State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

As the Human Population Tops 8 Billion, a Look Beyond Bomb and Crash Panic Proclamations

The following is an excerpt from a Sustain What blog post. 

In a great post-election dispatch, writer James Fallows pushed for political media to cut back on “expert” predictions given how normal it is to be wrong:

No one knows what is going to happen. Least of all — it seems — the political “experts.” So let’s waste less time pretending to know, and invest more in looking into, sharing, and learning from what is actually going on.

I would propose this same practice be adopted by journalists and the rest of us pondering what to think and do about population trends. In this case, invest way more in looking at what can be done today to improve the lives of girls and people on the move and less on portentous predictions.

There’s no time like the present, given that this week marks the final push in the COP27 climate negotiations continuing in Egypt, the start of the 2022 International Conference on Family Planning in Thailand — and given that November 15 is the day the United Nations chose to mark humanity crossing the 8 billion population threshold.

Loud edgy arguments about what may happen when, and after, human numbers and resource appetites crest too often obscure the vital actions or investments communities, governments or other institutions can pursue now, on the ground, to foster the capacities and conditions that can cut odds of worst-case outcomes.

To draw attention to under-appreciated opportunities, I hosted a spirited, action-oriented Columbia Climate School Sustain What conversation on “Humanity Beyond 8 Billion” and hope you’ll take time to watch or listen as a podcast.

Read the rest of the story. 

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