Earth day

5 Environmental and Human Trends Worth Celebrating This Earth Day

Peak population, expanding forests, more abundant resources, falling air pollution, and plenty of farmland

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To celebrate the 49th Earth Day, below are some global trends indicate that the state of humanity and the natural world is on course to dramatically improve by the end of this century.

Peak Population: The world population will likely peak at 9.8 billion people at around 2080 and fall to 9.5 billion by 2100 in the medium fertility scenario calculated by demographer Wolfgang Lutz and his colleagues at the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis.

Alternatively, assuming rapid economic growth, technological advancement, and rising levels of educational attainment for both sexes—all factors that tend to lower fertility—Lutz projects that world population will more likely peak at around 8.9 billion by 2060 and decline to 7.8 billion by the end of the 21st century. Global population stands at about 7.7 billion now.

Other global trends such as steeply falling child mortality rates, increased urbanization, rising incomes, and the spread of political and economic freedom all strongly correlate with families choosing to have fewer children. Instead of having many children in the hope that a few might survive, more parents around the world now at aim at providing those few that they do have with the skills and social capital that will enable them to flourish in a modern economy.

Forest Expansion: Global tree canopy cover increased by 2.24 million square kilometers (865,000 square miles) between 1982 and 2016, reported researchers at the University of Maryland in a September 2018 study in ​Nature​.

Using satellite data to track the changes in various land covers, they found that gains in forest area in the temperate, subtropical, and boreal climatic zones are offsetting declines in the tropics.

Tree canopy in Europe, including European Russia, has increased by 35 percent—the greatest gain among all continents. The researchers attribute much of that increase to the "natural afforestation on abandoned agricultural land," which has been "a common process in Eastern Europe after the collapse of the Soviet Union." The tree canopy in the U.S. and China has increased by 34 and 15 percent respectively.

Simon Resource Abundance Index: Data for 50 foundational commodities covering energy, food, materials, and metals was collected by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund between 1980 and 2017. Adjusted for inflation, the prices for 43 commodities declined, two remained equally valuable, and five commodities increased in price. On average, the real price of 50 commodities fell by 36.3 percent.

Between 1980 and 2017, the inflation-adjusted global hourly income per person grew by 80.1 percent. Therefore, in terms of the amount of work required, commodities became 64.7 percent cheaper. Put differently, commodities that took 60 minutes of work to buy in 1980, took only 21 minutes of work to buy in 2017.

U.S. Air Pollution Trends: The Environmental Protection Agency reports that between 1980 and 2017, U.S. gross domestic product increased 165 percent, vehicle miles traveled increased 110 percent, energy consumption increased by 25 percent, and U.S. population grew by 44 percent. During the same period, emissions of carbon monoxide fell by 72 percent; lead by 99 percent; nitrogen oxides by 61 percent; compounds from automobile exhaust associated with ozone by 54 percent; sulfur dioxide by 89 percent, and particulates by 61 percent. During the same time period, total emissions of the six principal air pollutants dropped by 67 percent.

Peak Farmland: Global arable land (annual crops like wheat and corn) and permanent crops (such as coffee and cocoa) were planted on 1,371 million hectares in 1961. That rose to 1,533 million hectares in 2009. Rockefeller University researcher Jesse Ausubel and his co-authors project a return to 1,385 million hectares in 2060, thus restoring at least 146 million hectares to nature. This is an area two and a half times that of France or the size of ten Iowas. While cropland has continued to expand slowly since 2009, the World Bank reports that land devoted to agriculture (including pastures) peaked in 2000 at 4,918 million hectares and had fallen to 4,862 million hectares by 2015. This human withdrawal from the landscape is the likely prelude to a vast ecological restoration over the course of this century.

Happy Earth Day!

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30 responses to “5 Environmental and Human Trends Worth Celebrating This Earth Day

  1. Farms and forest increase production due to greater CO2 levels. thats my take, correlation is always causation thats what I’ve been told by the consensous

  2. The science is settled — we must vote Democrat so they can pass the Green New Deal or the planet will become uninhabitable in 12 years.

    #ILoveScience

    1. Did you read the same article that I did?

      1. OBL is a parody account. He’s not very good at it, though.

        1. He has his good days, of which this is not one.

          1. Sometimes he tricks several of the newcomers at once.

  3. So, they’re starting to walk back the perennial ‘Population Bomb’ predictions, are they? My guess is that that means the last several reported upticks in world population are so much bullshit, and the people spreading them around are beginning to get nervous about being exposed.

    Remember; the biggest population growth numbers come from Africa and Asia. Excepting China, most of these countries RUN on humanitarian aid, which is usually doled out according to population…so there really is no incentive to claim accurate numbers.

    1. “They” are doing no such thing. “They” continue to insist that human wickedness, consumption and fornication shall doom the world. Ask the typical resident of an urban area if over population is a problem and “They” will undoubtedly say YES!

      The numbers, on the other hand, have been saying that overpopulation is no problem for many decades.

      1. City dwellers will always say overpopulation is an issue because they live around way too many people. City dwellers are also big into regulating other people’s private behaviors because they live so damn close to each other. Many of them have no idea about the wide open spaces that constitute around 87% of the landmass in the US.

    2. “Remember; the biggest population growth numbers come from Africa and Asia. Excepting China, most of these countries RUN on humanitarian aid, which is usually doled out according to population…so there really is no incentive to claim accurate numbers.”

      And this is a huge part of the problem. A bunch of dysfunctional, welfare dependent nations are the ones increasing their populations… All of the civilized nations that have their shit together are decreasing. If some parts of the world don’t get their shit together, there may well be mass starvation etc at some point, because smaller 1st world populations won’t be able to “charity feed” Africa when there are 4 BILLION people there.

  4. These are all articles indicating good news about the environment.
    We can’t have that.
    We must have end-of-the-world environmental scenarios if we are to redistribute the wealth.
    Where’s Al Gore when you need him?

    1. Eating a big expensive steak on his big expensive private jet while sitting on his big expensive ass. All,the courtesy of that redistributed wealth. So he can be the wrokd’s First carbon billionaire.

      1. Hey man, I’m sure he purchased carbon offsets for all that stuff! Or had an entire Vietnamese village killed to offset it or whatever. He’s an honest man! He’d never just kill the earth and stuff!

  5. Looks like the planet, and all the organisms on it, are doomed, yessiree. Well, a couple people will interpret it thusly. 🙂

  6. The good news is that you can take a shit on a side walk in San Francisco and it’s viewed as normal .

    1. I favor mulching progtards. While they’re still alive.

  7. At least Earth Day isn’t an entire week like “Holy Weed Week.”

  8. […] This article cones from Reason.com. Please pay Reason a visit for more thought-provoking articles. […]

  9. All of these trends betray the green movement and reduce the alarmism and thus SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY SUPPRESSED, you traitor!

  10. Earth Day is as superstitious a celebration as is Halloween…an ode to irrationalism…

    1. Anyone using the term ‘mother earth’ is dealing with religion, not science.

  11. I had a used-tire roast in the back yard today; the pleasant fragrance of vulcanized hydro-carbons combining with oxygen at high temps!

  12. Maybe I’m an optimistic but I believe we are getting close to peak population. Here is another good article on that.

    https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2019/02/21/empty-planet-global-population-decline-growth-john-ibbitson-darrell-bricker

    1. That first chunk of that page is correct about the numbers… And retardedly utopian and proggie in all its language.

      The truth is there is nothing wrong with a decreasing population, either globally or in a given nation. I am of the mind that trying to get fertility rates close to replacement is good though, just so it is a slow slide down, and eases some of the issues of a rapid drop.

      The problem with current trends is that all the civilized, educated people in the world aren’t having kids, and all the growth is coming from uneducated 3rd worlders. The notion that we can take in endless streams of foreigners and actually maintain our existence as 1st world nations is dubious… If we’re skimming the cream only, we might be able to do it economically. But the USA, Europe, Japan etc will literally just be destroying themselves as the things/places they are today.

      If the USA lets in 100 million foreigners, the USA will cease to exist as what it has been. Period. It will become some new cluster fuck of a nation, likely with less freedom, and poorer citizens (depending on policies on who comes in). So the question is do nations want to survive as nations… Or become generic cluster fucks filled with endless infighting? Because that is always the outcome when different cultures are rapidly thrown together in a political entity.

  13. Thanks for researching this… Also worth considering for a future feature – where are all the progressive cause accomplishments? There are some, but you won’t find them championed by their champions. Today, an absence of victory lap-running when popular causes win is a conscious omission by the far left. Improving the world (which in some cases we can acknowledge has actually happened, as your article reminds us) or acknowledging progress is “Bad for fundraising,” and bad for SJW recruiting. When S Africa ended apartheid and privately funded medical research and drug development saved lives of AIDS patients, we said so and celebrated together.

  14. Those of us old enough to remember “we have to act now before it’s too late” to fight global cooling aren’t buying any more climate change apocalypse bullshit.

  15. […] hope you had a blessed, safe and awesome Holy Week. I also pray you had a Beautiful Earth day as […]

  16. […] activism for more than half a century and that virtually all socio-economic and most environmentalindicators clearly indicate that humanity is now much better off than it ever was. What is missing […]