The world is over-populated

We had this discussion over coffee one day so to back up my argument with a few figures:

  • 30 percent of food never makes it into a human stomach (UK’s Government Office of Science, The Future of Food and Farming)
  • Rising energy prices encourage the diversion of food stocks into biofuel production (UK’s Government Office of Science, The Future of Food and Farming)
  • Pets – I’m not anti-pets but if you are arguing with me that earth cannot support the human population I would bring up the amount of food and money spent on pets, for example:
    • 63% (70 million) US households own a pet (American Pet Products Manufacturing Association)
    • $38 billion in overall pet industry expenditures in 2006 (American Pet Products Manufacturers’ Association)
    • The amount spent by Europe and the US on pet food could provide basic health and nutrition to all the world’s developing countries (see below)
  • Gambling USA –  In 2007, gaming activities generated gross revenues (the difference between the total amounts wagered minus the funds or “winnings” returned to the players) of $92.27 billion in the United States (“Industry Information: Fact Sheets: Statistics: Gaming revenues for 2007”. American Gaming Association.)
  • Gambling Britain –  In 2009/10 the British gambling industry generated a gross gambling yield of of £5.7 billion (Gambling Commission, Industry Satatistics 2009/10)
  • Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 (State of the World, Issue 287 – Feb 1997, New Internationalist)
  • In 2005, the wealthiest 20% of the world accounted for 76.6% of total private consumption. The poorest fifth just 1.5%
  • Consider the global priorities in spending in 1998 (The state of human development, United Nations Human Development Report 1998, Chapter 1, p.37)

Global Priority $U.S. Billions
Cosmetics in the United States 8
Ice cream in Europe 11
Perfumes in Europe and the United States 12
Pet foods in Europe and the United States 17
Business entertainment in Japan 35
Cigarettes in Europe 50
Alcoholic drinks in Europe 105
Narcotics drugs in the world 400
Military spending in the world 780

And compare that to what was estimated as additional costs to achieve universal access to basic social services in all developing countries:

Global Priority $U.S. Billions
Basic education for all 6
Water and sanitation for all 9
Reproductive health for all women 12
Basic health and nutrition 13

My Conclusion

Maybe we could differentiate between our needs and wants, be a little less selfish and do with a little less ice-cream, gambling, perfume, pets and military!

Read more facts and figures.

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