A Collection of Thoughts, As World Population Hits 7 Billion
Living in a country with a total population of 35 million people, it’s hard to imagine what 1 billion looks like. Even the United States doesn’t come close to 1 billion with just over 312 million residents. Most of us already know that much of the worlds population reside in either the small country of India (1.2 billion), or China (1.3 billion), which is about three times the size of India.
Experts predicted that we would hit the 7 billionth inhabitant mark by 2015, but it appears we are a bit ahead of course. Today the world welcomed it’s 7 billionth resident, and according to reports, she was was born in Northern India. This birth represents many things to many different people.
Some feel that the birth of a girl specifically as the 7 billionth resident is important, as it brings the subject of the imbalance between genders into light, specifically in China and India where there is well-documented proof of forced abortions for women expecting daughters. Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad stated, “We must take all necessary steps – political, social, economic and scientific – to end the discrimination against the girl child.”
Discussing how the global number effects us on a smaller scale yesterday, CBC pointed out some of the ramifications of having such a populous planet, which included climate change and the havoc we are wreaking on our natural resources by developing so much of our land. The article states, “In the last 50 years alone, the oceans have become (30 per cent) more acidic, the atmosphere (four per cent) wetter and the earth’s surface warmer (by almost one degree C).”
On a symbolic level, the ‘celebration’ of the 7 billionth inhabitant reminds me of the concept of ‘Global Citizenship’. Though there is no precise definition, I would define a global citizen as one who realizes the interconnectedness of the world, and whose actions and behavior reflect this.
In the memoir The Blue Sweater, Acumen Fund CEO Jacqueline Novogratz touches on this concept quite a bit. Her words describe so well the potential for a world of global citizens, “…each of us can contribute something by thinking – and acting – like a true global citizen. We have only one world for all of us on earth, and the future really is ours to create, in a world we dare to imagine together.”
Though it may seem far fetched to believe that we can all look at each other and see no differences, it is clear that there is some change in thinking happening worldwide, the Occupy Movement and fall of Gaddafi’s 41-year regime are examples. 2011 has brought with it many challenges and changes, and perhaps the concept of a world filled with global citizens is not far off.