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Alan Weisman presents issues of overpopulation, sustainability

Alan Weisman presents issues of overpopulation, sustainability thumbnail

After traveling to more than 20 countries, Alan Weisman found insight on how to achieve a more stable population and solve the problems of overpopulation how to ensure prosperity in the future.

Weisman’s new book, “Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?” addresses the issues of overpopulation and sustainability in our world.

“Part of human nature is to make more copies of ourselves,” said Weisman.

He said that it is only in our nature to want to reproduce, but the more people there are, the more we need to figure out how to feed them.

Population is increasing by two ways Weisman said. More people are born than dying, and more people are living longer.

By the end of the century, the world population is predicted to be 11 billion, Weisman said.

Weisman believes that we either have to take action and try to manage it gracefully, or nature will take its course and do it for us. He said that the most important resource is the use of contraception and education for females. He believes that if we fail to provide contraception every two and a half days there will be more and more starving children.

He said that by strongly supporting contraception and education for females around the world there will be one billion fewer of us by the middle of the century.

Bringing our population down to a truly sustainable amount rather then figuring out how to feed everyone in the future is much more realistic, Weisman said.

China’s one child policy lowered their population by 400 million people but Weisman said he realizes that using this plan would be unrealistic.

The rapidly rising number of people on this planet is changing the world chemically, carbon dioxide is increasing causing it to warm Weisman said.

Weisman decided to use his last book as the initial inspiration for his newest book. He explained that his inspiration was finding a happy medium between allowing our population to disappear by over regulating birth and not regulating population at all.

Nicholaus Jackosky, junior in global resource systems, attended the lecture because he is part of the executive board for Green Umbrella. He enjoyed the lecture a lot and thought it was a simulating conversation.

Mckenzie Robinson, junior in communication studies, attended the lecture as a member of the student club Greeks Go Green. Robinson said the lecture was very interesting and agrees with Weisman that overpopulation is a huge issue. She said Weisman seemed very well educated on the issue

“I definetly think reducing demand through the measures he talked about would be a really good way to help stop a lot of pressures we have on agriculture and the environment,” said Jackosky.

He also said that doing things Weisman’s way might be smarter and less extreme than letting the world come to terrible epidemics or people starving to death.

Iowa State Daily

12 Comments on "Alan Weisman presents issues of overpopulation, sustainability"

  1. Davy, Hermann, MO on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 1:16 pm 

    Please tell me something new and or acknowledge the facts of a predicament of over population. The problems are well known. Possible solutions are well known. What is not possible is the political will from top down or voluntarily bottom up driven policies. In fact world economists of the “lobby of plenty” and “human exceptionalism” schools of thought believe in substitution and increased standard of living will solve the population problem by stabilizing it 10 years out or more. Again a 10 years out projection which means not likely. Religions are preaching that God mandates population growth and reject planned reductions. Economist will not recognize there is no substitution for a healthy environmental support system and critical resources like energy, water, and food. The reality is an overshoot of carrying capacity for any kind of standard of living. There is only one solution and that is population decline voluntarily or by a force of nature. I doubt anyone can prove me wrong here. The facts are evident in every area of study. All areas of study come to the same realization of limits of growth and overshoot of carrying capacity. I am talking peer reviewed scientific studies not propaganda from the “lobby of plenty” and “human exceptionalism”.

  2. rollin on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 2:08 pm 

    By the time all this authoritative, oft-repeated hoopla about education and contraception has a real effect, natural forces will have done the job anyway.
    Save your money on buying this one.

  3. Kenz300 on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 2:42 pm 

    Endless population growth is not sustainable.

    Around the world we have a food crisis, a water crisis, a declining fish stocks crisis, an energy crisis, an unemployment crisis, a climate change crisis and an over population crisis.

    Over population makes all other problems harder to solve.

    Access to family planning services needs to be available to all that want it.

  4. Makati1 on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 2:46 pm 

    rollin, I agree. Just another book seller trying to make a buck off of the situation. I quit buying such ‘help’ books long ago as they are out of date before the ink is dry or they are just parroting 100 other authors and have nothing new to add.

    Mother Nature is going to settle the problem and soon. She doesn’t give a damn if humans survive or not. In a few hundred thousand years, most all of our ‘accomplishments’ will be erased and a new ecology will have evolved.

  5. Kenz300 on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 3:31 pm 

    Quote — “He said that by strongly supporting contraception and education for females around the world there will be one billion fewer of us by the middle of the century.

    Bringing our population down to a truly sustainable amount rather then figuring out how to feed everyone in the future is much more realistic, Weisman said.”


    Common sense solutions in a world with little common sense.

  6. kervennic on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 4:47 pm 

    I think they are lots of cliche in the intro.

    I do not think human run to make copies of themselves.

    First we do not make copies, we make something new. Usually human tend to be selective about their mate. This selectivity is often fought by culture (arranged wedding) to maximize the number of offspring (quantity above quality).

    If there is a craze for sex, it is not really about making copies or reproduction: it is as well about exploration. We are usually curious, and an intimate “check” is the best way to check some compatibilities or discover some great physical features we never suspected (ton and texture of skin, smell, shape, sexy expression and move of different kind etc).
    It is a bit like dog sniffing each other, we can take a lot of pleasure in that.
    Usually a good blow job or anal sex is as prized as the real thing (just check google counts) and the huge popularity of facial is the proof that we are not only driven only by immediate reproduction. This is why religion constantly hve to fight this natural instinct that harms reproduction (masturbation, anla sex etc is bad).

    I think most people would gladly trade the number of copies with the possibility to share their natural features with truly, highly desired mate. Let’s foster unsatisfaction, desire and the adventurous mind.

    Would one really want to mate with anybody ? I guess not really.

  7. GregT on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 5:30 pm 

    Populations will continue to grow, until they can’t. Our populations will only be constrained by resource and energy limitations.

    Both are coming, soon enough.

  8. Charlie Bucket on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 5:48 pm 

    I dare someone to write a book on what is REALLY going to happen, not this “we can change is we really want to” crap. The end is nigh my friends and it is not going to be pretty. Even the preppers are not really helping themselves much; they are just prolonging the inevitable.

  9. RICHARD RALPH ROEHL on Tue, 25th Feb 2014 11:51 pm 

    Humans are creative, colorful and imaginative.

    Butt allass! They lack prescience and common sense.

  10. GregT on Wed, 26th Feb 2014 2:24 am 


    “Even the preppers are not really helping themselves much; they are just prolonging the inevitable.”

    If we don’t stop burning fossil fuels, I completely agree.

  11. Makati1 on Wed, 26th Feb 2014 7:21 am 

    Well, since we will not stop burning fossil fuels and will keep BAU until we are driven right over the cliff by limits, I guess we a f–ked. No surprise. Our youngest and brightest are all on wall street trying to get rich instead of in science and engineering trying to make live livable. Too bad they haven’t discovered that you cannot take it with you and it is not even good for toilet paper.

  12. andya on Thu, 27th Feb 2014 1:46 am 

    Part of human nature is to believe in big rock-candy mountain.

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