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, this episode provides listeners the tools to better understand the risks and consequences of overpopulation, and productive ways to address the problem.
We have outlined the main questions and points below to help listeners with limited time navigate to their top issues of concern. Topics addressed include population ethics, population policies, aging, and the synergy between population and consumption.
Part One: Framing the Overpopulation Problem
Question: How would you frame the problem, overpopulation? Is it necessarily a problem? How do you think we should discuss it?
Time start: 3:10
Question: What are the kinds of consequences in the worst-case scenario: an overpopulated world for an extended amount of time? What sort of things should people be worried about?
Time start: 10:10
Question: How do you view the history of writing and thinking about overpopulation? Can we learn anything from these writers’ predictions, philosophically or morally?
Time start: 23:45
Part Two: Solutions
Question: Could you give us an overview of the different types of policy that have been enacted with overpopulation in mind, how they were intended to work, and do you think they have worked?
Time start: 34:32
This answer focuses on the population ethics of anti-natalist policies involving hypothetical children, or children that are not yet brought into the world.
Question: What other policies, besides the one-child policy, have been used throughout the world? How were they intended to work and how have they worked?
Time start: 50:00
Question: Could you give me some examples of specific policies that change attitudes or remove pro-natalist influences that trend towards continued overpopulation?
Time start: 55:55
The latter half of this answer focuses on the reality of China’s one-child policy.
Question: Looking at Japan as an example, how do you think societies are dealing with aging? How do you think they should be dealing with it?
Time start: 1:10:45
Question: Do you see the economic, social and political systems we have in place as capable of dealing with this problem of overpopulation? Or do you think it is necessary to move to a different model? If so, what would that model be?
Time start: 1:13:40
Question: Have you seen a trade-off between talking about population and talking about consumption? How do we negotiate between people changing their lifestyles and people having less children?
Time start: 1:22:11
Question: Can you describe a future where people have successfully tackled this problem? What kind of society might we have and what sort of ideals would it emphasize?
Time start: 1:34:28
To listen to the whole episode or navigate to particular questions of interest, you can also find the entire podcast online. Be sure to share the episode, “Karin Kuhlemann on Overpopulation” with your friends so we can further the overpopulation discussion and bring it closer to the mainstream public discourse.