How to Fix the Planet, the Easy Way

To avoid disastrous deterioration of Earth’s climate and biosphere, humanity has to reduce its demands on nature. Fewer births and a falling population is no quick fix, but compared with voluntary austerity, it has many more up-sides than down-sides. by Jon Austen Scientists are reporting that there is an existential threat to life on Earth. … Continue reading How to Fix the Planet, the Easy Way

Delusional population projections lead us sleepwalking into catastrophe

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

Human population reduction is not a quick fix for environmental problems

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

Even with strong early family planning programs, 50 years or more are needed to halt population growth

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

Gattopardi and cheap labor

Reflections from Italy on the wicked problem of unregulated and unregulatable immigration into Western Europe. by Gaia Baracetti I could never understand what animal exactly the gattopardo was supposed to be. A leopard? A cheetah? A mythical beast? For sure, none of those roams my country. But I, like most Italians, always understood the meaning … Continue reading Gattopardi and cheap labor

Why Overpopulation Should Be a Women’s Issue

The costs of overpopulation and lack of family planning access fall disproportionately on women. Securing women’s rights and ecological sustainability depend on a clear-eyed understanding of this. This raises the question of why there are not more women who are actively involved in the issue of human overpopulation. By Karen Shragg and Madeline Weld An observation … Continue reading Why Overpopulation Should Be a Women’s Issue

The Population Factor back by popular demand

In 2020 and 2021, I recorded two seasons of the TV show The Population Factor. Each episode features in-depth conversations focused on a particular aspect of the population/environment connection. Check out seasons one (hour-long episodes) and two (half-hour episodes), all available for free streaming at the links below. by Phil Cafaro Season 1 Episode 1. … Continue reading The Population Factor back by popular demand

To Advance Humanity and Save Nature We Need a Common Agenda

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

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

Check out Vasectomy

Women rightly complain about low contraceptive use among men, and that too little research goes into improved contraception for men. But here is one simple and safe method that deserves more attention, in all countries. By Richard Grossman MD Sixteen years ago the Durango Herald published my column “Do your Partner’s Vasectomy”; it got lots … Continue reading Check out Vasectomy

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

The imaginary world of Earth4All’s low population projections

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

Do three Pacific islands provide lessons for achieving a sustainable human population?

These islands were more-or-less isolated, microcosms that perhaps tell us what is going to happen with the global population. Anthropological accounts also describe remarkable forms of birth control. Do they tell us anything about how to achieve sustainable populations today? By Frank Götmark   Easter Island, and historical background One of the most debated questions … Continue reading Do three Pacific islands provide lessons for achieving a sustainable human population?

Global population has hit 8 billion

The world population has hit 8 billion, a milestone which has been widely discussed in the media. In this article originally published by The Hill, William Ryerson of the Population Media Center and Kathleen Mogelgaard of the Population Institute reflect on the economic and environmental effects of this milestone. By William Ryerson and Kathleen Mogelgaard … Continue reading Global population has hit 8 billion

Religion and religiosity pose challenges for fertility decline in Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is the only world region projected to continue population growth in the second half of this century, and even beyond 2100. In SSA, religion and religiosity are major factors contributing to the persistent high birth rates. A new publication by TOP co-workers is reviewing the relationship between human fertility and religions in … Continue reading Religion and religiosity pose challenges for fertility decline in Sub-Saharan Africa

Smaller human populations are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for biodiversity conservation

That’s the title of a paper just published in Biological Conservation in response to TOP’s recent paper on population and biodiversity loss in that journal. Are its authors right? by The Overpopulation Project In one sense, Alice Hughes and company clearly are correct. Efforts to protect wild nature are ongoing throughout the world, and for … Continue reading Smaller human populations are neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for biodiversity conservation

Fertility decline in developing countries does not depend on economic growth but follows contraceptive use

Many politicians, the public, and some scientists still think that economic development is a major cause of reduced birth rates in developing countries. We tested this belief empirically in a recently published long-term study of many countries (1970-2014). We found no relationships between fertility and economic growth, but a strong association with modern contraception: birth rates … Continue reading Fertility decline in developing countries does not depend on economic growth but follows contraceptive use

Eight Billion – Our Greatest Mistake

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

The moral imperative of depopulation

Anthropocentrism is preventing humanity from dealing with the world’s cascading environmental crises. Stephen Williams reviews the work of Catholic historian Paul Collins who argues depopulation is an urgent moral imperative. By Stephen Williams A new discussion paper on population ethics written by Catholic historian Paul Collins is as radical as it is worthy. The paper … Continue reading The moral imperative of depopulation

In America, reproductive rights have fallen prey to a creeping theocracy

The United States of America is becoming a theocracy. The Dobbs decision has bypassed the Congress by having the Supreme Court establish a de facto religion which forces unwilling women to become mothers. By Richard Grossman, MD © 2022 For years I have hesitated to write about the effect of religion on population. My hesitation has … Continue reading In America, reproductive rights have fallen prey to a creeping theocracy

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

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

Advocating for the Education She Did Not Have

Education is important for girls and women to be able to control their own lives. To celebrate International Day of the Girl this Tuesday, Population Media Center highlighted their article about education and overcoming social barriers in Nepal, which we have republished here. Read about Binita and her determination to advocate for her sister-in-law's continued … Continue reading Advocating for the Education She Did Not Have

The Natural Synergy between Population Stabilization and Reproductive Rights

In the second essay we are featuring from the Great Transition Initiative’s forum The Population Debate Revisited, Céline Delacroix highlights the win-win relationship between elevating women’s health, rights and autonomy and minimising population growth. Why then is the topic so unwelcome in international policy discourse? By Céline Delacroix Reading Ian Lowe’s opening essay to this … Continue reading The Natural Synergy between Population Stabilization and Reproductive Rights

“Decline and Prosper!” A review of a comprehensive book about fertility by Vegard Skirbekk

A new book by the productive demographer Vegard Skirbekk has the commendable title Decline and Prosper!. It is a valuable resource, presenting much research on fertility around the world. It also raises questions about how to deal with high fertility and population growth in many countries. By Frank Götmark The book, in paperback from Palgrave … Continue reading “Decline and Prosper!” A review of a comprehensive book about fertility by Vegard Skirbekk

Population and the Great Transition

In June, the Great Transition Initiative ran a month-long forum under the title The Population Debate Revisited. The collection of contributed essays is now accessible on the GTI’s site, and makes for interesting reading. We thought three of the essays held particular merit and will republish them here over the next few weeks. The first … Continue reading Population and the Great Transition

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’

Influencing politicians to act on population trends: an example from Sweden

To influence societal attitudes and population policy it is important for organizations that understand the population factor to reach out to politicians who can enact necessary changes. Below follows one such example, where the Swedish group Nätverket ‘Population Matters Sweden’ wrote letters to all members of the Swedish parliament, highlighting the need to address population … Continue reading Influencing politicians to act on population trends: an example from Sweden

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

Religion, Fertility and Contraceptive Use in Sub-Saharan Africa, Part 6: Progressive Religious Organisations

While contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa is still considered taboo in many religious settings and children are viewed as a “gift from God”, some religious leaders are actively promoting the importance of family planning and considering its role in population growth. In this last part of our series on religion, fertility and contraceptive use in Sub-Saharan … Continue reading Religion, Fertility and Contraceptive Use in Sub-Saharan Africa, Part 6: Progressive Religious Organisations

Humane Families: Towards Existential Justice and Freedom

The act of having children is interpersonal rather than personal, however, it has long been treated as a personal and isolated decision. This dysfunctional parent-focused model is at the heart of our ecological crises and was created by governments to ensure population growth and evade collective responsibility to invest in kids and our ecological communities. … Continue reading Humane Families: Towards Existential Justice and Freedom

Religion, Fertility and Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa, Part 4: African research and policy in Nigeria

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

Aid needs to go where it will help most

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

Subsidies for large families in Sweden impair integration of immigrants

The family supplement, which gives extra financial aid for each additional child, was implemented in Sweden in 1982 at a time of falling birth rates. It now contributes to lock-in effects for immigrant women. Abolishing this supplement and limiting the child allowance to the first two children would help reduce social exclusion and public spending, … Continue reading Subsidies for large families in Sweden impair integration of immigrants

Religion, Religiosity, Fertility and Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa: Part 3, A Study of Christian Denominations in Mozambique

How does affiliation with different Christian denominations influence fertility? In a study1 from a Christian high-fertility area in Mozambique, Victor Agadjanian and Scott Yabiku examine fertility from two perspectives: dynamically, by looking at risks of births in any given year, and cumulatively, by the number of children ever born versus length of membership in a … Continue reading Religion, Religiosity, Fertility and Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa: Part 3, A Study of Christian Denominations in Mozambique

Just population policies for an overpopulated world

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

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

Religion, religiosity, fertility and contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa – Part 1, Introduction to studies of religion

How important is religion and belief in the supernatural for family life, contraceptive use, fertility, and family size? Presumably many of our readers have considered the role played in high-fertility societies by the belief that “children are God’s will”. In this blog series based on a literature review1, we focus on Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and … Continue reading Religion, religiosity, fertility and contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa – Part 1, Introduction to studies of religion

Why we must become fewer people and consume less – and suggestions to improve the situation

The mainstream media rarely report about the role of population growth in environmental and climate disruptions, but the Op-Ed below was actually published in the high-circulating Swedish Social Democratic newspaper Aftonbladet a week ago. The original Swedish text is available here. The article gives a broad overview, ending with an unusual suggestion. There were 250 … Continue reading Why we must become fewer people and consume less – and suggestions to improve the situation