Tag Archives: population

What’s the Ideal Population of Humanity?

OK, so bizarre ethical/sci-fi/theological question based on yesterday’s post about carrying capacity of a planet: What’s the ideal number of people to have?

From an ethical perspective, the ideal number would seem to be as many as we can reasonably support. Meaning, however many people can live happily on the planet and not over-use our resources. OK, say we hit that ideal number. More people would mean a decreased quality of life for everyone, if not collapse of the planet. So what’s the best solution ethically? Do we try any means necessary to increase that ideal number through technological advancements (taller buildings, more efficient systems, colonizing other planets, etc.) or do we limit population growth to maintain that ideal number?

From a theological perspective, is there some sort of imperative to always have more people? This sort of goes back to God’s command to Noah to multiply and fill the earth, which raises the question, when have we fulfilled this command? Assuming the ethical concerns are met (seems like bad theology to be willing to have more people in poor conditions just so you can evangelize them), does it make sense to go and make disciples by going and making more people? Should the church always be in favor of population growth so that more people can worship God and make him known?

They often say less is more, but is that true for humanity?

I’m just babbling here and throwing out bizarre questions I don’t have the answer to. These are the kinds of things I think about late at night.

5.4 Acres Per Person

So I’ve been thinking about the whole 5.4 acres per person thing (and not 72 square feet). Strangely enough, I find population density fascinating. Now that we’ve done the math right, I wonder what that means. Is 5.4 acres enough for a person to live on?

Clearly that’s a lot of space, but it starts to feel smaller when you consider things like growing food, dealing with waste, generating power, etc. One person said that’s comparable to four football fields.

It all leads to the question what is the carrying capacity of the planet? How many people can the planet sustain? Some people think we’ve already passed that number (which, if true, would raise all sorts of scary ethical questions and push us into eerie sci-fi territory). I don’t know what that number would be, but it would surely involve plenty of math for me to screw up. Plus all sorts of variables and intricacies that gets pretty darn complicated.

While I like pondering some of those unsolvable questions, what it really comes down to for me is what are you doing with your 5.4 acres? Are you living in such a way that you’re burning up resources and space and time? Or are you conserving what you can in order to save some for the other 6,769,999,999 people on this planet (not to mention the generations to come)?

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72 Square Feet Per Person

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.)

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