The Technopolitana collection of
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.
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
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
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
So now we have about .5 hectares each, half a
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
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.
may think you live on a planet, but really you live on a
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. http://science.time.com/2013/12/16/the-triple-whopper-environmental-impact-of-global-meat-production/
Collection of Big Numbers is a work in progress.