The day of 8 billion

Image via Pep

Image via Pep

The United Nations announced that the world population hit 8 billion people. The UN website dubbed November 15, 2022 the Day of 8 Billion, and celebrated the population gain, noting that this rapid population growth is due to improvements in health and nutrition around the globe. Born in Tondo, Manila on the Day of 8 Billion, Vinice Mabansag was named as the symbolic 8 billionth baby.

It was estimated that the population hit 7 billion in October of 2011, meaning that it took the world population only 12 years to grow another billion people. This is on trend with other billion-person milestones hit, which has taken an average of 12 years between each. Estimations say that the world population will peak at 10.4 billion from 2080-2100 and then fall from there. 

With the imminent threats of climate change, this population growth has alarmed many advocates around the world. The UN noted that the rapid population growth the world is experiencing could make it more difficult to meet goals in sustainability, as there will be more humans in the world using up resources at one time. They called wealthy countries to action and urged them to work to combat the climate crisis, saying, “…wealthier countries should take the lead in moving rapidly to achieve net-zero emissions and in implementing strategies to decouple human economic activity from environmental degradation,”.  

These calls to action were echoed by many other outlets around the world. One opinion piece in The San Diego Union Tribune written by Nicole Martin, was especially focused on ways to curb unintended pregnancies in low income countries, saying that, “We can’t wait any longer to increase our domestic and international investment in voluntary family planning if we want to improve people’s lives and protect the planet for future generations,”. While some have had concerns about rapid population growth, others believe that we should be celebrating the milestone, as it is far preferable to the alternative of a sharp decline in population growth. An opinion piece in The Spectator written by Ross Clark stated, “But far from fearing the eight billionth person on Earth we should instead openly celebrate the occasion. Indeed, there may well come a time when human civilization looks back fondly at when the population was still growing,”. 

The population hitting 8 billion sparked activism and celebration, with a notable concern over the impact that further population growth would have on the state of the planet and sustainability goals. With many different takes on this issue, only time will tell what effects this, and future population growth, will have on our world.