According to the U.N., this October 31st marks the date that the world's population hits 7 billion, an unprecedented number in world history. Although the U.N, says that Halloween is a "symbolic date" to commemorate the occasion, with demographers estimating that we'll actually cross the seven-billion mark in mid-March 2012, officials nonetheless plan to celebrate with great pomp and circumstance. They've already launched a Facebook campaign, invited people to share 7 billion stories on their website, and encouraged unborn babies to compete for the distinction of the 7 billionth person to enter the world. Which is kind of like participating in a giant, global beauty pageant, except instead of a crown they're all competing for rapidly depleting natural resources.
The U.N. says that they're publicizing the event to call attention to the fact that "everyone has an opportunity and responsibility to make a world of 7 billion a better place for all of us," and they're setting up a widget that calculates what your "number" is (as in, where your date of birth fits into the 7 billion number, not how many people you've slept with. The U.N. only tangentially cares about that business). Except they might as well be saying that "everyone has an opportunity and a responsibility to run around screaming hysterically with our shoes on our ears," because 7 billion is just way, way too many people. Seriously, we were at 6 billion only 13 years ago; at this rate, we could end the century with a global population of 10 billion people. Although the U.N. says the milestone is an opportunity for world governments to assess their future plans, these plans are probably going to involve less celebration, and more bugging out.