The prospect of a “population explosion” has for long fed fears of starvation, famine, loss of ecological balance, and mass extinction of species. Some such as Paul R. Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb, have warned of a day when the earth would no longer be able to sustain its human inhabitants. In its recent world population report, the United Nations has once again provided fodder for such fears.
By some accounts, overpopulation can be attributed to technology—if agriculture hadn’t been invented, the human habitat would have been a fraction of what it is. But technological strides, say in the form of the Green Revolution, have also been the redeemers, helping to disprove Ehrlich’s apocalyptic predictions.
If the UN report is to be believed, population control measures have had a lesser impact than imagined. The question is: will man find another great technological leap to sustain himself in the coming century?