As world reserves of oil and natural gas dwindle over the coming decades – a prospect predicted by many energy experts – the rate at which the people in most societies around the world have babies is likely to drop precipitously as well.
That is the prediction of anthropologist Virginia Abernethy, professor emerita of psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, speaking on Feb. 13 in the symposium "From the Ground Up: The Importance of Soil in Sustaining Civilization" at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held in Seattle.
"The availability of energy has been a major factor in population growth," said Abernethy. "In the modern context, energy use per capita affects economic activity. So a prolonged decline in energy use per capita will tend to depress the economy which, in turn, will cause a decline in the fertility rate."
David F. Salisbury | EurekAlert!
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