Grim outlook for globe?

In the year 2050, we can expect to live in a world greatly influenced and scarred by the forces of growing population demographics, the scarcity of natural resources, the ever-webbing network of globalization, and climate change.

This is a compelling and frightening portrait that Laurence C. Smith, author and professor at University of California, Los Angeles, visually described during his lecture.

This semester's Santa Monica College Global Connections Lecture Series kicked off last Tuesday, with Smith discussing the increasingly relevant topics addressed in his book "The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civiliaztion's Northern Future."

"We are barreling toward a world with nearly 40 percent more people and a doubled food requirement by 2050," Smith wrote in his book. "We are transforming from a poor rural to wealthier urban species."

This shift occurred in 2008, as the percentage of urban-dwelling citizens outweighed those living in rural conditions for the first time in human history, Smith said during his lecture.

"Material demands for an urban society greatly outweigh those of an agrarian culture," Smith said at the lecture. "Coal usage and natural gas usage will be three times greater by 2050."

Smith addresses many of the popular misconceptions that are currently clouding views of global warming and its effects during his lecture.

"Global warming is neither truly global, nor always warming," said Smith.

The topic of climate change and its effects

both immediate and future

made up the majority of Smith's lecture, a facet that SMC student Kristi Lauren found most powerful.

"The evidence for global warming is overwhelming, yet I still always hear people claiming it's fabricated or a political tool," Lauren said. "I really admired how bluntly he discussed the reality of it."

The Global Connections Lecture Series is made possible by the efforts of the SMC Global Citizenship Council, the SMC Office of Public Programs, and the SMC Associates, a private organization devoted to "promoting, fostering, and encouraging scientific, literary, educational, and artistic endeavors at Santa Monica College," as stated in the group's mission statement.

Judy Neveau, director of community relations for SMC Associates, credited the far-reaching community of faculty and friends of the school for bringing together the diverse group of speakers the series offers.

"It's a community of faculty members and friends devoted to the enrichment of the school who's responsible for putting this together and funding it," Neveau said. "Many come from outside communities, yet are still dedicated to the spreading of knowledge."

The Global Connections Lecture Series aims to provide students with the opportunity to expand their perceptions and discover new and interesting fields of study.

"These lectures are a smaller and more localized way of providing the same type of educational experience," said Neveau.

The lecture series is free of charge, and takes place in Room 165 of the Humanities and Social Sciences Building. To see a list of upcoming lectures, visit campus events on the SMC homepage.

James CosterComment