“The Coming Population Crash”: The overpopulation myth

May 12, 2010 • Daily Email Recap

Fred Pearce, author of “The Coming Population Crash,” is one of several authors who thinks population growth is not a problem. His publishers need to hear from you.

Pearce did an interview on the Daily Show. You can view that segment by going to http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch. Pearce’s views are also described at Salon.com You can post comments on Salon.com by visiting http://letters.salon.com/books/feature.

Pearce will be one of this week’s panelists in Mother Jones’ population forum this week. The others will be:

*Martha Campbell, political scientist and public health lecturer at UC Berkeley
*Paul Ehrlich, founder of Zero Population Growth and author of “The Population Bomb”
*Courtney Martin, feminist writer and Feministing.com editor
*Malcolm Potts, obstetrician, biologist, and author of “Sex and War.”
*William N. Ryerson, president of the Population Media Center and Population Institute
*Rinku Sen, racial justice writer and president of the Applied Research Center
*Julia Whitty, Mother Jones environmental correspondent and author of “The Last Taboo”

“The Coming Population Crash”: The overpopulation myth

People have been worrying about the world’s pending overpopulation for more than two centuries. Robert Thomas Malthus sounded the alarm in 1797 with “An Essay on the Principles of the Population,” which predicted mass starvation and went on to influence the likes of Charles Darwin and Margaret Sanger. Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book, “The Population Bomb,” forecast a similar fate; if the population kept rising unchecked, Earth’s resources would buckle. Many of today’s environmental thinkers, such as broadcaster (and “Planet Earth” narrator) David Attenborough, have called for drastic measures to limit the planet’s population before it’s too late.

But according to the veteran environmental writer Fred Pearce, they’re all wrong. In his latest book, “The Coming Population Crash: And Our Planet’s Surprising Future,” Pearce argues that the world’s population is peaking. In the next century, we’re heading not for exponential growth, but a slow, steady decline. This, he claims, has the potential to massively change both our society and our planet: Children will become a rare sight, patriarchal thinking will fall by the wayside, and middle-aged culture will replace our predominant youth culture. Furthermore, Pearce explains, the population bust could be the end of our environmental woes. Fewer people making better choices about consumption could lead to a greener, healthier planet.

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