The book Breaking Boundaries by Johan Rockström and Owen Gaffney explains the basics of how the Earth works and how humanity is rocking the boat, ecologically speaking. While describing monumental challenges, it views the future with optimism. Despite having a chapter dedicated to population, it fails to acknowledge how larger global populations reduce our chances … Continue reading Breaking boundaries but not population taboos
A new IPCC climate change mitigation report confirms that population increase and economic growth are the main drivers of today’s historically high greenhouse gas emissions. But that scientific information has been censored and removed from the Summary for Policymakers distributed to the world’s press and the public. Does a problem disappear if we don’t mention … Continue reading Population in the IPCC’s new mitigation report
A recent book introduces a new approach to the science of overpopulation. We Zijn Met Te Veel (Dutch for We Are Too Many) explores a new theoretical foundation for the concept of overpopulation and explains why a smaller human population is a necessary – but not sufficient – condition for a more hospitable world. by … Continue reading Defining Overpopulation
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
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
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
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
Every year on Earth Overshoot Day, a table becomes very popular, showing the number of Earths needed to be ecologically sustainable if all the people in the world had the same ecological footprint as the average citizens of various countries. This is computed by fixing the world population at the current value and varying the … Continue reading Overshoot day: the other side of the coin
With continued global population growth, contraception and conscious planning for children remain critical moral issues facing today's families, no matter where they are living. Different religions have different views on birth control, and their official teachings influence millions of people’s fertility decisions. Below we take a closer look at the evolution of the Catholic viewpoint … Continue reading The Catholic Church and contraception
Many readers of our blog probably see no problem with “overpopulation,” but we sometimes get negative responses when we use the word, even from colleagues who largely share our views. Why is this so? How should overpopulation best be defined? By Frank Götmark, Jane O’Sullivan and Phil Cafaro In contrast to other organisations dealing with … Continue reading Is overpopulation a dirty word?
Greenwashing typically means conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about the environmental soundness of a company’s products. But governments, too, can be tempted to greenwash, as this week’s blog illustrates. Gary Wockner describes how the city council of Boulder, Colorado has declared a climate emergency, while hiding the increased emissions caused by growth through “creative” … Continue reading Greenwashing growth: Boulder’s climate problem
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
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”
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
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
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?
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 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
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 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
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
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?
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”
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
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
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”
By Alisha Graves There's no single solution for climate change, no magic bullet that can stabilize and eventually reduce the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. But separating sex from childbearing represents an underappreciated opportunity to forestall climate disaster. To be sure, addressing the climate challenge will require a wide range of approaches. Conservation … Continue reading Green sex for climate’s sake
By Frank Götmark In "Responsible Use of Language in Scientific Writing and Science Communication"1 Kueffer and Larson discussed the role of language and concepts in scientific writing and communication. Researchers increasingly depend on marketing strategies to publish their findings and to obtain funding, according to the authors. They were especially interested in strong metaphors that may … Continue reading Are scientists using proper words to describe the negative influence of humans on the Earth’s ecosystems?
By Jenna Dodson Sustainable development has been defined as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs1. Using this definition, the United Nations developed a sustainable development framework centered around three pillars: economic, environmental, and social. Population is included in the social pillar … Continue reading Including population growth in sustainability discussions, case study: Egypt
By Patrícia Dérer We are entering the sixth mass extinction of life on Earth, the first to be caused by humans1. Extinction rates are several orders of magnitude above normal. Humanity has managed to exterminate more than 300 vertebrate animals in modern times, the IUCN estimates that half the globe's 5,491 known mammals are declining in … Continue reading A key driver of the biodiversity crisis is poorly evaluated: population size