When flying cross country, it never ceases to amaze me just how much land and territory there really is on this seemingly shrinking planet. Flying long distances in the military and later as an airline pilot afforded me long periods of time to watch and contemplate beautiful landscapes of many different continents around the world. I was and still am, always struck by the vastness, the ever changing topographies, colors, and beauty. Between major cities, the land often appears uninhabited, or sparely so as far as the eye can see. Attempting to put this in perspective at something like 500kts ground speed, and the fact the earth is some 70% covered by water, doesn’t help and still flies (pardon the pun) smack in the face of our perceived reality, which is our planet is crowded and becoming more so every year. How often are we reminded with the platitude: “Well, isn’t this a small world”?
Well, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a trivia fact put to me the other day, which personally, helps me deal with this mixed perception of our planet being very populous, while at the same time revealing a seemly abundance of space around us. The fact was this (Albeit an unrealistic possibility): If all the people in the world (approximately 7 Billion at last count) were brought together, and stood shoulder to shoulder, front to back (yes, we are talking a total invasion of personal space here), the total population of the earth would fit inside the city of Los Angeles, California. Yes, I did the math, and it works, with room to spare! Very sobering and yet motivating for those of us who are raising families and like room to spread out, build airplanes and fly them!