Santa Fe Institute

Will rapid human population growth lead to a crash?

Dec. 18, 2012 7:25 p.m.

In an interview in Wired, author Fred Guteri cites SFI Professor Jennifer Dunne as an inspiration for his book, "The Fate of the Species: Why the Human Race May Cause Its Own Extinction and How We Can Stop It."

"I was talking to an ecologist from the Santa Fe Institute, Jennifer Dunne, about how rapidly the human population has been rising," Guteri says. "You know, we have 7 billion people now; when my father was born, there were fewer than two billion. The UN has this nice predictive curve that goes up to 10 billion and then levels off. And she said, 'You know, that’s not what populations do. They don’t rise really quickly and then reach a steady state at the peak. They crash.' So then I thought, 'Well, what could cause a correction?' And that leads to all the scenarios that I came up with."

Read the interview in Wired (September 17, 2012)

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