Authors

Module(s)

Population

Abstract

For all of its futuristic stylings, the television show Star Trek was, like most science fiction, a commentary on the state of society at the time it was written (late 1960’s). One of the more famous episodes of that series was the one entitled The Mark of Gideon, which dealt with a planet that was so overpopulated that people did not have anywhere to sit down. At the time of the show, the Earth’s population was at about 3.5 billion, and was increasing at an incredible rate. The effects of such a large population on the environment were beginning to become abundantly clear, and people had begun to wonder just how many more people the Earth could hold. This Star Trek episode was just one of a number of television shows, movies, and books at that time (ex. Soylent Green) that foretold of an ominous future if we did not begin to do something. Since that time, the only thing that seems to have changed is that the world’s population has gotten larger. We now have more than 6.3 billion occupants, and we are continuing to grow. Not only that, but the United States population is growing dramatically, meaning that US citizens may someday need to make a decision about how much is too much and then develop a policy, if it were possible, to control growth.