This event featured Alan Weisman, who discussed his new book, “Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?” with moderator Jackie Judd. In the book, Weisman considers the impact of adding another 3.6 billion people to the planet by the end of the century. He finds rivers running dry, coral reefs without fish, forests stripped of trees, and increasingly bizarre weather.
But Weisman also offers hope. We are not doomed to grow beyond our planet’s carrying capacity. Weisman considers various means to slow population growth—including draconian measures, such as China’s one-child policy. He rejects those in favor of a solution that is simple, effective, ethical, and beneficial in its own right: empower women, through education and contraception, to make their own decisions about childbearing.