This year on Earth Day, you’re guaranteed to hear plenty about saving energy, reducing emissions, protecting habitat, and “going green.” Unfortunately, what you probably won’t hear about is the fact that a net 225,000 humans will be added to the Earth!
In fact, adding 225,000 people to the planet is the standard operating procedure everyday on Earth.
This adds up to over 80 million new people per year, all of whom need access to food, water, housing, jobs, and education. This runaway population increase is why the UN projects that global human population will surpass 9.2 billion by the year 2050 — and why many sustainability advocates are wondering why educators, politicians, and the mainstream media have such a bad case of “population amnesia.”
Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson didn’t suffer from any such malaise. He, along with most conservationists of the 1970’s, knew that population growth was fundamental to the sustainability issue. And he didn’t have any trouble talking about it. But today, after nearly 40 years and 3 billion more people on the Earth, the vast majority of environmentally conscious people have no clue about how rapid population growth is undercutting all their other attempts to save the planet.
Each additional human being increases the base of aggregate demand for the Earth’s natural resources and open space – demand that no amount of conservation can completely offset. Cutting per capita carbon emissions does little if the number of “capitas” keeps expanding. Reducing groundwater consumption at the household level does little if the number of households keeps growing. Cutting personal protein consumption in half makes little difference when a net 650 more protein dependent people arrive on the planet every 5 minutes.
Gaylord Nelson said that, “The most important environmental issue is one that is rarely mentioned, and that is the lack of a conservation ethic in our culture.”
Celebrate Earth Day and help to establish a conservation ethic, by joining Population Media Center in our efforts to stabilize world population numbers at level that can be sustained by the earth’s resources.
Current World Population
Net Growth During Your Visit