Monday, 11 July 2011

World Population Day out on the Isle of Wight?

Today is world Population Day, started on the 11th of July 1987 to commemorate the Earth’s human population reaching 5 billion. A mere 24 years later the World population is now 7 billion!

On Friday the Isle of Wight County Press reported the story of 16-year-old Grace Ireland, from Ripon, North Yorkshire, who has started a Facebook group encouraging the whole world to come to the IW on February 15, 2015, she has had more than 9,000 responses.

The idea comes from the proposition that it is possible to fit the entire human population of the Earth onto the island standing shoulder to shoulder.

At the time of writing the UN World Population Counter stood at 7,090,436,284, 27% of whom were under 15 years old.

This gives 5,176,018,487 adults and 1,914,417,797 children. One average adult can comfortably stand on a rectangle 500 cm wide by 400 cm deep ( 0.2 square metres), with the average child occupying half that area.


5,176,018,487 adults x 0.2 sq. m = 1,035,203,697 sq.m

1,914,417,797 children x 0.1 = 191,441,780 sq.m

Total area needed = 1,226,645,477 sq.m

= 1,227 sq km.

The Isle of Wight is the smallest county in the country (after Rutland). It is roughly diamond shaped and measures 23 miles from east to west, and 13.25 from north to south, giving a total area (including inland water) of 94,146 acres, 147 square miles or only 381 square kilometres!

So, no, you wouldn't all fit on the island. interestingly in 1927, only 84 years ago the worlds then population of 2 billion would have needed a mere 346 sq Km and would have easily fitted, even as late as 1953 the 2.6 billion of us could have got on, but only at low tide!

Why do I raise this? As a Buddhist my concern is for the suffering of other beings and population is the "elephant in the room". We and our fellow beings live on a finite planet with finite and diminishing resources. Our human population is devouring those resources and continuing to increase with an inevitable increase in both our own suffering and that of our fellow inhabitants of this world, look no further than the disaster overwhelming the people in the Horn of Africa right now. (You can offer your support at the DEC website)

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