This week the library received a new book that is perfect for the “deep thinkers” among our patrons. The Wizard and the Prophet by Charles C. Mann is a study of two different schools of thought concerning the future of our planet. The author says that in just forty years the Earth’s population will reach ten billion and many are wondering if it can sustain that many people. If so, they ask what type of a world it will be. People who attempt to answer these questions generally fall into two categories, each inspired by the conflicting views of scientists who researched the issue.
Prophets follow William Vogt, an environmentalist who advised that the Earth has limits as to what is is able to provide, and exceeding those limits would be disastrous. He says that we must reduce our consumption and cut back, or we will overwhelm our planet’s ability to support us. Wizards, on the other hand, follow Norman Borlaug. He believed that science and technology are capable of discovering ways to solve the problems of an increasing population. He says that we must produce more, rather than less, in order to secure a prosperous future.
The author presents both sides of the argument and helps readers understand how they address the main challenges of the future – food, water, energy, and climate change. He does not judge which approach is better, but provides an in depth analysis of each and allows the reader to better understand the issues facing us.
If this topic interests you, check out this book which can be found in the non-fiction section of the library in Dewey number 363.