According to the United Nations Population Fund, the world’s population
will reach 7,000,000,000 by Sunday, October 30. At the current rate, 5 people are born every second. So while CBS’ 60 Minutes airs next Sunday evening, 18,000 newborn neighbors will arrive in our world. By the time the Dallas Cowboys beat the Philadelphia Eagles on October 30, 7 billion will call Planet Earth home.
From Carlos Slim, richest telecommunications billionaire in the world with $74 billion, to one of 21,000 children destined to die every day from severe famine in the Horn of Africa, we’re all part of this wonderful place that has bestowed us with a great disparity of resources. Those very resources themselves suffer the threat of squandered entitlement at the hands of a mutated strain of capitalism and its related aggressors. With 7 billion inhabitants and finite resources we have not yet learned the lesson of openly sharing our incredible inheritance.
With humanity 7,000,000,000 strong, plunked down in the middle of that context we call the environment and with no sign of slowing, there are consequences. Counted among those 7 billion, at least for today, our calling must be to ensure a more equitable and respectful harnessing of our resources.
For life among inhabitants like Carlos Slim, to whom much has been given, much is asked. Most of us do not lay claim to such monetary wealth, but we do have enormous potential at our disposal to shape the future of the next 7 billion.
Building barbed wire walls among us as the world shrinks will not enhance peace. Continuing our false dependence on fossil fuels will not ensure a sustainablity of energy nor long-lived environmental health. Declaring war on one another will not enhance the sovereignty of the Pyrrhic victor and will only increase “collateral damage” as the world becomes more crowded.
With the current Occupy Movement, slaying of Gadaffi, Hussein, and the Arab Spring, the world has bellowed its overdue Primal Scream for natural justice. Steven Mazie draws upon the 20th Century American philosopher John Rawls in relation to the Occupy Wall Street phenomenon. Mazie reminds us of Rawls’ American version of the social contract. Rawls was not opposed to capitalism. In fact, he believed that some folks should legitimately expect greater rewards for greater efforts. However, there’s a baseline of individual rights and liberties that we should all be entitled to which includes access to a decent education and a genuine chance of success in life, even among those in the far reaches of Somalia.
Mutual interdependence, especially as the world’s growing population increases the need for marginal utility of the next dollar, is more important than ever. It also enhances the ability to maximize that utility.
In a common effort to embrace our gift of life on this planet, it’s time to assume the role of global citizenship for those to whom much has been given. Let’s work with our leaders to support them in their efforts toward peace and an equitable and responsible allocation of resources to ensure that baseline of individual rights and liberties for our 7,000,000,000 inhabitants. It’s time to end our divisive violation against one another and the planet and extend our view beyond the horizon of self and on to the a more common vista that includes all.
Rather than a 99 percent solution why not try for 100 percent?