Sustainability and the Population Debate

Saturday, December 14, 2013 10:30to15:30
688 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, CA

Course participation is limited to 20 people

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Sustainability essentially involves the obligation to leave to future generations the capacity to ensure their well-being. This obligation raises the question of whether we are running out of resources—in terms of both “sources” and “sinks”—necessary for its fulfillment. On the opposite side of the coin are the questions of whether there are too many people, and if we are consuming too much. This one-day seminar addresses the specific issue of population growth, which is important in the context of sustainability, given that the global population, which currently stands at around 7.2 billion people, is projected by the United Nations to reach nearly 11 billion in 2100.The causes and impacts of population growth, what might be done to control it and whether “overpopulation” is a problem at all have been and continue to be debated. We will explore different perspectives on these questions and draw lessons for global population stabilization from the experience related to population control.


Madhav Badami has a joint appointment in the School of Urban Planning and the McGill School of Environment at McGill University. After having studied mechanical engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, he spent nine years in diesel engine development in the Indian truck and bus industry. He then obtained a Master’s Degree in Environmental Science at the University of Calgary, and a PhD in environmental policy and planning at the University of British Columbia. Madhav Badami’s teaching and research interests are in the areas of environmental policy and planning, urban infrastructure and services, urban transport, alternative transport fuels, and environment and development.


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