As world population reached seven billion the other day (7,000,000,000), BBC news has worked out that I am the 3,515,596,868th to be born on this planet. That means that since the time of my birth the population of the world has doubled.
These figures are an estimate, of course. It cannot be possible to work out the real figure, even with the best census in the world, but I suppose someone, somewhere, has to make the claim, if only for entertainment porposes (Danica May Camacho, born in The Philippines, will appreciate the estimate, one of a few children symbolically celebrating the honour of being number 7 billion).
The American Census Bureau, meanwhile, claims that we are 28 million shy of the given figure, and expects the real seven billion to be reached in March, next year – Danica will grow up hating the U.S.A. And then, The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, an Austrian group that studies world population, thinks that we might have to wait until 2014. No one listens to them, though, so we can safely discard their cry for recognition.
Whatever the real population is, it has brought just concern about the general state of the Earth. Some science guy was on TV, saying that we are still in a state of growth, for sure, but by 2100 the population will level off. Apparently, people will start to conceive two children at the end of the century. His reasoning was undoubtedly simplified to fit the two minute slot he was given, though I remain unconvinced that this will happen. Science guy vs pessimist? Who will win. Luckily for him, he has chosen a year well past his lifespan, so he is safe, whatever the outcome.