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"What would happen if the Earth’s population were to double?"
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"What would happen if the Earth’s population were to double?"

Society is at times much like a ticking bomb, waiting to explode, writes Samantha Khan, 18, a Commonwealth Correspondent from Trinidad & Tobago. We must prevent the bomb from being built or at least stop it from blowing up.

What would happen if the Earth’s population were to instantly double? This is the question asked by National Geographic’s Aftermath: Population Overload.

I recently sat captivated as this television program detailed all the possible tragedies that would ensue should the Earth’s population grow from its current 7.6 billion to a staggering 14 billion. It traced the obvious though horrific problems such as famine, water shortages, lack of homes, disease outbreak and pollution. Equally terrifying were the secondary problems such as depletion of energy sources, mass hysteria and social unrest.

As I watched, I began to notice striking similarities between the fictional scenario depicted and our own reality- buildings springing up like trees (or, more accurately, replacing trees) in order to provide homes, the relentless search for more effective energy sources, feverish farming to produce food for starving people and social unrest the world over.

Combine this with the present friction between many countries, an increasingly materialistic and apathetic society, broken homes and disappearing family systems and the ferocity with which Mother Nature is lashing out at us, and we may have a downright apocalyptic situation on our hands.

And what then? What will become of our shopping malls and electronic gadgets? What of our protocol and systems? If it is to be anything like the crisis painted by National Geographic, then we should expect a complete disintegration of society. We should expect chaos.

It may be useful to pause for a moment and consider the Earth’s outcry. The recent natural disasters wreaking havoc on our brothers and sisters in Haiti, Japan, New Zealand, Chile and elsewhere on the globe may be viewed as a rage of frustration by an abused planet. As these disasters escalate, and the Earth wages war against us, what are we to do to preserve our population? If we continue to exhaust our resources and ignore global warming in favour of modern comforts, there will soon be no Earth for us to inhabit. And, as a result, no hope for humanity (unless we figure out how to build colonies on other planets soon).

As we move into the future, we should try to work with our planet, ever mindful of its limitations. Currently we expect Mother Earth to provide us with whatever we need for as long as we need it without complaint. But this is not possible. The Mayans and the Incas thrived in societies that operated in harmony with the Earth. It may be wise to learn as much as we can from these lost civilisations and apply some of their wisdom to our modern world.

At this point, society is much like a ticking bomb, waiting to explode. Ideally, we should have prevented the bomb from being created or at least stopped its progress. We can no longer do that, but there is no reason for us to allow the bomb to blow us to smithereens when we can still defuse it.

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About me:

“Hello! I’m a student from Trincity, Trinidad, and I love to write, read and sometimes draw. I would live in the cinema if I had the choice. I enjoy learning about as many different cultures as I possibly can.

“My dream is to become a novelist and through that, to challenge the stereotypes and constraints of society, as well as to provide thought-provoking material to shed new light on life itself. I believe that if we all shine a little light into the world, it will inevitably become a brighter place.”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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