How does 7 Billion people affect Earth?

In 2011 The United Nations announced that there is now 7 billion people living on the planet, Earth. This number isn’t set to stay at 7 billion either. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be anything from 8 billion to 11 billion people on Earth. This increase in population by 2050 is based around there being more than 1 billion teenagers alive today and if the majority of them teenagers have children and then become grandparents the population will have increased by 3 billion by 2050.

Having human life expectancy quickly increasing means there is more people on Earth at one time. In 2012, the global population aged 60 years lived another 20 years on average, 2 years longer than in 1990. The increase in life expectancy is due to the improvement of housing, health care and education.

Having a population of 7 billion on Earth has many side effects on ordinary life and the threat of an ever increasing population will have substantial effects on the function of the planet and life on the planet. The contributing factor to the destruction to the planet and life comprise of such things as, deforestation and pollution.

Deforestation is the process of removing a large number of trees from a forest in order to make a clearing in the forest. Deforestation destroys the habitats of the millions of plants and animals that exist in the forest environment. 70% of land plants and animals live in the forests. The species that thrive in the forest habitat struggle to survive the process of deforestation and slowly begin to decline in numbers, increasing the chance of species extinction. WWF (World Wildlife Fund) has said the status or Sumatran Orangutan is “Critically Endangered” due to the destruction of their natural habitat. Currently 46-58 thousand square miles of forest are lost each year. In the Amazon, around 17% of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching. The growth of that statistic ranging a 50 year gap shows the rise in human population over 50 years and enforces the idea that the percentage of forest lost will be forever rising providing the predicted increase of human beings on Earth.

Feeding 7 billion people doesn’t come easily to the planet, the affects of production on this scale has a number of issues concerning its impact on Earth. Firstly clearing the land for space to farm animals has a impact on the planet. This process effects water supply as the trees that would once cover the earths surface and essentially act as sun block for the ground would no longer block the sun therefore ground will dry out faster than water supply can replenish. Agriculture uses 70% of water, because industrial agriculture requires large amounts of water.  It takes 3 cubic metres of water to produce a kilo of cereals, and 15 cubic metres of water to produce a kilo of beef because of the grain fed to the cows. Agriculture consumes more water than any other source. 1.1 billion people worldwide don’t have access to water. A reason for this is due to deforestation and the Earth surface “drying out” due to the lack of coverage provided by trees.

Since 1870 the Earths sea levels have rises by 8 inches due to global warming. Global warming occurs when green house gasses formed from burning oil, gas and coals are trapped in the attmosphere causing the average temperature of the Earth to rise. The rise in temperature increases the rate ice caps melt causing the levels of the sea to rise. Scientists studying the ice caps of Antarctic have noticed the unstoppable melting of ice and believe that in a few centuries sea levels will rise by as much as 10 feet. The reason for the melting of ice is due to humans burning and using to much fossil fuels than the planet can cope with. And with 7 billion people on the planet the rate of consumption is enormous. in 2008 7 billion people consumed 493 quadrillion BTU (British Thermal Units) in one year. It is predicted by as soon as 2030 there will be no North Polar ice caps left. The world is already starting to develop into a world where life is a struggle due to the population, so who knows how the earth will be once there is more than 7 billion people occupying it?

Banksy piece on Global Warming.

Banksy piece on Global Warming.

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