Perceptions of Human Overpopulation: Disavowal and Dysfunction in Salt Lake City – By Bryna Gallagher
My research aimed to answer the question “To what extent do Salt Lake City leaders perceive overpopulation to be a driver of environmental degradation?” To contextualize interviewee responses and my interpretations of them in terms of the historical treatment of human population-environment nexus, I first surveyed the literature. This review provided an initial, informal framework for understanding interviewee responses.
From a historical perspective of the population debate, two major points stood out: that the origins of the continuing controversy surrounding the issue of human population are over 200 years old, and that the argument has not changed all that much during the intervening years, particularly on the anti-population stabilization side. In fact, while the population stabilization side has become increasingly informed by ecology, and thus increasingly more complex and nuanced, developing and incorporating a population ethics grounded in ecocentrism, and a deeper understanding of the complexities of intrahuman relations, systems, and power dynamics, the anti-population stabilization side has become even more wedded to human-centric utopianism and Cornucopianism.
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