Illustration Human population. Depositphotos.

The Human Population is About to Exceed 8 Billion

Experts estimate that the human population will exceed 8 BILLION people in the next week or so.


Starting in the 19th century, when Earth marked the milestone of being called home to one billion people, a massive population growth followed. This was largely due to developments in fields of medicine, industrialization, but also agriculture, which greatly boosted our food supplies, allowing more people to be fed. The 1970s and 1980s brought another medical revolution in the form of treatment for heart disease, which helped reduce mortality among people over 60 years of age. All of these improvements led to an inevitable bigger world economy, subsequently allowing for ever greater development. The United Nations predicted that the world economy would grow between 10 and 26 times by the end of the 21st century in 2000. By the end of November 2022, over 8 billion people are expected to live on Earth.

We are pushing it

A 2017 report by PwC estimates the global economy will exceed $150 trillion by 2050. No matter what level of economic growth we reach, such massive growth will have a huge impact on the environment. It already has a massive impact. In fact, we’re already overusing 175 percent of the natural resources available to us, and humankind is leaving behind a massive ecological footprint. Humans are dependent on Earth’s ecosystems to survive. And while this was supposed to be a harmonious relationship, it is anything but that. We have become quite unbalanced in our relationship with nature. 75 percent of humanity’s way of life is now beyond the capacity of ecosystems to support it. It is not possible to continue in such a manner.


Future generations

Essentially, the world’s population is borrowing resources from nature, resources which will have to be paid back by future generations. The impact of a planet does not solely depend on the number of people. Essentially, it is the amount of energy we consume and the waste we generate. We are on the verge of collapsing our consumer society if we don’t drastically change how we consume the planet’s resources. Current trends suggest that the planet may not be able to support 10 billion people and a world economy several times greater than it is now by 2056, based on current trends. It is for this reason that we require a new industrial revolution where economic prosperity is linked to environmental and social sustainability.


Critical tipping points

It has to happen fast. The negative trend is approaching critical tipping points beyond which it may be too late to reverse it. This is not just for the human population but also for the benefit of all life on this planet. Even though the total number of humans on the planet may approach 10 billion, humans are still only one species. There are estimated to be between 8.7 million and a trillion species on Earth. Those are just the species. There can be billions of individuals in a single species. The number of bacteria on Earth, for instance, is approximately 5 million trillion trillion. Bacteria are very small, of course. In terms of weight, the human population represents one ten-thousandth of all life on Earth. This is calculated by the dry weight of carbon, which is the building block of life.

Percentage of humans among living things

The percentage of life on Earth is based on its weight. Plants: 81.8% Bacteria: 12.7% Fungi: 2.2% Animals: 0.36% – Fish: 0.7% – Humans: 0.01% – Wild mammals: 0.001%. About 82 percent of life on our planet is made up of plants. Nevertheless, humans only make up six percent of the earth’s life (or 1 in 1666).


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Written by Ivan Petricevic

I've been writing passionately about ancient civilizations, history, alien life, and various other subjects for more than eight years. You may have seen me appear on Discovery Channel's What On Earth series, History Channel's Ancient Aliens, and Gaia's Ancient Civilizations among others.

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