Overpopulation: Do we need an inferno?

Quite a few years ago, I was walking through the local Borders store, and my eyes fell on the new Dan Brown book, “Inferno”. The synopsis was intriguing and Dan had done it again. That night, I began turning the pages to what turned out to be a most invigorating read.

In the book, a billionaire geneticist decides to cure the world of overpopulation by engineering a biological virus that will wipe out half the human population. And there begins the heroic professor’s race to stop this semi-apocalypse with nothing but an eidetic memory and a Mickey Mouse watch.

But I can’t help but linger on the issue Dan Brown addressed: overpopulation.

Here are some facts:

  • The current world population is 7.6 billion. (based off of a UN estimation)
  • We are growing exponentially, not linearly.
  • We will be nearing 9.9 billion by 2050.
  • This is not good at all.

Numbers aside, while it is not something we notice, it is happening all around us. And the irony is that we did this to ourself. The better healthcare we applaud ourselves over, is one of the root causes of overpopulation. The death rate has undoubtedly lowered over the past few decades. But with it, we are pushing our natural resources to the limit, in an attempt to meet the demands of an ever-growing number.

And that begs the question, given where we are headed and factoring the rate with which we are headed there, do we need an inferno? Do we need a means to cut our current population in half? Gives me the chills just asking the question. While I assure you I have not been collecting Infinity Stones over this summer, we must admit, it would tip the biological scales back in our favour. There would be enough fresh water for everyone. Decreased population in bustling places like Africa, India and China would literally save the planet. But let’s look at some other options.

Adoption is most certainly one. There are currently over 400,000 children in foster care in the United States alone. We need to remove adoption as a last measure and give it the priority it deserves. I don’t mean to get into a “my child, my flesh and blood” debate with parents but every little helps and we need a lot of help.

Launching people into space is also something that may become a critical way to save us, and I don’t mean the US Space Force. Putting it in a more refined way, setting up colonies on other planets would require manufacturing artificial atmospheres, terraforming and better space travel technology. Ongoing research on all these fronts is hope that there is light at the end of the tunnel and frankly, wouldn’t you like to wake up and see Earth from out of your window?

There are several other options like a one-child policy, better environmental awareness and universal access to safe contraceptives. I believe that we need to work hard and fast on the single most important issue that threatens life as we know it. I also believe that the most viable and moral solution will have multiple fronts to tackle and that more people need to dedicate their lives to this one cause.

I don’t ask anyone to drop what they’re doing and start handing out contraceptives. But research the subject. Realize it’s importance. Find out how you can make a difference and begin to make that difference. And maybe, just maybe, we won’t need an inferno!



Insights from “Job”-less Summer

Being a part of a co-operative education program back at the University of Guelph, I was expected and excited to get my first job over this summer. Unfortunately, coming from from a place where financial independence doesn’t really kick in until after college, my resume didn’t have any work experience on it.

Nevertheless, I applied for jobs. The constraints set by the idea of having to re-locate entirely for a summer and the lack of a “full G license” didn’t allow me to branch out as much as I should have for in my job search. Living alone far away from home, even in Canada, can be scary. I didn’t expand my job search locations beyond Guelph and came up empty on both jobs and offers.

“Never let location be a constraint on your job search. The perfect job is usually about two hours away by bus. Find a way.

– Harry

But this summer wasn’t a complete loss. I had the opportunity to intern at a environmental waste water management company in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman (The Middle East). Haya Water collects, treats and re-uses wastewater.

My two months of internship included brief but detailed insights into several functions of Haya Water:

  • Asset Management
  • Lab
  • Quality, Health & Safety
  • Waste Water Treatment facilities
  • Pumping Stations
  • Wetlands Management
  • Human Resources

As students, we study so much about so much. But when exams come around, we wonder,

“My work three years from now will have nothing to do with this stuff. Why am I studying this?”

Well, I finally got to see the application of things I learnt in school. Concepts of BOD, COD and reactors came into play at my time in the lab. The equipment used in calculating Biological Oxygen Demand (What is this sorcery?) for instance, blew my mind. Fluid Mechanics is a big part of setting up the waste water collection network for each locality with defined flows. Apparently, the collection includes three systems: Gravity, Pressurized and Vacuum. Each comes with its own benefits and installation costs.

I can’t thank everyone at Haya Water enough for guiding me in what I can only call a rich experience I will always cherish!

Another blog solely dedicated to the internship will follow. Stay tuned!

NOTE: It will be highly technical, you non-technical folks!

All in all, this summer taught me that there’s ways to make a summer productive. Getting a job is just another way of working on yourself. This internship meant a lot to me. It was the first exposure I had to the real world of environmental management business.

I’m sure as you read this, some of you already have a job. Bravo! But if you don’t, always remember this great quote I just made up:

“A paid job is a great way to have a productive summer. But it’s not the only way.”




About Me

I’ve wanted to start a blog for quite some time now. But today, I decided to kick off the project after my dad said, “Make something of your vacation.”

Any who, I’m Harkrishan Singh. My friends call me Harry. You will never find out what my mother calls me. I’m a third year Environmental Engineering student at the University of Guelph in Ontario. I stay in Guelph during my school semesters and fly home to visit the folks during the summers.

I love reading books, meeting new people and public speaking. I am a Toastmaster by passion and love the concept of helping people speak better. I have been working on my speaking and writing skills ever since J.K Rowling made me realize that words, when framed well, can move both people and mountains. I am currently working on enhancing my communication skills. This primarily includes not saying “umm” every ten seconds. You could say that I’m a work in progress.

My choice of being an environmental engineer sprouted from two facts: I could never sit at a desk. The environment needs all the help it can to recover. Also, I like being outdoors. Make that three. My first few studying years in Canada made me realize how incredibly vast the  cultural differences and upbringing practises are in the Eastern and Western world. I’m stuck in the middle, trying to adopt the best practises out of both.

More blogs to come! Stay tuned.