We are living in a pivotal moment.
Even a casual glance at the headlines reveals this to be a pivotal moment environmentally: In 2007, scientists warned that we have less than a decade left to head off catastrophic climate change. Now it seems that even those dire forecasts were optimistic: Recent evidence shows that the climate is changing much more quickly than predicted just a few years ago. And it’s not just the climate. From acidifying oceans to depleted aquifers, the natural systems we depend upon are nearing “tipping points,” beyond which they may not recover.
But it is less well known that this is a pivotal moment demographically. While the rate of population growth has slowed in most parts of the world, rapid growth is hardly a thing of the past. Our numbers still increase by 75 to 80 million every year, the numerical equivalent of adding another United States to the world every four years. And while a certain amount of future growth is virtually inevitable—an echo of the great boom of the late twentieth century—the ultimate size of the human population will be decided in the next decade or so.
To read more, download a PDF of the foreword and introduction for A Pivotal Moment: Population, Justice, and the Environmental Challenge.
Download: A Pivotal Moment: Population, Justice, and the Environmental Challenge Excerpt