Emergent patterns in nature and society

Life expentancy: demographic drivers

Current World Life Expectancy at Birth

via chartsbin.com

By 2050 the planet is expected to host 9 billion human inhabitants. However, when you think on population growth, it not only means the absolute number of people on the planet. It also accounts for the time that people spend on it, using resources and interacting with nature. In that sense, one has always to be aware that one human being in Canada is not the same as one human being in South Africa. Models usually assume both units to be the same. But, in practice, if a canadian has in average double life expectancy, one could expect that its impact on Earth is approximately twice as the South African. That’s keeping things way too simplistic and assuming lifestyles and consumption patterns are the same (and invariable in time). To make yourself an idea, you can check the photographic work by Peter Menzel, or this short note on Daily Kos. Once the latest assumption is relaxed, the differences between the footprint of say an average European and an Afghani is hardly captured. How many Afghanis are equivalent to one European? How would it be an environmental friendly policy regarding migration and human rights then? How do we do to overcome such limitations when it comes to model and plan our future? Do you think it is even possible? If 9 billion people acquires different meanings when it comes to impacts on the planet, then models we need will have to to include agency, or the particularities of individuals that aggregated at the collective level allow different set of patterns. If you see the paper tackling the issue, please let me know!!

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