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Tue Dec 4, 2018, 10:42 AM

The Population of Planet Earth over the Past 12,000 Years

The chart below tells a fascinating story. It begins in 10,000 BC and charts estimates of the Earth's human population up to the year 2000. The population from 10,000 BC up to about 2000 BC was low and remained stable, according to these estimates. Then, it began to rise very slowly. Likely, that was because civilization and agriculture was beginning to develop, which allowed more people to survive. Using figures from other sources, I can supply some numbers. In the year 1 CE (AD), the global population was roughly 300 Million. China and the Roman Empire dominated those data. It's worthy of note that the total population of the United States in 2018 is close to 320 million.

1 CE is in the midst of the Iron Age. Growth continued at a slow rate until about 1000 CE, and then started to accelerate. Agriculture, civilization and technology were developing at that time, allowing more people to be fed and survive. If you look at the right side of the chart, you will notice a hyperbolic rise of population that coincides with the very beginnings of science, trade, and industry in about the middle of the second millennium. Once industry was widespread, the population figures spike sharply up, accelerating at an astonishing rate. Today, we have about 7.2 Billion people inhabiting this planet. Going from 300 Million to 7.2 Billion in just 2000 years is mind boggling.

When will we hit 8 Billion? Estimates vary, but it's expected around 2025-2030. The growth curve is almost vertical at this point in human existence. Will it slow down? Perhaps. Some models show it leveling off and stabilizing at about 10 Billion. Why? Because there simply will not be enough resources. One model shows population beginning to fall not long after that. We can't predict, because we don't know the future.

Look at this chart. Try to wrap your mind around what it represents. We are living in the times of peak human population. The current growth rate is unsustainable. It is a problem.



Chart Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_population_estimates

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Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply The Population of Planet Earth over the Past 12,000 Years (Original post)
MineralMan Dec 4 OP
pangaia Dec 4 #1
MineralMan Dec 4 #2
A HERETIC I AM Dec 4 #13
pangaia Dec 4 #18
Roland99 Dec 4 #3
MineralMan Dec 4 #4
PatSeg Dec 4 #6
Recursion Dec 4 #9
MineralMan Dec 4 #15
MineralMan Dec 4 #5
sl8 Dec 8 #19
scarytomcat Dec 8 #22
sl8 Dec 8 #24
The_jackalope Dec 4 #7
BSdetect Dec 4 #8
CrispyQ Dec 4 #10
yonder Dec 4 #11
The_jackalope Dec 4 #12
MineralMan Dec 4 #14
scarytomcat Dec 8 #23
Spider Jerusalem Dec 4 #16
MineralMan Dec 4 #17
MineralMan Dec 8 #21
pecosbob Dec 8 #20
sunonmars Dec 8 #25
dhol82 Dec 8 #26
Cartoonist Dec 8 #27
Snackshack Dec 8 #28
euphorb Dec 8 #29
MineralMan Dec 8 #30

Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 10:47 AM

1. Well, don't forget that sex was only discovered in about 3000 BC.

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Response to pangaia (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 10:48 AM

2. LOL!

And it still isn't understood very well."Wait - You want to put what where? I don't know..."

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Response to pangaia (Reply #1)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 11:29 AM

13. And the Female orgasm in 1975

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #13)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 01:09 PM

18. HA HA !!

Nope. I guarantee it was earlier than that...
Although not by much....

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 10:49 AM

3. Ah HA! So it's body heat that's warming up the planet!!

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Response to Roland99 (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 10:50 AM

4. More like trying to maintain body heat, really.

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Response to Roland99 (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 11:02 AM

6. Hah!

I think some republican congressman made that claim!

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Response to Roland99 (Reply #3)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 11:08 AM

9. It's a recognized contributor, particularly locally

Humans run at about 100 Watts, that heat does actually warm the atmosphere. It's one reason urban air temperatures are higher than the surrounding countryside (though paving has more to do with that)

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Response to Recursion (Reply #9)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 12:02 PM

15. We also contribute considerable carbon dioxide.

Mostly, though, we burn stuff. Lots of it.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 10:56 AM

5. Note: The last Ice Age on this planet ended about 12,000 years ago.

That coincides with the beginning of this chart. We have no idea of the world population during the Pleistocene era, which began about 2.5 million years ago and covers most of the time Humans have existed. During the Ice Age, human population lived very precariously. It's amazing, in many ways, that human beings survived at all.

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 8, 2018, 05:37 PM

19. Perhaps a nit, but the previous Ice Age ended several million years ago.

Last edited Sun Dec 9, 2018, 12:00 AM - Edit history (2)

The current ice age, obviously, hasn't yet ended.

I think you are referring to the end of the the last glacial period of the current ice age.

Although the last glacial period is often colloquially referred to as an "Ice Age", that's not scientifically accurate.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_age#/search

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 8, 2018, 06:20 PM

22. some might say we are still in an ice age

just the warm part
when the ice caps melt we are in big dodo

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Response to scarytomcat (Reply #22)

Sat Dec 8, 2018, 06:39 PM

24. Scientists say we are in an ice age. n/t

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 11:03 AM

7. Over the same period, wild animal biomass has gone down by 95%

Since 10,000 BCE the world's wild animal biomass has decreased from about 300 million tonnes to under 20 million tonnes, while the biomass of domesticated animals has increased from 0 to 1400 million tonnes. And the biomass of human beings has gone from about 200,000 tonnes to 400 million tonnes.

Our numbers and our needs have destroyed the planet. There is no going back.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 11:07 AM

8. Future Shock (Tofler) called it a J curve for such graphs.

In nature such curves of populations tend to fall down after spiking.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 11:09 AM

10. Six billion miracles is enough.

I bought that bumper sticker near the turn of the century. Here's an article on population doubling. It would be interesting to see a second pie chart based on consumption levels.

Today in science: The Day of 6 Billion
By Deborah Byrd in HUMAN WORLD | SCIENCE WIRE
October 12, 2017

snip...

In only 40 years, the world population had doubled. In 100 years, it had quadrupled. In only 12 years, it had increased by one billion. Median projections for population growth estimated that by the year 2050, the tally would top 9 billion, with an increase of roughly 77 million people per year.





Several years ago in a local paper there was a LTTE expressing concern about human population & a few weeks later a response saying that people who are so concerned about human population should move to Wyoming. "There's plenty of room there!" It is the same type of thinking of climate change deniers. "If global warming is true then why is it snowing?"

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 11:26 AM

11. Excellent thread. K&R and bookmarked for the charts.

Last edited Tue Dec 4, 2018, 02:03 PM - Edit history (1)

Thanks also to The jackalope and CrispyQ for their contributions.

This is good ammo for use against the knuckle draggers, not that it makes much difference.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 11:29 AM

12. Population growth has gone from exponential to linear since 1980

However, the world still growing by over 80 million people a year. so the people who claim that a reduction in birth rates is a sign that all will be well, are basically full of it.

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Response to The_jackalope (Reply #12)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 11:59 AM

14. Only in some places. Globally, it's still rising exponentially.

In the US, though, it has leveled off.

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Response to The_jackalope (Reply #12)

Sat Dec 8, 2018, 06:26 PM

23. soon we will see a drop in population ... this when you know the end is coming if you don't already

not because we are trying but from crop failure, disease, and probably war when resources become scarce
it really is time to take action and stop fossil fuel usage
how stupid are we?

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 12:09 PM

16. A more terrifying chart would include estimates of non-human species...

and their decline as humans become more numerous.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #16)

Tue Dec 4, 2018, 12:10 PM

17. I try to keep my posts limited to a single subject.

But, you're absolutely correct.

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Response to Spider Jerusalem (Reply #16)

Sat Dec 8, 2018, 05:49 PM

21. One thing at a time.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2018, 05:48 PM

20. exponential population growth + climactic dislocation / finite resources ?

Resource wars...food wars...?

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2018, 06:51 PM

25. We are getting close to a rebalancing either by nature or by manmade destruction. Its overdue.

This planet cannot keep on with population explosion like this.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2018, 06:55 PM

26. Well, with the lack of research for future antibiotics the population should fall exponentially in a

short while.
There’s always another pandemic lurking on the horizon.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2018, 06:59 PM

27. I've heard it said

that there are more people alive today than those who have died. The chart seems to verify that, though I haven't crushed the numbers.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2018, 07:05 PM

28. It will eventually.

Top out because there simply will not be resources needed for continued growth. I read an article several years ago that said we would need 2.5 more Earths in order to feed the population (at that time) thru just natural means. IMO it will dramatically decrease in the near future (100-200yrs). Due to the changes in environment that are coming. We see 2C as a target to keep temperature rise at but I think we are already going to go well beyond that to 10-15C maybe more rise in temp. That type of increase is going to bring change we have not even thought of yet.

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Response to MineralMan (Original post)

Sat Dec 8, 2018, 07:38 PM

29. In my lifetime (70 years) world population has increased from 2.5 billion to 7.2 billion

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Response to euphorb (Reply #29)

Sat Dec 8, 2018, 07:45 PM

30. Yes. I'm 73.

Amazing, isn't it?

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