Dr. Frank Fenner stirred up controversy with his pessimistic claim that homo sapiens will be extinct within a century. Dr. Fenner claims that our “unbridled consumption” and population explosion will damper the species ability to survive.
It is no theory that fewer resources translate to war and with the human population expected to increase by 200 million just next year it could spell disaster. A mixture of a continual population increase with constant climate change and over-consumption of natural resources could, in fact, be the end of our species.
Dr. Fenner cites the Polynesian population of Easter Island as an example of what could possibly occur. The Polynesian people settled the island around the first millennium AD and sustained normal growth prior to a population boom. The depletion of the forests on the island, led to multiple species going extinct and by 1600 the civilization began a steep decline. The Polynesian population all but disappeared by mid-19th century.
Photo Credit: PhyOrg.com
Dr. Fenner is credited for assisting in eradicating smallpox is now 95. He believes our consumption has already passed a tipping point and our damage is irreversible and our fate sealed. His contemporaries including Dr. Stephen Boyden believe that we can still ascertain a sense of ecological sustainability.
Personally, I do not see our species being decimated within a century, but the evidence is obvious; we must curtail consumption and seek sustainable growth and industry. If we do not seek a balance, we will eventually be a chapter in an ever evolving ecological storybook.