Blog

The decision to forego childbearing

Should you bring children into a crowded and ecologically declining world? More and more young people are asking themselves this question. One woman explores her personal choice in a global perspective.  by Gaia Baracetti It's definitely a thing now. Here in the West at least there seems to be an almost incessant flow of articles … Continue reading The decision to forego childbearing

Religion, Religiosity, Fertility and Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa: Part 3, A Study of Christian Denominations in Mozambique

How does affiliation with different Christian denominations influence fertility? In a study1 from a Christian high-fertility area in Mozambique, Victor Agadjanian and Scott Yabiku examine fertility from two perspectives: dynamically, by looking at risks of births in any given year, and cumulatively, by the number of children ever born versus length of membership in a … Continue reading Religion, Religiosity, Fertility and Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa: Part 3, A Study of Christian Denominations in Mozambique

Just population policies for an overpopulated world

After three decades of neglect, more environmentalists are waking back up to the need to limit human numbers. But like Rip Van Winkle, we find that the world changed while we were asleep. There are now billions more people, consuming more than ever, while our world has grown warmer, tamer, and more polluted. A new … Continue reading Just population policies for an overpopulated world

Limits to Sustainability, Population, and the TEDx Experience

A recent TEDx talk delves into our species' reverence for economic and population growth, which is pushing us - and the natural world – outside our safe operating space. In 'Limits to Sustainability', João Abegão attempts to communicate the expanding footprint of our species by comparing it with transformations suffered by past complex societies. By … Continue reading Limits to Sustainability, Population, and the TEDx Experience

Pro-natalism: The role of the Vatican

Those of us who care about overpopulation need to pay far more attention to the powerful pro-natalists who are coaching or instructing people to have more children. Religion is obviously a big factor, although not the only one, and there has been much coverage of evangelical Christians. Much less has been written about the Catholic … Continue reading Pro-natalism: The role of the Vatican

Glasgow follies

This coming weekend, representatives from 196 nations will gather in Glasgow for the 26th Conference of the Parties to the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change. Failure is assured, since addressing the fundamental causes of climate change isn’t on the agenda and all proposed national commitments are voluntary, with no penalties for not living up … Continue reading Glasgow follies

Move Upstream

Environmental organizations around the world are often stuck treating symptoms, rather than addressing the root causes of environmental problems. Author and naturalist Karen Shragg joins Phil Cafaro for a new episode of The Population Factor to discuss how “moving upstream” could reinvigorate a tired environmental movement. by The Overpopulation Project As representatives from the nations … Continue reading Move Upstream

Religion and Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa – Part 2, Differences Among Denominations

Among the eight regional groups used for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), only Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is projected to sustain a rapid population growth up to 2100, while the seven other regions either have started to decline, or are projected to stabilise, by 21001. In SSA, many countries have a young population; 40-50% … Continue reading Religion and Fertility in Sub-Saharan Africa – Part 2, Differences Among Denominations

Should the right to procreate eclipse future generations’ interests entirely? Book review of “Under the Sky We Make” by Kimberly Nicholas

Under the Sky We Make is an excellent exploration of what needs to be done to fight climate change. Its author succeeds in the difficult task of inspiring the desire to act. Yet she ignores the importance of reversing population growth, missing an important opportunity to educate readers on a key aspect of climate disruption … Continue reading Should the right to procreate eclipse future generations’ interests entirely? Book review of “Under the Sky We Make” by Kimberly Nicholas

Religion, religiosity, fertility and contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa – Part 1, Introduction to studies of religion

How important is religion and belief in the supernatural for family life, contraceptive use, fertility, and family size? Presumably many of our readers have considered the role played in high-fertility societies by the belief that “children are God’s will”. In this blog series based on a literature review1, we focus on Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and … Continue reading Religion, religiosity, fertility and contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa – Part 1, Introduction to studies of religion

Lower birth rates and an aging population can help heal Asian economies

Slowing population growth can have broad benefits for society, including enhancing the many ways that older citizens enrich our communities. By Jane O'Sullivan and Susann Roth As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt people’s livelihoods through a second year, a lot of people are choosing to defer having children. Media stories lament a ‘baby bust‘ … Continue reading Lower birth rates and an aging population can help heal Asian economies

The Population Factor returns for a second season

The Population Factor, the show hosted by The Overpopulation Project's own Phil Cafaro, returns with a second season, starting off with a discussion about the Nature Needs Half proposal. by The Overpopulation Project Wildlife populations are dwindling rapidly across much of the world and the number one cause is habitat loss, driven by excessive human … Continue reading The Population Factor returns for a second season

Reconciling human demands with planetary boundaries: a new approach to quantifying sustainability at the national and global levels

Human population grows, Earth doesn’t. A certain environmental impact is needed to satisfy basic human needs. When multiplied by a huge population, even a small average individual impact can become high, overshooting planetary boundaries. Achieving both environmental sustainability and high human development is hence a challenge. Can we win this challenge without considering the population … Continue reading Reconciling human demands with planetary boundaries: a new approach to quantifying sustainability at the national and global levels

The most ethical gift: Towards a sustainable demographic future

Demographic changes are not immediate, but rather take a long time to happen. In an article originally posted in The Ecological Citizen, Joe Bish argues that the population discussion needs to be reframed as an  imperative to achieving a long-term sustainable civilisation, rather than an overriding priority for near term goals. By Joe Bish The … Continue reading The most ethical gift: Towards a sustainable demographic future

The demographic fantasies of the IPCC

Climate change is now unequivocally an emergency according to the latest report from the IPCC. Our only hope lies in extremely rapid abandonment of fossil fuels and reversal of forest loss. But these lifeline scenarios also assume birth rates plummet in high-fertility regions. Jane O’Sullivan offers a reality check. By Jane O'Sullivan The Intergovernmental Panel … Continue reading The demographic fantasies of the IPCC

Why we must become fewer people and consume less – and suggestions to improve the situation

The mainstream media rarely report about the role of population growth in environmental and climate disruptions, but the Op-Ed below was actually published in the high-circulating Swedish Social Democratic newspaper Aftonbladet a week ago. The original Swedish text is available here. The article gives a broad overview, ending with an unusual suggestion. There were 250 … Continue reading Why we must become fewer people and consume less – and suggestions to improve the situation

Students view human population growth as a threat to biodiversity

In their curriculum, university students in biology and environmental sciences rarely learn how human population growth affects the environment, or discuss its role relative to other factors. Human activities are often dealt with in courses, but not population increase. One exception, described below, comes from a Swedish ecology class that learned about and discussed how … Continue reading Students view human population growth as a threat to biodiversity

Top scientists call for new UN sustainable development goal on population

A group of distinguished scientists have called for rapid action to reverse unsustainable population growth as threats to global ecological boundaries become more apparent. The evidence was set out at an online conference organised by Scientists Warning Europe to mark this year’s World Population Day. by Brian McGavin  With the human ecological footprint already 170 … Continue reading Top scientists call for new UN sustainable development goal on population

The moral case for population reduction

A frequent assumption in population policy debates is that stabilizing populations will be sufficient to achieve ecological sustainability. But as Karin Kuhlemann observes, “that a population’s size is stable in no way entails sustainability. It may be sustainable, or it may be far too large.” A recent book from philosopher Trevor Hedberg convincingly argues the … Continue reading The moral case for population reduction

Honouring World Population Day with Women’s Personal Stories

A new initiative aims to draw attention to stories about population and consumption from women around the world to mark World Population Day. The focus lies on personal experiences and encourages a greater discussion about the links between population, consumption, and protecting nature. By Pernilla Hansson World Population Day is held every year on the … Continue reading Honouring World Population Day with Women’s Personal Stories

Past, present, and future population: a personal account of India

Sometime this decade, India is set to overtake China as the most populous nation on Earth. Below, a reader from India reflects on what these immense numbers mean for his country’s future. Despite being in the position of being able to have a family of his own, he chooses not to in protest. For him … Continue reading Past, present, and future population: a personal account of India

IPCC and IPBES Ignore Overpopulation Again

In a new report, a joint workshop convened by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services warned that the climate and biodiversity crises need to be tackled in tandem. Among their hundreds of suggestions for doing so, however, proposals to end population growth were nowhere to be … Continue reading IPCC and IPBES Ignore Overpopulation Again

An Environmental Impact Statement on US Immigration Policy

What impact does US immigration policy have on greenhouse gas emissions, habitat preservation, or water and air pollution? Episode six of The Population Factor on Earthx TV addresses these questions, while episode seven, the final episode of season one, discusses how declining human populations open up new opportunities for ecological restoration. by The Overpopulation Project … Continue reading An Environmental Impact Statement on US Immigration Policy

Coercion and population policies, Part 3 – More babies for the nation

PM’s Alistair Currie looks at a disturbing rise in restrictions on women’s rights due to coercive population growth policies that put pressure on women to have larger families. By Alistair Currie Last year, the policy of the Chinese government to force women in its Muslim Uyghur minority to be sterilised, have abortions, or get fitted … Continue reading Coercion and population policies, Part 3 – More babies for the nation

Population Dynamics, the Concept of a “System,” and the Law of Unintended Consequences

by Larry D. Barnett The presence of too many people on planet Earth is a problem that generally receives just lip service. The lack of interest in the problem should not, however, be surprising. Hominids have been on Earth for millions of years,[1] and modern Homo sapiens has been around for millennia - by one … Continue reading Population Dynamics, the Concept of a “System,” and the Law of Unintended Consequences

Pandemic reduces migration, sky does not fall in

Political leaders often bray about the need for continued population growth to benefit “the Economy.” In Australia, Covid-19 has provided a real-world test of the impacts of reduced migration and decreased population growth. So far, those impacts appear largely positive. by Kelvin Thomson Population activists concerned about the damage that rapid growth is doing to … Continue reading Pandemic reduces migration, sky does not fall in

Coercion and population policies, Part 2 – the remarkable case of Peru

The unsustainable growth of the global population needs to be halted through informed voluntary action. Coercive population policies such as those used in China are unacceptable. On the other hand, many millions of women and couples around the world face pro-natalist forms of coercion, such as being forced to give birth to unwanted children, in … Continue reading Coercion and population policies, Part 2 – the remarkable case of Peru

Two radical ideas whose time has come

Increasing economic inequality and accelerating ecological decline are the two great political challenges facing nations today. In recent decades, many complicated efforts to address these problems have been proposed or tried, but the problems have continued to worsen. Perhaps it is time to address them more directly. by Philip Cafaro I came of age politically … Continue reading Two radical ideas whose time has come

Earth Wars: Nature Strikes Back

The current pandemic has had many severe consequences, but it has also acted as a reminder of the need for international cooperation when facing global challenges. Continued environmental destruction will likely increase the risk for future pandemics. Population growth is one of the main driving factors of the continued encroachment into nature and needs to … Continue reading Earth Wars: Nature Strikes Back

From bodily autonomy back to family planning

In its recent report State of World Population 2021 the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) highlights bodily autonomy as a universal right. Of course, nobody in a civilised society would object against this position. However, by limiting the notion to the domain of gender-based violence and harmful practices such as child marriage, female genital mutilation, … Continue reading From bodily autonomy back to family planning

Are we overpopulated already?

With the world’s population growing by more than 80 million annually, the environmental case for addressing population growth seems clear. But is Earth overpopulated already? And what might be a sustainable human population? Recent episodes of EarthX TV’s The Population Factor address these questions and explore solutions to humanity’s continued demographic expansion. by The Overpopulation … Continue reading Are we overpopulated already?

Demographers fail to acknowledge the effect of population growth on climate change

A recently published article asked European demographers about their attitudes towards climate change and population growth. It shows that while most demographers are in agreement on the need to act on climate change, the effect of population growth is largely not understood. By The Overpopulation Project An article published in March this year in the … Continue reading Demographers fail to acknowledge the effect of population growth on climate change

Coercion and population policies, Part 1

The unsustainable growth of the global population needs to be halted through informed voluntary action, including empowerment of women, family planning and increased use of modern contraceptives. Coercive population policies such as those used for 35 years in China, in India 1975-77, and more recently in Peru, are unacceptable and must be condemned. But many … Continue reading Coercion and population policies, Part 1

IUCN recognizes the importance of attending to population to preserve biodiversity

After decades of silence, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature has passed a motion reaffirming the importance of addressing population matters to achieving conservation success. This continues a welcome recent trend among conservation scientists to speak up about the potential benefits of reining in population growth. by Pernilla Hansson The International Union for … Continue reading IUCN recognizes the importance of attending to population to preserve biodiversity

What is the optimal human population? An eminent economist weighs in

Efforts to specify the optimal human population on Earth are as complex as they are controversial. A recent book from Cambridge University economist Sir Partha Dasgupta develops a theoretically rigorous approach to this perennial question, finding that an optimal human population might range from 500 million to 5 billion. by Phil Cafaro It is gratifying … Continue reading What is the optimal human population? An eminent economist weighs in

Humanity needs to halt both population growth and climate change

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 both population growth and climate change

Survey shows the general public is ready for discussions about population

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

New television show dedicated to population debuts

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

Immigration restrictions helped lead to Martin Luther King’s success

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