One of the themes The Face of God film is exploring is human population and the challenges it presents to the global ecosystem. Currently, there are 7.6 billion people on earth. In the last six months alone, .4 billion people were added to the world’s population of human beings. To put that into perspective, when I was born in 1970 there were 3.7 billion people. The United Nations projects that by 2050, there will be over ten billion human beings seeking to live, eat, drink water and survive in our planetary ecosystem. It took 200,000 years for our human population to reach 1 billion—and only 200 years to reach 7 billion.
Can we support this growth? Can the earth’s systems, already straining beneath the demands we are already placing on them, sustain such growth?
These are critical questions with no easy answers. Most of our populations are gathered into metropolitan areas, such as New York City where this footage was taken by our film crew, and these city structures were designed and built long before the population began growing. Our systems simply did not, and still do not, use ecosystems as their pattern, and thus we face an extraordinary task over the next decade: transform our metropolitan, human systems so that they are sustainable both for us and for the natural world we are part of and which sustain us too. Every facet of life even in this image from the film will need to change in just ten or twenty years (at most) and it will take all our focus and cooperation at every level to make these changes. We will need to accept these changes, and the sacrifices they require of each of us, and it will take our ingenuity and most of all prayer as well.
Guiding us, partly, must be the truth that ecosystem health is human health. the work we do to transform our cities and our systems must now focus on the natural world and its systems, and at some point we will all need to have the discussion, with courage and love and prayer, about the human population and we will need to find our way to some answers about what to do together.