At the apparent dawn of agriculture, about 8000 B.C., the world population was approximately just 5 million.
Over the next 8,000-year period world population apparently grew very slowly to and estimated range thought to have been between 300 million to 600 million (given the imprecise population estimates of early historical periods).
It took all of human history until around the year 1800 for world population to reach one billion.
A tremendous change has since occurred, inherently putting us at risk today…
An enormous change occurred with the industrial revolution:
The second billion was achieved in only 130 years (1930).
The third billion in less than 30 years (1959).
The fourth billion in 15 years (1974).
The fifth billion in only 13 years (1987).
The sixth billion in 12 years (1999).
The seventh billion in 12 years (2011).
During the 20th century, the population in the world has grown from 1.65 billion to 6 billion.
In 1970, there were roughly half as many people in the world as there are now.
While the annual growth rate reached its peak in the late 1960s, and the rate of increase has lessened since then, it is still astounding to realize how many additional people are now living on the planet in such a short thin slice of relative time.
How is this possible?
There are many reasons of course. Modern agriculture, energy, and technology have enabled us to multiply and thrive. The risk with this phenomenon (in my opinion) is the very technology that we now rely upon to sustain such a large population. While we are (mostly) managing okay today, much or most of the population is unknowingly at risk while their very existence depends upon modern technology.
It stands to reason that the more people there are in a finite space (the cities, metro regions, even nations) – the more dependence, the more (potential) conflict, the more risks there are (too many to list here).
The current ‘hockey stick’ seemingly exponential world population growth curve is projected to lessen in the decades ahead, but the fact is we’re already ‘off the charts’. The question is – are there events in our future which may affect that curve in a very short period of time? As in, population reduction?
It has happened before in our world history (sudden population reduction). Wars and World Wars are good examples. Major natural disasters. Pandemic (lots of people in proximity). But given our current population (so much more than ever before), could future events depopulate even more of us than in the past?
Perhaps the sun unleashes a major X30+ flare and crushing CME, bringing down a major portion of our electrical infrastructure. Maybe a sleeping super volcano finally erupts darkening the sun for years impacting agriculture and climate. Or could man-made disaster bring down a ‘house of cards’ supporting our infrastructure and reliance? Another World War – but this one being nuclear? Financial collapse leading to social collapse? Something else?
There are more people than ever before, and never before have so many people relied on so many things to stay alive.
While there are many good outcomes from the collective ‘good’ of a population, all of the (potentially bad) things that go along with a large population is one reason why I prep.