by Phil Cafaro and Frank Götmark
Greetings! It’s been a busy year here at The Overpopulation Project. As many of you know, we have an active website, with a new blog almost every week and more invited authors this year. The total number of visitors to our website was 84,848 in 2019, and average monthly visitors about 10,000. In the population field, characterized by lots of misunderstanding, outreach is very important. This year we held two popular seminars at the University of Gothenburg, one on climate change policy and a second on the need for a new SDG focused on population.
We published two new papers in 2019, “Policy-based Population Projections for the European Union: A Complementary Approach” and “How Should Ecological Citizens Think About Immigration?” with a third, “The Potential Environmental Impacts of EU Immigration Policy,” in press at the Journal of Population and Sustainability. Currently, we are revising several manuscripts for publication, with new findings on fertility rates, family planning, and climate aspects – watch out for coming blogs in 2020. We published two commentaries in Project Syndicate, one on the role of family planning in improving development outcomes and one emphasizing the importance of setting a UN goal for reducing population growth. Two op-eds were published in leading Swedish newspapers (Dagens Nyheter, Göteborgs-Posten) that generated a big response from readers, and the TOP website now displays our new animated policy-based EU population projections in a user-friendly format.
TOP published 50 population-related blogs this year, on everything from the new UN global population projections to Thanos’ ethics in Avengers: Endgame. We are particularly proud of our series on family planning success stories, written by Jenna Dodson and Patrícia Dérer, with new accounts of programs in Thailand, Rwanda, Tunisia, Costa Rica, South Korea, Iran, and Indonesia. We also featured several blogs that explored the neglected connection between population growth and biodiversity loss, which continues to be a core concern. We thank the following TOP associates and external authors for excellent blogs: Lucia Tamburino, Jane O’Sullivan, Bob Gillespie, John McKeown, Max Kummerow, Stephen Williams, João Abegão, Kelvin Thomson, Lili Lantos, and Ralph Sell. Thanks also to Karin Kuhlemann, Elias Ganivet, Massimo Livi Bacci and Ashley Berke for allowing us to republish interesting material, to Jon Runsten for writing a very good Bachelor Thesis, and to Carl Wahren for interviews that led to two informative videos on international aid and family planning.
As we come to the end of TOP’s second year, we are grateful to our readers, our funders, and our research collaborators. Thanks to the Global Challenges Foundation, to our home institutions University of Gothenburg and Colorado State University, and to Naturcentrum AB, whose support makes our efforts possible. A very special thanks to our two assisting researchers, Jenna Dodson and Patrícia Dérer, whose great work and enthusiasm have been essential to our success. Their type of employment at the University of Gothenburg is limited to a maximum of two years. Jenna has moved on to a new job back in the US, protecting rivers and streams with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, while Patricia will continue helping TOP part-time as she studies to become a science teacher in her native Hungary. Thanks as well to our co-authors Jane O’Sullivan and Malte Andersson, and to the many population researchers we have gotten to know, or re-engaged with, over the past year.
We look back over the past year’s achievements with satisfaction. Still, we realize how far our societies and the world as a whole are from acknowledging and addressing overpopulation. This year, fewer birds fly across the sky and more concrete deforms the landscape than the year before. This year, once again, there is more carbon in the atmosphere and there are fewer sea turtles, rhinos, kangaroos and frogs. This year, like every year since you were born, there are more people and less wild nature. That needs to change, and the sooner the better. We invite you to join our efforts to better understand the environmental impacts of overpopulation, and to work to end it.
Do you want to learn more about the solutions for overpopulation and actions towards sustainability? What actions we need to take on individual, community, national and global level? Check out the Overpopulation Project’s list of solutions!