November 1, 2011
The world did not celebrate the arrival of the seven billionth member of humanity. Rather, it shuddered. Seven billion mouths to feed with an unsustainable agriculture. Seven billion polluters crowding into impoverished cities. Seven billion violators of the planet’s fragile biodiversity. Seven billion flames to heat the planet and emit carbon.
A billion people ago, the world seemed different. When Kofi Annan descended with flowers on a bewildered mother in Sarajevo to welcome the six billionth person, we were celebrating the advancements of humanity. We had arrived at this milestone by great achievements in science (healthcare, hygiene, agricultural technologies …) which had been conquering disease, plagues, pandemics and allowing humanity to thrive. No eco-religious preachers were using the occasion to condemn man for wanting families. No prophets of doom warning us of the coming catastrophe of our humanity’s use of resources. But today even the UN has joined in the media-induced […]