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Chris Bystroff

City: Troy

Country: United States

Impact Narrative

Professor Bystroff writes: “I will teach a course called “Human Overpopulation” next spring, 2016, open to all majors. I am a biologist at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the course will be taught from a natural scientist’s point of view, with a eye towards the social sciences. Among other topics, we will discuss the psychology of overpopulation and the reluctance to directly address problems that are perceived as too big or too hard. As such, I am looking for a textbook. Among the top contenders is Jared Diamond’s “Collapse”. I am looking for a textbook that hits most of the main topics of the course, including (1) carrying capacity, (2) lifeboat ethics, (3) tragedy of the commons, (4) water, (5) resource depletion-related political unrest, (6) cognitive dissonance, (7) specific cases of overshoot, (8) scenarios for the long term future of humanity, (9) climate, and (10) mathematical models such as von Feorster’s doomsday, Latka-Volterra, logistic growth, and Holling response . The 14-week 4-credit course will be interactive and communication intensive, requiring each student to present. There will be guest lectures. The course will be filmed and made available online.” Chris is working with two books initially, with the possibility of ordering more for his classes.

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