It is a milestone.
For years working in food security, many quoted how reaching 9 billion people on Earth would put strain on our food systems, not to realise we were only shielding ourselves from reality. The main challenge working within western communities is that global shortages of food reach us through paying more at the weekly shop or not being able to find a fruit or vegetable in a given season. With the ongoing threat of climate change, which ultimately means 'climate unpredictability' rather than 'changing climates', it is becoming even more challenging for food producers to keep to consumer demand, that is irrespective of location. But, understandably, that those farmers who have been feeling the stress of climate variability will be placed under greater pressure in upcoming years. These changing climates, however, will shape how pests and crop diseases spread, affect seasonal crops, make water even more scarce, but on top of all these environmental changes, our attitudes as a population are also at risk of becoming more volatile. While it is well established that with given time, nature recovers, our fast-paced human (r)evolution, may not always work to guarantee our futures.
In part, we have to accept these challenges, but also play our part, as little as it may be, towards the recovery of the planet's health. Global mindsets might not change overnight, but better and more confident consumer choice will lead global enterprises in seeking more sustainable business philosophies, as they shape their policies towards consumers' values. And yet, we need better leaders, and not be subjected to the cowardly strength of those who shield behind the voices of those who elected them.
We truly believe our success going forward is to work with what we have. To make more sensible, and responsible decisions to protect our vision as a more productive planet, while also protecting the environment, and helping exhausted lands recover.
Areas we would like to see improvement in:
Healthcare access to work more collectively with data analytics.
Agriculture to allow exhausted areas to recover through regenerative agriculture, or reducing the costs V-farming such that it is accessible to more people.
Social medias to stop selling the idea of freedom of speech that is built on the speech of single individuals.
Communication industries to provide us more reliable information rather than selling us what they think we might want.
Governments to allow for better representation of value-orientated business diversity in consumer markets.
This is the generation that will be building the future, as we reach an expected plateau at 10 billion, but also become the population who will be living longer, and whose births will decline and lower the number of working age individuals. The challenges ahead are clear, and divided. Will we become the population that is blasted with ads that sell to us thoughts rather than encourage us to think for ourselves? Or will we learn to live in multimedia, virtual realities that blind us to global challenges and will lead to the technology-rich, but culture-poor formation of settlements on other planets?
Eight billion people might be a numbers milestone in the ageing of the Earth, but does it really reflect our maturity?