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The world population, as you watch this video, is about to hit an arbitrary landmark. But, still, the growing world population is not an insignificant issue, nor is the explosion in resource use in the developing world. But overall...I'm optimistic.


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A Bunny
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Good morning, John. Today's episode of vlogbrothers is brought to you by the number 7 billion. And yes, I know that discussing the extremely important and pressing issues of global population while suffering from contact signing psychosis is a little silly, but that's just the world we live in. I have to show you my shirt. Isn't that amazing? I- I just had this in my closet; I didn't even go to the thrift store. Okay, probably, I should not do this entire video wearing this mask. I should at least give you something to, like, make a gif out of. So while you're watching this video, it is entirely possible that the 7 billionth person is being born. Of course we won't know who exactly that person is, but that'd be pretty cool, get them a shirt that says "7 BILLIONTH!" And it's also like a 10% chance that there will be a 7 billionth person and then someone will die and then there will be another 7 billionth person. But it's all statistics at this point because it's very difficult to count the number of people in the world. 7 is a lucky number; I'm excited about that. 7 billion, I'm not so sure. But, to be clear, I have a problem talking about "the problem" of population. At EcoGeek, we always have people who leave comments saying "well, this wouldn't be necessary if there was just a smaller population." I have two problems with this. First, there are lots of things that would solve all of our problems. Like if trees suddenly started making electricity or we could eat air, all of our problems would be solved. But it's useless to talk about because there's only one way to decrease the number of people that we currently have in the world and that's for them to die and hopefully you're not advocating for the death of billions of people because I think we can all agree that that's not a good thing. If you don't agree with me on that point, you're free to stop watching these videos because I don't want you around, evil person! The other problem with saying that population is the problem is that every one of those 7 billion people is a person. And when we think about the amount of people as problems that need to be solved, as mouths that need to be fed, and not as what they actually are, which is amazing, powerful forces for the betterment of the world, for themselves, for their children, and for everyone, that not only objectifies those people but it diminishes out ability to come up with real solutions to the problems that we face. Because I'm not saying there aren't problems here. We got problems. Last year, we created enough food to feed 11 billion people and yet of the 7 billion people we have, a billion of them struggle with hunger. So what is up with that?! Well, about half of that food was fed to cows, chickens, and pigs, so that's a problem. Fresh water is the most important ingredient in keeping people happy and healthy and it's becoming more and more scarce. But there's also good news: birth rates are down to 2.5 babies per woman, which is very nearly replacement rate. Use of contraception is up dramatically, disease rates are lower, poverty rates are lower, education rates are higher; overall, we're doing surprisingly well, especially with, you know, what we expected the world to look like 40 or 50 years ago. I am actually very hopeful about the future of our species; yeah we have immense challenges to face but we have immense resources to face them with. It all adds up to what will probably be one of the most exciting and vibrant eras in human history, and yes, also potentially violent and dangerous. But I for one feel privileged to be one of the 7 billion people that gets to live through it. John, I'll see you on Friday.