Summary of the 2006 Chapel Hill Earth Day Population Summit

The evening’s speakers included Russell Hopfenberg and Jack Alpert.

Russell (Russ) Hopfenberg, adjunct Duke professor and author of two peer-reviewed papers about human population and food supply, presented a summary and a synthesis of his papers. Carrying capacity is often viewed as a limit to a population. It also “acts like a magnet”, he notes, subtly and persistently drawing population to that limit. Thus increases in annual food production tend to increase tomorrow’s human population, not necessarily to better nourish today’s population.

Jack Alpert, founder of the Stanford Knowledge Information Laboratory, described the concept of time blindness. Alpert notes that we make decisions based on previous experience. Unfortunately we may not notice when the future will be utterly unlike our past, and the resulting decisions may be disastrous.

A web version of Hopfenberg’s presentation is in progress now.

Please visit Alpert’s web site for more information about time blindness and decision-making.

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