Mahatma Gandhi said: “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed.” What is then the “right” lifestyle, which we all should adopt to be sustainable? It depends on how many people there are on the Earth. Sustainability does not depend only on lifestyle, but also on how many people share … Continue reading Imagine
On the 25th of September, two core members of The Overpopulation Project attended the “Ethical perspectives on population and the sustainable development goals” workshop organized by the Institute for Future Studies in Stockholm, Sweden. At the one-day workshop, we gained valuable insight into how philosophers and political scientists frame the relationship between human population growth … Continue reading Ethical perspectives on population and the Sustainable Development Goals
Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline claims that (a) life on earth is stressed but coping with the present level of human impact; (b) global population will peak in 2050; (c) subsequent population decline will alleviate ecological problems; and (d) countries with populations that are only slowly growing should act now to boost … Continue reading Part 2 Review of “Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline”
This past week, a widely reported article in Science found that since 1970, North American wild bird populations have declined by 30%. In response, conservation organizations banded together to advocate that concerned citizens keep their cats indoors, put tape on their windows, and drink “bird friendly coffee.” This—the massive and continuing decline of wild nature … Continue reading Empty skies, empty words
Rwanda has experienced a 40% increase in contraception use within only the past 15 years. The country is located in Sub-Saharan Africa, a region typically known for its high population growth.1 Despite the large rural population, traditional large family norms and strong influence of the religious institutions, Rwanda is slowly becoming known for its efficient, ongoing … Continue reading Rwanda: A pioneer of family planning in Sub-Saharan Africa
The commentary, “The World and the UN Must Reduce Population Growth,” published two weeks before the 2019 Summit on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, urges global leaders and the UN to acknowledge increasing global population as a serious issue and take action to reduce population growth. By The Overpopulation Project A commentary by TOP project … Continue reading Goal to limit population growth can help achieve SDGs
In a new review article published in the journal Environment, Development and Sustainability, Elias Ganivet reminds us that we need to address both excessive human consumption and population growth, to curb humanity’s environmental impact. Written from a very balanced perspective, Ganivet reviews the impacts of human population growth on global biodiversity and climate change, perceptions … Continue reading An ecologically sustainable future requires addressing both population and consumption
A new international billboard campaign encourages the public and policymakers to “Celebrate Low Birthrates!” and “Shrink Towards Abundance!” The goals of the campaign are to draw attention to the benefits of declining populations and encourage politicians to rethink and reorganize the current economic system to take advantage of depopulation dividends. The environmental benefits of declining … Continue reading The Greatness of The Great Decrease
That was the front-page headline in the New York Times last Thursday, August 8th, announcing a new report from the IPCC, “Climate Change and Land.” I’m kidding, of course. The actual headline read “Climate Change Threatens the World’s Food Supply, United Nations Warns,” and the article did not mention population once. By Philip Cafaro The … Continue reading “Overpopulation threatens the world’s food supply, United Nations warns”
In April, TOP researchers organized a climate change seminar as part of the Gothenburg International Science Festival. Guest speakers were invited to discuss the role of population, affluence and technology in climate change solutions. The first presentation highlights how addressing population is a necessary measure to successfully mitigate and adapt to climate disruption. A recording … Continue reading An integrated climate change response: the role of population
In the early 1960s, Tunisia became the first country on the African continent to significantly improve women’s status and launch a voluntary national family planning (FP) program. Today, Tunisia has some of the most progressive family planning policies in Africa, and it is the most progressive of all Arab countries in terms of gender equality … Continue reading The first population policies implemented in Africa: the case of Tunisia
By The Hon. Kelvin Thomson It has been great to re-live the Apollo 11 Moon Landing’s 50th Anniversary. What a monumental achievement and tribute to human intellectual candlepower, endeavour and above all courage. I was a Year 9 student at the time; like other classes we downed tools to watch it unfold. Our teachers were … Continue reading One giant leap for mankind – but since?
Climate change and it’s relationships to technology, energy and food are often discussed in the media, whereas freshwater, also a critical resource for humanity, tends to be overlooked. It is even more overlooked in terms of other species - lakes and other surface waters provide homes for hundreds of thousands of species. A recent article … Continue reading Freshwater, trade and population: global patterns and possible solutions
Between toxic calls for immigration controls based on racial criteria and hyperbolic denunciations of any mention of population issues as “ecofascist,” the room for intelligent and honest discussion of immigration policy is being gobbled up from both the Left and the Right. Yet the issue is too important to leave to the yahoos or the … Continue reading How should environmentalists think about immigration?
Articles about population in the media typically are riddled with misconceptions and tiptoe around taboos. Moving past these can free us to have open and honest discussions about population matters. The following list does not pretend to be exhaustive, but to help debunk the most common myths and become more aware of the complexity of … Continue reading Ten things that you may not know about population
By Jane O’Sullivan The new United Nations projections for global population tempt complacency by lowering the estimate for growth across this century, but lacks justification for this lower figure. This could perversely counter the UN’s own message that these projections depend in increasing global efforts to ensure “further improvements in access to family planning information … Continue reading World Population Prospects 2019 – good news or bad?
In Sweden, politicians and the media often claim that the country needs high rates of immigration to meet the needs of an aging population. This claim lacks support: rigorous demographic and economic analyses indicate that immigration instead entails an increased dependency burden and a poorer economy. By Malte Andersson & Frank Götmark In the spring … Continue reading Does Sweden need immigration to support its aging population?
TOP assisting researcher, Patrícia Dérer, was recently interviewed for the Hungarian newspaper, 444. The article, shortened and translated to English, includes highlights from her interview where she discusses the conditional nature of population projections, the link between population and biodiversity, the declining population of eastern Europe, successful family planning programs, and much more. By Zsolt … Continue reading More and more people living on the planet is cause for concern
Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions are at an all time high. That growth tracks explosive world population growth, which is the greatest driver of climate change and a threat multiplier. The Green New Deal has justifiably generated excitement and enthusiasm among people who believe its goal of cutting greenhouse-gas emissions to net zero over 10 years is … Continue reading Fix the climate with smaller families
Here at The Overpopulation Project we explore various aspects of the population-environment connection, some of which get quite complicated. In this blog we make a simple point, well worth remembering and sharing with colleagues and friends. We highlight the difference between a decreasing rate of global population growth, the amount of growth, and an end … Continue reading A Simple Point (that makes a big difference over time)
Costa Rica is a country of exceptionally rich and well-protected biodiversity. It is a solid democracy where people live long, relatively healthy and happy lives while leaving a small ecological footprint. Together with its good and improving environmental performance and overall well-being, the country is characterized by a below replacement fertility level, the lowest in … Continue reading Family Planning for forests and people – the success story of Costa Rica
Population growth contributes to conflicts, according to several studies. There is also evidence that a “youth bulge” in societies, creating a high proportion of young men, can lead to more conflicts and violence. But can violence really be exacerbated by education of a young population? By Frank Götmark High population growth has repeatedly been connected … Continue reading Believe it or not: Education can cause trouble in youthful countries
A new United Nations report on biodiversity was released this week with much media coverage. Scientists and mainstream journalists seem unwilling to address the fundamental drivers of biodiversity decline, but public response suggests transformative change is gaining traction. By Jenna Dodson This week, many media outlets are covering the pre-release of a new United Nations … Continue reading Civilization extinguishing biodiversity, where are the viable alternatives?
In the 1960s and 70s, South Korea experienced one of the fastest fertility declines in the world, halving the number of children born per woman from over 6 to less than 3 in just 18 years. In large part, this was due to early government recognition that fertility reduction is a component of development, a … Continue reading Low fertility in South Korea: a springboard for social change and conservation
Human overpopulation is real; it’s serious and needs to be humanely handled by conscientious and charitable individuals. Thanos from the Avengers movies is neither one of those things. He recognized the problem but acted viciously on his “solution,” phasing out of existence 50% of all intelligent life in the Universe. What Thanos ended up doing … Continue reading When the heroes win, everybody loses
By Phil Cafaro In the run up to elections to the European Parliament in May, 2019, the coalition of European Green parties has put forth a statement of principles and political goals: “Priorities for 2019: What European Greens Fight For.” Organized around twelve key goals, all in line with “core Green values that we pursue … Continue reading The implicit population hypothesis hidden within EU Green party platforms
By John McKeown Empty Planet moves confidently from an optimistic premise to unwarranted conclusions. It has been reviewed favourably by Steven Pinker, The Wall Street Journal and the New Statesman, among others. Its premise is that world population will peak far lower and sooner than the UN forecasts, and that because of a faster-than-expected decline in … Continue reading Review of “Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline” Part 1
By Phil Cafaro Steve Irwin. Errol Flynn. The Sydney opera house. Kangaroos. Wombats. Here at TOP, we hardly need new reasons to love Australia. Yet last week, we came across two more: articles by Dr. Harry Recher and Dr. Freya Mathews that we somehow missed when they were first published several years ago. They do … Continue reading Two more reasons we love Australia
With a focus on fifty-six years of advising governments on policies and programs to achieve population stabilization By Bob Gillespie, President, Population Communication In 1938, when I was born, the global population was 2.2 billion. Today there are 7.7 billion. A child born today, who lives to 80, will witness 5.5 billion more deaths of humans … Continue reading Overpopulation during my lifetime of eighty years
In the second part of our Population Policy Case study series, following Indonesia, The Overpopulation Project Team examines the history of population policies in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran stands out for lowering its fertility in a very short time without coercion. The total fertility rate dropped from almost 6 in 1988 at the … Continue reading The Iranian miracle: The most effective family planning program in history?
By Massimo Livi Bacci Four population-driven threats to space If from abstract principles and paradigms of my previous article (Malthus, forever?), we turn to the real, contemporary world, we may say that the rapidly expanding world population also has other consequences – beyond the reduction of “pristine” space – that may adversely affect the quality … Continue reading Four compelling reasons to fear population growth
Indonesia: Population Policy Case Study 1 By Jenna Dodson Population policies of the late 20th century played a central role in the global decline in fertility rates1. These policies mobilized resources to enact policies aimed at reducing fertility by widening contraception provision and changing family-size norms. In the first of a series of Positive Population … Continue reading “Two Children Are Enough” – “Dua Anak Cukup”
By The Overpopulation Project Here at The Overpopulation Project, we try to keep a positive outlook. Although many environmental trends are grim, there exist clear paths forward toward a more sustainable world: one where people steward resources for the future and share habitat and resources generously with other species. Recently, a correspondent wrote challenging us … Continue reading Solutions to overpopulation and what you can do
By Patrícia Dérer The primary cause of the global biodiversity crisis is human-induced alteration and loss of natural habitats1. One of the most important causes of habitat destruction is housing growth, manifested both in rural and urban sprawl. The impacts of housing growth derive from both building human dwellings and their associated infrastructure such as … Continue reading Housing growth threatens biodiversity – are we ignoring fundamental causes?
By Stephen Williams Without a fundamental change to economic thinking, Australia will continue down the dystopian road, argues Stephen Williams. [The Prime Minister of Australia], Scott Morrison, met with state and territory leaders in Adelaide recently for the COAG chinwag. Topping the list of agenda items was population. I will try and summarise the population problem as succinctly … Continue reading New Australian population plan will be meaningless
Population growth is a potential political and social issue. And just like any issue, it requires recognition from both the public and politicians to be added to the agenda. Although population growth may not be a topic that compels you to call your representative, surveys from the Global Challenges Foundation (GCF) show that perhaps it … Continue reading Public believes population growth negative, risky, and requiring international attention, while politicians look the other way
Changing social norms are important in changing fertility behavious such as using contraception that in fact effects our environment through population dynamics
Karin Kuhlemann and host Thomas Hornigold tackle the complex discussion of overpopulation in a recent episode of Physical Attraction. In a refreshingly comprehensive dialogue, Thomas Hornigold and Karin Kuhlemann approach the conversation from a practical perspective, focusing on the best way to frame the overpopulation discussion, with an emphasis on potential solutions. Using helpful analogies, … Continue reading “Karin Kuhlemann on Overpopulation”: Associated Researcher of TOP Team Featured Guest on Podcast
By Max Kummerow “What would you say of the learned here, who…. have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope? Shall we laugh, or shall we cry?” Letter from Galileo Galilei to Johannes Kepler The Catholic Church has admitted that forcing Galileo to recant in 1633 was a serious mistake. Insisting the … Continue reading Reproductive biology of abortion
by Philip Cafaro and Frank Götmark 2018 has been an exciting year at The Overpopulation Project (TOP). Highlights included our overpopulation conference in Stockholm in June, the many blog texts showing that much good research and outreach exist on population matters, the publication of “Aging Human Populations: Good for Us, Good for the Earth” in … Continue reading The first year in The Overpopulation Project ends after much activity and with clever work by all team members – We now look forward to 2019!