The first hour focuses on “The Next Two Billion: Can the Planet Take the Strain?” The past 50 years have seen the most rapid population growth in the course of human history. We are headed toward 9 billion people by mid-century. This at a time when rivers are drying up, forests are disappearing, soil is eroding, glaciers are melting, fish stocks are vanishing, and nearly a billion people are going hungry every day. How will the planet work with two billion more of us?
National Geographic magazine examines the implications of Earth’s burgeoning human population in its January 2011 cover story, “Population 7 Billion.” Article author and NG senior editor Robert Kunzig joins Columbia University hydroclimatologist and environmental change expert Upmanu Lall and NPR science correspondent Richard Harris to discuss the issue.
The second hour tackles “Exploration In The 21st Century: What’s The Role Of The Explorer Today?” You can pinpoint a photo of your house on the Internet in seconds, but there are still vast areas of the Earth from the depths of the ocean to mountain landscapes uncovered by climate change that no one’s ever seen. A panel of National Geographic explorers–including marine geologist and archaeologist and NG Explorer-in-Residence Robert Ballard, NG photographer Michael “Nick” Nichols, and Iowa State biological anthropologist and NG Emerging Explorer Jill Pruetz–discusses what’s left to explore in our world.
If you’re in D.C., join us at National Geographic’s Grosvenor Auditorium on January 6th for the free event. Can’t make it in person? Listen in on National Public Radio. Post questions in advance for any of the speakers to National Geographic’s Facebook page, or tweet them with hashtag #NGLive.
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Photograph by Randy Olson