“The Population Bomb: Defused or Still Ticking?”

March 19, 2012 • Daily Email Recap

The following article was penned by a student writer, reporting on a seminar held at the Earth Institute and titled, ““The Population Bomb: Defused or Still Ticking?” The author is named Emily Thibodeaux, and she is a writing student and MFA candidate in the School of the Arts, a Columbia Teaching Fellow and an intern in the Office of Academic and Research Programs at the Earth Institute. She resides in Manhattan.

See: http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2012/03/08/populationbomb/

“The Population Bomb: Defused or Still Ticking?”
Emily Thibodeaux

“Thank you for coming on this gorgeous day, to sit in an airless, lightless room and discuss how to save the world,” said John Mutter, director of Columbia’s PhD in Sustainable Development and a member of the Earth Institute faculty, in welcoming the audience of the Sustainable Development Seminar, “The Population Bomb: Defused or Still Ticking?” The seminar brought together a panel of demography and population experts, who, Mutter calculated, shared a total of 121 years’ experience in the field.

Panelists included John Bongaarts, vice president and distinguished scholar of the Population Council; Joel E. Cohen, director of the Lab of Populations at Rockefeller University and Earth Institute faculty member; Mark R. Montgomery, professor of Economics at SUNY Stony Brook and senior associate with the Population Council’s Poverty, Gender, and Youth program; and Hania Zlotnik, recently retired Director of the Population Division in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs at the United Nations.

It became apparent, upon the beginning of the discussion, that the population bomb was not so much ticking, as exploding. “We are going through a period of extraordinary demographic change,” Bongaarts said, as he projected a graph showing a steep rise in the population growth rate from 1900 to 2100. The current world population, which is estimated to be 7 billion, is projected to reach 10.2 billion by 2100. Most of the added population will take place in Africa.

The world population remained under 1 billion and relatively stable until the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, when the population began a “super exponential ascent,” as Cohen put it.

To read the full article, please click here: http://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2012/03/08/populationbomb/

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