WEATHER »

Seven Billion Headed for Eight


Not only does the author of “Let’s Talk About Sex” in the January 3 Opinions page strike at the heart of the global climate issue but at the underlying issue that fuels everything from capitalism run amok to getting that pothole on our street repaired. To simplify this “heart,” all I need say is that there were 2 billion people on this planet when I was born (and I’m not that old), which wasn’t too long after a war that killed off 63 million humans and didn’t even register as a blip on the upward trending line on that global population number chart, which has been accurately kept since the turn of the 19th century, when the population crossed 1 billion.

We’re now over 7 billion, barreling toward 8 — a number that is expected to double in less than 20 years at current trajectory. Earth is still the same size. We’ve already used or trashed much of the available life-supporting resources. We are way too prolific and successful as a species for our own good. And everything else’s.

Religion does not offer the answers to this particular “heart” problem, which are simple doctrines generally based on beliefs propounded when the Earth’s population was a tiny fraction of today’s. These religions often ban methods of limiting our ability to constantly reproduce ourselves. Nor are answers at many of the other avenues we look to, including our current political system, which is still ruled on the old caveman/alpha male idea of combat and conquest. There are simply too many of us on the planet now, and all the usual problems of living/cooperating/creating together are magnified billions of times.

At this point, it’s up to us, our children, and generations beyond to think logically and limit our numbers before the world limits them for us more than it has in the past — which generally meant combat, war, conquest, and death. And that is never a creative experience for all or even more than a handful.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



event calendar sponsored by:

A Good Rain Finally Falls

Gibraltar Dam spills, Lake Cachuma is on the rise.

Can Santa Barbara Cope with Climate Change?

With the weather growing ever weirder, adaptation is now the name of the game.

Santa Barbara Struggles to Adapt to Sea-Level Rise

The City of Santa Barbara struggles to adapt to rising sea levels and save beaches and property.

Inside the Botanic Garden’s Fort Knox of Pressed Plants

Flora are the foundation of all habitats and will help stave off ecological collapse.

What Can I Do to Help Counteract Climate Change?

Opting out is no longer an option.