On October 31st say hello to your 7 billionth neighbor

There's an old joke that goes: how many lawyers does it take to change a light bulb? The punchline is: how many can you afford? On October 31, 2011 when you turn to look at the person standing next to you on the subway platform, or on the bus you ride to work each day--will you then realize that you are now part of a planet that has seven billion inhabitants? The question that will now be posed for all of us to ponder is how much can the Earth afford?

What are we doing to ensure that there are enough resources to sustain us all? Let's just take water as one example. There is talk of water becoming a highly sought after commodity in the coming years where people will be at odds over its allocation. 

We're putting it mildly, there are people who foresee far worse:

"Lester Brown, founder of Worldwatch Institute and now head of the Earth Policy Institute in Washington, believes food shortages could cause a collapse of global civilization. Human beings are living off natural capital, Brown argues, eroding soil and depleting groundwater faster than they can be replenished. All of that will soon be cramping food production. Brown’s Plan B to save civilization would put the whole world on a wartime footing, like the U.S. after Pearl Harbor, to stabilize climate and repair the ecological damage."

Do we have any other choice but to act now? We will need to find renewable forms of energy and make adjustments to where and how we live. The alternative is simply not an option.