Of people and plastics - Page 2

The World Without Us

But with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch measuring 10 million square miles in area (nearly the size of Africa) as of 2005 and six other tropical oceanic gyres swirling with ugly plastic debris — not to mention all the other environmental problems humans have caused — is it too late to heal our world?

Specuutf8g that microbes will eventually evolve to eat all our plastics — something that could take 100,000 years to occur — Weisman suggests a healing path that doesn't require a world without us. "Green technology won't be enough on its own," he notes. "The answer lies in lowering the number of humans on the planet. I don't mean shoot ourselves, but that we don't replace ourselves at same rate."

There are 6.6 billion people on the planet, and 9 billion are predicted by 2050. Weisman says that by restricting reproduction to one child per couple, "our population could shrink to 1.6 billion by 2100, and the world will be a better place." And in the meantime, don't forget the reusable bags on your next trip to the grocery store.*

Comments, ideas, and submissions for Green City, the Guardian's weekly environmental column, can be sent to news@sfbg.com.