The future: determined by ecological awareness or complacency and denial?
By John Feeney:
It is essential to see the profound peril in continued flagrant misperception of the very nature of the human situation. — William R. Catton, Jr.
I write often about specific topics within the categories, “population growth” and “corporate economic growth” as they link to to environmental degradation. It seems, however, the larger message concerning the broad impacts of these kinds of growth has yet to gain much traction in the media. It’s time, therefore, to consider what’s at stake if we do not address forthrightly the growth of the human population and our unceasing push for corporate economic growth. I hope to make clear that humanity’s most urgent challenge has little to do with the topics currently making headlines. It is, instead, clearly ecological in nature. Of this we need much more awareness if we hope to achieve solutions.
Know this: Population growth and corporate economic growth, in conjunction with excessive and growing per capita consumption rates, are driving ecological deterioration of unprecedented proportions, pushing us ever closer to global ecological collapse. Remember that term. Barring decisive corrective action, you will be hearing more and more about ecological collapse in the coming years.
The most important issues receive little coverage
If you haven’t heard much about it previously, that’s understandable. It hovers in the background of the news, mentioned occasionally, but has so far received little of the attention it warrants. I’ve been critical of environmental writers’ avoidance of the subject of population growth, but it goes further than that. By and large, they seem squeamish about discussing the extent of global environmental decline the possibility of widespread ecological collapse. (more…)
Posted in Biodiversity, Climate change, Corporatization, Deforestation, Ecological collapse, Ecology, Economic growth, Economics, Ecosystem, Environment, Extinction, Glen Barry, Jeffrey Sachs, Overpopulation, Peak oil, Population, Population growth, William Catton
[The follow-up to this essay is found here.]
“Overpopulation is a serious problem getting worse every year.”
“Overpopulation is a myth.”
“There is no population problem.”
“There’s overconsumption, … but not overpopulation.”
“[The problem is] overpopulation in the South and overconsumption in the North.”
That’s just a sampling of the kinds of conflicting statements about population growth you can find on the Web and elsewhere. Is it any wonder the topic confuses people? Readers here should have little doubt which of the first three views I share. I would suggest, as well, that statements dismissing the population issue are often disingenuous and politically motivated.
But what about about the population versus consumption question? (more…)
Posted in Albert Bartlett, Climate change, Consumption, Ecology, Jeffrey Sachs, Overpopulation, Per capita consumption, Population, Population growth, Population-environnment, Sustainability and the Big picture, World population
I want to touch briefly on a topic which came up in discussion with Verdurous two articles ago. It’s the issue of what actions might help address the problem of population growth. I’ll merely touch on the subject in this entry, examining it in more detail in subsequent posts.
Occasionally, when I’ve mentioned to someone the need to address population growth, they’ve reacted with indignation. They assume I’m suggesting some sort of forced sterilization program or other draconian measure. Admittedly, this has occurred in Web based discussion in which some participants’ civility and impulse control often leaves something to be desired. (Okay, a lot to be desired!) Still, I’m not sure why they jump to this assumption. (Does it say something about how the topic of population growth has become taboo in many circles? That’s a fascinating topic for an upcoming post.)
In reality, there are a number of worthwhile methods we can and should employ to reduce fertility rates and thus population growth. (more…)