Too many people – the world’s worst enemy
Robert Henderson, Quarterly Review, Winter 2010
A hulking elephant sits ignored in the green crusaders’ room. Amidst all the angst about man-made greenhouse gases, the greatest and most obvious cause of increases is ignored by mainstream politicians – the already great and rapidly rising population of the world and the rapid spread of industrialisation to major parts of what until recently was
the Third World . The world population is projected to reach 7 billion in 2011. Extrapolations to 2050 go as high as 9.5 billion (1). At a generous estimate, a billion live in the developed world in 2010. If the 9.5 billion projection for 2050 comes true, the disproportion between what are now the developed countries and the developing countries now will have become even more skewed in favour of the developing world, because the populations of underdeveloped countries have startlingly younger populations than those of the developed world, viz:
“One of every six people on earth is an adolescent. In the developing world, more than 40 percent of the population is under age 20. The decisions these young people make will shape our world and the prospects of future generations.” (2)
The US Bureau of Census projections for the populations of individual countries for 2050 show only one country (the United States) from the currently developed world in the largest twenty countries by population in 2050, with the first European country (Germany) coming in at number 22 (3).
If the swelling world population was overwhelmingly due to increases in the still very white First World , you may be sure that we would be daily berated for our selfish breeding. We would be told that any increase in our population was at the expense of the Third World, that the production of every extra Western mouth to feed, house, clothe and supply with energy was absolutely unconscionable. Western governments would be signing up to programmes of ever more punitive reductions in their countries’ greenhouse emissions and some of the bolder would be advocating the rationing of children.
But the overwhelming majority of people living today do not live in the developed world and the projected future expansion of the world’s population is due almost entirely to increases in the developing world….