The overpopulation myth

peak population

Interview with The Coming Population Crash: And Our Planet’s Surprising Future author Fred Pearce.

Global environmental problems are not, and will not, be mainly a problem of overbreeding Indians or Africans. First, their birthrates are coming down fast, with Indian women, for instance, having fewer than three children on average today; and even African women have falling fertility. And secondly, because overbreeding — in the sense of women having more than replacement levels of children — is almost entirely in countries with a very low per-capita footprint on the planet. For instance, the carbon emissions of one American is the same as that of 20 Indians, 30 Pakistanis, 40 Nigerians and 250 Ethiopians. If, as economists suggest, the world economy will grow by 400 percent by 2050, then no more than a tenth of that will be a result of population growth. The issue is consumption, and that puts the onus right back on the conspicuous consumers to do something about their economic systems, not least before more developing countries follow the same model.

So these worries about overpopulation are unfounded?

When Paul Ehrlich wrote his famous book ["The Population Bomb"], women were having an average around the world of five or six children; now they’re having an average of 2.6. Fertility rates around the world have halved. That’s not just true in Europe and North America; they’re way below replacement levels in most of East Asia now. Not just China but Japan, Korea, Vietnam and Burma have replacement rates of fertility or below. Around the world, fertility rates have been coming down really sharply. So the population bomb as we’ve conceived it before really isn’t there. There’s still population growth going on, but that’s going to stabilize. [...]

If chaos theory taught us anything, it’s that societies head off in all kinds of directions we couldn’t predict. Fifty years ago, if we had taken a slightly different path in industrial chemistry and used bromine instead of chlorine, we’d have burned out the entire ozone layer before we knew what the hell was going on, and the world would have been very different. There’s always scary stuff out there that we may not know about. You can’t predict the future. You can just try and plan for it.

Salon: “The Coming Population Crash”: The overpopulation myth

(via David Forbes)

See also: Peak Population

On the other hands, The Quiverfulls doing their best to combat peak population.

9 Comments

  1. The author has a point here and I agree – but in spite of that, the population growth is still a big problem and is going to get even worse. The race, nationality, and location independent, the population is still increasing, the trend that should be stopped and even reversed:

    -by educating young people about the problem
    -by educating young people early about sex and contraception

    -by working on changing global mentality from the present “mother cult”, “family cult”, children cult” adoration that has its roots back in the caves.

    -by stopping and sabotaging all religious groups that favour having lots of children, ban contraception or abortion.

    -by stopping or at least slowly reducing social help to people who choose to have more than two kids and channelling the funds towards those couples, who decide to have none or at least less than three.

    it is not matter or “freedom” or “rights”, in a civilized society one needs a licence to drive or even to fish or have a pet – in order to protect the society from egoistic individuals that puts their own animal instincts before common interests. But any idiot can have as many kids as he (&she) likes, regardless of his social status, IQ or quality of genetic material. And especially regardless of the global population growth and its inevitable consequences…

  2. Another First World city dwelling middle class white man blowing smoke up his own ass..and telling the rest of us to bend over and enjoy the breeze.

  3. Daniel, how many children does a mother need to have before she can be cut from the social safety net? Four? Five? Should we penalize people who insist on pushing past three, or just insist on their sterilization at two if they plan to remain part of our civilization? Should we consider basing all qualification for social help on IQ testing and genetic graphing, or would that be too intrusive? I agree that is a tremendous waste of resources to assist the poor and stupid, people who really ought to have never been born and who offer nothing to the really important (I daresay elite) people that form the backbone of our civilization. Not to be selfish, but we could be spending the money on scientific research to make ourselves immortal and to expand our space programs. The survival of our race into the future and all.

    I look forward to your answers.

  4. Walter, I think we should go one step further than sterilization: euthanasia. I say we euthanize everyone who think euthanasia is a good idea.

  5. walter, flint…. dear fellow humans. your deluded. both in your blind systems and alleys of thought. to walter, so nice that you could easily wipe out people whose lives you have no idea about, classify them below you (you would of course survive this genocide due to being part of the elite, as so i imagine) and go ahead to your space program as the ‘fit’ inheriters of this earth and …. beyond. I thought the mark of a ‘good’ society was how it treated its most weakest members. and to flint….. euthansia … well only with the informed consent of the person being euthanised…. can no more outlaw suicide…. same difference….. well still hope the best for you both, see you around this old world someday.

  6. I find in reading those sites that say that population problems are a myth that their evidence is very sparse and inconclusive. Recently I read Book 1 of the free e-book series “In Search of Utopia” (http://andgulliverreturns.info), it blasts their lack of evidence relative to their calling overpopulation a myth. The book, actually the last half of the book, takes on the skeptics in global warming, overpopulation, lack of fresh water, lack of food, and other areas where people deny the evidence. I strongly suggest that anyone wanting to see the whole picture read the book, at least the last half.

  7. How about countering the arguments posed in the free ebook series “In Search of Utopia” in Book 1. (http://andgulliverreturns.info) I think they shoot down the ‘myth’ argument.

  8. I haven’t read Gullivers’ books, but here’s some more discussion on the topic:

    http://seedmagazine.com/content/article/is_population_a_problem/

  9. thanks for this weblog site post, could i consult while in the function you play dragonfable

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