Crowded? Not really

by Einar Du Rietz

Just found out that (according to BBC):

“When you were born, you were the:3,453,632,094th person alive on Earth and 77,442,249,607thperson to have lived since history began”

Go on, take the test. Don’t know what it’s really good for, but it’s a bit of fun, at least if you are easily amused. And please help me figure out how the exact numbers were calculated.

It’s apparently the magic in the numbers that now has awaken the Neo Malthusians, as we are supposed to reach seven billion any day now (Monday, according to the UN). Why not 6, 123 or 7,456? No, it’s the magic number. Over population is the scare of the day.

Well, walk outside and check if it’s really that crowded. Every time this scare appears, the doomsayers ignore some basic observations.

Some parts of the world, e.g, parts of Africa, rather suffer from too few people, with a poor infrastructure. The most crowded country in Europe (not counting those really tiny ones) is Holland. Last time I was in Holland, I did not hear anyone complain.

Many major European cities suffer from a housing shortage and excessive rental costs. To make a comparison, Stockholm has been struggling with the problem for decades, in Brussels, you can get a nice flat for a decent price just looking around during an afternoon. In the city with most expats per capita in the Union. The former city is highly regulated since WWII, the latter virtually lacks any regulations of the housing, or rental market. And when trying to navigate, you at least get the feeling that there has been no city planning since Leopold II. Good so.

Nativity varies and it is a well known fact that people tend to produce more offspring during war and poverty. Some, more well off, European countries are suffering from declining populations, bringing a threats to e.g. pension schemes.

But most importantly, never leave your moral compass in the desk drawer. Anytime you hear someone elaborate on the virtues of the – unbelievably inhuman – one child policy in China, or as a few Greens actually can do, consider forms of genocide, academically of course, it is claimed, check your premises and remind yourself of the one thing that really matters. Creating and caring for children are the most private parts of our existence. And should so remain.

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About the Author: Einar Du Rietz

Einar Du Rietz is a journalist and communications consultant based in Europe. He has authored several environmental reports for the Electrolux Group and written many blogs for the Center for the New Europe at CNE Environment.