George Plumb: Today, the world’s population has hit 8 billion

This comment is from George Plumb, a board member of Better (Not Great) Vermont and Buddhist Peace Action Vermont. In the year In 2013, he initiated and oversaw the “Best/Sustainable Population for Vermont” report. He lives in Washington, Vermont.

According to the United Nations, On November 15, the world’s population will reach 8 billion.

The United States now has a population of 338 million. When I was born in 1937, the world population was 2 billion and the US population was 129 million. What an amazing development in such a short period of time.

The United States feels like a completely different place than when I was growing up. The world population is now expected to reach 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2,100. The United States is expected to grow by about 79 million people from 338 million to 417 million over the next four decades.

Another important measure is the number of people per square mile. It is 40 worldwide; It is 94 in the US; And it’s 64 in Vermont.

Another important factor is the ecological footprint of individuals. The Ecological Footprint is a metric calculated by the Global Footprint Network that is used to determine the impact of people on the environment in a given place or country. The Ecological Footprint measures the amount of natural resources humans consume in the environment through activities such as forestry, agriculture, fishing, mining, and manufacturing.

The ecological footprint of the United States is 8.04 acres. This means that each US resident needs an average of 8 acres of productive land to enjoy a sustainable quality of life. If you don’t own 8 acres, you are living off someone else’s land, and/or living off non-renewable resources like oil or natural gas.

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In addition, the U.S. ecological footprint is twice as large as the biomass within our borders. This means we are living off other countries’ bioavailability and/or non-renewable resources.

This also means that the US is ecologically overshooting. For comparison, the ecological footprint of the entire Earth’s population is 6.7 acres, of which 60% is carbon emissions.

Each year, the Global Footprint Network raises awareness of global environmental issues with the Earth Over Earth Day campaign, which attracts media attention around the world. Earth Overshoot Day marks the day when we (all of humanity) have consumed more from nature than our planet can regenerate in a year.

The Earth Overshoot date has been moved from late September 2000 to July 28 in 2022.

The combination of population and consumption is having a devastating effect on all life on Earth in many ways. The cause 7Th Great extinction as more and more species have no place to live. By 2050, more than a quarter of its forests could be lost to food production alone to feed the growing human population.

Yes, climate change is a direct result of population growth. Global carbon emissions have doubled from 17 billion tons in 1974 to a population of 4 billion. A growing population will make matters worse, as humanity will need nearly 50% more energy by 2050. And the US, with 4% of the world’s population, accounts for 20% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Due to population growth, humanity faces many other threats, including wars over resources and conflicts between people living in the same area.

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Each of us, individually and in the larger society, has a responsibility to control population growth. I urge everyone to speak up and do as much as they can on population growth. We need dialogue and action at the family, community, state and national levels. This should include civic and spiritual organizations.

Prominent Vermont climate change author and activist Bill McKibben wrote the 1999 book “Maybe One: The Case for Small Families.” He is right on climate change and let’s follow his comments on family size.

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