November 10, 2022
Good morning. In today’s either/view, we discuss whether the Earth’s population, which will hit 8 billion soon, is a cause for concern. We also look at the sighting of a snow leopard in Jammu & Kashmir, among other news.
📰 FEATURE STORY
Earth’s Population to Hit 8 Billion – Cause for Concern?
The UN Population Division has estimated that the number of humans on Earth will reach a milestone of 8 billion on November 15, triple the global population of 2.5 billion recorded in 1950. It also noted that the population would continue to grow, albeit at a slower pace. Amid multiple issues ravaging the planet, does this milestone pose an additional threat?
The United Nations anticipated in 1940 that by the start of the twenty-first century, there would be 10 billion people on the planet. However, there has been a dramatic shift in demographic patterns in many nations, particularly in high-income countries, as a result of the widespread use of contraceptive techniques, the revolution in women’s education, and the drop in infant mortality. However, the UN estimated that the global population will rise to 9.7 billion by 2050.
According to UN projections, there may be 8.5 billion people on Earth by 2030. It will rise to 9.7 billion by 2050, and by the 2080s, it will reach a peak of roughly 10.4 billion. Only eight countries—Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Tanzania—will account for more than half of the population growth predicted to occur between now and 2050, the analysis finds.
The average life expectancy at birth in 2019 was 72.8 years, up around 9 years from 1990. Further mortality declines are anticipated to result in an average worldwide lifespan of around 77.2 years in 2050. But in 2021, the life expectancy in the least developed countries fell 7 years behind the global average. The UN estimates that in 2021, there will be 2.3 children born to each woman over the course of her lifetime, down from more than five in 1950. By 2050, the UN expects the number to fall to 2.1.
VIEW: Not a real threat
According to the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Natalia Kanem, the increase in the number of human lives is not a cause for concern. Several professionals agree with this sentiment stating that we should be concerned about the overconsumption of the planet’s resources by the richest among us rather than the fear of overpopulation.
Kanem also urged nations to resist the inclination to panic and instead concentrate on assisting the women, children, and marginalised individuals who are most at risk from demographic change. Governments would run the risk of implementing population controls that history has proved to be “ineffective and even hazardous” if they solely focused on the numbers.
The rate of global population increase, which peaked at just over 2% a year in the late 1960s due to the declining birthrates, has now slowed to less than 1%. The overall picture is more varied than ever. According to UN estimates, 60% of people reside in nations with fertility rates that are below the 2.1 births per woman average that is considered replacement level (where a population precisely replaces itself from one generation to the next).
Another factor to take into account is the rising ageing population. It is predicted that by 2050, 16% of the world’s population will be over 65, up from 10% in 2022. It is estimated that there will be about as many people over 65 as there are under 12 in the world at that time, and more than twice as many over 65 as there are under 5.
COUNTERVIEW: Cause for concern
Not many are celebrating this milestone. Sustainable Population Australia (SPA) claims that by going beyond the limits that permit the regeneration of life, humanity has overpopulated the planet. The increasing scarcity of natural resources, accelerated climate change, worsening pollution, environmental degradation, extinction of species, rise in hunger and pandemic disease, mass migrations of people, and the cost of housing and food are all signs that we have surpassed the planet’s carrying capacity, according to Jenny Goldie, national president of the SPA.
We are currently employing the renewable resources of 1.7 Earths. By 2050, if nothing changes, we’ll require three, according to the Global Footprint Network (GFN) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) non-governmental organisations. We have exacerbated the already disastrous biodiversity loss, speeding up water scarcity, pollution, and deforestation as more people demand more from nature.
The relationship between increasing population and sustainable development is complex and multifaceted, according to Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs. It is more difficult to end poverty, combat hunger and malnutrition, and increase access to health and education systems as a result of rapid population growth.
In the context of world hunger, the increase in population will merely worsen the situation. The 2021 edition of ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World’ revealed that between 780 and 811 million people went hungry in 2020. Despite implementing reforms regarding this crisis, projections highlight that the world is not on track to achieve zero hunger by 2030. All of this is taking place as some developed nations struggle with the problem of “overfeeding.” Being overweight, having diabetes, or having heart disease are only a few of the negative effects of this unequal distribution of income, which also has a huge health cost.
- Earth’s population touches 8-billion mark – are we too many for this planet? The questions answered – TimesNow
- World population about to hit 8 billion: UN Report – Asiana Times
- UN warns against alarmism as world’s population reaches 8bn milestone – The Guardian
- Planet earth: 8 billion humans and dwindling resources – The Straits Times
- Are Eight Billion Humans too Many For Planet Earth? – News18
- Eight Billion Day cause for concern, not celebration – Mirage
- Earth Reaches 8,000 Million Residents: And Now What? – Nation World
What is your opinion on this?
(Only subscribers can participate in polls)
a) 8 billion people on Earth is a cause for concern.
b) 8 billion people on Earth is not a cause for concern.
🕵️ BEYOND ECHO CHAMBERS
For the Right:
Six Years Later, The Adverse Impact Of Demonetisation Persists
For the Left:
US Religious Freedom Report: Limited Use And Unintended Consequences
🇮🇳 STATE OF THE STATES
Snow leopard sighting (Jammu & Kashmir) – A year after the state government began the census, cameras captured a sighting of a snow leopard in the mountains of the Himalayas. Using infrared cameras, the adult leopard was identified in the upper Baltal-Zojila axis at about 3,500 metres above sea level. A team from the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) has been assigned to trace the animal.
Why it matters: For wildlife conservationists, it’s a sign of hope as they feared the species might be on the verge of being endangered in India. It’s the first evidence of the animal in the state when previously there used to be only anecdotal evidence. The cat is rarely spotted, and hence there’s little information about it. Last October, wildlife authorities began a snow leopard census as part of a countrywide population assessment.
Tracking wildlife crimes (Karnataka) – The state will adopt a digital method to track wildlife crimes using data analytics and mapping at vulnerable spots. The Wildlife Wing and Information Communication Technology division is working with the Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) to adopt the Hostile Activity Watch Kernel (HAWK) platform. The first phase is feeding legacy data on wildlife crimes, and the next is moving the entire case management work to the digital ecosystem.
Why it matters: The system will help the state keep tabs on the number of pending cases and push for early prosecutions. The data ecosystem from this tool will help authorities better manage cases and how they’re investigated. Kerala has a similar system. Both states, which share a 330 km border, can share data to catch those guilty. The WTI and wildlife department will work to customise the software per state and central regulations.
Money transfers as part of schemes (Chhattisgarh) – Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel transferred more than ₹74 crores to sugarcane growers and cattle rearers. It’s part of the state’s flagship schemes. Baghel said it was in line with Gandhi’s vision of self-reliant villages, which are becoming a reality in the state. The amount transferred includes an outstanding bonus of ₹11.99 crores for 2020-21.
Why it matters: Cow shelters have been set up in villages and are being developed into rural industrial parks. The state government launched the Godhan Nyay Yojna (GNY) in 2020, under which cow dung is being produced at ₹2 per kg used for making vermicompost. Under this scheme, the government has bought cow dung worth ₹179.28 crores.
JEE only route to engineering colleges (Goa) – From 2024, admissions to the state’s engineering colleges will only be per the merit list drawn up by the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE). The state government decided to abolish the Goa Common Entrance Tests (GCET) from the 2024-25 academic year onwards. Among the five engineering colleges that will adapt to the changes are the Goa College of Engineering Farmagudi and PCC College Verna.
Why it matters: According to the department of technical education, the move will reduce stress for students and allow them to compete at the national level. Anticipating some concerns from Goan students that they’ll be put into a national selection pool, the department is working on criteria to ensure they get preference in State colleges.
Siang River turns muddy (Arunachal Pradesh) – There are concerns about the Siang River as it has turned muddy, a possible sign of construction activities by China upstream. A change in the colour of the water is unnatural as there was no rain recently, and it has become a worry for those living downstream. Authorities are monitoring the situation. The water turning muddy could also be due to landslides upper stream, but authorities won’t know for sure until it’s investigated.
Why it matters: In the Chinese part, the river is called Yarlung Tsangpo. One theory is that earth-cutting is taking place over it. Locals dependent on water from the river for agriculture are worried about the sudden colour change. The mud and slag in the water could kill aquatic life. Something similar happened in 2017 when the river turned black, and authorities took it up with China.
🔢 KEY NUMBER
44% – India’s imports of Chinese goods increased by 44% in a year despite calls for boycotts and geopolitical tensions. Imports of electronics, machinery, and parts increased by 37% from last year.