Many of today's environmental problems are more due to population growth than climate change, and climate change is driven in part by continued global population growth. Development funding to make family planning and modern contraceptives universally available could make a big difference in solving these interlocking problems. By Malte Andersson, Frank Götmark, and Anders Wijkman … Continue reading Humanity needs to halt population growth
A new survey from the Global Challenges Foundation shows wide concern about population growth and overpopulation in many parts of the world. by Pernilla Hansson In an attempt to assess the general public’s understanding of global catastrophic risks, the Global Challenges Foundation (GCF) recently carried out a large survey among people in 10 countries: Australia, … Continue reading Survey shows the general public is ready for discussions about population
After months in the works, a new television program devoted to exploring all aspects of the population / environment connection is now streaming free on demand. Dallas-based EarthX TV hosts The Population Factor, whose first episode features an interview with environmental legend Paul Ehrlich. Two other episodes follow: one about the challenges of limiting climate … Continue reading New television show dedicated to population debuts
The success of Martin Luther King Jr. and the American civil rights movement was made possible in part through restrictions on immigration. With these restrictions, companies could no longer rely on cheap imported labor, instead having to compete for workers through increased wages and better working conditions. This is a reprint of a post first … Continue reading Immigration restrictions helped lead to Martin Luther King’s success
A robust account of human responsibility, applied to humanity’s economic and demographic decisions, is the missing link in environmentalists’ endeavors to save our planet. Contemporary humanity has been misled by promises of rights without responsibilities, win/win solutions, and individual success without discipline or concern for the common good. "Back to basics" should be our battle … Continue reading Rights and responsibilities in population policy
Imagine there’s no countries. It isn’t hard to do. Serving our corporate masters. And pasting smiles on our faces, too … Or better yet, imagine a world where citizens control their own destinies, within a peaceful and environmentally sustainable international order. That’s the real way forward. by the Honorable Kelvin Thomson I am a big … Continue reading Defending the nation-state
The Overpopulation Project (TOP) is a small organization, consisting of just a few individuals, but with strong motivations and much experience (see ‘About us’). We are independent researchers, not bound to any political or ideological agenda. Conducting research and outreach on overpopulation and its tragic consequences, and explaining solutions to this problem, are our main … Continue reading Another productive year at TOP
According to the IPCC, economic growth and increasing human populations are the two main drivers of global climate disruption. However, to date only efficiency improvements and technological changes have been seriously considered to meet the goals of the UNFCC’s Paris Agreement. In a new study, we examine how the parties to the agreement dealt with … Continue reading Do countries consider population growth in their national plans for a sustainable future? A new working paper from TOP
Like all government policies, population policies should respect human rights. But what does that mean in practice? Putting reproductive rights in the larger context of creating just and sustainable societies provides the best framework for answering that question correctly. by Philip Cafaro Issues concerning human rights loom large in population debates. On the one hand, … Continue reading Human Rights and Population Policy
The population crisis lies at the core of the first full-length novel by British author N. R. Baker, an eco-thriller called 10:59. Through a well-developed storyline, it details the destruction caused by our ever-growing population, following a compelling main character as he joins an organisation intent on saving the planet. Ms. Baker manages to balance … Continue reading 10:59 – time to address population?
Doctors have played a vital role in lowering mortality and increasing human life span and well-being. While representing a humanitarian success, this achievement has also contributed to a rapid increase in human numbers. In 1972, 52 physicians took responsibility for their role in this success and signed a call for action against overpopulation, through education, … Continue reading Pay Attention, Healthcare Workers!
"Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right" I. Asimov In the outstanding film “A life on our planet”, Sir David Attenborough tells us which actions we need to implement to avoid a future catastrophe. His plan is feasible and affordable: we already have all the knowledge and technology required … Continue reading ‘A Life on Our Planet’: Attenborough’s recipe and human reluctance — Chronicle of a failure foretold
Most contraceptive methods are aimed at women, an issue which Jackie Brown examines in a recent article in The Oxford Student. Brown discusses the great difference between the options available for women and men, and the inequality which arises from this. In response, retired gynaecologist Richard Grossman delves further into the complexity of side effects … Continue reading Women carry the burden of contraception – is this sexism or just physiology?
The current economic system in Australia is a Ponzi scheme based on maintaining positive GDP through migration. Populations of native species are plummeting and people are faced with increased job insecurity and housing costs, all of which are side effects of the Australian government's ongoing drive for an ever increasing population. by Kelvin Thomson In … Continue reading Australia’s Population Ponzi Scheme
by N.R. Baker According to the well-known metaphor, if you were to put a live frog into boiling water, it would – very wisely – leap straight out again. However, if you put the frog into tepid water that was then brought slowly to the boil, the hapless creature would be cooked before it even … Continue reading Boiling Frogs
Saturday, September 26th is World Contraception Day. This key date is a reminder that access to affordable contraception and reproductive health services is a fundamental human right across the globe. Furthermore, family planning and reproductive autonomy (particularly in the Global South), together with lowering our personal environmental impacts (particularly in the Global North) is fundamental … Continue reading Why global support for contraception is critical in the pandemic age
The Overpopulation Project is pleased to announce its most recent publication, “Population growth and climate change: Addressing the overlooked threat multiplier” published in Science of the Total Environment. Through a review of national and global studies, the paper describes the emission reduction and vulnerability reduction benefits of slowing population growth, and outlines policies that can … Continue reading Population growth and climate change: environmental threat multipliers – a new publication from TOP
With ten years left to go, the international community must break its silence and tackle population growth directly if the UN’s SDGs are ever to be realised. Creating a better world, with security and opportunity for all, cannot occur in a context of continued rapid population growth. by Robin Maynard To celebrate World Population Day the environmental … Continue reading Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals depends on reducing birth rates faster
Since the fall of the Eastern bloc, both Ukraine and Romania have seen their populations shrink. Driven by rural to urban migration, low fertility rates, and substantial emigration, the depopulation in the Danube Delta region has opened up large areas to rewilding efforts. With a history of irrigation and altered river dynamics, restoration and reintroduction … Continue reading A Decreasing Population Furthers Rewilding Efforts in Romania’s and Ukraine’s Danube Delta
Too many people consuming too many resources and generating too much waste: that’s why humanity keeps pushing deeper into ecological overshoot. On Earth Overshoot Day, let's not forget the P factor. by Lucia Tamburino & Philip Cafaro Every year on Earth Overshoot Day, a table like the one below makes the rounds, showing the number … Continue reading Earth overshoot day and population
So perhaps it’s time to take a more comprehensive look at how government policies impact black lives. In this piece, a long-time MP explores connections between Australia’s rapid population growth and its poor treatment of minority citizens. by Kelvin Thomson Black lives matter. It’s true, and in Australia it’s not as if we haven’t had … Continue reading Black Lives Matter
In recent years, migrants fleeing overpopulation and lack of economic opportunity have been rebranded as “climate refugees” by corporate media looking to justify open borders. But expanding migration will simply fuel continued population growth, leading to greater resource consumption, higher greenhouse gas emissions and worse climate change. It's a Ponzi scheme perpetuated by falsehoods that’s … Continue reading Climate refugees or overpopulation escapees?
A major media storm has erupted about a new scientific paper published in the Lancet claiming that global population will soon peak and decline. The prospect is met with doom and gloom, rather than jubilation. But Jane O’Sullivan finds many reasons to challenge both the claim and its assumed economic threat. By escalating unfounded fears … Continue reading Will global population peak below 10 billion?
In his new book A Planet of 3 Billion, Christopher Tucker presents a vision of a future world inhabited by 3 billion people, compared to 7.8 billion today. Inspired by Joel Cohen’s 1995 book How Many People Can the Earth Support? Tucker sets out to answer exactly this question. The ecological destruction caused by humanity … Continue reading New book argues for a sustainable world with 3 billion people
Societies can avoid a world population of 10.8 billion and related disasters – with education, contraception and emphasis on sustainability. by Joe Bish Human civilization faces a severe long-range mismatch between sustainable food yields and global population size. Some experts suggest a population sized at approximately two people per arable hectare would be ecologically sustainable. … Continue reading Addressing Population Challenge Is Not Impossible
Covid-19 continues to take a great toll on societies around the world. As we struggle to respond appropriately, our societies can emerge ecologically and socially stronger—provided we learn the important lessons this tragedy has to teach us. by Kelvin Thomson In Australia, and I suspect in many other countries as well, there are three key … Continue reading Lessons from a global pandemic
Every year on Earth Overshoot Day, a table becomes very popular, showing the number of Earths needed to be ecologically sustainable if all the people in the world had the same ecological footprint as the average citizens of various countries. This is computed by fixing the world population at the current value and varying the … Continue reading Overshoot day: the other side of the coin
The latest biodiversity strategy from the EU Commission makes some good suggestions for increasing protection for Europe’s dwindling biodiversity. While new, ambitious targets for protected areas and ecological restoration are welcome, the document fails to point out the central role population size will play in whether they are achieved. Through allowing the EU’s human population … Continue reading New EU Biodiversity Strategy Fails to Address a Key Component of the Biodiversity Crisis – Human Numbers
In the Croatian alps, declining human populations have gone hand in hand with expansions of protected lands and resurgent wildlife populations. Large predators are finding their way back to the region now that the anthropogenic pressures have lightened, and rewilding efforts have ensured the comeback of both mountain-dwelling herbivores and large grazers on the adjacent … Continue reading Fewer People = More Wild Nature in Croatia’s Velebit Mountains
The ongoing environmental crisis has prompted philosophers to examine the ethics behind limiting procreation in an overpopulated world. A paper published recently by Greg Bognar of Stockholm University aims to demonstrate that anti-natalist policy stances need not violate procreative liberty and personal autonomy. By Ayaka Paul In his new paper, “Overpopulation and Procreative Liberty,” Professor … Continue reading Autonomy and Overpopulation – Can They Co-exist?
By Jane O'Sullivan Hats off to Paul Hawken, the environmentalist behind Project Drawdown. Three years ago, he published a best-selling book, ‘Drawdown: the most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming’. The concept was brilliantly simple. It stripped away the complexity of how to respond to climate change, by cataloguing the hundred most impactful … Continue reading Drawdown: a review of the Review
by Philip Cafaro and Jane O’Sullivan A full-length feature film from Michael Moore and long-time collaborator Jeff Gibbs, first screened last year, has just been released for free viewing on YouTube, garnering over 3 million views in less than a week. While flawed in several ways, it nevertheless makes a valuable contribution to the public … Continue reading Planet of the Humans: New Film Shakes Up a Complacent Environmental Movement
With the ongoing tropical biodiversity crisis, protected areas play an important role for many species. But strict protection can harm local human communities that are reliant on the lands around them for survival. In addition, resources are often lacking to prevent illegal exploitation or hunting in strictly protected areas. Community-managed reserves have been suggested as … Continue reading Can Human Use Be Combined with Biodiversity Protection in the Tropics?
In recent years, some environmentalists have argued that increasing population density is the key to creating sustainable societies. COVID-19 suggests they are mistaken. When increasing density becomes a substitute for setting limits to human numbers and demands on nature, environmental conditions deteriorate. And as usual, poor people and other species wind up paying the price. … Continue reading A lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic on the perils of density
With decreasing populations in parts of rural Europe and marginal agricultural lands being abandoned, Europe is in a strong position to return land to wilderness. At the northern end of the border between Poland and Germany lies the Oder delta, where rewilding efforts on land and in water have contributed to a quick recovery of … Continue reading Restoring Abandoned Land in the Oder Delta Gives New Opportunities for Wildlife in Germany and Poland
This week, we reprint a valuable article by Professor Alon Tal, published in The Times of Israel on 25 March, on the connection between overpopulation and the coronavirus pandemic. Professor Tal explains the relationships between population density, human encroachment on natural areas, and disease transmission, and also the situation in Israel, a densely populated country. … Continue reading The disconcerting association between overpopulation and the COVID-19 crisis
Population growth depends strongly on fertility rates, so it is important to study factors that determine fertility. Despite much research, there is no consensus about the most important factors involved, except that contraceptive use can be effective. Factors correlated with declining as well as increasing or high fertility should be studied simultaneously. Religiosity is potentially … Continue reading Fertility levels in global regions and countries: what is the role of religion?
Fifty years ago, in his 1970 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Norman Borlaug said: “There can be no permanent progress in the battle against hunger until the agencies that fight for increased food production and those that fight for population control unite in a common effort.” Borlaug was insightful, but also a genuinely humble man. … Continue reading From Population to Production: Scientists’ Changing Views on How to Feed the World
Depopulation has led to abandonment of less fertile agricultural lands throughout Europe. Portugal, with its declining population, is a prime example. In the Côa Valley, the abandonment of farmland has been turned into an opportunity for rewilding efforts to create new wilderness. Already the valley has seen the return of many endangered species, such as … Continue reading Fewer people leads the way to rewilding in Portugal
With continued global population growth, contraception and conscious planning for children remain critical moral issues facing today's families, no matter where they are living. Different religions have different views on birth control, and their official teachings influence millions of people’s fertility decisions. Below we take a closer look at the evolution of the Catholic viewpoint … Continue reading The Catholic Church and contraception