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PMC Articles Tagged 'Overpopulation'

Bill Ryerson: Blog from Burundi

September 10th, 2012 by joe | Add a Comment

Bill Ryerson recently sent me this blog entry from Burundi.







Greetings from Kigali, Rwanda. I am just finishing a week of meetings in Burundi and Rwanda regarding new projects Population Media Center is planning.  I was accompanied on the visit to Burundi by Theo Nzeyimana, PMC’s Rwandese producer.

We arrived in Bujumbura late on Saturday night, September 1, in a pouring rainstorm.  I had flown from Lagos that day, and Theo joined me when I changed planes in Kigali [capital of Rwanda].  We arranged for a taxi to take us to the hotel.  When we got the bags loaded and got in the car, I noticed a strong smell of gasoline fumes.  The driver immediately lowered all the windows, so we could breathe, even if we were getting soaked by the rain.

As we left the airport grounds, I noticed the driver had no working windshield wipers and no defroster.  So through the pouring rain, he was creeping along wiping the fog off the inside of the windshield.  As we left the area that had streetlights, I noticed the taxi also had no headlights.  The driver struggled to stay on the road and to avoid oncoming vehicles.  Then in the middle of a swamp, the car stalled.  The driver opened the hood and moved some wires around and then asked Theo to push the car, while he tried to jump start it.  That did not work.  The driver then took a hammer to some part of the engine, and the dashboard lights came on.  Another push by Theo, and we were off to the hotel at 5 miles an hour.

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Living on Planet Duggar

April 2nd, 2012 by joe | Add a Comment

The following interview with Michelle Duggar (no, this is not an Onion article). We are fortunate to have Bob Walker, President of Population Institute, provide a far less foolish response article below.

Duggars’ Mom, Michelle, Thinks Overpopulation Is A Lie

See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/duggars-overpopulation_n_1387640.html?ref=mostpopular

Michelle Duggar, star of TLC’s reality show, “19 Kids and Counting”, says there needs to be more children because our world needs more joy. And as for overpopulation? That’s just a lie, Duggar recently told the Christian Broadcasting Network in a web interview. “The idea of overpopulation is not accurate,” Duggar says, because the entire population of the world could fit inside of Jacksonville, Florida.

“I agree with Mother Teresa when she said, ‘to say that there are too many children is like saying there are too many flowers,’” Duggar said.

She explains how her large family is resourceful and therefore not posing as big of an environmental problem as perceived. They buy used cars, she says, and frequently shop at thrift stores, purchasing things others would discard.

Jezebel’s Erin Gloria Ryan points out that, even so, “A family of three or four would practically have to prance around throwing a trail of styrofoam packing peanuts in their wake to leave the same sort of carbon footprint that the Duggars leave.” By our rough calculations, the family uses over 1,000 rolls of toilet paper each year.

Duggar claims countries have come to America and asked us to encourage their people to have more children. “They’e in crisis,” she said. “They don’t have people of marrying age for their youth now, and they see what that’s done to their country.”

So instead of being “deceived” by the idea of overpopulation, “we need to focus on loving people and trying to reach out and make a difference for good in our world,” Duggar says.
Living on Planet Duggar

See: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-walker/michelle-duggar-overpopulatioon_b_1391329.html

We now have a new planet to add to the growing list of Earth-like planets that are being discovered by astronomers. Let’s call it Planet D in honor of Michelle Duggar, the reality TV star who has 19 children.

On Planet D there’s no such thing as overpopulation. The world has infinite space and, more importantly, infinite resources. News of the planet’s existence only came to public attention when Michelle Duggar did a web interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network this week. In the interview she disclosed that the world she’s living on does not suffer from overpopulation. She further indicated that on Planet D having more children always equals “more joy.” Although she did not elaborate, hunger and extreme poverty apparently do not exist on Planet D. Nor do such things as climate change and water scarcity.

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Overpopulation and the Vicious Circle Principle

March 19th, 2012 by joe | Add a Comment

Craig Dilworth sent me the following essay of his, titled “Overpopulation and the Vicious Circle Principle”. The essay summarizes the treatment that population growth in receives in Mr. Dilworth’s book, Too Smart for Our Own Good. You can read a several short reviews on the book here: http://www.amazon.com/Too-Smart-our-Own-Good/dp/052176436X

Overpopulation and the Vicious Circle Principle

In my book Too Smart for Our Own Good, I present an ecological theory intended to explain human evolution and development, and I apply that theory to all major aspects of our actual evolution and development over the past 7 million years. In this paper, I shall summarise the treatment that population growth in particular receives in Too Smart.

The most fundamental determinants of a population’s behaviour are its species’ instincts. These instincts evolve with the species; and the species’ environment at the time the species first comes into existence is probably the one best suited to the species. It is on the basis of its instinctual behaviour that a species avoids extinction. When operating properly, instincts see to it that the species’ population stays in dynamic equilibrium with the other physical and biological systems making up its surroundings. Doing this will mean the species’ populations’ not becoming either too small or too large.

The earlier in a species’ evolution a type of instinct appears, the more basic instincts of that type are. Along these lines I distinguish three kinds of instinct: survival, sexual and social. The more sophisticated the species, the greater the number and sophistication of its instincts.

The most primitive instincts are the survival, which exist in all animals, and include consuming food, and avoiding being consumed. The ‘fight or flight’ response falls under the survival instincts.

Next are the sexual instincts, found in all sexually reproducing animals, first among them being to impregnate or get impregnated. In more-developed species they include the maternal and other parental instincts. The influence of parental instincts increases with the relative brain size of the members of the species, since infants will be progressively less mature when born and thus need more care. Both the survival and sexual instincts support the individual’s gene line (its genetic fitness); and it is in the context of sexual instincts in particular that individual territoriality arises.

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TED Talk: Paul Gilding — The Earth is Full

March 9th, 2012 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Stephanie Tholand for sending me this TED Talk by Paul Gilding. The speech, which runs about 16 minutes, is focused on questions like: Have we used up all our resources? Have we filled up all the livable space on Earth? Gilding suggests we have, and the possibility of devastating consequences, in a talk that’s equal parts terrifying and, oddly, hopeful. The video has been seen over 250,000 times and the comment section is also bustling.


New Documentary Series — The People Problem

March 1st, 2012 by joe | 1 Comment

The following announcement comes from Jane Turville, who has a track record of getting her films shown on PBS. Over the next several years, Jane will be creating a four part series (four one-hour segments) that explores population growth under the inclusive umbrella of sustainability – ecological, social, and economic balance. She plans to distribute the finished product to PBS stations nationwide via the National Educational Television Association. You can review her Kickstarter page here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/342263956/the-people-problem-are-there-too-many-of-us


Jane Turville

The other day I was talking to a good friend about my new documentary project THE PEOPLE PROBLEM. Now, before I go on, let me tell you a little bit about my friend. He has a degree in biology and has worked in the scientific arena for many years. He has developed products for research laboratories and previously worked at one of America’s top universities. All in all, he’s a pretty smart guy.   Plus, he’s the real deal when it comes to sustainability. He’s made more changes to lessen his carbon footprint than anyone else I know. I try really hard, but there is no doubt, he’s definitely outdone me.

Yet, during our conversation, he kept coming back to the same comment – “We should just stop having kids.”   Over and over again, no matter how I tried to introduce immigration, healthcare, or consumerism into the discussion, he kept returning to “Stop having kids.”

This conversation illustrates the two primary reasons why I’m making this film series. First, many people in the environmental and sustainability communities view population growth through a very narrow, specific lens that doesn’t allow for an inclusive discussion. Second, those of us (like me) who are interested in exploring population growth, don’t know or can’t relate to the many issues involved, so we have problems even starting a broader discussion.

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With 7 billion on earth, a huge task before us

November 26th, 2011 by joe | 1 Comment

Happy Thanksgiving.

With 7 billion on earth, a huge task before us

Date: Monday, October 17, 2011
Source: CNN (U.S.)
Author: Jeffrey D. Sachs

Editor’s note: Jeffrey D. Sachs is director of The Earth Institute, Columbia University. He and colleagues will discuss the 7 billion mark in a free live webcast Monday, October 17. He is the author of “The Price of Civilization,” published this month.

(CNN) — Just 12 years after the arrival of the 6 billionth individual on the planet in 1999, humanity will greet the 7 billionth arrival this month. The world population continues its rapid ascent, with roughly 75 million more births than deaths each year. The consequences of a world crowded with 7 billion people are enormous. And unless the world population stabilizes during the 21st century, the consequences for humanity could be grim.

A rising population puts enormous pressures on a planet already plunging into environmental catastrophe. Providing food, clothing, shelter, and energy for 7 billion people is a task of startling complexity.

The world’s agricultural systems are already dangerously overstretched. Rainforests are being cut down to make way for new farms; groundwater used for irrigation is being depleted; greenhouse gases emitted from agricultural activities are a major factor in global climate change; fertilizers are poisoning estuaries; and countless species are threatened with extinction as we grab their land and water and destroy their habitats.

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OP-ED: Crowd control? Unsustainable population growth trumps all of our other problems

November 8th, 2011 by joe | 3 Comments

OP-ED: Crowd control? Unsustainable population growth trumps all of our other problems

Date: Thursday, July 21, 2011
Source: Los Angeles Times
Author: Ellen Harte, Anne Ehrlich

Think back on what you talked about with friends and family at your last gathering. The latest game of your favorite team? “American Idol”? An addictive hobby? The new movie blockbuster? In a serious moment, maybe job prospects, Afghanistan, the economic mess? We live in an information-drenched environment, one in which sports and favorite programs are just a click away. And the ease with which we can do this allows us to focus on mostly comforting subjects that divert our attention from increasingly real, long-term problems.

Notice that we didn’t mention climate change above, or the exploding population/consumption levels that are triggering it — the two major factors threatening humanity’s future. Sure, if you’re not too far from the Western wildfires or Midwestern floodplains, the conversation might have turned to the crazy weather that is finally forcing some media to actually talk about climate change in the context of daily events.

But population? Get out. Way too inconvenient a truth.

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Population Strategy – A Missed Opportunity

August 5th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Australian MP Kelvin Thomson for his response to the government’s population strategy.  You can see the comments on Kelvin’s statement at http://kelvinthomson.blogspot.com/2011/05/population-strategy-missed-opportunity.html

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Population Strategy – A Missed Opportunity


The Government’s population strategy represents a missed opportunity to put Australia’s population on a sustainable basis and curb our rapid population growth.

The failure to set targets means we are still on our way to Big Australia, with net overseas migration tracking at 180,000 per annum, the number Treasury says will see Australia’s population rise to 36 million by 2050.

I remain concerned that the present rate of population growth – a 60% increase in our population over the next 40 years – will put upward pressure on the cost of housing, electricity, water, food, council rates, and upward pressure on interest rates.

The impact of a 60% increase in Australia’s population on our native wildlife will be catastrophic. Then there is the issue of carbon emissions. The government has promised to cut carbon emissions by 60% over the next 40 years. How are we supposed to cut emissions by 60% if our population is rising by 60% at the same time? It’s pretty hard to reduce your carbon footprint when your keep adding more feet.

I am pleased that the strategy acknowledges the challenges faced by our major cities, such as declining housing affordability and increasing traffic congestion.

I hope that all levels of government – federal, state and local – and all political parties – Labor, Liberal and Greens – will acknowledge the reality of life for people living in the big cities, and abandon plans to grow these cities still bigger. If all levels of government now work together to stabilise the populations of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, this strategy will have achieved something worthwhile.

But I continue to be convinced that another 13 million people will not give us a richer country, it will spread our mineral wealth more thinly and give us a poorer one.

Our aim to lift the participation rate and find work for people who are presently on Job Search Allowance or Disability Support Payments would be much more easily realised if we reduced skilled migration to the level of the mid 90s to give us a net overseas migration level of 70,000.


Member for Wills



May 9th, 2011 by populationmedia | Add a Comment

Thanks to Lindsey Grant for his latest paper, “The Apocalypse is on Schedule.”  This and other papers by Lindsey can be found on the NPG website at www.npg.org.  For those who feel Lindsey is unrealistically pessimistic, he shows his optimistic credentials by arguing that believers in perpetual growth are believing in a bubble.  That is foolishness, not optimism.

The paper can be downloaded from: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=explorer&chrome=true&srcid=0B5F-idWfw7TeYTQ2MjdlMjYtNzk2NC00Y2Q0LTgxNTUtODJjZWNiMTQzYjA4&hl=en&authkey=CKCY2MoK

World Population to Crash by 80 Percent, Says Top U.K. Scientist

October 19th, 2010 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

Thanks to Joe Bish for this article.

Some like it hot. According to environmentalist James Lovelock, we’ll get plenty of hot between now and the end of the century. “We are so far down the path toward the hottest we have been, since we were 55 million years ago,” Dr. Lovelock, who is also a leading atmospheric scientist, told StockInterview in a tape-recorded interview last week, “that as many of us look at it, it’s not going to make very much difference what anybody does.” In stronger commentary, which he wrote for England’s Independent newspaper, this past January, Lovelock warned, “The Earth is about to catch a morbid fever that may last as long as 100,000 years.” And we were worrying about another Ice Age?

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