This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

You can download an iPhone app for the 13th edition from the App Store (search for Weeks Population).

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at:

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A More Personal Take on Achieving Seven Billion

Chris Arsenault of Aljazeera has published an online article about population growth that features quotes by several demographers, including me. One of the concerns I raise is that we genuinely do not know how we are going to feed our growing population. Already nearly a billion among us are hungry and yet we expect to add another 2-3 billion by the middle of this century. 

I was alerted to the fact that the article had been published by the receipt of an email suggesting to me that the answer was so obvious--a vegan diet (not only no meat, but no animal products such as milk or eggs). Now, in truth, I don't disagree with that idea. My wife and I transitioned to a vegetarian diet twenty years ago--although more for animal rights reasons than as an example of how to save the planet. Yet there is no doubt that one of the huge problems we face today is the enormous amount of agricultural output that could feed people directly, but rather winds up feeding non-human animals for slaughter or other purposes. Is it possible to even think about a vegan world? Twenty years ago I would have said no, but in the past twenty years being vegetarian has become commonplace, and being vegan is essentially where being vegetarian was two decades ago--people are likely to look at you as though you are nuts. 

If you live anywhere in the New York City area and want to experience what a vegan lunch or dinner (or brunch on the weekends) is all about, go to our favorite restaurant--Candle79 at 79th and Lexington. You may help save the planet.

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