Around 390,000 new humans are born every day. So, on a planet with dwindling resources and an increasing strain on natural systems… is curbing our booming population the key to solving our environmental woes?
In 2018, just North America and China were responsible for almost half of the world’s CO2 emissions. These are also the countries with the highest concentrations of the world’s wealthiest people. Their populations are living longer and having fewer babies, so their population growth is actually slowing down. By contrast, the poorest half of the world—where most global population growth is currently concentrated — produces only 10% of the world’s CO2 emissions.
These populations typically lack the technology and wealth that result in high energy expenditure, increased industrialization, and pollution. So, in climate change projections that take these imbalances into account, it’s been shown that redistributing wealth—so, reducing both extreme wealth and extreme poverty—has as much impact on carbon emissions as reducing overall population would.
Even in projected scenarios where a reduction in population does make a difference in emissions, it’s not enough of a difference to affect projected temperature rise. No amount of population reduction would achieve the reduction in emissions necessary to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius in our near future.
With all the talk about digital media, it’s easy to forget how powerful traditional media such as radio and television still are. Radio in particular rarely gets credited for what it still is: a true mass medium. According to Nielsen, radio even trumps TV in terms of its weekly reach.
According to Nielsen’s measurements, far more than 200 million Americans aged 18 and older listen to the radio at least once a week, equaling a reach of 92 percent of the adult population. Television came in a close second with a weekly reach of 86 percent, while 80 percent of U.S. adults now use apps or browse the web on a smartphone in any given week.
While radio does win in terms of sheer reach, TV remains unparalleled with respect to average daily usage. According to Nielsen’s measurements, U.S. adults spend an average of 4 hours and 27 minutes a day watching TV (live and time-shifted), which is more than 2.5 times the amount of time they listen to the radio (1h 42m).