Eden Project Books £8.99
Peoplequake, By Fred Pearce
Good news for the 22nd century
Sunday 20 February 2011
Population growth is sometimes spoken of as the elephant in the room – a problem that will have huge impact on the environment and the global economy, but which no one dares discuss.
Fred Pearce looks squarely at that elephant and discovers that it's no more than a medium-sized cow. And a shrinking cow at that. He examines Thomas Malthus's "Essay on the Principles of Population", and concludes that Malthus was mistaken on two counts: he underestimated the effects of improved technology in feeding greater numbers, and he failed to see that people were already, even in his day, controlling their fertility, a task made easier by modern-day contraception.
After an excursus about how eugenics was an unsavoury offshoot of Malthus's theory, Pearce explores trends in population growth around the world, highlighting the falling birth rates in China, Australia, South Africa and most of Europe (on present trends, by 2100 Germany will have fewer natives than Berlin has today) and providing evidence that developing countries are following suit. His thesis is that the birth rate declines along with patriarchy (and as acceptance of homosexuality rises, interestingly). World population should peak at around eight billion mid-century, and could be down to five billion by 2100. Good news for our great-grandchildren, whom he says may well occupy a "kinder, gentler, wiser and greener world".
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 5 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
Top Gear Burma episode breached Ofcom rules over Jeremy Clarkson's racial slur
Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
Game of Thrones season 4 blooper reel unveiled at Comic-Con 2014
Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 teaser trailer sees Katniss lead rebellion against the Capitol
The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace