Monday, July 12, 2010

Is population the problem?

July 11 was World Population Day. World population and population growth has been quite a hot topic recently, especially with regards to how important a contributor population growth is to climate change.

Over on Grist, a US environmental website, Fred Pearce argues that population isn't the problem and has a strong message for environmentalists.

Some excerpts:

"A green myth is on the march. It wants to blame the world's overbreeding poor people for the planet's peril. It stinks. And on World Population Day, I encourage fellow environmentalists not to be seduced."

"For a start, the population bomb that I remember being scared by 40 years ago as a schoolkid is being defused fast. Back then, most women round the world had five or six children. Today's women have just half as many as their mothers -- an average of 2.6. Not just in the rich world, but almost everywhere."

"Rising consumption today is a far bigger threat to the environment than a rising head count. And most of that extra consumption is still happening in rich countries that have long since given up growing their populations.

Virtually all of the remaining population growth is in the poor world, and the poor half of the planet is only responsible for 7 percent of carbon emissions."

Pearce finishes by saying:
"The population bomb is being defused right now -- by the world's poor women. Sadly, the consumption bomb is still primed and ever more dangerous. Now that would be a proper target for environmentalists."
You can read the whole article and comments here

Any thoughts?

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