Sometime yesterday (Tuesday), Earth’s population surpassed eight billion people and these photos show the huge gatherings of humanity across the globe.
The figure was announced by the United Nations (UN) in New York and at the Cop27 climate conference taking place in Egypt.
It’s only been 11 years since the seven billion milestone was reached, but population growth is slowing down with the nine billion mark not expected to be hit until 2037, according to The Times of London..
UN officials responded to the landmark as a cause for celebration while also warning of the challenges humanity faces.
“It’s a reflection of our success as a species, to be able to proliferate the way we have,” says John Wilmoth, director of the population division in the UN department of economic and social affairs.
“At the same time, it raises questions about our impact on the world.”
Humanity is predicted to peak at roughly 10.4 billion people sometime in the 2080s
For context, in 1960 the world’s population was a little over three billion people. By the new millennium, it was over six billion.
The average fertility rate has been dropping since 1950, back then the average woman had five children, and by last year it was 2.3.
However, fertility rates remain higher in underdeveloped countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Tanzania.
The above countries are projected to account for more than half the population increase in the next 30 years.
India is now close to being the world’s most populous country with a population of 1.4 billion people. It’s expected to pass China in 2023.
Speaking for the UN, Wilmoth says that it isn’t population growth that’s impacting climate change, but rather the growth in “the scale of our activities.”
“There has been an increase in the size of the impact that each person is having on the environment,” he says.
“That per capita impact has changed more than the number of people,” he adds. “The threat to the environment won’t go away even if we had a smaller population.”
However, he acknowledges a larger population increases the impact somewhat.
Image credits:Photos licensed via Depositphotos unless otherwise stated.