Shrinking World

The world’s population is reaching 7 billion. Have you ever wondered how our precious Earth could keep up that many people? What’s the breaking point of our planet in terms of resources to sustain all of us?

Because of hunger and without of opportunities, people from rural areas are migrating to the cities. They are moving their families to the cities in the hope of a better lives. Instead they find themselves living in worse condition than before.

How many cities are hosts for these squatter (or informal settlers if we want to be politically correct) communities? Studies show that there are about half a million squatter families living in the Philippines’ Metro Manila. With an average household membership of 7, we could calculate around 3.5 million squatters in Metro Manila. 3.5 million people living in makeshift housing often without water or sewage.

It is not uncommon to see these people living along waterways. Without proper sanitation, we could all imagine where they throw their wastes. The rivers are dying if not already dead because they were allowed to stay there.

Metro Manila’s population has grown more than it could manager. There are more people than there are number of jobs the metropolis could offer. A lot of squatter families resort to collecting anything they could salvage from the dumpsites. This is just in Metro Manila. There are similar situation in other cities of the Philippines.

Metro Manila is shrinking in terms of habitable space that it is truly expanding to become a Megapolis. Nearby suburbs are now being developed to attract those families living in Metro Manila. Rice fields are being converted into mass housing areas dwindling our supplies for food.

Trees are being cut down to give way to villages. Then we hear enormous flash floods happening. These enormous flash floods were unheard of several years ago. With the indiscriminate cutting of trees and the wanton disregard for our waterways, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what is causing the floods.

The Earth’s population is reaching 7 billion. Of these 7 billion, how many are living out of poverty? How many will throw their wastes along the waterways causing it to die? How many will be affected by enormous floods? How many of these 7 billion people will live in communities converted from rice fields? How many of these 7 billion people will live in villages converted from forests?

Our habitable space is shrinking. Our resources are shrinking. How many people can the Earth sustain, we really don’t know. There are too many questions. Our world is shrinking. But every body deserves a piece of our planet, including the future generation. Let us be aware of what is happening to our Earth now for their sake.

Soon we are going to celebrate Earth Day. We are again going to focus on emissions, recycling, global warming, and the ecosystem. I hope the almost 7 billion people of Earth will join in the celebration.

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