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Home > Discussion > Why is controlling population good for the environment?

Global Warming. Habitat loss. Marine Species Loss. Who do you think is to blame here?

By tackling carbon emissions are we addressing the real problem here? Or are we missing the point?

Current world population (estimated): .

The only world government I know of with a population control measure is China PRC with its 1 child per couple policy. In the rest of the world we avoid the concept of population control, as it probably would be the death of any political party that aired its views in favor of such a "totalitarian" concept.

But what is the alternative, we are probably looking at wars and famine down the line if we don't act now. At the very least we can act now to preserve the quality of life we have, or wait until everything thing correct themselves.

There are two ways out of overpopulation lower births or higher deaths, you choose.

overpopulation 

overpopulation

Extract from Population Matters Leaflet:

Being finite implies limits. The attempt to calculate how many people the Earth can support goes back a long way. Most of the figures were little more than guesstimates. Recently, however, ecological foot printing has brought a new discipline to the process. The results are alarming. Currently, humankind is "overshooting" the biological capacity of the planet by 50%.* By the 2030s, on present trends, we will require two planets to satisfy our needs. The result of this mismatch is the environmental crisis we see all around us - an overheating atmosphere, disappearing forests, vanishing wildlife, growing resource shortages. And, of course, the impact
of all of these individual problems on humanity, particularly in poorer countries.

There are two fundamental causes of overshoot -how many of us there are and how much we each consume. For the first time in history, ecological foot printing allows us to say with reasonable accuracy what human numbers the planet can sustain.

The world's population, currently 7 billion, is heading for between 8 and 11 billion by 2050. Biocapacity data suggest that if we made no change at all to consumption patterns we could currently sustain a population of 4 to 5 billion. If everybody on Earth shared a modest standard of living - midway between the richest and the poorest - that figure falls to around 3 billion. For the UK, an urbanised, high-consuming nation with low self-sufficiency, the position is starker. Currently, if we relied solely on our own resources, we could sustain 17-18 million people. By living more modestly, and making big cuts in carbon emissions, we might push that up to 27 million.

Either way, it's much less than the UK's present population of 62 million, never mind the projections of 72 million by 2035 and 85 million by 2085. Both the world and the UK, in other words, are seriously overpopulated and becoming more so. In the UK, the strains are apparent to all - congestion, overcrowding, loss of green space and the need for massive new house building and infrastructure plans. Yet some environmental groups rarely mention population - it's too controversial for them.
overpopulation

 Population Matters is the leading group campaigning on population matters in the UK. Our role ranges from generating ideas to lobbying MPs. We have recently achieved major successes in raising the profile of population - for instance, commissioning research before the Copenhagen climate change summit which showed that contraception is a far more cost-effective method of reducing carbon emissions than green  technologies like wind and solar. But our aims go beyond that. We want the government to set out a national strategy spelling out how the UK might achieve a sustainable population. We want policies that encourage responsible parenting. And we want people to take the planet into account when they make decisions about family size.

  "But what can each of us do – you and I? Well, there is just one thing that I would ask. Break the taboo, in private and in public – as best you can, as you judge right. Until it is broken there is no hope of the action we need. Wherever and whenever we speak of the environment - add a few words to ensure that the population element is not ignored. If you are a member of a relevant NGO, invite them to acknowledge it. If you belong to a Church – and especially if you are a Catholic because its doctrine on contraception is a major factor in this problem - suggest they consider the ethical issues involved.

I see the Anglican bishops in Australia have dared to do so,. If you have contacts in Government, ask why the growth of our population which affects every department is yet no one’s responsibility. Big empty Australia has appointed a Sustainable Population Minister so why can’t small crowded Britain."

Over population News from Population Matters:

Population Matters
For a sustainable future

 

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