Episode 57: "How Many of Us Can Earth Support?"

Episode 57: How Many of Us Can Earth Support? Subtitle:Conversation with the author of A Planet of 3 Billion

We’re asking the Earth to support 80 million more humans every year, and we add to the challenge by depleting some of the needed resources from the planet each year. Meanwhile, too few us ask the question, “What is a sustainable human population?” Christopher Tucker did ask the question, went to work on it, and wrote a book about it: A Planet of 3 Billion: Mapping Humanity’s Long History of Ecological Destruction and Finding Our Way to a Resilient Future. He came up with an “optimistic” answer of 3 billion. This episode features the first half of an insightful conversation we recently had with Tucker.

Our discussion includes why he avoids using the term “overpopulation” (and why we DO use it), how and why the taboo on discussion of this topic came about, and the beautiful way we can bend the curve of human population numbers. How does achieving a global average fertility rate of 1.5 by 2030 sound? Is that really so crazy? Tucker points out this is just accelerating a norm shift that’s already underway.

Christopher Tucker is chairman of the American Geographical Society, and strategic advisor to the US national security community. He holds a BA, MA, and PhD from Columbia University. Chris serves on a number of boards including the United States Geospatial Intelligence Foundation and the Open Geospatial Consortium.

This episode was published March 3rd, 2021.