Fifty years ago, in his 1970 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, Norman Borlaug said: “There can be no permanent progress in the battle against hunger until the agencies that fight for increased food production and those that fight for population control unite in a common effort.” Borlaug was insightful, but also a genuinely humble man. … Continue reading From Population to Production: Scientists’ Changing Views on How to Feed the World
Depopulation has led to abandonment of less fertile agricultural lands throughout Europe. Portugal, with its declining population, is a prime example. In the Côa Valley, the abandonment of farmland has been turned into an opportunity for rewilding efforts to create new wilderness. Already the valley has seen the return of many endangered species, such as … Continue reading Fewer people leads the way to rewilding in Portugal
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?
By Jane O’Sullivan, Francesco Ricciardi, Susann Roth For sustainable development, universal wellbeing should be the goal, rather than endless growth. Minimizing further growth in human populations is only part of the solution, but an essential part. Climate change has been described as one of the greatest challenges of our time. But for many Asian countries, … Continue reading Five myths about population, aging and environmental sustainability
Too often, it seems, matters of population are overlooked in discussions of global sustainability. And this is true, despite some rather obvious points: A world of, say, 5 billion people is more likely to be sustainable than one of 10 billion; and a world of 1 billion is likely more sustainable still. All things being … Continue reading The population question: Toward a plan for global sustainability
Two years ago, over 15 thousand scientists signed the “World Scientists' Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice,” about our interlocking global ecological crises. This year, 11 thousand scientists endorsed the new “World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency”, published November 5th in Bioscience magazine. Will world leaders and citizens take notice, come together, and act … Continue reading World Scientists’ Warning of a Climate Emergency – take it seriously!
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
Mahatma Gandhi said: “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need but not every man’s greed.” What is then the “right” lifestyle, which we all should adopt to be sustainable? It depends on how many people there are on the Earth. Sustainability does not depend only on lifestyle, but also on how many people share … Continue reading Imagine
In a new review article published in the journal Environment, Development and Sustainability, Elias Ganivet reminds us that we need to address both excessive human consumption and population growth, to curb humanity’s environmental impact. Written from a very balanced perspective, Ganivet reviews the impacts of human population growth on global biodiversity and climate change, perceptions … Continue reading An ecologically sustainable future requires addressing both population and consumption
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?
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
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?
In the 1960s and 70s, South Korea experienced one of the fastest fertility declines in the world, halving the number of children born per woman from over 6 to less than 3 in just 18 years. In large part, this was due to early government recognition that fertility reduction is a component of development, a … Continue reading Low fertility in South Korea: a springboard for social change and conservation
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 Massimo Livi Bacci Four population-driven threats to space If from abstract principles and paradigms of my previous article (Malthus, forever?), we turn to the real, contemporary world, we may say that the rapidly expanding world population also has other consequences – beyond the reduction of “pristine” space – that may adversely affect the quality … Continue reading Four compelling reasons to fear population growth
By The Overpopulation Project Here at The Overpopulation Project, we try to keep a positive outlook. Although many environmental trends are grim, there exist clear paths forward toward a more sustainable world: one where people steward resources for the future and share habitat and resources generously with other species. Recently, a correspondent wrote challenging us … Continue reading Solutions to overpopulation and what you can do
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
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 Max Kummerow “What would you say of the learned here, who…. have steadfastly refused to cast a glance through the telescope? Shall we laugh, or shall we cry?” Letter from Galileo Galilei to Johannes Kepler The Catholic Church has admitted that forcing Galileo to recant in 1633 was a serious mistake. Insisting the … Continue reading Reproductive biology of abortion
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
By The Overpopulation Project In the latest Overpopulation Podcast produced by World Population Balance, worries about an aging population go under the microscope with our very own Phil Cafaro in an episode focused on TOP’s recent publication, “Aging Human Populations: Good for Us, Good for the Earth.” In the episode “Dropping Birth Rates are Good … Continue reading TOP researcher featured guest on Overpopulation Podcast: “Dropping birth rates are good news”
By Jan van Weeren Last month, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) presented its report The Power of Choice, declaring that every woman should have the right to decide freely and responsibly whether, when and how often to have children. This right complies with article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) stating … Continue reading Whose freedom of choice?
By Patricia Dérer In the following exercise, we demonstrate how different migration and fertility-influencing policies can lead to large differences in future annual greenhouse gas emissions, and in cumulative emissions throughout the century in the European Union. We present nine scenarios representing migration and fertility policies leading to stable, declining, or growing populations. The scenarios … Continue reading Population growth will make it harder to meet EU climate goals, while stable or declining populations will help cut greenhouse gas emissions in the EU
TOP believes there is no better video presentation on the consequences of overpopulation than Sir David Attenborough’s RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) President's Lecture. The well-known British naturalist delivers an impressive speech explaining why population growth is a multiplier of every environmental problem. Given that the Earth has physical limits, “sustainable … Continue reading People and Planet – Sir David Attenborough’s take on overpopulation
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
By The Overpopulation Project Team The Overpopulation Project announces its new publication that appeared on-line October 16 in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution (TREE): “Aging Human Populations: Good for Us, Good for the Earth” Frank Götmark, Philip Cafaro and Jane O’Sullivan from The Overpopulation Project explain that societies should embrace population aging and … Continue reading Population aging and smaller populations have many socioeconomic and environmental benefits
By Patrícia Dérer Thirty countries around the world have declining human populations. With the exception of Japan, these are European countries that, along with the rest of Europe, have successfully undergone the “demographic transition”. Impressive achievements in health care, education and economic development have resulted in lower child mortality and longer life expectancy, leading to … Continue reading Rethinking depopulation and land abandonment – the opportunity of rewilding
By Dr Peter Matanle Japan is experiencing unprecedented demographic change, due to rapid ageing and, since 2008, decreasing population. Conventionally this is considered to be a ‘problem’ to be solved by increasing either fertility or immigration, or both. Neither of these is realistic, however. More children would increase age-related dependency ratios, and the number of … Continue reading Japan’s depopulation dividend: searching for an alternative to growth at all costs
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 Rob Harding Recently, an international assembly of scientists from 184 countries endorsed an article published in the journal Bioscience entitled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice”. As the warning states, “We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population … Continue reading A proposal for a United Nations Framework Convention on Population Growth
by Patrícia Dérer It is possible to estimate an optimal human population size based on various criteria and assumptions. Here, we do not deal with the lower bound of the human population (the minimum viable population) as we are certainly well above that limit. Concerning the upper bound, we have to consider the carrying capacity … Continue reading What is the optimal, sustainable population size of Humans?
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