October 31, 2011 by David K. Sutton
7 Billion and Counting…FAST
The human population of the planet officially reached 7 billion today. It was only 12 years ago that it topped 6 billion and there are 3 billion more people on the planet than in 1975 (4 billion), the year I was born.
I believe we have long surpassed the handling capacity of this planet. We are using non-renewable resources at increasing rates and we are using renewable resources at rates well above their ability to renew. That we are still having a debate about climate change in the wealthiest nation on the planet is laughable. We have serious issues that need to be tackled as a species. Skepticism is at the root of the scientific method. Skepticism among scientists is required to keep the scientific community in check. Skepticism on the part of the uninformed is nothing more than opinion. You can be a skeptic but don’t think for a second that you have equal footing to those that have dedicated their entire lives to climate science. Denying science with overwhelming evidence – and with dire consequences for inaction – is simply inexcusable.
Thomas Friedman recently asked the question (paraphrased), “Even if you don’t believe in climate change, don’t you think we need clean energy with 7 billion people who are increasingly living like Americans?”
There are people in this country that need to escape from a void where facts are not permitted. They are trapped in a bubble where facts are only allowed when it fits a pre-existing narrative. Complex systems like the climate of the planet will not wait for those trapped in this bubble to get up to speed. The media needs to stop giving the unqualified a platform for which to continue to spread the lie that the science isn’t settled. The data is in. The facts are there. The evidence is overwhelming. If you aren’t a climate scientist your opinion on climate science doesn’t hold much weight.
Climate change is real and human activity is responsible. This is not opinion. It is the well-informed conclusion of climate scientists based on decades of hard work, evidence gathering and peer review.
Human population ticking past 7 billion is a reminder of the urgency needed on pollution controls and alternative energy. It’s also a reminder of how easy it is for some human beings to dismiss inconvenient facts.