MCDB 150 - Lecture 24 - Population and the Environment

Lecture 24 - Population and the Environment


World population will continue to rise until at least 2050. Environmental impact is the product of the number of people and how much of their income and technology is devoted to either consumption or conservation. So far, the balance is far at the consumption end and, globally, environmental problems are increasing. Environmentalism has not come close to counteracting the footprint of a billion extra people every dozen years. The only massive success has been the decline in global fertility. People want fewer children, the contraceptive technology is available, and the cost is minimal. The only realistic possibility for ameliorating the environmental crisis might be to facilitate the continued decline of fertility.



Doolittle, "The Unseen, Unheard and Misunderstood..."

Harrison, The Third Revolution, pp. 73-87

Cohen, How Many People Can the Earth Support, Intro., pp. 10-13

Perlez, "Forests in Southeast Asia Fall to Prosperity's Ax."

Hertsgaard, "Our Real China Problem."

Dreifus, "On the Ground and in the Water..." 

Haberman, "Let Others Hit the Panic Button..."

Onishi, "Ah, The Tonic of Ginseng! Especially a $65,000 Sprig!"

Sciolino, "Radicalism: Is the Devil in the Demographics?"

Wyman, "The Projection Problem."

Course Media





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