Maja and Ayano (2021) – The Impact of Population Growth on Natural Resources and Farmers’ Capacity to Adapt to Climate Change in Low-Income Countries
This review by Maja and Ayano looks at how population growth mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, two areas with large projected future growth, relates to exploitation of natural resources and adaptations to climate change. They show how population growth is an underlying driver of environmental degradation and therefore a threat to sustainable use of natural resources, as well as degrading farmland. The scarcity of arable land also leads to encroachment of natural forests, which may alter carbon sink dynamics. Many small farms have a low income which exacerbates food insecurity as well as constrains the farmer’s ability to adopt climate change adaptation technologies.
Ganivet (2019) – Growth in human population and consumption both need to be addressed to reach an ecologically sustainable future
This paper reviews the impacts of continuing human population growth on global biodiversity and climate through the examples of food and energy production, changing perceptions about population growth, and potential solutions to address this issue. While not the only factor, the research reviewed in this paper highlights that continuing population growth plays a substantial role in the global destruction of biodiversity and in climate change. Both unsustainable population levels and excessive consumption are part of the equation and must be addressed concurrently in both developing and developed countries. Several non-coercive strategies are possible to address population growth, mostly through improved education and access to contraception. Although limiting population growth may not be the only solution required to fix current environmental problems, ignoring it is likely to prevent an ecologically sustainable future.
Speidel (2018) – Africa’s Population Challenge
The report describes how rapid population growth contributes to a broad range of serious environmental, economic, social, governmental and health problems in Africa.
The current birth and death rates are clearly unsustainable, representing the major obstacle to development in most of Sub-Saharan African countries. The report describes and promotes effective solutions as voluntary family planning programs and sound policies leading to social, educational and political empowerment of women.
Kuhlemann (2018) – ‘Any size population will do?’: The fallacy of aiming for stabilization of human numbers
Aiming to stabilize human population growth is a misleading approach to solve the population growth problem. Our current population size is already unsustainable, which poses great risks to human beings and wildlife alike. The aim must be to reverse human population growth rather than merely to slow it down or lock it in at an arbitrary, unsustainable size. High fertility rates are largely a product of social norms, but social norms can change.
The Debate: Population and the Environment: How Do Law and Policy Respond? (2017)
Joe Bish, Paul R. Ehrlich, Wanjira Mathai, Lucia A. Silecchia, and Alon Tal answer the following questions: What laws and policies have been developed to address population growth, internationally and within specifc countries? Have they been effective in holding off the resource depletion and environmental degradation forecast by scientists and demographers? Based on these lessons, how do we best address population size and growth to meet humanity’s resource needs and minimize its effect on the biosphere?
O’Sullivan (2015) – Popular ageing myths debunked: A sustainable future cannot be reached through the pursuit of youthfulness
This summary debunks 6 popular ageing myths: the older generation will be abandoned, immigration can keep a society young, a smaller proportion of working-age people means fewer people actually working, pension and health care costs will blow the budget, and high population growth will ease fiscal pressures. A shrinking, ageing population can actually be a smarter (greater proportion with higher education), cleaner (fewer greenhouse gases), richer (concentration of inheritance) and healthier (greater proportion of life in wellness) society
Mora (2014) – Revisiting the environmental and socioeconomic effects of population growth: a fundamental but fading issue in modern scientific, public, and political circles
This study examines how the issue of population growth has been downplayed and trivialized among scientific fields. The result is reduced public interest in this issue, and limited will for policy action. The ongoing neglect will increase not only the extent of anthropogenic stressors, but also the struggle associated with strategies to reverse biodiversity loss and improve human welfare.
O’ Sullivan (2014) – The ageing paranoia, its fictional basis and all too real costs
Why do nations fear ageing more than overpopulation? Treating population projections as a fact rather than future population numbers as a choice, we are likely choosing famine, conflicts, water scarcity and mass migration. This chapter shows that ageing is an inevitable but self-limiting feature of the demographic transition, and why members of ageing societies do not have to be afraid of it.
Dasgupta and Ehrlich (2014) – Pervasive Externalities at the Population, Consumption, and Environment Nexus
In this Research Article, the authors highlight the ubiquity of externalities (which are the unaccounted for consequences for others, including future people) of decisions made by each of us on reproduction, consumption, and the use of our natural environment. The analysis points to a spiraling socioenvironmental process, giving credence to the presumption that the pattern of contemporary economic growth is unsustainable.
Global Challenges Foundation Risk Survey: The Pulse of International Sentiment (2014)
A survey on public view of population growth, climate change, other environmental degradation, armed conflicts, poverty, and global legal order. The survey included nine countries: Brazil, USA, China, Russia, Poland, Germany, India, South Africa and Sweden. In general, population growth was viewed negatively, as a threat to the mankind. There were big differences between countries concerning the view of decisions to stop population growth.
All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health (UK): Return of the Population Growth Factor: its impact upon the Millennium Development Goals (2007)
The UN’s Millennium Development Goals made no reference to population growth and gave no recognition of its impact. The MDGs are difficult or impossible to achieve with the current levels of population growth in developing countries and regions. This parliamentary report gives clear recommendations on how to eliminate the unmet need for family planning.