photo by James Cridland (Flickr CC)g

There are now 7 billion people on Earth. 7 billion mouths to feed, 7 billion consumers, polluters and greenhouse gas emitters.

More or less.

We know some consume, pollute and emit a lot more than others. They are usually from the same areas that produce more goods and services per capita, and generate more monetary wealth. The same things that are killing us, we are told, are making our lives better – and will make the lives of those in developing countries better. In the word’s of Bill Clinton: It’s the economy, stupid.

When I moved to Sweden I remember seeing the Prime Minister on the front page of a newspaper ‘congratulating’ a newly born baby and its family for contributing to the young Swedish population, necessary to generate revenue and support aging Swedes. On the other side of the globe China continued its one child policy. An obvious conclusion is to allow and encourage more immigration from places with too many people (like China and India) to those with too few (like Sweden and Germany). But that is politically unpopular in destination countries.

There is also the issue of brain drain and of course the rising spectre of an unsustainable global population.

Besides, rich or poor, we all use basic resources like water and land, albeit in varying degrees.

From Deutsche Welle:

In fact, some 40 percent of the surface area of the world’s land is used for agricultural production. On 16 million square kilometers of that land, grain is grown. Some 30 million square kilometer – an area the size of South America –  is used as pasture land. These are the best pieces of land, and they are already being used.

But the system is driven by the very wealthy. The richest 1% is the real, extremely disproportionate beneficiary of financial deregulation, economic growth and income inequality. And this is the focus of the global protests currently taking place.

A commentary piece in the Guardian sums things up quite well:

[…] a huge range of problems, including over-consumption, become easier to solve in societies that are more equal (inequality drives status competition which in turn fuels consumption). The evidence of the last three decades is that redistribution is far more effective at tackling poverty than waiting for trickle-down from increasingly unequal growth. When the New Economics Foundation modelled the impact on the UK economy of reducing consumption to meet our climate change targets, we found that moving to Danish levels of equality compensated for the impact on GDP.

So go on 99%. You are not the real population problem. Protest and survive.