Jan 13, 2014 – Is Malthus Right?
ANCHOR LEAD: ARE WE HEADED TOWARD HUMAN EXTINCTION? ELIZABETH TRACEY REPORTS
While the prospect of human extinction has been on the radar probably as long as we have existed, Thomas Malthus really put the concept into public consciousness in the late 1700s. Now Stanley Becker, a demographer in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, has published a paper once again identifying human population as a likely culprit in a doomsday scenario.
BECKER: I’m an optimist in general but it seems somehow realism has to creep in and in reality we’re in trouble. It is certainly possible and Malthus has been proved wrong before that we’ll figure out how to sequester that CO2 and we’ll get desalination things all over the world so there’ll be plenty of water, we’re not there. So there’s going to be crises before that and we’ve seen that already, that the 2008-09 crisis that there were food riots all over the world. It doesn’t have to be a given. Population, as we know from China and from other places is a variable that governments can affect. :36
At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.