I was just musing this morning, as I was cleaning the cooker, on the entire history of our planet and how long we have inhabited it. I know I learned all this stuff in geography decades ago, but as I got E in A level, and that was only because I happened to have studied the Tsetse fly and its effects in Africa the night before the exam, it's not altogether surprising that I've forgotten . . . anyway, yes: the human population.
We have made a massive impact on the Earth in such a microscopic amount of time, and much of that, in say, my Grandma's and mother's lifetime:
Two world wars plus many many other wars, cars, phones, central heating, ping-pong, reality T.V, frozen meals, key-hole surgery, space exploration, platform shoes, lego, John Lewis, nouvelle cuisine, Milton Keynes, fashion, GM crops, plastic, auto-tune vocals, oven chips, Ikea, Gangnam style, fitness classes, skyscrapers, tattoos, solar power, cup-a-soup, computers, contact lenses, advertising agencies, fishcakes, lifts, motorways, internet porn, nuclear energy/waste!, weather stations, antibiotics, monopoly, fast food, nail varnish, American invasions of Iraq, dams, 'shake n' vac, cash crops, sewage systems, three-day week, Hello magazine, Ryanair, crisps, old people's homes, shopping malls, globalisation, scratch cards, download music, diets, conservation, Christmas No1's, diversification, clic-clac sofa beds, political scandal, coffee houses, charities, low waist jeans, celebrities, custard creams.
Lots of things . . . good and bad and billions more than my stream of consciousness, but it is incredible how much change, and how many people we have inflicted on this ball in space. Here is a fascinating little graph I found when wandering around in cyber-space before lunch.
Just look at the population pattern: slow, rising gradually with a dip around the time of the great plague and then vrooooom. Scary.