The Overpopulation Project announces the Human Overpopulation Atlas, written by João L.R. Abegão. The Atlas is the extended masters thesis of the author in Ecology and Environment at the Department of Biology of the University of Porto in Portugal. This broad review work synthetizes knowledge about the past, present and future of human overpopulation.
In the first three chapters, the author explains why population matters have been important in the past and should remain important in the present. João gives us a detailed overview of how and why overpopulation became neglected and disregarded. In chapter III, “Judas and the elephant in the room”, the author lists and describes seven reasons that led to laconism in today’s population debate. The main elements are trust in current falling birth rates, focus on current consumption patterns, belief in the automatic demographic transition, and the change in international discourse and policies after the UN’s 1994 conference in Cairo on population and development.
In the second part of the book, Abegão argues that most of the symptoms of the ecological crisis in the Anthropocene are connected to overpopulation. Chapter IV, “Where the wild things were,” links human population to biodiversity loss, while chapter V, “Hunger games,” links it to food shortages. Chapter VI, “Category: Chaos,” deals with human-induced climate change, describing how we lose opportunities to cope with it by neglecting its population multiplier. Chapter VII, “Exodus,” is about migration, international migration crises and migration’s importance in maintaining population growth in much of the developed world.
The author makes the point that if we want to solve our environmental problems in the Anthropocene, we need to deal with the root of all the problems: seemingly endless population growth. We recommend this review of the scientific literature and other sources to those who are still not convinced about overpopulation’s fundamental role in the current ecological crisis, including climate change. We also recommend it to those who are aware that population growth is a root cause, but want to learn more about the interrelatedness of demography and the environment, and also about possible solutions.
Check out this excellent, detailed and free new resource on population issues here, and download the newest version for free!