I’ll Be on NPR’s On Point at 10 am with Mark Lynas on “Seven Billion And Counting”

Details here/below + National Geographic Video:

Thursday, October 27, 2011 at 10:00 AM EDT

Seven Billion And Counting

The human population is just about to reach 7 billion. Yikes! We talk to the experts — Polyannas, Cassandras and in between — about how many of us Mother Earth can handle.


Mark Lynas, author of The God Species: Saving The Planet In The Age Of Humans. He is a visiting research scholar at Oxford University’s School of Geography and the Environment.

Joe Romm, a physicist and climate expert, he is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and editor of the blog He served in the U.S. Department of Energy in the Clinton Administration.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “Because censuses are infrequent and incomplete, no one knows the precise date — the Census Bureau puts it somewhere next March — but there can be no doubt that humanity is approaching a milestone.”

The Atlantic “The United Nations Population Fund estimates that in one week, on October 31, 2011, the world’s population will reach 7 billion. Just 200 years ago, there were only 1 billion people on the planet, and over the next 150 years, that number grew to 3 billion. But in the past 50 years, the global population has more than doubled, and the UN projects that it could possibly grow to 15 billion by the year 2100.”

Practical Ethics “One example is the rapidly growing information economy. If someone makes a hammer, only a few people get the benefit, but if someone records a new song, writes a computer program, or invents a new technology, everyone can benefit. These activities thus produce more value the more people we have. With twice as many people doing jobs like these, we could all get roughly twice the benefits (more art, culture, science, technology), or they could work roughly half as many hours. A larger population thus has the potential to make life much better, so long as we can find the resources to support it.”

The Economist “In 1950 the whole population of the earth—2.5 billion—could have squeezed, shoulder to shoulder, onto the Isle of Wight, a 381-square-kilometre rock off southern England. By 1968 John Brunner, a British novelist, observed that the earth’s people—by then 3.5 billion—would have required the Isle of Man, 572 square kilometres in the Irish Sea, for its standing room. Brunner forecast that by 2010 the world’s population would have reached 7 billion, and would need a bigger island.”

3 Responses to I’ll Be on NPR’s On Point at 10 am with Mark Lynas on “Seven Billion And Counting”

  1. BA says:

    NPR? Maybe you can straighten them out over there!

    The problem is still inequality and consumption.

    How is this for a solution? Use less, want less, need less, share more.

  2. M Tucker says:

    Just listened to the broadcast and I enjoyed it very much. Here are a couple of notes I made while listening.

    A 2 to 3 degree average warming will be devastating. Sure it is nothing like what 10 degrees would bring but the last time Earth experienced warming of 2 to 3 degrees sea level was 25 meters higher…25 meters! Most models showing prolonged drought only consider warming in the 2 to 3 degree range and most experts agree this level of warming will severely impact food production.

    Comment to the teacher who passed out condoms and apologized to her students
    It doesn’t matter what the US does domestically regarding contraception or birth rates…the increase that is driving the world toward 9 to 10 billion is coming from Africa and Asia. Oh, the Zero Population Growth movement didn’t just come into being nor is it a new idea, ask Ehrlich.

    The demographic transition can only take place if a nation can provide stability. The predictions of population growth through mid century do not consider what might happen if a country like China or India suddenly become unable to provide safety and ensure basic necessities and utilities.

    Toilet to tap, like solar cells, a NASA perfected technique that must be put in place in most of the large southern cities of the US. The purified water is cleaner than the freshwater drawn from the Mississippi.

    Switching to nuclear without addressing GHG so we can attempt to mitigate the problem without having to listen to inane rants from science deniers will not save anyone from global climate disruption or solve any of our problems.