Here’s a big piece of news. As of this moment—or perhaps yesterday—there are 8 billion people living on our planet.
I have a long-term interest in population growth, but my focus on it today actually derives from the location of the washing machine and dryer in my home.
I actually look forward to doing my laundry every Saturday morning. Our house has a walk-out basement and that lower floor is where our washer and dryer are located. It’s also home to our “second tier” library. My home office has a wonderful wall of floor-to-ceiling, built-in bookshelves for my “active interest” books. Downstairs is a diverse range of books—from my daughter’s Harry Potter volumes, to moribund books from grad school in the 1970s, to a wide array of Isaac Asimov’s science fiction. In that diversity I find hidden gems to explore between laundry loads.
Late last week I read a news article citing last summer’s release of the United Nations Population Division’s “World Population Prospects 2022” report, which projected November 15 as the day the 8-millionth human would arrive on Earth. So I was already thinking about global population when I spotted on these shelves a thin paperback titled “An Introduction to Population.” I pulled it out and saw that it was authored by a sociologist named Kenneth Kammeyer back in 1971.
On page 126, Kammeyer details the surging of population globally after about 1650:
The human population grew very slowly before the seventeenth century, but after that date the number of people began to increase rapidly. From 6000 B.C. to 1650 A.D. the population of the earth doubled about every two thousand years. After 1650 the population doubled in less than two hundred years, or in only one-tenth of the time it had taken during the first seven thousand years of the historical period. In about 1830 the world had reached one billion. By 1930 the second billion was recorded, so humankind had doubled again, and this time in only one hundred years….and in the mid-1970s, when the world population reaches four billion, the population will be double the number it was in 1930.
Kammeyer was writing over 50 years ago, and I figured that the fresh report from the UN would let me see how those “now ancient” perspectives on the future have played out. One of the most useful tools I got from my Economics 101 class was the “simple 70 rule.” If population (or your bank account) is increasing at an annual rate of 1 percent, it will double in 70 years. This also means that if the pace of increase is 2 percent per year (as it was in 1971), then it should double in 35 years (i.e., 70 divided by 2).
So I Googled the UN population report and started looking at their figures. If the 2 percent growth noted in the 1970s had continued unchanged, the simple 70 rule would have world population at 8 billion just 35 years after 1975, or in 2010. So the fact that the UN report was projecting 8 billion for November 15 of this year was an indicator that the growth rate had slowed. That’s good news.
Key point: Now that population reached 8 billion, the increase continues to 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100. That’s a lot of people to feed and clothe and keep healthy. But the rate of growth will slow substantially.
I wanted to better understand where all these people live. As I searched for an answer, I discovered an amazing source of online data. It’s a website called Our World in Data. It helped put population into a very visual, data-driven perspective.
Take a look at this global map. It displays each nation in its approximate geographic placement, but the country’s size is scaled to its total population.
If you, like me, are addicted to maps and data, prepare to spend the rest of your day/week exploring the diverse offerings of Our World in Data…
Until next week,
President & CEO, Archaeology Southwest
Banner image: svstudioart via Freepik
Interactive: Where Do You Fit in among the 8 Billion?
The world’s population reached a record 8 billion people Tuesday, according to estimates from the United Nations, a staggering number. That’s 8 billion people of different ages, nationalities and cultures. But there are unifying characteristics that you share with many people you will never know. To help you discover how many on the planet have attributes like yours, we’ve created an interactive experience using demographic data that you can customize by age, country and gender. Find out where you stand in this moment—and where the world is headed next with the pace of growth at its slowest since 1950. Daniel Wolfe, Ruby Mellen, Leslie Shapiro, and Hailey Haymond in the Washington Post | Check it out »
After a Devastating Fire, Brazil’s National Museum Re-envisions Itself
In 2018, after 40 years with the museum, Oliveira planned to retire. But the fire pushed those plans aside. Even while mourning the tragedy, he saw possibility. … For Oliveira, the destruction was also a chance to start over and try something radical: asking Indigenous peoples what they wanted. Mariana Lenharo and Meghie Rodrigues in the New York Times Magazine | Read more »
Map: Traditional Connections to the Grand Canyon
This map displays ancestral areas associated with certain tribes, as reflected by past archaeological and ethno-historic research. Where possible, these areas have been created based upon tribal knowledge and resources, but are provisional and have the inherent limitation of imposing lines on a fluid and evolving reality. Grand Canyon Trust | View now »
ICYMI: Podcast: Perspectives from a Hopi Archaeologist
With Lyle Balenquah. As a Hopi archaeologist working on Ancestral Lands on the Colorado Plateau, Lyle’s experience in archaeology is different from his non-Native colleagues. We speak with him about his journey into archaeology and what it means for him to be preserving Hopi culture within Ancestral Lands. Science Moab | Listen now »
Position Announcement: Public Programs & Relations Manager (Dragoon AZ)
The Amerind Foundation of Dragoon, Arizona, seeks a dynamic individual to serve as the Public Programs & Relations Manager. Under the supervision of the President & CEO and working with senior museum staff, the Public Programs & Relations Manager will have primary responsibility for developing, scheduling, implementing, promoting, marketing, and evaluating the Foundation’s programs, events, and workshops that complement Amerind’s research and exhibition programs and will engage communities throughout the Greater Southwest and northwest Mexico. The successful candidate will be a creative thinker capable of conceptualizing and implementing a wide range of public programs, as well as advertising and promoting those programs. Amerind | Learn more »
November Subscription Lectures (Santa Fe NM)
Nov. 21, Keith Prufer, New Perspectives on Early Food Production in the Mesoamerican Neotropics; Nov. 28, Eric Blinman, Innovations in Radiocarbon Dating, Archaeomagnetism of Burned Rocks, a Collaborative Approach in Human Burial Studies, & Multicultural Education for All New Mexicans! Southwest Seminars | Learn more »
REMINDER: Nov. 17 Webinar: A Summer of Reconnections
With Davina Two Bears. In the summer of 2021, Two Bears participated in re-documenting Diné archaeology sites on Chacra Mesa in Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The Navajo presence is clearly visible from the summer hogans along Chaco Wash to defensive locations atop Chacra Mesa. In this presentation, Davina shares her experience of re-connecting and re-documenting Navajo sites of her Diné relatives on Chacra Mesa. Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and Colorado Archaeological Society, Hisatsinom Chapter | More information and Zoom registration »
REMINDER: Nov. 17 Webinar: Navajo Pueblito Sites in Dinétah
With Ronald H. Towner. Pueblitos, as the name implies, are small masonry structures. In the ancestral Navajo homeland of Dinétah in northwestern New Mexico, more than 250 such structures and associated hogans have been documented. Once thought to be the result of a massive immigration of Pueblo people fleeing the Spaniards, research in the past 2+ decades demonstrates significant variation in these sites over time. This presentation describes this variation and suggests important implications for understanding Navajo cultural development and land use in the 18th century. Third Thursday Food for Thought Series (Old Pueblo Archaeology Center) | More information and Zoom registration »
REMINDER: Nov. 21 Webinar: Arizona’s and New Mexico’s Hidden Scholars: Husband and Wife Archaeological Teams
With Nancy Parezo. “Tonight I will focus on recent work by Don and Kay Fowler and myself on early husband and wife archaeological teams who worked in Arizona and New Mexico and how their efforts have gone unrecognized but whose efforts helped pave the way for future generations to have successful careers. We focus on the activities of Frank and Theresa Russell, who surveyed Arizona between 1900 and 1903.” Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society | More information and Zoom registration »
Nov. 23 In-Person Event (Coolidge AZ): Traditional O’odham Agriculture
With Maegan Lopez. Lopez comes from the small community of New Fields, Arizona, on the Tohono O’odham Nation at the edge of the U.S./Mexico boundary. Maegan holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Family Studies and Human Development from the University of Arizona, and works fulltime as a teacher aide in the Special Education Department at Tucson’s Ha:sañ Preparatory and Leadership High School (a bicultural public high school designed for all Native Nations) saying she is “honored to be a part of a team of individuals who foster our traditional history alongside contemporary curriculum.” Lopez will discuss the Friends of Tucson’s Birthplace at Mission Garden in Tucson and how their work connects with traditional O’odham agriculture. Casa Grande Ruins National Monument | Learn more »
Nov. 30 Webinar: Every Yard Boasted a Metate
With Will Stoutamire. By the late 1800s, many Hispanic and Anglo Americans in northern Arizona had begun “pothunting”—that is, playing amateur archaeologist and taking artifacts from Indigenous historic sites. Eventually, notable professional archaeologists from back east set their sights on northern Arizona, taking the region’s buried treasures back with them, often to the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. To stop this flow of historic artifacts away from the region, local residents decided to open a museum in Flagstaff—the Museum of Northern Arizona—that could preserve, maintain, and display the artifacts found in the area. Arizona Historical Society and AZ Humanities | More information and free registration »
Dec. 9 In-Person (Tucson AZ) and Online Event: What the Rest of the Country (and the World) Can Learn from Southern Arizona
With Dr. Geoff Boyce. The Arizona / Sonora border region can be thought of as a microcosm where multiple global issues—including settler colonial dispossession, economic globalization, transnational migration, and the militarization of nation-state borders—come together and concentrate, shaping conditions of everyday life for communities on both sides of the line. At the same time, this region is also characterized by important living legacies of grassroots organizing, mutual aid and resistance to cultural and economic apartheid, the state-sanctioned violation of human rights, and a host of associated measures of violence and inequality. My Arizona Lecture Series (University of Arizona) | More information and Zoom registration »
Dec. 11 In-Person Workshop (Tucson AZ): Beef, Wheat & Chiltepin: Sonora’s Culinary Heritage
With Presidio Museum Program and Garden Specialist Alex La Pierre. Find out how the confluence of distinct geography, environments, cultures, economics, and religion shaped the culinary culture of the Sonoran Desert in this two-hour seminar. Presented in Soledad’s Garden, from which tastings will be shared. If you’ve ever wondered what makes Sonoran cuisine unique, and what sets it apart in Mexican Gastronomy, this program is for you. Pre-registration is required. $25 for Presidio Museum members and $30 for non-members. Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum | Learn more »
Dec. 11 In-Person Walking Tour (Tucson AZ): Tales of Crime in Downtown Tucson
With archaeologist and historian Homer Thiel. Thiel will lead a walk through downtown Tucson, revealing stories of kidnapping, murder, and bigamy that took place during the Territorial and Early Statehood Periods. Tours will take place at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Pre-registration is required, $20 for Presidio Museum members and $25 for non-members. Presidio San Agustín del Tucson Museum | Learn more »
Please send us notice of upcoming webinars and Zoom lectures, tours and workshops, and anything else you’d like to share with the Friends.