There is a general idea among businesspeople and mainstream economists that a decreasing population is not good for the economy. Our empirical work on countries experiencing population decline suggests that a declining population can bring about changes that reduce unemployment, increase wages, and lead to a larger real GDP per capita. by Theodore Lianos and … Continue reading Declining population and GDP growth
To avoid disastrous deterioration of Earth’s climate and biosphere, humanity has to reduce its demands on nature. Fewer births and a falling population is no quick fix, but compared with voluntary austerity, it has many more up-sides than down-sides. by Jon Austen Scientists are reporting that there is an existential threat to life on Earth. … Continue reading How to Fix the Planet, the Easy Way
Recent United Nations population projections paint a comforting picture of immanent population stabilization. But what if they are wrong? Global population growth does not appear to be slowing as quickly as UN demographers have predicted, making widespread famines and run-away climate change more likely in the coming decades. By Jane O’Sullivan The Elon Musks of … Continue reading Delusional population projections lead us sleepwalking into catastrophe
Then again, neither is anything else. The long lag time between fertility reduction and population stabilization is a key reason we need to address excessive human numbers sooner rather than later. by Phil Cafaro There's an argument one often hears that goes like this: "sure, population is important. But we need to reduce our environmental … Continue reading Human population reduction is not a quick fix for environmental problems
On 2 August, humanity will have used up its quota of renewable resources for 2023, according to Ecological Footprint analyses. But this barely scratches the surface of understanding the overshoot predicament we now face. By Jane O’Sullivan Earth Overshoot Day falls on 2 August this year. This is the day on which, according to the … Continue reading Earth Overshoot Day reminds us how far we are from sustainability
Low birth rates are often regarded as problematic by major media, which overlook the perils of population increase. Here we show that unsustainable long-term population growth prevails in developing countries, despite historical family planning and gradually sinking birth rates. One lesson is that further reduced rates are urgently needed in high-fertility countries, in Africa and … Continue reading Even with strong early family planning programs, 50 years or more are needed to halt population growth
In 2020 and 2021, I recorded two seasons of the TV show The Population Factor. Each episode features in-depth conversations focused on a particular aspect of the population/environment connection. Check out seasons one (hour-long episodes) and two (half-hour episodes), all available for free streaming at the links below. by Phil Cafaro Season 1 Episode 1. … Continue reading The Population Factor back by popular demand
Women rightly complain about low contraceptive use among men, and that too little research goes into improved contraception for men. But here is one simple and safe method that deserves more attention, in all countries. By Richard Grossman MD Sixteen years ago the Durango Herald published my column “Do your Partner’s Vasectomy”; it got lots … Continue reading Check out Vasectomy
Newspapers, radio, and TV in many countries usually avoid the problems of population growth and overpopulation. But by focused work it is possible to get the attention of mainstream media. This recently happened in Sweden, to judge from a TV program broadcast 13 April. By Frank Götmark and Malte Andersson How can you highlight the … Continue reading Making media seriously discuss population growth and its consequences – a case in Sweden
A new report from Earth4All says world population will peak below 9 billion. While it celebrates this result and says we must work to get it even lower, this unrealistically low projection itself is likely to have the opposite effect. by Jane O’Sullivan Last week a consortium under the name of Earth4All published new population … Continue reading The imaginary world of Earth4All’s low population projections
These islands were more-or-less isolated, microcosms that perhaps tell us what is going to happen with the global population. Anthropological accounts also describe remarkable forms of birth control. Do they tell us anything about how to achieve sustainable populations today? By Frank Götmark Easter Island, and historical background One of the most debated questions … Continue reading Do three Pacific islands provide lessons for achieving a sustainable human population?
Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is the only world region projected to continue population growth in the second half of this century, and even beyond 2100. In SSA, religion and religiosity are major factors contributing to the persistent high birth rates. A new publication by TOP co-workers is reviewing the relationship between human fertility and religions in … Continue reading Religion and religiosity pose challenges for fertility decline in Sub-Saharan Africa
China's population has started decreasing, which the media reports as an economic disaster. In his article originally published at Overpopulation News, Jon Austen explores how the media ignores the benefits of such a decline and finds agreement among commenters. By Jon Austen China has had its first fall in population in 61 years. The media … Continue reading Mainstream Media Blindness to China’s Depopulation Dividend
According to the United Nations Population Fund, reaching a global human population of 8 billion is an achievement to be celebrated. In “a world of infinite possibilities,” they state, “imagine the boundless paths 8 billion can take.” Rather than taking refuge in irresponsible fantasies, it’s time our bloated societies reckoned honesty with demographic reality. By … Continue reading Eight Billion – Our Greatest Mistake
The United States of America is becoming a theocracy. The Dobbs decision has bypassed the Congress by having the Supreme Court establish a de facto religion which forces unwilling women to become mothers. By Richard Grossman, MD © 2022 For years I have hesitated to write about the effect of religion on population. My hesitation has … Continue reading In America, reproductive rights have fallen prey to a creeping theocracy
Are many tiny ecological footprints more virtuous than fewer, larger ones? Will they be better for the Earth, or easier to accomplish? These hard questions need to be asked as humanity hurtles past 8 billion people and deeper into ecological overshoot. By Gaia Baracetti You've all heard the argument: high birth rates in poor countries … Continue reading The per capita fallacy
Recent research suggests lack of contraception and high desired family size both hinder population stabilization in Africa. We call on the newly elected Swedish government to prioritize international family planning aid, resuming a valuable Swedish tradition. By Frank Götmark, Nordhild Wetzler, Malte Andersson, Carl Wahren, Karl-Erik Norrman An Op-Ed originally published in Svenska Dagbladet … Continue reading Time for Sweden to resume focus on international family planning aid
How important were immigration issues in the recent electoral triumph of Giorgia Meloni’s Fratelli d’Italia party? TOP’s chief Italian correspondent gives us her analysis. by Gaia Baracetti History does repeat itself - but not in the obvious way. One could fear we're witnessing a second March on Rome exactly a century after the first, but … Continue reading The role of immigration in Italy’s recent election
Herman Daly has made more fundamental contributions to specifying a truly sustainable economics than any economist of the past half century. At 85, he is still contributing to the development of ecological economics and still tossing off more memorable phrases in a short essay than most of us could work into a book. An example … Continue reading Population and Cheap Labour
In the second essay we are featuring from the Great Transition Initiative’s forum The Population Debate Revisited, Céline Delacroix highlights the win-win relationship between elevating women’s health, rights and autonomy and minimising population growth. Why then is the topic so unwelcome in international policy discourse? By Céline Delacroix Reading Ian Lowe’s opening essay to this … Continue reading The Natural Synergy between Population Stabilization and Reproductive Rights
A new book by the productive demographer Vegard Skirbekk has the commendable title Decline and Prosper!. It is a valuable resource, presenting much research on fertility around the world. It also raises questions about how to deal with high fertility and population growth in many countries. By Frank Götmark The book, in paperback from Palgrave … Continue reading “Decline and Prosper!” A review of a comprehensive book about fertility by Vegard Skirbekk
In June, the Great Transition Initiative ran a month-long forum under the title The Population Debate Revisited. The collection of contributed essays is now accessible on the GTI’s site, and makes for interesting reading. We thought three of the essays held particular merit and will republish them here over the next few weeks. The first … Continue reading Population and the Great Transition
For those times when we feel worn down by the thanklessness of campaigning for population sustainability, it can be uplifting to hear the voices of veteran campaigners whose courage has never wavered. Michael Bayliss introduces us to a conversation to inspire. by Michael Bayliss In the most recent episode of Post-Growth Australia Podcast (PGAP) I … Continue reading 3 Women, 2 Countries, 1 Voice for World Population Day 2022
In TOP, we have researched what causes the birth rate and family size to fall in developing countries. A major factor has been voluntary family planning programs in countries like Costa Rica, Iran and South Korea. In current academic literature, the dominating paradigm is increased education of women. In developmental aid, “reproductive health” is often … Continue reading What do citizens of a donor country think drives fertility decline in low-income countries?
While contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa is still considered taboo in many religious settings and children are viewed as a “gift from God”, some religious leaders are actively promoting the importance of family planning and considering its role in population growth. In this last part of our series on religion, fertility and contraceptive use in Sub-Saharan … Continue reading Religion, Fertility and Contraceptive Use in Sub-Saharan Africa, Part 6: Progressive Religious Organisations
The evidence suggests they do, according to a new book just published this month. It argues that living without children means rebelling against social expectations and is therefore a feminist decision. Also, that women who decide not to have children are the courageous pioneers of a movement that needs support if our planet is to … Continue reading Do Childfree People Have Better Sex?
While statistical analyses of data can paint a picture of contraception and fertility trends in Sub-Saharan Africa, much can also be learned from speaking directly with citizens. In Part 5 of our series, we examine focus group discussions and in-depth interviews conducted by researchers with local groups across Sub-Saharan Africa. From such work, one gains … Continue reading Religion, Fertility and Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa, Part 5: Views and Opinions of the Local People
The act of having children is interpersonal rather than personal, however, it has long been treated as a personal and isolated decision. This dysfunctional parent-focused model is at the heart of our ecological crises and was created by governments to ensure population growth and evade collective responsibility to invest in kids and our ecological communities. … Continue reading Humane Families: Towards Existential Justice and Freedom
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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?
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
Promoting contraceptives in fun ways achieved tremendous success towards breaking taboos and clarifying misconceptions. Together with creative community development programs, family planning programs increased the wellbeing of all Thais.
Planet earth’s future cannot be bright with 8 billion people: our future depends on how seriously and quickly we change our materialist culture, social organization and technologies. An immediate action plan is offered for the generation centered around Greta Thunberg: young women, and just as importantly young men, should avow not to have children until their … Continue reading A potential pledge: no change, no grandchildren
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
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