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Eight billion humans

Baby Vinice Mabansag, born at Dr. Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Tondo, Manila on November 15, was chosen to symbolically mark the world’s eight billionth person.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the eight-billion milestone is an occasion to celebrate diversity and advancements while considering humanity’s shared responsibility of the planet.

The current population is more than three times higher than the 2.5 billion global headcount in 1950. The UN projects the population to continue growing to about 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050 and peaking at around 10.4 billion in the 2080s, where a plateau is expected.

The UN attributes the growth to human development, with people living longer thanks to improvements in public health, nutrition, personal hygiene and medicine. It is also a result of higher fertility rates, particularly in the world’s poorest countries, which could ironically put their development goals at risk.

Population growth has also magnified the environmental impacts of economic development, although experts say that the problem is not the sheer number of humans in the planet, but the overconsumption of resources by the world’s wealthiest people.

Poor choices by humans have resulted in them consuming far more biological resources, such as forests and land, than the planet can regenerate each year. Our overconsumption of fossil fuels is cited as another example that leads to more carbon dioxide emissions responsible for global warming.

Joel Cohen of Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Population however rejects the idea that humans are a curse on the planet, saying people should be given and take better choices.

As long as we learn from our mistakes and make the right choices when it comes to taking care of our one and only planet and its resources, Baby Vinice should be able to grow up in a world that can handle the still-growing number of humans. That is something we have to keep in mind as the human population continues to grow, hopefully in a world that humans are continuously striving to make better, instead of being the among the 8-billion and growing reasons why it is becoming worse.*

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