Will Humans be Packed in Like Sardines?
The world’s current population is about 7.3 billion. By 2050, the population is expected to reach as high as 11 billion, or one and a half times the number of people existing today. New York City may blossom from 8.4 million today to 12.6 million in 2050, or New Delhi from 9.8 million today to 14.7 million. But cities aren’t going to grow proportionally to the overall total. Beijing, for example, is expected to grow six times the size of New York; from 11.51 million today to 48 million by 2050.
Most people old enough to remember the “good old days” of the last century, circa 1985, can’t imagine, let alone stomach these growth rates and their implications. If humans remain separated by ideology and religion, coming decades are likely to see many more urban terrorist attacks that will make life surreal.
Ways Humans May Survive & Thrive
An MIT report, “On the Road toward 2050,” seeks to determine if new technologies can help reduce fuel consumption and the release of greenhouse gases:
“On the Road toward 2050” summarizes the results of an ongoing research program that assesses the extent to which improvements and changes in powertrain and vehicle technologies, and fuels changes, could reduce the fuel consumption and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of light-duty road vehicles. This research was done by a team of graduate students from 2009 to 2014, and includes some 20 projects.
Challenges of Building Infrastructure for 11 Billion People
It’s mind-boggling to imagine the size and costs of infrastructure projects that will be needed to support all of these people and the cities they live in.
The only silver lining is the possibility of huge breakthroughs in energy and sustainability that will put a quick halt to pollution, global warming, and wars. New technologies will be needed and with the present speed of innovation, it’s likely that many breakthroughs will happen. But will they be enough?
Population Aging Trends
While certain areas of the world will have younger populations, including Africa and the Middle East and parts of Asia, the United States and much of Europe will have large aged populations. Aging humans will put strains on economic systems as they need more resources but produce less.
According to a Pew Research Center report, “Attitudes about Aging: A Global Perspective,” a number of countries will see large increases in the number of aging citizens.