TimeLine - Signs of the Times
The Population Spike- Megaphenomena
This is the fourth of four "spikes" described by Mr. Ayers (see book reference below). The spikes are rapid increases in global changes. Here the focus is on how fast the global human population is increasing—very much as depicted by the illustration above. Some estimates vary, and certain indicators say growth is already slowing, but overall the world's population grows and the interaction between the four 'spikes' (or as Ayers calls them: megaphenomena (i.e., carbon, extinction, consumption, and population spikes) reveal how one global change is related to drive still other changes:
With each passing month, the four megaphenomena become more entangled by feedback loops through which they all exacerbate each other. But the spike of human numbers, no longer controlled as it once was by diseases–and no longer limited in its impacts to the capacities of our own bodies–is the primary driver of the others. Ayers, God's Last Offer, page 41
Early on in human history our numbers were kept low by disease, yet modern medical technologies and other public health measures have released us from constraints of ages past. Medical and health advancements come with a 'down side' in that now more people are alive and sustained by technology in this modern age. Our numbers are being propped up and more of us want goods and services than ever before. This is the driver behind the consumption spike.
... in 1930: 2 billion
.... in 1975: approximately 4 billion
... in 1992: 5.5 billion
... October 30, 2011: 7 billion
... today __ billion and climbing
... the problem is that until the global growth rate drops to zero, the number of people continues to expand and the growth continues to compound. And, while rates are lower than they were a few years ago, they’re still high enough to drive up the total number of humans on the planet by 80 million each year – ... Ayers, God's Last Offer, page 42
And the global picture is fluid motion with people moving across the face of our planet like never before. Countries and people change identities as time passes. Meanwhile, human numbers approach or pass a capacity threshold (that is, the globe's carrying capacity). At what point are there too many humans for the earth's life systems? When are renewable resources not renewed fast enough to meet human demand?
… population growth brings some predictable changes, and the borders are now down in many places–and increasingly porous in all the rest. Human refugee and migrant flows are at their highest levels in history, and the tide will continue to rise. A decade ago, experts on population were warning that the planet's human carrying capacity was fast approaching its limits. Most experts in this field now agree that it has already passed those limits and we are living on borrowed or stolen assets we can never repay. Ayers, God's Last Offer, page 45
Today the media and academic experts will tell you a total human population of some 7 to even 8 billion does not portend a demise of life on earth. They will say that resources and availability become the issue of the day ... especially when drinking water and fertile land become the most vital and diminishing resources on earth. Tomorrow the economics of wealth defined to day by gold and oil will shift to wheat and water ... save the wine and oil for those who can still afford those as ultimate luxury. Will nation soon rise up against nation over water and land. The global dynamics will change with our growing numbers. What will this change bring tomorrow? The gap on earth will be further distinguished by the gulf between rich and poor, and yet all life depends on the same resources. We have no other earth to migrate to.
The idea behind recognizing the full extent of global change is not to simply see problems and throw up our hands in exasperation! The point of looking through the WindowView is to see a purpose behind this human life experience. Global change merely presses us to think about the implications and further to consider the special nature to our existence. Global problems affect everyone, the entire human population is painted into the same corner.
The importance to global change is in looking at how social, biological, and physical sciences all reveal data and signs for more ominous changes in the near future. This is change in every aspect of human and earthly affairs ... globally. The Window looks further to see change as a backdrop to a biblical timeline. Driving forces for change force us to ask the most important questions about our true origin, who we are, why we are here, and what the Scriptures tell us about the future. Change forces us to look deeper to face choice or crisis. Life is an opportunity to look for the answers.
Please Note! We are presenting a number of quotations in the "Signs of the Times" series that are taken from their original context. So Be Aware ... the impact of these statements is only heightened and intensified by a reading of the original text cited below. WindowView serves to reflect many original sources and in this case we highly recommend a reading of the entire book used as a source here! The 'Signs' are woefully important to revealing humanity's future, reading these quotations in their original context makes this point all the more clear!
Quotations attributed to 'Ayers' are from: Ed Ayers. 1999. God's Last Offer - Negotiating for a Sustainable Future. Published by: Four Walls Eight Windows (www.fourwallseightwindows.com)
Mr. Ayers is the Editor of World Watch magazine, a product of the Worldwatch Institute, Washington D.C. The institute is a 'think tank' that often puts out publications that note change in the world theater from the perspectives of economics, policy, resource uses, and the potential for global trends based on past and current human activity. This is a secular institution and the title of Mr. Ayers' book makes no special reference to a particular theological framework.
Time spent looking ... through a window on life and choice ... brings the opportunity to see in a new light. The offer for you to Step Up To Life is presented on many of the web pages at WindowView. Without further explanation we offer you the steps here ... knowing that depending on what you have seen or may yet explore in the window ... these steps will be the most important of your life ...