population explosion

Planet Earth consists of 71% oceans and 29% dry land, of which 33% is for the most part, uninhabitable desert. Folks, try as I might, I just can’t get my head around the fact that just 300 years ago Earth’s population was a mere 700 million, yet today it is 7 billion plus! Everyone seems to be playing that popular game, ‘hide the salami’! Even watching television hasn’t slowed our reproductive rate! Okay, 200 years ago the death rate dramatically fell due in part to cleaner drinking water and improved medical care. Naturally this led to a higher birth rate. The Industrial Revolution that started over here in Britain and spread across the globe resulted in modern cities springing up all over the place, and mechanisation needed a huge labour force. A new affluence encouraged people to breed. Naturally one of the prerequisites of a sudden population explosion is the ‘land grab’. One excellent example of this was when, at the end of the US Civil War in 1865, migrants headed ‘West’, and with the connivance of the US Government and Army, grabbed all the land occupied by native American Indians. Forcing the Red Skin into submission had little to do with warfare but a lot to do with denying them their primary food source. In 1873 there were 60 million American Bison (Buffalo) roaming the plains. By 1890 there were barely a couple of thousand. The animals had all been shot for a bounty!

In the 20th century, penicillin was discovered and later, other antibiotics. To counter this population explosion, the death rate exploded again in World War One. The 1918 Spanish Flu that swept across Europe killed more people than the soldiers who died in WW1. Then the rematch, World War Two. What about the tens of millions that have died from poverty and slaughter in the African Continent, or the millions that died during the 50-year Cold War during which the old Soviet Union controlled much of Eastern Europe? Further, let us not ignore the influence of modern-day contraceptives!  Taking everything into consideration, I’m still at a loss to understand why there are 7.4 billion of us? I can only conclude 20th century antibiotics had a lot to do with saving tens of millions of lives that otherwise might not have been saved!? Bearing in mind the antibiotics we have come to rely upon for so long, no longer do the job expected of them, perhaps we will see a natural population decline over the next 100-years?


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