Elepop

“No one concerned with the state of the planet and the state of the global economy can avoid dealing with population. It is the elephant in the room.” (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/24/popes-climate-stance-is-nonsense-rejects-population-control-says-top-us-scientist)

Planetary pregnant pause precedes pachydermic papal population pop.

Refubees

“The researchers suggested that one potential way to mitigate the bees’ reduced range would be to experiment with relocating bumblebee populations northwards, as has been done before with butterflies and plants.” (http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/09/bumblebee-habitat-shrinking-europe-north-america-climate-change-study)

Travellers heading north will be offered the chance to chaperone a small swarm.

Climatic

“An international coalition of experts on climate change, family planning and development aid are now pushing for universal access to family planning to be recognized as a part of ‘climate-compatible development’.” (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/02/03/us-population-climate-idUKKBN0L71IY20150203)

Always a sensitive area, but one that’s ballooning.

Boom

“Climate change, war, reduced mortality and fertility, and increased maternal age … [even a] devastating global pandemic that killed 2 billion people” would only dent the human population. “Global population has risen so fast over the past century that roughly 14% of all the human beings that have ever existed are still alive today.” (http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/28/global-population-science-growth-study-wars-disaster-disease)

14% is startling. There have only ever been 50 billion humans? Over 20,000 years? A reasoned estimate puts this figure over 100 billion (http://www.prb.org/Publications/Articles/2002/HowManyPeopleHaveEverLivedonEarth.aspx) but any of the assumptions could be challenged. Still startling.

“Growth purely for its own sake is the philosophy of cancer.” (Jasper Fforde, Lost in a Good Book, Hodder Paperbacks New Ed edition, 2002, p86)

Polapulation

“Using high-resolution satellite imagery, researchers counted the population of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) on Rowley Island in Foxe Basin in the Canadian Arctic. … [They] were able to discriminate among presumed bears and non-targets by comparing high resolution images collected at different points in time.” (http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0717-hance-polar-bears-satellite.html)

This ‘if it moves it’s a polar bear’ criterion critically differs from the land-based count where ‘if it moves you’re too late.’

Ecomplexity

Pay close attention: “the reintroduction of predatory wolves [is linked] with a fall in over-browsing by elk … the number of berries measured in bear droppings has doubled as elk numbers have decreased, following the wolves’ return … berry shrubs have increased since elk populations declined, and as shrubs recover from over-browsing the fruit consumption of bears has increased … elk calves are an important food source for grizzly bears … [bears’] other spring food source, cutthroat trout, is also in decline.” (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23495074)

Got that? Now draw it.