I find the whole Malthusian Moment (roughly 1969-1973) fascinating. I guess because I grew up in its aftermath, where it was still resonating, there were aftershocks. (This is partly because I mostly grew up in Australia, which was then even more of a backwater than it is now. I’d see movies from the era (The Omega Man, Soylent Green etc) on late night television. The discussions about environmental degradation still framed in those terms (of resources running out, rather than capacity to absorb pollutants being overwhelmed).
And the questions underneath it all, amounted to “what if we are not actually that smart?”
What if the whole ‘homo sapiens’ thing is over-estimating ourselves? What if we are told the truth, or a close enough approximation of it – albeit with over-certainty and hyperbole here and there – and the truth does NOT set us free? What if we fail to act on warnings? Does that mean that we habituate to the end of the world? Does it mean that we start reaching to the sky just to surrender? Does it mean that we are condemned to a half-century and some change of, well, slouching towards Armageddon, waiting to be torn limb from limb?
Some may say otherwise, but, I’m ready to take a punt on answering those three questions. And my answers are… Yes, yes and yes.
Am writing about 1972 in Manchester. In the course of research, found out about this book. There was a cheap copy going… will read it, and weep.