In this new series of debates entitled Glass Half Full, being recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 4, Fi Glover pits optimists against pessimists in a new topical debating format. A lead speaker on each side presents their argument, and both question expert witnesses to support their point of view. At the end of the debate, the audience votes and declares in favour of an optimistic or pessimistic view of the subject – Glass Half Empty – or Full!

This second debate will discuss if projected population growth will be an environmental and social catastrophe, or will economic growth, education and ingenuity offer the solution?

The first debate, We Can Look Forward to a Healthier Future, takes place at LSE on 9 March. The final debate is on 28 March, and is entitled Digital Technology is Making Children's Lives Richer.


Johan Norberg (@johanknorberg) is a best-selling author, TV presenter, and lecturer. His book Progress: Ten Reasons to Look forward to the Future was a 2016 Book of the Year for the Economist and the Observer. He is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute in Washington D.C.

Sarah Conly is a Professor of Philosophy at Bowdoin College and is the author of One Child: Do We Have the Right to More? and Against Autonomy: Justifying Coercive Paternalism.

Joel Kibazo (@joelkibazo) is a Managing Director at FTI Consulting and is on the policy committee of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at the University of Oxford. He was formerly a Director at the African Development Bank, an Associate Fellow at Chatham House, a Financial Times journalist, and a member of the World Economics Forum Global Agenda Council.

Robin Maynard (@RobinMaynard55) is a campaigner, writer and strategist, now Chief Executive of the charity Population Matters. In his 30-year career he has held senior positions at Friends of the Earth and the Forestry Commission, as well as presenting programmes for BBC Radio 4.

David Spiegelhalter (@d_spiegel) is the Winton Professor of the Public Understanding of Risk at Cambridge University and a fellow of the Royal Society. He is a regular contributor to Radio 4 and blogs at Understanding Uncertainty.

Fi Glover (@fifiglover) is a multi-award winning broadcaster. She is one of the country’s best-known radio voices, having worked on BBC Radio 4, 5 Live, Radio 2, Radio 1 and GLR. She currently presents BBC Radio 4’s The Listening Project.


Twitter Hashtag for this event: #R4GlassFull