Long-time population maven Paul Ehrlich just published a post called Overpopulation and the Collapse of Civilization on the blog for the Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere (MAHB).
“Food is just the most obvious area where overpopulation tends to darken the human future – virtually every other human problem from air pollution and brute overcrowding to resource shortages and declining democracy is exacerbated by further population growth.”
“A popular movement is needed to correct that failure and direct cultural evolution toward providing the “foresight intelligence” and the agricultural, environmental, and demographic planning that markets cannot supply. “
This timing is good, as I just taught my Biological Anthropology lab unit on population. I’ve made the student and instructor materials for this module available, as part of my work on a grant for Engaged Interdisciplinary Learning for Sustainability.
I also continue to hear from the folks at Californians for Population Stabilization. I know, it sounds like exactly the kind of sane thinking that Dr. Ehrlich was talking about. That’s what I thought it was at first, too. Unfortunately, it turns out that they’re on an extreme anti-immigration kick. I tend to think this is antithetical to the actual goal of GLOBAL population stabilization. After all, as Hans Rosling shows, increasing prosperity and child survival reduces birthrates and population growth; immigrants in the US definitely follow this trend. In fact, something like the DREAM Act is likely to lead to exactly the kind of improved education and opportunity for girls that leads to reduced fecundity and zero population growth. So yes, a narrow, parochial approach to population stabilization in California might be served by reducing immigration, but it would probably just exacerbate the global population problem.
Let’s focus on the big picture, people! You’ve got to think global while you act local (or global). And remember, Dr. Pongo sez “Copulate, Don’t Populate!”
Yeah, I had an experience with a group that initially seemed interested in exploring the issue of overpopulation, only to be shocked by their casual utterances of anti-immigration and xenophobic sentiments.
Have you checked out this recent interview with Alan Weisman? He speaks about the power of educating women as the most effective means for reducing population growth.
Oops, forgot the link: http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/7694