Is the World Full Yet?

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With spiralling population growth, what is the world going to look like in 120 years? A new book by Graeme Robin paints an alarming picture, says Graham Paterson.

GRAEME ROBIN has confronted a problem that has been swept under the carpet for too long and has done so in an unique and entertaining way. The problem is the ever growing population on our relatively small and finite planet. This planet, Earth, has limited resources and limited habitable space, and Robin has had a peek into the future to say, enough is enough.

Considerable research has gone into finding out why our population growth presents such a problem for our future generations. Many prominent people have voiced their concerns, which are clearly supported by available data and statistical projections.

Robin’s book is quite beautifully illustrated, but it is also quite frightening when we look at the massive overcrowding that is already existing in some of our cities.

The uniqueness of this book is seen through the eyes of Jasper. Jasper was born in 2014, when the book was written and taking into account the rapid advancement of medical and scientific knowledge, Robin predicts Jasper will live to the ripe old age of 124 years.

What is the world going to be like in 2138? Who knows? The author doesn’t, but he has looked at the available statistics and presents a rather alarming picture. From 1960 to 2014 the world’s population has increased from 3 billion people to 7 billion. If we continue at this rate we will hit 16 billion at the end of Jasper’s lifetime.

The simple arithmetic shows that the current average births each year are 138 million, while the deaths only account for 58 million. That leaves a population growth of 80 million a year.

That’s a pretty horrendous figure when you think about it and it definitely has the makings for a good “horror” story. Despite that, Graeme Robin's book happens to be a book that should be made compulsory reading for every politician, and on the curriculum of every high school.

Robin has done a tremendous service for mankind, but as a messenger passing on a message very few people want to hear, he and it will no doubt be relegated to the “too hard basket”.

Unfortunately, developing a practical and universally accepted solution for our ever increasing population, is very much in this basket. As the writer says, at some point in the future, there will come a time when the planet is “full” and our population with have to stop growing. When we get to that point, it will be too late anyway. Whatever action is to be taken has to start now – today – and when he looked at all the options, he was left with only one: it is up to “us”– you and me – to do something, because no-one else is going to.

Robin has written a very logical and well detailed account of the problem facing us on our one and only planet. He has done this in a personal, well written and entertaining way that delivers the message loud and clear. Maybe the book can be faulted in it not offering a range of practical solutions to this problem other than to reduce the birth rate, but then again, Graeme is the messenger and he does not claim to have the knowledge, authority, or expertise, to deal with the enormity the problem presents.


Probably one of the most important points highlighted by Robin is the fact that virtually every nation in the world is on the bandwagon of economic growth. That bandwagon desperately depends on an ever increasing population. As long as that dependency is there, it will be very hard for governments and the corporate sector to change course. This places the responsibility very much at the foot of that pseudo-science of economics. Despite everything that is written about economics, it always comes down to “money,” and as long as our “prosperity” depends on economic growth and making a profit, that is going to be a major obstacle to overcome.

Graeme Robin's message truly does need to be heard and one can only hope his efforts get the amount of publicity they deserve.

Find out more about 'Is the World Full Yet?', by Graeme Robin (self-published 21 February 2015, 100 pages, $15) HERE.

Graham Paterson is a retired engineer. You can read more about Graham on his website:

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