Is it a Happy Halloween?

The world population has reached a frightening, horrifying new number, and it is not 6.5 billion. There are 7 billion people sharing planet Earth and more are coming. October 31 has been deemed the symbolic day of this new number, according to the Los Angeles Times, although the figure may not actually be reached for several more months.

The United Nations Population Division determined Monday as the big day. Regardless of the specifics, this is sobering news for Halloween. There are billions of people on this planet, all sharing the same diminishing resources and increasing environmental problems. Is it time to be scared?

While Monday may be the marker date, it is not as if a billion people were born overnight, Mela crowdsor even in the last year. It has taken twelve years for the numbers to rise from 6 billion to 7 billion. According to UN estimations, the world population will only be around 9.3 billion in 2050.

There is no reason to be afraid of this very large figure. No one person will have to solve all the potential problems of such rapidly climbing numbers, so take a deep breath and relax. What each individual can do, however, is think about ways to reduce personal waste and consumption. Maybe turn the thermostat down, start a compost pile or plant a tree for the holiday (or at least plan on planting one next spring).

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will discuss what can be done for a population of 7 billion on Monday. Right now, there are only 382,000 more people than there were yesterday, 8 billion is still a long way off. The announcement of this new milestone can be used as a platform to put major issues like the environment, poverty and sustainable development on everyone’s minds. Facing reality is not such a bad thing.

Rose Stone