In fact, by the end of this century, the world’s population may begin its inevitable decline, says paleontologist and Nature editor Henry Gee in a new article for Scientific American – and he doesn’t hesitate to use the word “extinction”.
“I suspect that the human population is set not just to decline, but to collapse – and very soon,” he writes.
Gee points to the lack of genetic variation, declining birth rates, pollution, and the stress of living in overcrowded cities as a recipe for disaster.
“The most insidious threat to humanity is the so-called ‘extinction debt,’” paleontologist explains. “In the development of any species, even a thriving one, there comes a point where extinction is inevitable, no matter what they can do to prevent it.”
“The species most at risk are those that dominate certain habitats at the expense of other species that migrate to other locations and therefore spread more evenly,” Gee suggested. “Human beings occupy more or less the entire planet, and by absorbing most of the productivity of this planetary patch of habitat, we dominate it.”
In other words, our actions will eventually catch up with us. This means that humanity may “already be a walking dead species,” says Gee.
According to the researcher, it is much more likely that our population will not just decline, but disappear.
“The signs are already there for those who are ready to see them,” Gee writes. “The real question is ‘How fast?’”