Time to call “time” on the UN’s 7bn clock

October 24, 2011

Why is the BBC playing along with the UN’s farcical “countdown” to the birth of the planet’s 7 billionth inhabitant?

OK, so the latest article on the BBC website concedes that no one knows the true size of the global population (“we may have already passed seven billion”), but merrily goes along with the assertion that on October 31, the earth’s population will pass that milestone because “the UN has picked the day as the best estimate”.

It’s just that, as estimates go, it’s pretty ropey. In fact, it could have been passed over a year ago.

The argument in favour of the fantasy date is that it focuses attention on pressing issues such as overcrowding, poverty and the stripping of resource.

All very laudable, of course.

But are we all really so shallow that we need a sprinkle of marketing moondust before we can take these issues seriously?

For the sake of all 7 billion of us, I hope not.


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