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
The cause of global environmental decline is clear: an immense and rapidly growing human economy. In response, environmentalists should advocate policies leading to fewer people and lower per capita consumption, not one instead of the other. Addressing both provides our best hope of creating sustainable societies and preserving Earth’s remaining biodiversity. by Philip Cafaro There … Continue reading Procreation and Consumption in the Real World
A lot of great scientific work has been done lately on population and biodiversity, spanning all areas of the globe. A new study from TOP describes this work and summarizes its main lessons. by The Overpopulation Project Earlier this year, Phil, Pernilla and Frank released A Bibliography of Recent Scientific Work on Population and Biodiversity … Continue reading Population’s effects on biodiversity: evidence from recent scientific literature
Reflections from Italy on the wicked problem of unregulated and unregulatable immigration into Western Europe. by Gaia Baracetti I could never understand what animal exactly the gattopardo was supposed to be. A leopard? A cheetah? A mythical beast? For sure, none of those roams my country. But I, like most Italians, always understood the meaning … Continue reading Gattopardi and cheap labor
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
As we transition to spring skiing conditions in Colorado, the crowds thin out and the skiing experience improves despite the stickier snow. A day on the slopes got me wondering – what other benefits might await societies as their populations decrease? by Philip Cafaro Yesterday I went downhill skiing in Winter Park, Colorado – a … Continue reading Fewer people make for a great day of skiing
By attempting to avoid animal suffering, are we depriving them of life? Is lab-cultured ‘meat’ enlightened environmentalism, or just another attempt to cheat limits to growth, divorcing us further from the natural world? Gaia Baracetti reflects on her sheep, her fields, food culture and the moral pitfalls of seductive new technologies. by Gaia Baracetti Many … Continue reading Cultured meat and the lifeless world
The ancient Greeks have exerted tremendous influence on western thought and culture, including in the realm of ethics. Yet few today realize that the founders of western political philosophy advocated a steady-state economy and limits to human numbers. by Theodore P. Lianos In the fifth century B.C., the Athenian philosopher Socrates (470-399) changed the course … Continue reading Plato and Aristotle on living well and optimal population
That’s the title of a paper just published in Biological Conservation in response to TOP’s recent paper on population and biodiversity loss in that journal. Are its authors right? by The Overpopulation Project In one sense, Alice Hughes and company clearly are correct. Efforts to protect wild nature are ongoing throughout the world, and for … Continue reading Smaller human populations are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for biodiversity conservation
TOP mourns the death of a giant: Herman Daly, co-founder of the discipline of ecological economics, champion of the steady-state economy and a long-time voice for sanity on population. We add our praise to the chorus. by The Overpopulation Project Herman Daly, Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Maryland, USA, passed away on … Continue reading Herman Daly
Education is important for girls and women to be able to control their own lives. To celebrate International Day of the Girl this Tuesday, Population Media Center highlighted their article about education and overcoming social barriers in Nepal, which we have republished here. Read about Binita and her determination to advocate for her sister-in-law's continued … Continue reading Advocating for the Education She Did Not Have
A recent letter in Biological Conservation criticizes TOP researchers for writing about how more people means less space for wildlife. We are curious what our readers think of the arguments and how you would respond. Please share your suggestions in the on-line comments below. by The Overpopulation Project This summer, TOP researchers published an article … Continue reading Is it wrong to explore the connections between overpopulation and biodiversity loss?
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
Faced with the reality of global climate change and its devastating impacts, climate ethicists have begun to address the role of population and the need for limits to growth. A new review article reports on this welcome development. by Philip Cafaro During the past 30 years of extensive political debate about global climate change, participants … Continue reading Ethicists recognize that limiting population growth is key to addressing climate change
Any time a Westerner expresses preoccupation about very high birth rates in a poor country, the conversation immediately turns to racism. Let's dig deeper. by Gaia Baracetti Let's not start with Prince William for once. Let's begin with the great Italian poet Giovanni Pascoli. He was one of those rare rural poets who actually knew … Continue reading Why Europeans are worried about African babies
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
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
Contraceptive pills are an important tool in allowing women to avoid childbirth, yet they can be expensive and difficult to obtain. While steps are being taken to make them easier to secure, further efforts are needed to ensure proper access and safe use. By Richard Grossman Do you think that a medication that kills more … Continue reading Liberate the Pill
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
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
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, 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
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
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?
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!
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?
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?
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
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
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
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