Taking a format similar to the successful 2009 ‘Darwin and You’ lecture series, this six-part program features a group of internationally renowned speakers selected by a steering committee comprised of members from the Human Evolutionary Studies Program (HESP) and Continuing Studies in Science and Environment.

Seven Billion and You focuses on how the world’s population effects us all. Tying in with the goals and visions of both HESP and Continuing Studies in Science and the Environment, the series examines:

  • Demography of the 7 Billion
  • Drivers of the 7 Billion
  • Ethics of the 7 Billion
  • The Economics of the 7 Billion
  • Resources and the 7 Billion
In a moderated, audience discussion, the sixth session considers:
  • YOU and the 7 Billion

Lecture Abstracts

Demography of the Seven Billion - Presented by Dr. Warren C. Sanderson, Professor of Economics, Stony Brook University, New York, US | January 24, 2013

Where is the world population heading - what happens when we get there? 

The world’s population is expected to peak at 9 to 10 billion and then slowly decline. There are multiple questions associated with this march toward population stability: how do we know it will happen, what is its timing and regional variation, how much older will the world’s population get, and what are the implications of this stability for world environmental change?

Drivers of the Seven Billion - Presented by Dr. Shripad Tuljapurkar, Professor of Biology and Population Studies, Stanford University, Stanford, California | January 31, 2013

What are the genetic and cultural influences on our population trajectory?

Human wellbeing and population change turn on the relationship between humans and resources. How did that relationship evolve as human hunter-gatherers made the transition to farming, and then to industry? How did demography and resources shape – and respond to – culture? How is this interaction reflected in today’s human genetic diversity? What important lessons does history provide that inform our future choices and decisions on a crowded planet?

Ethics and the Seven Billion - Presented by Dr. Christine Overall, Professor of Philosophy, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario | February 21, 2013

What major ethical issues must we confront?

Living among seven billion human beings generates significant ethical questions for all of us. We need to think about our procreative responsibilities and rights, and our duties to the other living beings on the planet. Do we have individual responsibilities to limit our reproduction? Does society have the right to place legal or social barriers to procreation by its citizens? What is the ethical significance of increases in human longevity?

The Economics of the Seven Billion - Presented by Dr. Nicolas Eberstadt, Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy, American Enterprise Institute, Washington, DC
 | February 28, 2013

How can health and wealth be expanding as populations grow?

Population levels have nearly quadrupled over the 20th century, but most of us are actually living longer, healthier and wealthier lives. Food production is still outstripping global need. Is it possible we are misreading the situation? Regardless, can voluntary family planning programs have any real impact? What is the effective role of parental choice?

Resources and the Seven Billion - Presented by Dr. William Rees, Professor Emeritus, Population Ecology, University of British Columbia | March 7, 2013

Can the world really support the future population?

Human demand seems to be outstripping supply, a phenomenon driven by both numbers and lifestyle. Can the world community attend to the three billion people who live in poverty, meet the needs of an additional 2.5 billion expected by 2050, and also reduce total energy and material consumption below current levels?

YOU and the Seven Billion | March 14, 2013

What next?

Informed decisions come from informed discussions; thinking globally begins at the local level. In a moderated final session, audience members will discuss whether the the things they've heard about human population in the last five sessions add up to a need for action. Does the increasing number of humans really represent a problem? If it does, what can be done about it?

Moderated by Don White, Interdisciplinary Studies, SFU