With environmentalists and economic development activists ringing alarm bells of population explosion and commensurate resource depletion, provident sights are set on alternative solutions to our growth predicament – including space colonization, either through human settlements, biodomes, or even terraforming, a concept seriously if preliminarily explored by NASA.
But will we really need such extreme solutions? The idea of overpopulation is not new: already in the 19th century, predictions of a Malthusian catastrophe claimed that Earth would soon run out of resources and its human population would be decimated by famines. These predictions were based on two assumptions: one, that population growth would continue at the same rate; and two, that productivity would not increase. By the 21st century, neither has proved to be true.