While many factors are contributing to global climate change and resource depletion, one element is consistent across the board: The sheer number of us.
More Than She Can Handle
Today, almost 7.5 billion people inhabit this planet. In 1900, the population was only 1.6 billion. Leading experts say that the Earth’s maximum capacity is around 10 billion, which we are projected to reach by 2060.
With resource consumption, air pollution, and waste generation all contributing to the destruction of the planet, what can we do to lessen the damage? Experts say that it is too late to reverse global warming, but that doesn’t mean that we should stop trying to preserve what’s left.
Sir David Attenborough, renowned naturalist and broadcaster, spoke with the BBC about his thoughts on human influence on the environment. In addition to the discussion on single-use plastics and industrial air pollution, he said that a significant problem is the exponentially-growing human population. Our current demand on resources, from fossil fuels to logging to livestock, is unsustainably high, and as the population continues to boom, it will only get worse.
While there’s plenty that the average consumer can do to lessen their carbon footprint, much of the change needs to happen on a larger scale, according to Attenborough. Governments and corporations need to make significant changes to their practices, as they have some of the most considerable influence over habitat destruction and pollution levels.
Time For Change
As individuals, we can make a change by switching to renewable energy sources, eating a more plant-centric diet, eliminating single-use plastics, opting for reusable items, and voting for representatives who will protect the environment. Elected officials are the ones who shoulder the brunt of the burden when it comes to actions that affect our planet.
Industrial pollution makes up about 78% of the world’s greenhouse gases. One of the most significant changes we could make as a species to save our planet would be to impose strict sanctions on how much pollution factories can produce annually. While there’s only so much that can be done to restrict population growth, there are still plenty of other things we can do to improve our odds of being able to survive on this planet 100 years from now.