In today’s world, population is increasing by leaps and bounds. More than a billion people have entered the world in most of our lifetimes. Inconceivably, we have caused too much damage that time cannot erase; science has not yet overcome and battles are being fought to conquer this global crisis. From the one child policy in China to free birth control in some countries; the world is at work to deal with overpopulation, the latest of these potential solutions being Crossrails’ new energy efficient initiative.

This article explores this new scheme of theirs and whether it really is as effective as intended. How many is too many? This is the Earth – third rock from the sun, a big ball of gas and most importantly: our planet. Home to millions of different species, but only one specie has had an impact on the state of the Earth today – human beings. There are more than 7 billion people living on the Earth today, but human population is rapidly increasing by approximately: 2 people every second; 200,000 people everyday, and 80 million every year. Each additional life needs food, energy, water, shelter and hopefully a whole lot more.

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Today, we are living in such an era in which the biggest threat to humanity might well be ourselves. The dispute over population sizes is controversial because it touches on the most personal decisions we make, but we ignore it at our danger. There is absolutely no question as to whether the population will grow, the question is: by how much? And what more damage will it cause? More than a billion people in the world already lack access to safe drinking water and we know things are going to get a whole lot more difficult as the population continues to grow. Human population is a factor of every environmental problem we’ve ever encountered: from urban overcrowding to disappearing tropical forests, from unsightly sinks of septic waste to carbon emissions. And now, the relentless increase of atmospheric pollution. Dear baby 7 billion, welcome to our mess In the next 40 or so years, the Earth is expected to need to accommodate nearly 2 billion more people.

That’s more than the current population of: the whole of Europe, the whole of Africa, the North and South of America combined. Well how can we be so sure of this prediction? We know that there are more than a billion teenagers alive today, and most of those teenagers will have their own children and live long enough to become grandparents – and that’s all that needs to happen for there to be 9 billion people by 2050. I think most people living through the next 50 years will experience these demographic changes and will be affected. Keep in mind that when the Titanic sank, the first class passengers sank as quickly as the working class. Here come the generation of emerging economic giants London: the hive of economic activity.

Swarming with countless businessmen in black suits and black briefcases; foreigners are captivated by this illusion that money grows on all the imaginary trees we grow. Employees are forever waiting for the bus or train on the way to and from work almost every single day, otherwise known as London’s famous “rush hour”. The rate of unemployment is often blamed on immigrants but recent studies (conducted by a group of experts in population at Queen Mary University of London) show that London is losing more immigrants than it is gaining, and these figures have lowered even more since 2000. Being famous for its red double Decker buses, “Public transport is another important part of the explanation for the decline in carbon dioxide emissions – Londoners use public transport much more than in other parts of the UK. It is therefore important that improvements in public transport continue” says Ray Hall, expert in population at QMUL. Likewise, Crossrail, the biggest engineering project in Europe which forms a major part of the Mayor’s Transport Strategy will open in 2018.

It will make travelling across London and beyond easier and quicker. It will connect 37 stations, including Heathrow airport and Maidenhead in the west with Canary Wharf, Abbey Wood and Shenfield in the east. Long-time supporter of the scheme, former London Mayor Ken Livingstone said: “Crossrail is not just a transport scheme; it is the key to the next 20 years of economic development of London.” Railway revolution Crossrail’s brief is to provide the transport capability to cope with London’s forecast population and economic growth. The energy saving railway project intends to use material dug up during construction works to create a large wildlife reserve for abandoned homeless animals at Wallasea Island.

It will be the largest and most significant coastal habitat creation plan in the UK. 85% of the materials used are planned to be transported by rail or water. Over 350 listed buildings lie along the route of the railway, and no more than one building will be demolished, saving 349 buildings – someone’s shelter, someone’s refuge and someone’s home. As the trains approach the deep central area stations, they will be on a slight uphill gradient and leave the station on a slight downhill gradient that will boost acceleration – doing so will help prevent long-term energy use and saves at least 20% of total energy consumption. On top of saving animals and energy, it is yet the fastest train in London – typical current journey times from North Kent to Central London are around an hour. Crossrail will cut these by a third.

On the whole, nothing and no-one will be affected during the construction of Crossrail. Crossrail splits fans and foes The long-awaited green light for the ?16bn Crossrail project has been flagged down as the most significant decision for London in decades. Prime Minister Gordon Brown says the scheme will create 30,000 more jobs, boost London’s financial reputation, and regenerate its most deprived areas. However not everyone relishes the prospect of the mammoth project. Like everything in life, this railway project devised by the Mayor, still has room for improvement. Whilst TFL (Transport for London) is in debt, “Crossrail will eat money, Kill it, Boris, and save the bankrupt tube instead” says Simon Jenkins, journalist for the London Evening Standard.

A member of the public, aged 24 strongly states “Well I’m just very concerned with the cost of living nowadays and I really don’t think that any of these “so-called” green initiatives are actually worth any of they money we’re going to pay for them really, to be honest.” This member of the public is just another of the silent majority who have no say as to whether this project should be continued with, or have even started, but still has money pulled out from their bank to fund this green-scheme. On the other hand, research shows that TFL is in debt by ?8.3bn. If Crossrail really is as environmentally-friendly, animal-saving and speedy as it is claimed to be, this state of the art project could bring in a turnover of ?20bn, the biggest uphill in economy that London has seen in quite a while.

“The only thing I hesitate about is whether this announcement today is a final guarantee that we will get it built” says Prof. Glaister from TFL. While the rate of population is riding up the rails, this new innovative project raises a lot of controversy as to whether Crossrail should continue their project whilst TFL is in debt. Is Crossrail the solution, or a solution, to this global crisis? Only time can tell…