When: Wed., Jan. 18, 7 p.m. 2012
When it comes to ballooning world population figures, lately the emphasis has been on the negative, as our numbers are alleged to have passed the 7 billion mark in the last few months. On the positive side, however, there is an end in sight: For some time now demographers have predicted a leveling off of growth, with the population peaking at around 10 billion sometime in the next century before trending downward.
If the long-term forecasts are correct and we're headed for a gentle landing, the question then becomes, Which resources will we run out of before we achieve equilibrium with our environment? Oil and rare earth minerals? Fresh water and topsoil? Tattoo ink? Uplifting prescription drug names? At 7 p.m., science journalist Andrew Revkin, who writes the Dot Earth blog for The New York Times, will discuss the question "Which Comes First: Peak Everything or Peak Us?" Preceding that, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., students from local universities will be on hand to discuss their research related to the issue. Admission is free. —Marc Maximov