasing amounts of pressure on governments to cut down green belts to build apartments.
Cut down trees, increase the population and what do you have? More carbon dioxide and less oxygen.
In South East Asia – Singapore, for example – there is a lot of demand for sand, to reclaim the ocean so that we can build. What happens to the marine ecosystem?
As the demand for manufacturing increases, our government wants to ease land acquisition laws. Now, this will lead to a land grab and new royalties will populate the earth. The rich shall become richer, and the rest of the world will get screwed.
However, as there is more pressure to manufacture, what happens to the agricultural sector?
Please don’t forget, mobile phones, and mobile phone apps cannot be eaten. They cannot be a substitute for carrots!
Shall we colonise Mars? Let science fiction become science fact?
We humans have a problem!
Shall we ask global leaders to fly first class to some exotic location, to have a conference on sustainability?
NB:- For those who are curious about the picture, I shall tell ye a wee bit. I was at the Jama Masjid, shooting the celebrations of Bakri-Eid. (Bakri means ‘goat’). I noticed the crowds jostling each other and took the shot. I edited it using Topaz Simplify.