Thursday, November 3, 2011

7 billion people

The global population is estimated to have reached 7 billion on Monday. This is astounding, particularly when you consider that it is estimated to have reached 6 billion people only in 1999. That's another billion people in just 12 years! Wow.

Instead of trying to pin down which country is home to the 7 billion human, all babies born on October 31st are being referred to as "a 7 billionth baby". I listen to the BBC Global News podcast, but I'm behind on my days so this afternoon I was listening to the Monday report. Of all places on the planet, the reporter interviewed proud new first-time parents here in Perth, Australia.

Picture a BBC reporter, trying to convey a sense of wonder about this historic moment as well as concern about overpopulation and limited resources while interviewing two hormone-addled, euphoric and overwhelmed first-time parents fresh from the birthing room in an affluent, secure, lightly populated, beautifully scenic city. I found the interview endearing and mildly hilarious.
A few excerpts:

If it's possible to put into words, what's on your mind now?
I'm very tired. Very, very tired because I went into labor. I haven't slept for 48 hours.

What about the whole idea of this being a 7 billionth baby?
Well, I only found out that a couple of days ago, and...yeah, I guess it's, there's a lot of people in the world. Special.

Do you feel positive now about her coming into a world of 7 billion people?
Yeah, I do. I don't think...I think it's just evolution. I feel very positive. I've always said the glass is half-full anyway. You know, you've got to have an opportunity to be a mum.

And Dad, your thoughts on this point?
It's very emotional. And very happy. It's amazing. Yeah, that there's nothing and then it's just there. Yeah.

And your view on her being a 7 billionth person?
I think it's great! It's really brilliant, yeah, it's great! I like being alive and I think it's good that she can be alive and experience life. It's a beautiful world! Yeah, everything's good!

Despite all the global socio-economic and developmental implications, who could say they are wrong?

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