There is really no concrete answer to this question. Scientists have been debating the overpopulation of the earth for hundreds of years. The true issue is not the maximum capacity the earth can hold but the point at which the amount of resources needed to sustain life doesn’t match the amount of people on the earth. Still, some scientists believe the maximum capacity the earth can hold is about 1 trillion people.
It really depends on the amount of resources each person uses as well as the amount of resources that are left for other species. Personally, I don’t think that just because humans are living that the population is sustainable because this is occurring now while other species are dying and resources are being destroyed. Therefore I would argue that the current population with our resource consumption is not sustainable.
A biologist who has extreme interest in population and demographics developed a way of thinking and reasoning that evolved into a workable equation to estimate the carrying capacity of the planet. Although this looks to be a wonderful way of estimating the number, it is complicated and mutable due to a combination of things.
For starters the mutable variables are technology changes, efficiency changes, and above all, human effect changes. These ever-changing numbers create an end result that will always be adapting to the current environment. He was quoted back in 1994 that the earth was to be between 1.5-2 billion inhabitants. However this number has changed due to simple things like the birth of more efficient energy sources et al.
If you would like some leisure reading on the subject I would recommend The population boom by Paul R. Ehrlich. Published in 1968, I’m sure some things have changed however the basic principle hasn’t.
Well, before modern science and the Industrial Revolution, the human population did not exceed one billion people. Then, we began really abusing resources and non-renewable energy. It seems, according to the documentary The 11th Hour, that this harnessing of energy was what helped the human population grow. It seems the population stayed below 1 billion because the Earth couldn’t sustainably support more than that many humans. To answer your question, I’d say around a billion people. This information came partly from the documentary The 11th Hour and partly from here.
But, obviously, if this biologist who cesmith110 mentioned came up with 1.5 to 2 billion people, that works for me!
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