But is “less harmful” enough? · Ending the food race · 100 years beyond civilization · 200 years beyond civilization · But where exactly is “beyond”?

No issue is capable of generating more passionate conflict than the relation between food production and population growth. You may want to refer students to (or consider for possible use) a more detailed analysis of the food race that can be viewed or downloaded at Reaching For The Future With All Three Hands. A three-hour video exploration of food production and population growth presented in two parts can be viewed here.

Quinn says that people will still be living here in one hundred years–if we start living a new way, soon–“otherwise, not.” At our current rate of growth, our population is doubling every forty years or so. Although some maintain that this pattern will soon end, this is by no means guaranteed. Assuming the trend continues, what will be the human population by the year 2080?

Quinn asserts, in effect, that if we continue to grow at this rate, our species will make this planet uninhabitable for us during the next century. Even assuming he’s wrong about this, how would you like living in a world with four times as many people in it?

How credible do you find the author’s speculative projections about the future?

Quinn describes a future in which a widening gulf opens between two human spheres–one ruled by pharaohs still engaged in pyramid-building and the other a world of open tribes engaged in activities that “may or may not be recognizably civilized.'” Which sphere would you rather inhabit?