World History Seminar

Thursday, February 22, 2018 at 4:30pm to 6:00pm

Building E51, 095
70 MEMORIAL DR, Cambridge, MA 02142

“The Edge of the Petri Dish: Wizards and Prophets”
Presented by Charles C. Mann

In 2050, the world will have about ten billion people. How will we feed them all? Provide everyone with freshwater? Ensure that there is enough energy--and avoid the worst effects of climate change? For decades the discussion of these subjects has been dominated by two clashing schools: Wizards, who believe that science and technology, properly applied, can let us produce our way out of our dilemmas; and Prophets, who believe that the world has fundamental ecological limits that we transgress to our peril. Prophets look at the world as finite, and people as constrained by their environment. Wizards see possibilities as inexhaustible and humans as wily managers of the planet. Is growth the lot and blessings of our species; or should stability and preservation be our goal? If the history of the last century has been one of explosive growth, the history of this coming century will be the choice we make, as a species, between these two paths



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