Igniting the Population Bomb

Who ever thought statistics could be interesting? One of the most delicious comparisons between Egypt and Australia is our populations. Cairo is home to 20 million people (give or take a few million), roughly the same size as the entire population of Australia.

According to my mate Wiki, we are only less crowded than a handful of countries including Namibia, Mongolia and Western Sahara. In comparison, Cairo alone has 31,000 people per square kilometer. That’s dense, man.

This week, Australia had a day of navel gazing on our national holiday, (can you guess what it’s called?) Australia Day: a day of barbeques, sausages and light beer. The ads in between the tennis – the Australian Open has been on the past two weeks – were of close-up shots of sizzling snags (that’s slang for ‘sausages’, for all you non Aussies) and the main news story was of the population forecasts for Australian to the year 2050.

Apparently, if we keep having babies at the current rate, open up our borders to all comers and relax our citizenship and refugee laws, our population could leap from the current level of 22 million to a whopping 35 million in just 40 years. Forecasts say Sydney and Melbourne, both hovering around the 3.5 million mark, would double to 7 million each.

Me? I’m a bit selfish. I like the line from the former politician Bob Carr, who asked: what’s wrong with having open spaces, clean empty beaches and easy access to nature? Why do we have to become a built-up nation like most of the world? That’s what makes us unique. And given my government-issued showerhead already runs at a miserable trickle thanks to our already tight water restrictions, and despite Queensland being flooded yet again, God only knows where the water for all those 35 million daily showers is going to come from…

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