OSHR 1036 - What’s for Lunch? World Population and Food - Are There Limits?

  • Noncredit
  • Fort Collins

This course is offered through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Colorado State University. You must be a member of Osher to enroll in this course.

Can our world continue to produce enough food to maintain its growing population? In 1798, the Rev. Thomas Malthus wrote a best seller, An Essay on the Principle of Population. He argued that the power of population, the human urge to reproduce (sex), was greater than the power of the Earth to produce food to support a growing population. Malthus, a professor of history and political economy and a pastor of the Anglican Church, died in 1834, but his still-controversial hypothesis has never been completely rejected.

Is Malthus right? We’ll start with a discussion of theories of growth and an examination of the growth of the world’s human population. We’ll then discuss the world food situation, available energy and photosynthetic efficiency, and what it all implies to feed 9+ billion people.

Readings: Hardin, G., 1968, The Tragedy of the Commons. Science 162:1243-1248.

Noncredit courses do not produce academic credit nor appear on a Colorado State University academic transcript.