Population Hysteria

The Guardian Article: Why population hysteria is more damaging than it seems

Following are some excerpts from the article:

The core problem is not how many of us there are, but how we use the planet and share its resources.

Seven billion is a big number. It doesn’t seem quite so big, however, if you think that 7 billion of us could fit into the state of Texas and live there with a population density enjoyed by the residents of New York City.

What the more alarmist news reports often fail to mention is that since the 1970s fertility has been declining in almost all nations and that once the trend to smaller family size begins it is hard to reverse – as policy makers in Japan, Korea and Italy have found.

And this is where an almighty hole appears in the argument of those who suggest that if we care about climate change we should worry about women having lots of children in the countries with high fertility rates.

The reason is simple: so unequal are global consumption levels that one European or North American may be responsible for more emissions than an entire village of Africans.

Population is certainly a multiplier, but that does not make it the cause of the problem. As the Australian writer Simon Butler puts it: “People are not pollution. Blaming too many people for driving climate change is like blaming too many trees for causing bushfires.”

Industrialized countries with 20% of the world’s population are responsible for 80% of the accumulated carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The world is already growing enough grain to feed a population of 10 billion on a vegetarian diet. (Source: Fred Pearce, Peoplequake, 2010)