A few years ago i sat with some friends at the Eekhoorn (‘squirrel’) in the Kralingse Bos. We talked about things going wrong in the world. Someone said it was the high worldwide population which was the biggest problem. No i said, surely not.
We need to look hard at how we live right now: the amount of energy we use, the pollution we cause, the diversity loss. The huge amount of people who live on this planet.
In the past two hundred years the human population rose from 1 billion to currently 7,9 billion people. Global population growth had its peak in 1962 and 1963 with an annual growth rate of 2.2%. Since then, world population growth has halved.
I am not sure i was right when i denied that the huge population rise over the last hundred years has contributed to our current climate problems. In part sure, it is a factor. But it is also a fact that the world richest 10% produce half of the carbon emissions. The poorest half – 3,5 billion people – are responsible for a mere 10%. Lifestyle factors like use of energy and carbon freeing activities like flying and driving a car are more important than the actual world population.
Personally i’m still convinced that our lifestyle is the most important factor in our current troubles. The amounts of stuff we buy, the amount of miles we drive, the amount of kilometers we fly, the amount of clothes we buy and throw away. The industry is one of the most important contributors to carbon dioxide emission.
This subject is complicated. I am no way an expert. I almost loose myself in all the data i look up. I hope one day i can say it in easy language.