With the world's population having reached 7 billion despite declining birth rates in some countries the global population rate will only continue to increase. The most population growth will be in poorer countries. It has been proven that those countries where illiteracy rates are high equates to increasing birth rates. As some countries emerge into wealthier status and improve their literacy rates while other countries succumb to economic woes or remain so destitute it is the earth's resources that will reach critical mass.
In all of recorded history of man the first millennia saw a slow acceleration of humanity. By 1930 the earth's population was a little over 2 billion. The population acceleration since 1930 has been most profound. This rate of growth is some what tempered now but in all probability by 2045 the population will exceed 9 billion. What makes population growth so alarming is that countries like China and India whose economic development now accounts for over 60% of the world's GDP have also the most individual populations. As such a drastic rise since 1980 where the world's GDP more than doubled both countries, India and China, saw unprecedented rise in living standards as well. What all this means now is that more of the earth's resources are being depleted much faster than projected. All of which drives more and more in other countries to continue to wallow in abject poverty or fall down that mobility ladder of economic opportunity.
Right now there are over 1 billion people living in such squalor and filth all over the world, even here in the United States and another billion are so close to joining the ranks of the impoverished is another sobering statistic of the harsh reality of today. When more people live in shanty towns and pushed into slums the problem of over population as what so many point out as being the greatest global challenge they completely miss the point. It isn't over population, it is abject poverty. Solving increasing poverty while not destroying the earth's resources is mankind's greatest challenge. The threat to global stability and civilization is not taking action to eliminate the scourge of poverty of mankind. A quandary of utmost urgency.
Sure, population growth rate matters but how people consume the earth's resources matters more. If mankind depletes the natural resources humanity becomes extinct. It is just that simple and yet the complexities of solving poverty while maintaining the balance of nature has to be mankind's greatest concern. The challenge today, for the future of humanity, and the planet is how to raise more out of poverty while reducing the impact each person has on the planet.
The World Bank has predicted that by 2030 a billion more people will contribute to global warming by driving and using gas powered transportation. With a billion more contributing to an already intense climate change pushes the earth ever closer to a catastrophic disaster. It is imperative that replacing fossil fuel consumption with alternative fuel sources begin immediately to avoid a reality that mankind won't survive.
Like a double edge sword where over population as some would say is the greatest concern today. Yet, there is some merit to link over population to some of mankind's most hideous acts. The Rwanda's genocide in 1994 where too many farmers divided the same amount of land into increasingly smaller parcels that became inadequate to support their families ignited the hatred that led to over 800,000 dead. When the Georgia Limestones first emphasized that the earth's population be reduced so that the earths resources would be sufficient for all of mankind makes a strong argument about what over population will do to the planet.
Whether food shortages or depletion of natural resources both could cause the collapse of civilization are mankind's greatest challenges. The choices are obvious but still the political will is very much absent. To stop global warming we have to switch from fossil fuel consumption to alternative energy now to preserve the future for us all. The technology is available. Those who say over population is the greatest concern are wrong. Education is vital, alternative energy is essential, and the political will is paramount. Eliminating poverty, for it is poverty that is the greatest cancer in civilization today.