Is the world population growing and are we doomed?

Here’s the graph we’re used to seeing:

WorldPopLogJESUS CHRIST WE’RE ALL DOOMED! THE WORLD’S RESOURCES CAN’T SUPPORT THAT MANY PEOPLE!

This one shows our historical population since 1750 and future projected population

WorldPopulationGrowth

Wait a minute. 

This graph shows a DECLINE in population growth AND a decreased projection of population growth.

What even is this.

And here’s another one:

WorldGrowthDecline

Again with the population decline data and projected population decline.

What.

Well, here comes the problem with data.

You might remember a post I made a while back, extolling the virtues of graphs zoomed way out to show as much historical data as possible, to get the big picture.

Well, in this instance, we seem to have zoomed out a little too far and missed the trees from the forest!

Here’s the first graph again:

WorldPopLog

It’s zoomed so far out, we can’t tell if the population is declining even a small amount after a while.

Notice the second and third graphs though, and they’re zoomed quite a bit in, and we can see that in fact, global populations are declining, and are even predicted by our very own UN to keep declining. It seems we reached peak population growth around 1963.

WorldPopulationGrowth

WorldGrowthDecline

UN world population 1950

1950

UN world population present

Present

UN world population projection 2100

2100

Now, let’s not say there are enough resources to go around even with the population decline. I’ll look that up in another post. But we can breathe a small sigh of relief that overpopulation doesn’t seem to be the doom and gloom catastrophe we’ve been brainwashed into believing.

Lastly, I want to leave you with cool facts I found:

  1. There are an estimate 100 billion humans who have ever lived. Right now we have 7 billion. Right now we are experiencing 7% of the world’s population that has ever lived.
  2. Asia accounts for 60% of the world population. Oceania is the smallest with 0.5%. (Source)
  3. There was once a bottleneck of human populations possibly down to 1,000-10,000 people, at around 70,000 BC, due to a volcanic winter that killed off massive amounts of plants. We could have gone extinct! Also, what that means is human genetic differences are not millions of years old, but only 70,000 years old. Crazy!
  4. Genetic analysis has lead to evidence than there was another population bottleneck 1.2 million years ago when the population dwindled down to 26,000. This has lead some researchers to believe humans have experienced several population bottlenecks over human history.
  5. When Europeans made contact with indigenous people in the Americas, 90% of their populations were killed by European endemics such as influenza, smallpox, and measles. This is because Europeans developed an immunity to these diseases that the first nations did not have.
  6. 75% of children didn’t make it to 5 years old who were born in London, in 1730. In 1810, it dropped to 33%.
  7. 40% of those who have ever lived did not survive beyond their first birthday.
  8. “life expectancy at birth probably averaged only about ten years for most of human history” (Source)

Biggest pollutants in the world

One thing I wonder, that I might be dead before I ever learn, is if the disappearance of oil will reduce or undo what damage we have already done to the world environmentally.

Biggest pollutants in the world

  1. Pesticides
  2. Lead-acid car batteries
  3. Industry and vehicles
  4. Open sewers
  5. Industrial waste (mining, lead, copper, zinc)
  6. Chromium (for stainless steel and tanning hides)
  7. Groundwater (from pesticides and mining waste)
  8. Mercury

(Source)

Unfortunately, most of these pollutants are found in poverty-stricken developing countries.

How well do environmental regulations work in improving the environment?

Since the 1970’s, more and more regulations and been places on air quality. This has resulted in a 2.6% declines in pollution levels, also known as total factor productivity levels.

The regulations on ozone depletion, while having “large negative effects on productivity,” thought sulfur dioxide emitters have reduced in number.

Carbon monoxide regulations have increased pollution, especially among refineries.

The total decline in pollution due to these regulations is estimated at 4.8%, and has reduced plant profits by about 8.8%.

While it doesn’t seem very effective, is it better to place the environmental regulations on businesses, even if it reduces the pollution by so little?

I think so. Even the small reduction in environmental pollution and the large loss in profits, I think it is the moral and ethical decision that should transcend cost, in this instance.

 

Corporatism and punishment for crimes in America

Capitalist greed, is what everyone thinks was the sole cause of the 2007 financial crisis. It was a big part of the blame, and that’s undeniable, but also, who is giving out the permits and punishing the financial industry, that makes billions with a hundred million in fines?

This is an amazing infographic of the largest corporate fines and settlements since 2007

http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/punytive-damages-biggest-corporate-fines/

The largest corporate fine in U.S. history goes to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. BP was fined 110% of their income, $4.5 billion.

I remember this when it came out. It was all over the news when the spill happened and I remember the public wanted blood. It involved the sinking of an oil rig, which spilled oil for 87 days. 11 people went missing.11 people went missing. It was “sealed” in 2010, however, reports in 2012 said the oil rig was STILL leaking. The cause was defective cement on the rig, done by Halliburton, which received a punishment of $1.1 billion. One of the government’s favorite corporations to give contracts to without competition. Who “lost” $23 billion from Iraq. No punishment. They’re the ones who got to steal all of the oil from Iraq by building oil “infrastructure”.

Regardless of Halliburton being the cause, BP was punished more.

In contrast, the Exxon mobile spill? Their fine was 1% of their income.

This is not capitalism like many people believe. This is pure corporatism, which is not the same. Capitalism includes competition. Corporatism is when government gives special privileges to businesses and in return, businesses give kickbacks to the government.

Who is getting all their campaign money from the financial industry?

The status quo politicians that the people keep voting into power over and over, who are incumbents because they watch the news, and the news skews the headlines to achieve their political aims and biases.

And nobody pays attention to the rest of the article.

They see the headlines and it puts ideas in their head that are really just catchy click bait but it’s TV and magazines too.

That’s my hypothesis anyway.

Peak oil and why we’re not going to colonize Mars

I don’t think space travel will ever get to the point of colonizing Mars, because oil is eventually going to get a whole lot more expensive due to the aggregate production rate of oil fields, not oil depletion, which it is often confused with.

The world has a high dependence on oil. It used for transport, agricultural and industrial systems. (Beyond Oil: The View from Hubbert’s Peak by Deffeyes, Kenneth S.)

We have 50% of the oil left, but it gets more and more expensive to extract to get the rest of it, meaning the price will have to go up and up. Hydraulic fracking has bought us some time, however. That’s why there’s that peak again at the end of the graph.

PeakOilGraphLarger

Fracking has been performed worldwide on oil, half of which have been done in the U.S.

Also, it’s probably terrible for the environment. It possibly causes: “ground and surface water contamination, air and noise pollution, and triggering earthquakes.” (Source)