Question: approximately when is the population going to be greater than what the earth can sustain?

  1. There are many suggestions that the current population of the world isn’t sustainable for the health of the Earth, based on our current technologies and lifestyles. My short answer is about the year 1950.

    I see population and sustainability based on resourses and how they are managed. For example, we must consider energy a resource. We can make energy in many ways, but in most parts of the world we struggle to make enough. Whether thats for western countries wanting more and more, or 1st world countries that still are yet to experience it they way we can. If this energy is from coal or greener ways then we still need to mine materials to either burn directly or make into things like wind turnbines and batteries.

    Fresh water is also one of the worlds most pressing resources. 1st world countries have big problems finding running water and they often have to travel long distrances to get it. We dont have such a huge problem in Australia, but the dams that fill our taps are already stuggling to keep up with the size of our cities. Farmers need to spend a lot of time and money on water management as well. To grow the fruit and veg that we all need, they need the water, but they need so much that its emptying rivers in VIC and NSW so that Adelaide has very little. This also have huge impact on wildlife that have a need for water or water environments.

    These are only two of the major issues where we can argue that we have too many people to sustain our life on our planet. So from a world with 7 billion people in 2013, we’re heading for 11 billion in 2050.


  2. @medontknow: This is a huge question, one with economic, ethical, geographic and many other – as well as scientific factors… I enjoyed Dick Smith’s Population Puzzle documentary that looked at some of the issues that Mick has touched on.

    You might enjoy it too…

    You can watch it on YouTube here:


  3. Have to agree with Mick, but not everyone lives in the relative luxury that we do. If everyone in India and China lived the same as us (and of course they have a right to) then we’d be in real trouble.