Blog

Believe it or not: Education can cause trouble in youthful countries

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

Civilization extinguishing biodiversity, where are the viable alternatives?

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?

Low fertility in South Korea: a springboard for social change and conservation

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

When the heroes win, everybody loses

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

The implicit population hypothesis hidden within EU Green party platforms

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

Review of “Empty Planet: The Shock of Global Population Decline” Part 1

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

Two more reasons we love Australia

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

Overpopulation during my lifetime of eighty years

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

The Iranian miracle: The most effective family planning program in history?

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?

Four compelling reasons to fear population growth

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

“Two Children Are Enough” – “Dua Anak Cukup” 

Indonesia: Population Policy Case Study 1 By Jenna Dodson Population policies[1] 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” 

Solutions to overpopulation and what you can do

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

Housing growth threatens biodiversity – are we ignoring fundamental causes?

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?

New Australian population plan will be meaningless

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

Public believes population growth negative, risky, and requiring international attention, while politicians look the other way

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

“Karin Kuhlemann on Overpopulation”: Associated Researcher of TOP Team Featured Guest on Podcast

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

Reproductive biology of abortion

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

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!

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!

New policy-based population projections for the European Union, with a consideration of the environmental implications

by The Overpopulation Project Team Researchers at The Overpopulation Project are pleased to present new population projections out to 2100 for the countries of the European Union and for the EU as a whole, in a new working paper (that turned into a published paper in October 2019 - the editor). These projections differ from … Continue reading New policy-based population projections for the European Union, with a consideration of the environmental implications

TOP researcher featured guest on Overpopulation Podcast: “Dropping birth rates are good news”

By The Overpopulation Project In the latest Overpopulation Podcast produced by World Population Balance, worries about an aging population go under the microscope with our very own Phil Cafaro in an episode focused on TOP’s recent publication, “Aging Human Populations: Good for Us, Good for the Earth.” In the episode “Dropping Birth Rates are Good … Continue reading TOP researcher featured guest on Overpopulation Podcast: “Dropping birth rates are good news”

Whose freedom of choice?

By Jan van Weeren Last month, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) presented its report The Power of Choice, declaring that every woman should have the right to decide freely and responsibly whether, when and how often to have children. This right complies with article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) stating … Continue reading Whose freedom of choice?

WWF Living Planet Report 2018 – “aiming higher”, but not on target

By Jane O’Sullivan Why would an organisation dedicated to protecting natural areas and to saving wild animals turn its back on arguably the biggest threat? WWF used to highlight human population growth, but not anymore. Populations of wild animals have declined, on average, by 60% since 1970. This alarming statistic was announced in WWF’s 2018 Living … Continue reading WWF Living Planet Report 2018 – “aiming higher”, but not on target

Population growth will make it harder to meet EU climate goals, while stable or declining populations will help cut greenhouse gas emissions in the EU

By Patricia Dérer In the following exercise, we demonstrate how different migration and fertility-influencing policies can lead to large differences in future annual greenhouse gas emissions, and in cumulative emissions throughout the century in the European Union. We present nine scenarios representing migration and fertility policies leading to stable, declining, or growing populations. The scenarios … Continue reading Population growth will make it harder to meet EU climate goals, while stable or declining populations will help cut greenhouse gas emissions in the EU

People and Planet – Sir David Attenborough’s take on overpopulation

TOP believes there is no better video presentation on the consequences of overpopulation than Sir David Attenborough’s RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) President's Lecture. The well-known British naturalist delivers an impressive speech explaining why population growth is a multiplier of every environmental problem. Given that the Earth has physical limits, “sustainable … Continue reading People and Planet – Sir David Attenborough’s take on overpopulation

Announcing the new Human Overpopulation Atlas

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 … Continue reading Announcing the new Human Overpopulation Atlas

Population aging and smaller populations have many socioeconomic and environmental benefits

By The Overpopulation Project Team The Overpopulation Project announces its new publication that appeared on-line October 16 in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution (TREE): “Aging Human Populations: Good for Us, Good for the Earth” Frank Götmark, Philip Cafaro and Jane O’Sullivan from The Overpopulation Project explain that societies should embrace population aging and … Continue reading Population aging and smaller populations have many socioeconomic and environmental benefits

Recognize family planning as a human right

By Richard Grossman Family planning was declared to be a basic human right fifty years ago. The right to family planning was included in the International Conference on Human Rights held in Tehran, May 1968. The concept of universal human rights started after World War II with the United Nations. Its charter included the obligation … Continue reading Recognize family planning as a human right

Can the book “Factfulness” be improved?

Our blog about Factfulness led to comments, discussion and finally a response from one of its authors (note: the book is written in Hans Rosling’s voice and is the joint work of Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, and Anna Rosling Rönnblad; Hans Rosling died in February, 2017). Ola Rosling states that he welcomes our criticism and … Continue reading Can the book “Factfulness” be improved?

Space for Nature

by Jenna Dodson How much of the planet should we leave for other forms of life? How much of the planet can the 7.6 billion present-day human inhabitants utilize without sacrificing the well-being of future generations? These are important questions with far reaching implications for all species, Homo sapiens included. People are placing unprecedented demands … Continue reading Space for Nature

Rethinking depopulation and land abandonment – the opportunity of rewilding

By Patrícia Dérer Thirty countries around the world have declining human populations. With the exception of Japan, these are European countries that, along with the rest of Europe, have successfully undergone the “demographic transition”. Impressive achievements in health care, education and economic development have resulted in lower child mortality and longer life expectancy, leading to … Continue reading Rethinking depopulation and land abandonment – the opportunity of rewilding

Immigration ethics for a world of limits

by Philip Cafaro Most political liberals and most academics across the developed world support expansive immigration policies, often up to and including free movement and settlement across national boundaries (“open borders”). They may agree to limit immigration for tactical reasons, because their benighted fellow citizens are not willing to be more generous. But they remain … Continue reading Immigration ethics for a world of limits

”Factfulness”: a more accurate title for this new book would have been ”Selecting Facts to Make You Happy”

by Frank Götmark This year Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, and Anna Rosling Rönnblad (below the “Rosling team”) published “Factfulness” (Note: H.R. died in February 2017.) As the book to a large extent is about global population and as Bill Gates is giving free copies of it to college graduates in the US, we need to … Continue reading ”Factfulness”: a more accurate title for this new book would have been ”Selecting Facts to Make You Happy”

Population growth is a threat to the world’s climate

Interview in Metro with Frank Götmark, 21.08.2018, translated from Swedish. See the original article here (pages 14-15)! The climate threat is now on everyone's lips. However, it is rarely mentioned together with population growth, despite the fact that they interrelated. That is why actions to dampen population increase are missing, though they would lead to powerful … Continue reading Population growth is a threat to the world’s climate

Evidence for the changing discourse on population growth in an environmental magazine

By Patrícia Dérer Many of us still remember how researchers, environmentalists and the media were concerned about population growth between the 1950s and the 1980s. Many of us could also notice, that this concern and attention declined during more recent decades, despite continued population growth. Nowadays there is almost a complete silence about overpopulation, both … Continue reading Evidence for the changing discourse on population growth in an environmental magazine

Japan’s depopulation dividend: searching for an alternative to growth at all costs

By Dr Peter Matanle Japan is experiencing unprecedented demographic change, due to rapid ageing and, since 2008, decreasing population. Conventionally this is considered to be a ‘problem’ to be solved by increasing either fertility or immigration, or both. Neither of these is realistic, however. More children would increase age-related dependency ratios, and the number of … Continue reading Japan’s depopulation dividend: searching for an alternative to growth at all costs

UN’s Agenda 2030: add the goal “Slow down population growth”

For the original Opinion article published in one of Sweden’s largest morning newspaper (Svenska Dagbladet), and for 47 mainly positive comments (in Swedish)  click here! In the discussion about the environment and our future, overpopulation should also be highlighted. The issue is often avoided in the debate - even though it is central. We urge … Continue reading UN’s Agenda 2030: add the goal “Slow down population growth”

Toward a small family ethic: How overpopulation and climate change are affecting the morality of procreation

By Trevor Hedberg, University of South Florida The global human population is currently about 7.6 billion people, and our numbers are still increasing. Although human population growth has not been a popular topic to discuss in the last quarter-century, its contribution to various environmental problems is becoming harder and harder to ignore. Travis Rieder’s Toward a Small Family … Continue reading Toward a small family ethic: How overpopulation and climate change are affecting the morality of procreation

High human population density eliminates the positive effect of forest protection in a tropical biodiversity hotspot

By Patrícia Dérer Sri Lanka and the Indian Western Ghats (also known as Sahyadri Mountain Range) make up one of 36 Biodiversity Hotspots. These areas are the Earth’s most biologically rich—yet threatened—terrestrial regions; they were designated in order to preserve the most species. The Western Ghats belong to the eight “hottest hotspots” based on their … Continue reading High human population density eliminates the positive effect of forest protection in a tropical biodiversity hotspot

Support the overpopulation documentary: “8 Billion Angels”

Ecologist Terry Spahr Turns to Kickstarter For His First Feature film, 8 Billion Angels, a Documentary About Overpopulation Independent filmmaker Terry Spahr is turning to the Internet to raise funds for his provocative feature film project, 8 Billion Angels, a documentary about overpopulation and its effect on the environment. With funding as a major obstacle … Continue reading Support the overpopulation documentary: “8 Billion Angels”