Problems caused by rapid population growth, environmental degradation and climate disruption are harming human welfare and the natural world. These problems are largely addressed separately, with little common understanding or integration of efforts. Our recent paper, Advancing the Welfare of People and the Planet with a Common Agenda for Reproductive Justice, Population, and the Environment, … Continue reading To Advance Humanity and Save Nature We Need a Common Agenda
Category: Population taboo
Adversity for Biodiversity: A Reflection on My Experience at COP15
The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework1 adopted in December 2022 by representatives of most of the world’s national governments is inadequate to halt and reverse the disturbing loss of biodiversity globally. Concerted efforts to increase the new Framework’s ambition were dismissed and ultimately ignored. Human overshoot – the collective impacts of more than eight billion people … Continue reading Adversity for Biodiversity: A Reflection on My Experience at COP15
More population neglect from the United Nations
The UN’s latest State of the World Population 2023 report deepens its denouncement of population concerns. While it commendably emphasizes women’s reproductive rights, it neglects the role an excessive and growing population plays in driving global ecological degradation and overlooks the many ways overpopulation can undermine poor people’s rights to safety and security. by Jan … Continue reading More population neglect from the United Nations
Making media seriously discuss population growth and its consequences – a case in Sweden
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 British perspective on population and biodiversity
A distinguished scientist’s new book makes the case that more people means less wildlife, in the United Kingdom and globally. This excellent offering is a must-read for anyone interested in the connection between human numbers and biodiversity protection. by Phil Cafaro For Trevor Beebe, the issue of people crowding out other species surfaced early in … Continue reading A British perspective on population and biodiversity
Dangerous distraction or elephant in the room? The role of population growth during three decades of increasing carbon emissions
How often have you heard some version of this claim: “population growth is not a problem for climate change, because populations are growing in poor countries whose contributions to global emissions are negligible”? It gets repeated like a mantra, soothing words that banish thought. But what justifies a claim is not the number of times … Continue reading Dangerous distraction or elephant in the room? The role of population growth during three decades of increasing carbon emissions
Human population growth has exploded during the last century, decimating wildlife and devastating ecosystems. Without honest conversations about overpopulation, continued growth will likely condemn most wild animals to extinction and leave us with a much poorer planet By Brad Meiklejohn "Fewer people, more wild animals. Right now that feels like coming back from a time … Continue reading Boiling Frogs
The per capita fallacy
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
Hello World of 8 Billion!
On 15 November 2022, Earth’s human population will pass 8 Billion, according to estimates by the United Nations. This sobering milestone should galvanise us to redouble our efforts to minimise further growth. By Valorie M. Allen I have found myself checking out the population counter on my website more and more often as it approaches … Continue reading Hello World of 8 Billion!
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
Time for Sweden to resume focus on international family planning aid
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
More like a dying planet report
Earth continues to hemorrhage biodiversity, according to the latest Living Planet Report. Unfortunately, its authors cannot manage a clear statement of how to stop the bleeding. by The Overpopulation Project “You could think of it as a health check for the planet,” says the World Wildlife Fund, introducing its most recent biennial Living Planet Report, … Continue reading More like a dying planet report
Conserving biodiversity means limiting human numbers
A recent letter in Biological Conservation criticized TOP researchers for writing about how more people means less space for wildlife. We responded that without limiting our numbers, people will not be able to protect the natural world. Who’s right? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the on-line comments below. by The Overpopulation Project This … Continue reading Conserving biodiversity means limiting human numbers
Is it wrong to explore the connections between overpopulation and biodiversity loss?
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?
Population and Cheap Labour
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
3 Women, 2 Countries, 1 Voice for World Population Day 2022
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
New publication shows how overpopulation drives biodiversity loss
The concept of human overpopulation, once common, is now rarely used in the scientific literature. Yet overpopulation is a major driver of biodiversity loss and a key obstacle to fairly sharing habitat and resources with other species. A new publication from TOP explores the connections between human numbers and preserving wild nature. by The Overpopulation … Continue reading New publication shows how overpopulation drives biodiversity loss
The United Nations celebrates World Population Day by shaming population ‘alarmists’
Not content with omitting overpopulation concerns from its own rhetoric, in its World Population Day statement the UNFPA has gone on the attack, labelling all concerns about the numbers of humans ‘alarmist’. Jane O’Sullivan takes them to task. By Jane O'Sullivan The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was created in 1969 to act on the … Continue reading The United Nations celebrates World Population Day by shaming population ‘alarmists’
History was rewritten to delegitimize population concerns: we need to reassert the truth
In the old fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes, people denied the emperor’s nakedness because they wanted to be seen as smart. Today people deny overpopulation because they want to be seen as moral. It is a form of virtue signaling: are you for justice and equity and families and being nice to refugees, or … Continue reading History was rewritten to delegitimize population concerns: we need to reassert the truth
Two ways to argue for population’s importance
Here at TOP, we are often asked how we define overpopulation and whether it’s a helpful concept. Good questions! Below I propose a definition of overpopulation, after first considering the suggestion that it’s not necessary or helpful to deploy the term, even —or especially! — if we want to convince our societies to accept good … Continue reading Two ways to argue for population’s importance
On Threats and How to Prevent Them
Threats that humanity faces today are planetary in scale. That and their menacing character require long-term thinking and preventive politics to deal with or, better yet, prevent them. This may require planetary governance that unites humanity for mutual protection. by Jan Greguš, Masaryk University, Czech Republic Few would have believed five or ten years ago … Continue reading On Threats and How to Prevent Them
Population in the IPCC’s new mitigation report
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
Ethicists recognize that limiting population growth is key to addressing climate change
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
Pro-natalism: The role of the Vatican
Those of us who care about overpopulation need to pay far more attention to the powerful pro-natalists who are coaching or instructing people to have more children. Religion is obviously a big factor, although not the only one, and there has been much coverage of evangelical Christians. Much less has been written about the Catholic … Continue reading Pro-natalism: The role of the Vatican
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
Top scientists call for new UN sustainable development goal on population
A group of distinguished scientists have called for rapid action to reverse unsustainable population growth as threats to global ecological boundaries become more apparent. The evidence was set out at an online conference organised by Scientists Warning Europe to mark this year’s World Population Day. by Brian McGavin With the human ecological footprint already 170 … Continue reading Top scientists call for new UN sustainable development goal on population
Past, present, and future population: a personal account of India
Sometime this decade, India is set to overtake China as the most populous nation on Earth. Below, a reader from India reflects on what these immense numbers mean for his country’s future. Despite being in the position of being able to have a family of his own, he chooses not to in protest. For him … Continue reading Past, present, and future population: a personal account of India
10:59 – time to address population?
The population crisis lies at the core of the first full-length novel by British author N. R. Baker, an eco-thriller called 10:59. Through a well-developed storyline, it details the destruction caused by our ever-growing population, following a compelling main character as he joins an organisation intent on saving the planet. Ms. Baker manages to balance … Continue reading 10:59 – time to address population?
Pay Attention, Healthcare Workers!
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!
The Catholic Church and contraception
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
Is overpopulation a dirty word?
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?
Empty skies, empty words
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
Rwanda: A pioneer of family planning in Sub-Saharan Africa
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
“Overpopulation threatens the world’s food supply, United Nations warns”
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”
Ten things that you may not know about population
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
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?
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
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?