It’s no surprise that in order to survive, humans need to eat, drink, keep warm or cool, and most famously, reproduce.
And in order to ensure these activities are continually adhered to, for the survival of our species, it is no coincidence they are arguably the most fun of all.
However, evidence now reveals the consequences of these fundamental and rip-roaringly fun actions, particularly sex and consumption habits, are threatening the existence of our species, along with all life on Earth.
For according to the United Nations demographers, the world human population is set to reach 7 billion by Halloween this year. Scientists are calling this epoch of human proliferation, not equalled in size by any animal in Earth’s history, the Anthropocene. “Where we go nature retreats”.
Alarmingly, 4.5 billion of the current population has occurred in the last 60 years, suggesting the rate of population growth is exploding. As a result, significant quantities of the planet’s plants and animals are becoming extinct.
While the blame can partially be laid on unintentional births and lack of contraception, it is the lifestyle of humans (transport, diet and energy consumption) that needs to change in order to instigate a global panacea.
However, the population growth of even low consuming populations has shown to be dangerous, as this eventually leads to rapid economic expansion (seen in the U.S, China and soon India), which inevitably leads to an increase in per-capita consumption.
So, it appears highly populated societies are naturally better sustained in industrialised societies, meaning population growth is ultimately to blame? After all, would there be such a planetary strain if the world’s population had stabilised at 300 million?
Not according to The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), who predicts in 14 years, the current rates of growth will see two thirds of the world’s population living in countries experiencing a water crisis.
Furthermore, this relentless human (and therefore industrial) expansion has resulted in the removal of over half of the planet’s original forests, and UNEP predicts by the middle of the century the world’s fisheries will be completely abolished.
The Guardian has also stated that humans have “occupied or manipulated most of the land in every continent except Antarctica”, leading many to ask – what is the solution to arresting such catastrophic behaviour?
While suggestions include combating ‘antiquated’ religious practices, such as the banning of contraception, as well as encouraging green technologies and/or mass migration to Antarctica, others remain less optimistic about the future of humanity.
Dr Hans Siegy, palaeohistorian at Germany’s Department Of Organic Matter (DOOM), says archaeologists attribute the decline of Mayan civilisation to agricultural inadequacies. He says their population would undoubtedly have sustained itself longer in an industrialised society.
Therefore, he says, it is inevitable for sex crazed humans to breed excessively, form large industrialised societies, and wipe themselves out permanently (as others have done before us). He adds we would all do better to enjoy the ride, get over ourselves, and pay heed to the last words of a famous outlaw – “such is life”.