Redacted: This post is withdrawn because I can’t do math. It’s not 72 square feet per person, it’s more like 236,806 square feet per person. Doh! I made a silly conversion error, effectively assuming 1 square yard would equal three square feet, since 1 yard equals three feet. Of course 1 square yard is actually 9 square feet. And I made that error twice. Doh indeed.
Anyway, 236,806 square feet per person. That’s about 5.4 acres (again, if I did my math right), but being a city boy I have no concept for the size of an acre. As a commenter pointed out, agriculture and uninhabitable land probably changes that number quite a bit. But it doesn’t change the fact that I was wrong.
I think my point still makes sense (to whom much is given, much is required), but the math totally sucks. This is why my dad and brother are engineers, while I majored in writing and art.
Redacted. (But we’ll keep the original post after the jump as an object lesson to less than eager math students.)
72 square feet. That’s your personal chunk of earth.
If everybody on the planet got their own equal plot of land, that’s how much space we’d each have. 72 square feet. That’s a 9×8 room.
My house has a foundation size of 796 square feet. My lot is a total of 4,800 square feet. That’s how much space I take up. Though to be fair, there are four of us in this house, so I only take up 1,200 square feet. That’s still more than 16 times what I’d get if everybody on the planet had the same size space.
In 2005 the average home in the U.S. was 2,414 square feet. It’s hard to determine foundation size or lot size from that, but it’s fair to say in the U.S. most of us are taking up more than our 72 square feet.
Much like I argued yesterday, I’m not sure what we’ve done to earn that, other than be born luckier than other people on the planet. Certainly most of us homeowners work hard for our money and have hopefully earned our plot of land, but I don’t think I’ve worked any harder than other people around the world. And if I’ve got 16 times the average chunk of land, that means some poor bastard somewhere has 4.5 square feet to live on. Ouch.
My point is pretty simple: We’re rich. We’re incredibly wealthy here in the U.S. We live on 16 times what the rest of the world does. What are we doing to share our incredible excess with those who have so much less? This isn’t about socialism or any political anything (let’s not even get into the concept of owning property). I’m just talking about people taking care of people.
To whom much is given, much is required. Or as an arachnid-themed superhero often rephrases that snippet from Luke 12:48, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’
Let’s Do the Math:
I readily admit that I suck at math (Have I mentioned that the only college math course I took was Math for Elementary Education Majors? We made graphs.), so how about I show my work?
The surface area of the land on the planet is 148,940,000 square kilometers. That’s only the land, since it’d really suck to get a plot of water. And it’s probably a fudged number just a bit, since stuff like glaciers and ice shelves complicates things. But we’ll say that’s pretty close.
World population is currently estimated at 6.77 billion.
Divide 488 billion square feet (and change) by 6.77 billion people and you get (carry the one) 72.178 square feet.
Of course it’s a silly comparison because not all land is the same. Some poor sap would get a 9×8 patch of the Sahara and somebody else would get a beautiful meadow in Colorado. And it doesn’t make any sense because we have to grow our food and all that jazz, and you’re not going to grow enough food on a 9×8 plot of land. And of course you can also pack more people into tiny spaces with a neat little thing called building up. And there are all kinds of fun questions like whether or not the surface area of the planet should be divided equally (again, the whole property owning concept). So it’s more complicated, duh.
But I think the basic idea still holds true. And wow. There are a lot of people on this tiny planet.