I recently met Greeley Miklashek, MD, psychiatrist and author of Stress R Us. What you'll find below is his essay, which correlates population density to human stress, mental health and infertility. I'm including this guest post on my blog because I think it is interesting and invites conversation. The views in this post belong to Miklashek. They are not my own.
The more I think about population growth the more worried I become. I wrote my novel Patriarch Run, in part, as a therapeutic release for this anxiety. However, all the activity in the lead up to the October 4 release of the thriller has given me some peace of mind.
A friend of mine, ethicist Travis Rieder at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics, has recently come into a lot of attention. He was profiled on NPR in his college classroom while he was trying to convince his students to have smaller families.
If we could educate everybody to understand a very simple mathematical concept, we could save the world. Whatever your global concern is, it would likely be made better if everybody understood this formula.
The World Without Us by Alan Weisman is a non-fiction book about what would happen to Earth if humans suddenly disappeared. Weisman is a journalist who also wrote Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? I should also disclose that Weisman endorsed my eco-thriller Patriarch Run. You can read that endorsement here.
I know the question sounds strange. But what's even stranger, at least to me, is that it's something we don't talk about. It's taboo, even.
The human population was half what it is now when I was born. It was half that when my grandfather was born.
Depending on how you choose to solve the trolley problem, Jack is either the villain or the protagonist of the narrative.
An extinction event does not necessarily have to be sudden and catastrophic. I learned from Kolbert that continual downward pressure, even gentle pressure, on a population will drive a species to extinction over the course of hundreds or thousands of years.