Technopolitana Big Numbers

The Technopolitana collection of big numbers:

This is a compendium of numbers that affect or enlighten or startle us. They demonstrate, on the whole, that human pressure on the globe is considerable.

World Population Figures

If we go back 12,000 years it is estimated there were 2.4 million people which increased to 295 million by the year zero, AD if you are Christian.

Population only increased 3x in the next 1800 years.

1800 soon after the French & American revolutions, before the industrial revolution was in full force.   Population .9 billon.

Now 1.7 times in 100 years of 'growth' in the west and imperial possession of much of the rest, expansion of Caucasian populations on the American continents.

1900 beginning of the twentieth century: Population 1.65 billion.

This reached 2 billion by the Great Depression (c.1930) and 2.5 billion by end of World War II (1945).

1960 had reached about  3 billion.

1980… Population 4.4 billion.

2015… Population 7.4 billion.....about 3 x the end of World War II figure. This is 3 x in 70 years/ as opposed to 1.7x in the hundred years of the 19th century.

Rate of increase is now dropping.


Land Area of the Globe

Total Land Area of the Globe:             148,940,000 square kilometers, think of 149 million.

Total area of the sea:                      361,132,000 square kilometers, so more than twice as much as land.

Amount of land area covered by snow & ice: about 15,000,000 square km.

This leaves about 134,000,000 square km. In hectares that is x 100 so 13,400,000,000 hectares of theoretically habitable land – 13 billion.

A sq km is difficult to visualize. A hectare is approx the size of a football field. The world is 13 billion football fields.  So in the year 0 we would have had about 4.5 hectares each, four & a half football pitches. Each.

Now we have  land area for 7.4 billion of us. Except for stacking up in high rises and places like Dubai which build islands, land does not grow. And deserts have tended to get bigger.

So now we have about .5 hectares each, half a football pitch.

That is about 100 meters long x 50 wide.

One problem is you don’t want to get assigned the half football pitch in the tundra. Nor in the Sahara desert.

In order to pass through the bottleneck (of population growth), a global land ethic is urgently needed – E.O. Wilson, The Future of Life prologue p xxiii.

Data from the International Livestock Research Institute in Kenya This states 1.4 billion cattle and 19.6 billion chickens worldwide.

That is, roughly, one beef or milk cattle head per 5 people and 2.5 chickens per person.

"You may think you live on a planet, but really you live on a gigantic farm…" cited from TIME magazine (16-Dec-2013).

Various indications suggest that about 40% of the non-ice global land area is used for farming. The Time Magazine article is well worth sourcing as a primer for information in this area.

The Technopolitana Collection of Big Numbers is a work in progress.