People and the planet - how can we all live and flourish on a finite Earth? Past Event Tuesday, 8 October 2013 Royal Society of New Zealand Rutherford Memorial Lecture The impact of the growing human population, and the growing consumption of resources by the richer countries, is bringing us to the limits of what the earth can sustain. It is already not feasible for all of earth's present inhabitants to consume material resources at the rate current in the most developed countries. If we do nothing the discrepancy will increase, as population increases from 7 billion at present to 10 billion or more this century. Furthermore, our descendants ought to have opportunities at least as great as those we ourselves enjoy, but if we continue in our current style they will not. Choices made now - ethical, legal, social, and scientific - will determine the future of humanity. Shall we choose to flourish, or merely survive? Sir John Sulston Nobel laureate and founder director of the Wellcome trust Sanger centre, Sir John Sulston, is in new Zealand to deliver the 2013 Rutherford Memorial lecture. from 2010 to 2012, he led the Royal Society of london’s international working group People and the Planet, studying the impact of the growing human population.