About Us

7BillionAndYou.org and this website were created in January, 2013, by the Human Evolutionary Studies Program at Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC. Their initial purpose was to support a series of free public lectures and discussions by leading thinkers on the patterns, processes, and prognosis for a planet housing seven billion humans, which ran in the spring of 2013 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 

Since that time, both the organization and this website have been repurposed to play an expanded role from that originally intended. We now believe that we can play an ongoing role in helping to disseminate information on human, population-related issues and in promoting discussion of those topics. We believe there is a need to engage people across academic and public communities, NGOs and governments, in dialogue on population. Providing needed information and encouraging discussion on population has become the broadened mandate of our organization and its website, www.7BillionandYou.org.

Because we believe that informed discussion depends first on information, we have made Recent Literature a key area of the website. It contains downloadable PDF files of articles and publication links to academic and popular media. We will continue to add files and links as we encounter new material. We also hope that others interested in such topics will send us articles and links to online media that we have missed. Please send your suggestions to info@7billionandyou.orgTogether, we can make Related Literature a valuable, easily accessed source of information on human population. 

We also believe that informed discussion requires an arena. As one way to serve this need, we have created an open Facebook group. Facebook also offers ease of ease of access and supports the ability of participants to comment and discuss. We encourage you to join the group, post, and engage in a range of population-related topics.

As a last note, we would like to mention that we are always seeking new and better ways to pursue our mandate. If you have any ideas, suggestions, or simply wish more information about our organization, please contact us at info@7billionandyou.org.  

Sincerely,

Don White
Mark Collard
Arne Mooers

March, 2015



Organizers

Don White

I completed a BA in honours psychology at UBC in the late 1960s with a thesis and subsequent research on the killer whale, a course of work that led abruptly into a 30 career as a documentary filmmaker and consultant. Shortly after the millennium, however, I found myself increasingly concerned with the trajectory of human populations and interested in what might be regarded as the genetic, cultural, and economic drivers of those numbers. As a result, I returned to studies I had left 30 years earlier and completed a MSc at Simon Fraser University in 2011. My master's thesis examined the role of fitness maximization in evolutionary explanations and how rejection of that principle constrains any explanation of human behaviour based on natural selection. 

At present, research for my PhD focuses on reconciling perceived differences in the theoretical foundations, approaches to research, and evolutionary explanations as found in four different disciplines: behavioural ecology, evolutionary psychology, evolutionary archaeology, and human behavioural ecology. To this end, I am particularly interested in semantic formalizations and explanatory schema of natural selection theory, the nature and strength of the evidence produced by various interpretations of such schema, and the possibilities for a theoretically-consistent, conceptual framework that reconciles and accommodates the various frameworks and approaches.  



Mark Collard


I trained in both archaeology and biological anthropology. I read for a BA in Archaeology and Pehistory at the University of Sheffield. I then pursued a PhD in hominin palaeontology at the University of Liverpool. Subsequently, I spent three years as a Wellcome Trust Bioarchaeology Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at University College London. At Sheffield my main mentors were Marek Zvelebil and Andrew Chamberlain. At Liverpool I was supervised by Bernard Wood. My postdoc research was supervised by Leslie Aiello.

 

I have worked in a variety of capacities in the UK, the USA, and Canada. At the end of my postdoc, I was employed as a lecturer (the equivalent of an assistant professor) in the Department of Anthropology at University College London. In January 2003, I moved to the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University-Pullman to take up an assistant professorship. Eighteen months later, I joined the Department of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia as an assistant professor. In July 2007, I moved to the Department of Archaeology at Simon Fraser University to become an associate professor and Canada Research Chair. I was promoted to Full Professor in September 2011.

 

In addition to my regular positions, I am the director of the SFU Human Evolutionary Studies Program , an associate member of the SFU Department of Biological Sciences, and an adjunct member of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Missouri.



Arne Mooers


We (me, my students and close colleagues) are very interested in explaining patterns of biodiversity. My primary training is in looking for patterns among species, using a phylogenetic perspective (a phylogeny is just a family tree of species). I am interested in the traits or situations that increase the number of species in a group, either because they speciate more rapidly, or because those that are produced last longer before they go extinct. This second aspect has immediate practical relevance, given the number of species currently being lost. I am also interested in how species form, and specifically how sexual selection and mate choice might affect the process.

Currently, I am also exercised by ways to measure the evolutionary 'isolation' (also called distinctiveness, originality, or even uniqueness) of a species. Its age is the simplest way, but it may not be very powerful. For example, one of the three New Zealand Kiwis and any one of the hundreds of crow species may be the same age, but the kiwi has few close relatives and is much more isolated than the crow. Here is a (2010) short overview essay. We are collaborating closely with both Prof. Mike Steel's group in New Zealand, and with EDGE group at the Zoological Society of London via their EDGE of existence program. A full-length scientific presentation of the basic ideas (from summer 2011) can be found here. (You have to scroll down a bit and press play)..

I am the Associate Director of the Human Evolutionary Studies Program and a board member of the Canadian Society for Ecology and Evolution.

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