If this site is to be of some help in the world, it will be by providing information, through essays and discussion, of which others make productive use. With that in mind, at one time or another you’ll be in a position to try to convince someone of the urgent need for action on the environmental crisis we face. One of the most contentious issues, of course, is population. In working on the “All Links” page I mention in the sidebar (It really is coming!), it occurred to me I should share right now a few population links you might find particularly useful in making the case for addressing population growth.
Their value is in their clout. They are all statements or more extensive resources on population from important scientific organizations or, in one case, from world leaders. If you’re talking with someone who denies the importance of population toss a couple of these references their way. It should give them pause to realize, for example, that a majority of Nobel laureates in the sciences disagree with them. ❗
Here they are, alphabetically, with brief annotation.
- AAAS Atlas of Population and Environment Detailed, clear, well organized reference with extensive information on population-environment linkages. In the US, the AAAS name will carry a lot of weight. Combine that with the large volume of information here and you have an especially useful reference. [Note, however, that the section on carrying capacity is somewhat dated, reflecting a notion from several years ago that the concept did not apply well to humans. We now know humans have never so much increased carrying capacity as learned increasingly and perilously how to overshoot it. Considering the problem of peak oil provides one easy way to see this. See this post for more.]
- Ecological Society of America, 1994: “ESA Passes Resolution on Human Population Resolution on Human Population” “Attempting to provide an ever increasing number of people with a reasonable standard of living is certain to fail and to result in degradation of the Earth’s renewable and nonrenewable resources.”
- Joint statement by fifty-eight of the world’s scientific academies 1994 statement from 58 academies. That’s a lot of academies!
- PopPlanet A diverse collection of resources managed by the US-based National Council for Science and the Environment.
- Population and Environment Linkages From the Union of Concerned Scientists, a part of the Biodiversity section of the UCS Sound Science Initiative.
- Population in Sustainable Development 2002 report from the Global Science Panel on Population & Environment. The result of an international panel.
- Return of the Population Growth Factor: Its Impact upon the Millennium Development Goal Major 2007 report from scientists and social policy groups worldwide detailing the costs of neglect of population growth and the need for renewed commitment to the issue. (For updates to the original report click here.) An article stemming from the report appeared in Science.
- Statement on Population and Sustainability From UK-based Scientists for Global Responsibility.
- Statement on Population from World Leaders (PDF) From 1966. This perceptive and well reasoned statement came at a time when world population was about half what it is today!
- World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity A broad message concerning ecological degradation, including a strong statement on population. “Some 1,700 of the world’s leading scientists, including the majority of Nobel laureates in the sciences, issued this appeal in November 1992. Their message is still valid today.”
That’s just a preliminary list. If you know of other links that would fit in the list, let me know and I’ll add them.
Image source: thisguyukno, posted on flickr under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 license