The World at Seven Billion

October 31, 2011
Commuters Walk Towards Train Station in Mumbai

No one knows exactly when world population will reach 7 billion; data relating to birth and death is far too fluid for pin-point accuracy. Most experts agree we will reach the number this fall, so the UN has designated today as "The Day of 7 Billion" to highlight this population milestone. In many ways, this is a great achievement, but it also presents us with both challenges and opportunities, especially as huge inequities and major challenges persist.

There are many angles from which you can consider the impact of 7 billion people living on the planet: Do we have enough food to feed everyone? Will the earth's resources be depleted by expanding need? How will countries with aging populations fare as birth rates fall below replacement levels? Is quality of life expanding along with increases in population? As people live longer and healthier lives, will they choose to have fewer children? Do women and families have access to family planning so that they can decide -- freely and responsibly -- the number and spacing of their children?

The UN Population Fund's (UNFPA) 2011 State of World Population report provides an excellent point of reference for considering these complex issues. The U.S. government is a strong supporter of UNFPA, whose work is critical to achieving our global health goals. We work in partnership with UNFPA because investing in women and girls is essential to solving the world's most challenging problems.

For example, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world. It is imperative we focus development efforts on improving the lives of this next generation of women to alleviate poverty and accelerate progress on all development fronts. Women and girls are the world's engines of change: when their human rights are protected and promoted, when they are healthy and educated, and when they can participate fully in society, then progress is triggered in families, communities, and nations.

In countries around the world teenage girls are twice as likely as women over 20 to die of complications from pregnancy and childbirth. Enabling young women to avoid early pregnancy allows many to attend school longer, and as fertility falls, more women are able to join the labor force. When women have more opportunities to pursue an education, a career, and financial security, more money can then be spent on education and nutrition for their children, launching a cycle of opportunity rather than perpetuating a cycle of poverty.

Sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as well as access to safe and effective methods of family planning are at the top of President Obama's global health agenda. Human rights and fundamental freedoms must be protected, allowing women to make their own decisions -- voluntarily -- about their health, their reproductive lives, their family size, and their futures.

It is vitally important that we work together to expand awareness that universal access to reproductive health care and family planning are not only powerful means to dramatically reduce maternal and child morbidity and mortality but are central to achieving all the global development goals. We must work to strengthen existing partnerships and create new, innovative coalitions to promote increased support for reproductive health and family planning.



Manuela V.
October 31, 2011

Manuela P. in Spain writes:

I agree and that reproductive health is the crucial weapon to prevent infant and maternal mortality. I as a woman, I consider myself independent, and I know my friends who do not care devider, which I am very sorry, I hope that these measures do these people think.

November 1, 2011

Ivan in Italy writes:


New Mexico, USA
November 1, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ Elizabeth Schlachter & Manuela in Spain,

The only "weapon" that might top maternal health care is peace to assure a safe delivery of newborns.

Not enough of that going around these days for sure.

And Humanity still has this insane facination with nuclear weapons...

Isn't it about time the people of the world stood up to their governments and asked them what their intent is and what good is it doing to continue to have the means to exterminate the 99%?

I mean hey! The 1% should take note; If folks want to "Occupy" that would be a pretty good reason to protest mutants for nukes generally and maybe that's the missing link to the evolution of the global protests we've seen;...the Arab Spring and all the food protests; an instinctual means of self preservation against those who would deny life itself any existance apart from conformity to living in fear.

I used to run sound for bands, all kinds of bands...headline artists etc.

Quite a few leaders of the world and rock stars have a lot in common.

Ego's, and ego's on drugs.

The world needs to drop itself into rehab before it's OD'ed on political stupidity, but folks are asking the right "What if" questions to find a cure for the addiction, but remain somewhat in denial.

So long as folks find a cure for conflict, anything is possible in recovery.

There are exceptional leaders and rock stars who's success lies in the good they do on this planet to lift mind, body and spirits into thinking mode, I guess there's hope for your friends along with the 6+ other billion folks.

And all that's said above in context with being a policy advisor; does not delve into the fact that all the stressors on populations mentioned above are also precursors for long-term conflict.

There's just more of us "huddled masses" now to be part of the problem and the solution.

Less Dictators, less bombs, the better humanity's chance of survival and lowering the rate of infant mortality.

So we need to do a bit of house keeping and dismantle them before they become a volitile mix and burn humanity's house down.


November 4, 2011

W.W. writes:

its a lie

Impossible to calculate

John P.
November 4, 2011

John P. in Greece writes:

@ W.W.

I wouldn’t call it a “lie”, because this word attributes a conspiracy suspicion meaning.

I agree with you that it’s very difficult to calculate. Probably it’s bigger than 7.

We have officially counted the population as 7B, but we cannot have accurate numbers for Africa, we cannot measure “illegal immigration paths”, which means people hiding and not counting etc. It’s extremely difficult to have the exact size of the digit…

So, according to my opinion 7B is “at least +7B”!

Do you think that we are getting too many? (LOL)

It’s something nobody can stop…

New Mexico, USA
November 5, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

@ John in Greece,

I'm not sure WW was refering to population numbers, or simply commenting on my post below.

it is "impossible to calculate"...(chuckle) WW hasn't been consistantly posting in complete sentances since becoming enamored with Lady Gaga...

It might be a "foreign affair" planet.

It is kind of fun peeking into WW's mental wanderings on the blog...,

..when I need my daily dose of "what the...???

For sure, WW offers some interesting and obscure references that have me getting into crypto-analytical mode trying to determine exactly what the point is...but that's just typical of every one of the 7 billion trying to articulate what they see going on around them from their perspective.

And even the most well informed citizen really only sees a slice of the pie at any one given point in time, and trends and probabilities are an art form in the determining...,

and somewhat intuitive in the realization of what will be as distinct possibility.

I think anyone crunching the numbers far enough into the future would project a "species max" being reached at some point, and the question is what happens when the limit of sustainability on this planet is reached?

assuming we havewn't squandered our resources and capital on wars and silly escapades and nations finally start joining forces instead of individually reaching for the stars;

I'll give us even odds within the next thousand years of terra forming Mars because we'll need room to grow.

I mean the easiest way to do that is to bombard Mars with icy bodies from the Oort cloud , assuming one could devise propulsion to move it using it's own H2O for fuel in robotic missions.

Then we'll have to drill a bore hole strait down to the center of Mars and dump this planet's entire accumulated nuclear waste down it (the really hot stuff, not secondary contaminated) in order to have a remote chance of creating, (or restarting) Mars' Magnetic field generating process by inducing the means to create a liquid metal core.

All this is the stuff of extreme science fiction (buiding nations today, tommorrow it may be worlds).

But if one projects out at current rates of tecnological and scientific progress as an exponential rate at present, we'll have the means to do these things,... the question will be; Will we become motivated enough to try?

As a species, that is.

Let us go to the "God of War" in peace, as a family of nations.

A family that has overcome its dysfunctionalities.


New Mexico, USA
November 5, 2011

Eric in New Mexico writes:

On a more general note;

Humanity needs a project that will instil a sense of humanity, and I would recommend terra-forming our own planet before terra-forming Mars...but that's a matter too of overcoming our own species' dysfuntionalities.

Ok, let's say 7 billion planted one tree per day, for their lifetimes. (I'll use an average of 50 yrs to be conservative);

That's 127,750,000,000,000 , or One hundred twenty seven trillion, seven hundred fifty billion trees.

@ 18,250 trees per person over their lifespan.

Ok, so put their carbon credit toward paying off student loans and put twenty-somethings to work , paid to go camping for summer vacation and plant trees, minimum wage with 50- 100% on top going toward education as carbon-credit ( they are investing in the government's future too, as well as their own)...,

And you'll have a viable alternative for a lot of folks saddled with debt before they get out of the starting gate in life.

(thinking out loud here hoping my government is listening)...chuckle.

I was watching "lost boys" ( a documentary about Sudanese children caught up in conflict), and noting their amazing journey to America, and coping with a modern lifestyle with all its convieniances.

Worlds apart from the same planet we are in some respects, the 7 billion of us.

But the film reminded me why I repetedly say, "Attitude is everything."

And I guess from a diplomatic point of view, a smile is the best ambassador.

Unless of course one is engaging in simmian diplomacy, in which casae one must not show one's teeth as it be mistook for a sign of agression by apes.

...and most paranoid dictators.


John P.
November 7, 2011

John P. in Greece writes:

@ Eric in New Mexico

"A smile is the best ambassador."!

You are right, even in outer space diplomacy…

It’s exactly the same way with “trees’. If you substitute the word “tree” with the phrase “human being” and we "plant" (we make happier) a “tree” per day, our world would be 127,750,000,000,000 better in 50 years.

You and I will probably be in outer space 50 years from now (LOL).

But the Earth will be better with this suggestion of yours.

Best Regards, and have a great weekend!


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