The United Nations estimates that the 7 billionth baby in the world will be born on Monday. The international agency has chosen Manila-born Danica May Camacho as the symbolic milestone baby, as first reported by the UK Guardian.
National Geographic will devote a year long series to mark the occasion, complete with questions like “Are there too many people on the planet?” and “Can we feed seven billion of us?”
Amid panic-laced prompts, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has called the milestone a victory for mankind, as people are living longer and children are surviving childhood — with the caveat being that the world needs to reinvigorate its push for sustainability.
“With planning and the right investments in people now — to empower them to make choices that are not only good for themselves, but also for our global commons — our world of 7 billion can have thriving sustainable cities, productive labour forces that fuel economies, and youth populations that contribute to the well-being of their societies,” said UNFPA Executive Director Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin in the foreword the group’s report “People and Possibilities in a World of 7 Billion.”
UNFPA has launched an initiative known as 7 Billion Actions to raise awareness for the challenges a large global population can pose, including sustainability, urbanization and poverty.
On Thursday, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon took a moment in New York to comment about the global population milestone.
“Some say our planet is too crowded. I say we are 7 billion strong,” he said. “But we will only be able to use that strength for the benefit of all if our societies are built on mutual respect and understanding… On this special day, let us pledge to unite, 7 billion strong, in the name of the global common good.”
CNN has delved into what 7 billion actually looks like, pointing out that about 7 billion seconds ago George Washington was inaugurated as the first president and 7 billion steps (at 2 feet per step) would get you around the earth’s equator 106 times.
Despite the hard-to-fathom number, Beverly LaHaye Institute senior fellow Janice Shaw Crouse told TheDC that the world actually could use more children. The Institute is a think tank affiliated with Concerned Women for America.
“Birth rates have declined to a point where we have far more people who are aged than we do children who are coming into the world and that kind of imbalance cannot be sustained in the growth of the economy and in the culture. We need fresh blood,” Crouse said.
Nevertheless, the world is continuing to expand. A U.N. report issued in May pointed out that by 2050 the global population will reach 9.3 billion, and fully 10.1 billion by 2100 – with high fertility countries, located mostly in Africa, Asia, and Latin America shouldering most of that growth.