Population Woes - Breathing Space Blog
On a daily basis, the ever-increasing world population seemingly has little impact on our lives. After all, even though the world gains a million people every four days, what impact does it have on us if 99% of them are in India, or Asia or Africa? Yet, more people every day, in every society, all the time, in our fast-paced, high-tech society predictably yields higher levels of isolation, alienation, loss of identity, and even abhorrent behavior.
Population growth in a fast-paced world translates into more of everything in every direction. Allow me to explain: more brilliant students in school, more utterly hopeless students. More books, more plays, more movies, more philosophy, newer religions, cult groups and those at war with society. More noble thoughts, more deviant thoughts, more channel noise. A smorgasbord of information and entertainment, unprecedented in the history of the earth. Yet we each have a harder time focusing on reliable, verifiable information, and on high quality, socially redeeming, socially rewarding entertainment amidst the bland, the low brow, or the utterly vulgar.
As the U.S. population climbs to 300 million, from a benchmark 160 million in 1960, with it comes more roads, more buildings, more housing development, new zoning, new restrictions, more government, new ways to tax, and more bureaucracy. Everywhere you look, predictably more regulations, witness more forms signed by school children in order to participate in class, sports, extracurricular activities, field trips, and even volunteer opportunities.
More people on less land means predictable appreciation in real estate values. More chasing after the same economic goods. A rise in collectibles from the historic and magnificent to the recent and absurd. Greater levels of materialism and among many, the quest for greater spirituality.
The mathematics of population growth is unknown to most, spectacular to a few, and in most respects, a mystery to everyone. The Indonesian tsunami of December 26, 2004 ultimately claimed 150,000 to 160,000 lives. World population growth (live births - deaths) adds 150,000 to 160,000 people every 16 hours, in a day a quarter million people, and in a month more than seven million to the earth.
In two decades, at least six of the seven million born this month will be clamoring for jobs, some for enough to eat, some for higher education, and many for some the illusive and fleeting notion of cosmic or social justice.