Ecology and Population Growth

What is the current estimate of the worldwide human population at this moment? Describe how this number is changing moment-to-moment, day-to-day, and from one year to the next.

The current worldwide human population at this moment is 6,555,336,000. This is a huge number. I knew that the current population was around 5 or 6 billion, but when the number is written out it seems so much larger. I was astounded to find out that the worldwide population is growing at 2.6 people per second; not minute, day or week, but second. That comes out to 220,862 per day and 80,614,725 a year. My first reaction is that this rate of growth is absolutely not sustainable. It is even scary to think about. We are indeed not outside the laws of nature. Conflict, disease, death, famine; these are the things that control unsustainable population growth in other animal populations. These “speed limits” also apply to the human race. We will either slow down or we will be slowed down by nature itself. 

Describe how the human population growth issue will impact our ecosystem.

Let’s look at our current population growth from a strictly prey-predator standpoint. The human race is a race of predators. We are at the top of the food chain. In nature when predators become too numerous the prey is over-extended. Eventually, the prey becomes scarce and nature takes over and thins out the weak predators. This is survival of the fittest at its best. The same ecological rules apply to the human race. There are only so many sources of food for us to ingest. First, our animal sources of food will run thin. Then our plant sources of food will not even be able to sustain our populations. Then nature will take over and the weaker humans will die from lack of food or some other “speed limit” and the strong humans will survive. As with economics, there is a boom and bust cycle that we are entering. In economic terms, we will soon reach our limits and enter our own ecological “great depression”.  

References

Pruitt, N. L., & Underwood, L. S. (2006). Bioinquiry: Making connections in biology (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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