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Profs and Pints DC presents: “Is the Planet Full?” an eye-opening look at world population trends, with Jennifer Sciubba, associate professor of international studies at Rhodes College and author of 8 Billion and Counting: How Sex, Death, and Migration Shape Our World.
With the world’s population projected to reach 8 billion this November and dealing with climate change on the top of nations’ agendas, some have started to ask whether the planet can accommodate any more people. It’s an age-old question famously posed in the 18th century writings of economist Thomas Malthus, who theorized that populations tend to increase at a much faster rate than their means of subsistence and that people end up living in poverty and degradation unless population growth is checked by moral restraint or by disasters such as disease, famine, or war.
Hear that question tackled anew—and get a much better understanding of world population data—with Dr. Jennifer Sciubba, an internationally recognized expert in the field of demographic security who formerly worked for the Department of Defense on population and environmental issues.
Professor Sciubba will describe how the upcoming population milestone of 8 billion is fundamentally different than previous ones. Yes, the global population is still growing, but it is doing so at the slowest rate ever. An astounding two-thirds of the Earth’s residents now live somewhere with below-replacement fertility levels, where the populations are rapidly aging and eventually will shrink. Even India, famous for prompting the foreboding 1968 book The Population Bomb, has a fertility rate of only around two children per woman.
She’ll discuss how much of what’s written about population and overpopulation is alarmist in tone, and how population issues frequently get politicized in ways that prevent us from undertaking needed reforms related to important matters such as migration. She’ll map out the common traps that people frequently fall into when looking at population data and describe how a proper understanding of population dynamics can and should be shaping our policies so that we can strategically invest our resources to create a thriving world for generations to come. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, or $13 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk starts 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)
Image: An illustration of world population density by Anders Sandberg / Creative Commons.