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
William Rees explores the nature of humanity’s relationship with energy and the ecosphere, and reaches the unsettling conclusion that a population ‘correction’ is in the offing. By William Rees What would you think if someone called you out as a ‘dissipative structure’? Or better, claimed that you were a ‘thermodynamically far-from-equilibrium dissipative structure’? Chances are, … Continue reading What you should know – but didn’t know to ask – about overshoot and the ‘population question’
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
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
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
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
We’ve all heard the aphorism ‘Lies, damned lies and statistics.’ Statistics are an invaluable tool for understanding and responding appropriately to the world, but when the numbers say one thing and the headlines say another, it’s a cause for concern. TOP takes a dive into World Population Prospects 2022. by Jane O’Sullivan The world’s population … Continue reading World population is growing faster than we thought
Low birth rates and an aging society are recurring subjects of national debate in Italy. Pundits, politicians and religious leaders regularly issue warnings about "empty cradles" and demographic decline. Does Italy really have an aging problem? By Gaia Baracetti Italians have a special reverence for their Constitution. It was written after the most traumatic time in … Continue reading Old Italy
African researchers have done excellent work to clarify how religious affiliation influences the use of contraception. In Nigeria, with high fertility and a large and growing population, use of modern contraception is still low. The teaching of Islam in particular, contributes to this situation. Several researchers emphasize that men and religious leaders should be involved … Continue reading Religion, Fertility and Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa, Part 4: African research and policy in Nigeria
Development aid often fails to address the root causes of poverty in poorer nations. A recently proposed program to further sexual and reproductive health in Uganda provides a welcome example of a more focused and effective approach. by Kelvin Thomson When I began full time work 45 years ago, I started paying a monthly sponsorship … Continue reading Aid needs to go where it will help most
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
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
Climate change is now unequivocally an emergency according to the latest report from the IPCC. Our only hope lies in extremely rapid abandonment of fossil fuels and reversal of forest loss. But these lifeline scenarios also assume birth rates plummet in high-fertility regions. Jane O’Sullivan offers a reality check. By Jane O'Sullivan The Intergovernmental Panel … Continue reading The demographic fantasies of the IPCC
What impact does US immigration policy have on greenhouse gas emissions, habitat preservation, or water and air pollution? Episode six of The Population Factor on Earthx TV addresses these questions, while episode seven, the final episode of season one, discusses how declining human populations open up new opportunities for ecological restoration. by The Overpopulation Project … Continue reading An Environmental Impact Statement on US Immigration Policy
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?
Many of today's environmental problems are more due to population growth than climate change, and climate change is driven in part by continued global population growth. Development funding to make family planning and modern contraceptives universally available could make a big difference in solving these interlocking problems. By Malte Andersson, Frank Götmark, and Anders Wijkman … Continue reading Humanity needs to halt both population growth and climate change
A new survey from the Global Challenges Foundation shows wide concern about population growth and overpopulation in many parts of the world. by Pernilla Hansson In an attempt to assess the general public’s understanding of global catastrophic risks, the Global Challenges Foundation (GCF) recently carried out a large survey among people in 10 countries: Australia, … Continue reading Survey shows the general public is ready for discussions about population
Since the fall of the Eastern bloc, both Ukraine and Romania have seen their populations shrink. Driven by rural to urban migration, low fertility rates, and substantial emigration, the depopulation in the Danube Delta region has opened up large areas to rewilding efforts. With a history of irrigation and altered river dynamics, restoration and reintroduction … Continue reading A Decreasing Population Furthers Rewilding Efforts in Romania’s and Ukraine’s Danube Delta
A major media storm has erupted about a new scientific paper published in the Lancet claiming that global population will soon peak and decline. The prospect is met with doom and gloom, rather than jubilation. But Jane O’Sullivan finds many reasons to challenge both the claim and its assumed economic threat. By escalating unfounded fears … Continue reading Will global population peak below 10 billion?
In his new book A Planet of 3 Billion, Christopher Tucker presents a vision of a future world inhabited by 3 billion people, compared to 7.8 billion today. Inspired by Joel Cohen’s 1995 book How Many People Can the Earth Support? Tucker sets out to answer exactly this question. The ecological destruction caused by humanity … Continue reading New book argues for a sustainable world with 3 billion people
In the Croatian alps, declining human populations have gone hand in hand with expansions of protected lands and resurgent wildlife populations. Large predators are finding their way back to the region now that the anthropogenic pressures have lightened, and rewilding efforts have ensured the comeback of both mountain-dwelling herbivores and large grazers on the adjacent … Continue reading Fewer People = More Wild Nature in Croatia’s Velebit Mountains
With decreasing populations in parts of rural Europe and marginal agricultural lands being abandoned, Europe is in a strong position to return land to wilderness. At the northern end of the border between Poland and Germany lies the Oder delta, where rewilding efforts on land and in water have contributed to a quick recovery of … Continue reading Restoring Abandoned Land in the Oder Delta Gives New Opportunities for Wildlife in Germany and Poland
by Philip Cafaro In my experience teaching environmental ethics to college students and advocating for sustainable policies in the United States, the biggest obstacle to good discussions about population matters is ignorance about the numbers. How many people live in the United States? My students don’t know. Many environmentalists don’t know. What will the US … Continue reading Know the Numbers! TOP unveils new interactive population projections for the European Union
Researchers at TOP have published new population projections for all twenty-eight member countries of the European Union and for the EU as a whole. These projections differ from the 2019 United Nations’ Population Division projections and other recent projections in two main ways. First, they project a wider range of fertility and migration scenarios farther … Continue reading New EU population projections published
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”
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?
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?
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
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)
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 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