The long-awaited Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame is upon us, and with it comes Thanos, the most formidable opponent the Avengers have ever seen. In the last Avengers installment, Thanos devastated both the team of superheroes and the world. He lives by the philosophy that a species (in this case, humanity) is better off with half of them gone. But Thanos is not original in his philosophy. His actions follow a long intellectual tradition that begins with Malthus and leads us now to Paul Ehrlich.
The theory of overpopulation has been around for centuries. Since then, the rationale has, astonishingly, remained relatively constant; as the population increases exponentially, food production only increases in a linear fashion. As a result, the Earth will ultimately exceed its alleged carrying capacity. Food shortage, war, and general trauma will follow if we do not do something to keep the population in check. But under serious scrutiny, do these doomsday predictions have merit?
Earth Day is upon us, and along with it comes hordes of armchair-environmentalists cheering for the continuation of our planet. While this cause may be noble, the holiday carries with it a dark history. Even amidst the championing of sustainability and progress, the celebration of Earth Day brings forth its own eugenicist baggage.