Earth's population has hit eight billion people in huge milestone for the planet
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The world has hit a huge milestone today: the population is now eight billion people.
The UN has declared that our little blue planet hit eight billion today (Tuesday, November 15), with the global population taking 12 years to grow from seven to eight billion.
Just so you understand how quickly we’ve reached this milestone, according to National Geographic, it took 300,000 years before one billion humans populated the Earth.
This was around 1804, a year that saw New Jersey becoming the last northern US state to abolish slavery, the Coronation of Napoleon and the invention of morphine.
However, the UN has predicted it will take 15 years (which will be 2037) for the Earth to reach another billion as the overall rate of the global population is slowing down.
Elin Charles-Edwards from the University of Queensland told ABC News that our society has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years.
He said: “We’ve gone through a pretty extraordinary period in the 20th century into the 21st century, where we’ve gone from demographic regimes in which there are lots of children and people were dying younger to a period of really rapid growth.”
While humans can live longer now thanks to improved health care, better food, water, and hygiene, and reduced impact of infectious disease, many environmental experts fear that the Earth can not sustain its population.
Most notably, Sir David Attenborough has labelled the swarming masses as a ‘plague on Earth’.
"It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde,” he told the Radio Times, as per The Telegraph.
“Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.”
While Patrick Gerland, who oversees population estimates for the United Nations' Department of Economic and Social Affairs, told National Geographic that climate change would only accelerate if humankind does not intervene now.
He said: “Whether we like it or not changes will be happening, and the situation will not improve by itself. There is a need for current and future interventions.”
But despite this, he believes society should maintain hope.
He said: “The exact impacts on future human life, I think, are still somewhat yet to be determined.
“So far, the overall experience is that the world has been successful in adapting and finding solutions to our problems.”
He continued: “I think we need to be somewhat optimistic.”