The Monticello Megaphone and the future of mankind
Posted Friday, May 5, 2023 08:02 PM

I guess that it has been more than a few years since I read a front-page article in the Monticello Megaphone, a four-page weekly student newspaper mimeographed and stapled at Monticello Junior High School, now elevated to Middle School.  But it was worth remembering because it was the only article written by an eighth-grader that predicted the date that Mankind would cease to exist.  (I was in 8th grade in 1960.)

I don’t think that the kid had any inside knowledge, for he was using some other news article as a source.  The subject was world population, and whoever did the original research calculated that our population would rapidly increase to infinity sometime in 1964.  (I don’t remember the date.)

Well, that was fairly substantial material to digest between Homeroom and Social Studies, and it scared me.

I suppose that’s why I’ve remembered it through the intervening 63 years, and now I find that I’m discussing much the same topic. 

That’s because I suddenly realized that all of our global problems have been rendered essentially insoluble because too many people are grabbing at limited resources:  food, clean water, arable land, rare earths, clean air, firewood, palm oil, and general breathing space. 

I’m glad we made it through 1964 despite the Vietnam War, Flipper, and rusty VW Beetles.  But nobody was concerned then about population vs the environment, either.

The solution is left as an exercise for the student.