Thursday, October 7, 2010

Center For Biological Diversity Takes On Population Growth

Garrett Hardin once said that a primary reason Americans, indeed, most humans, ignore the consequences of exponential human population growth is because they are "innumerate."

I might add "self-serving," "brainwashed," and prone to "pomposity."

Just one quote from Mr. Hardin on numeracy:

“[L]iteracy is not enough … we also need numeracy, the ability to handle numbers and the habit of demanding them. A merely literate person may raise no question when a journalist speaks of ‘the inexhaustible wealth of the sea,’ or ‘the infinite resources of the earth.’ The numerate person, by contrast, asks for figures and rates.”

In any event, Hardin was a great defender of limiting population growth, because as a biologist, he was numerate, and because that fact caused him to think about the consequences, too often unrealized by merely literate, "innumerate" folks.

The information below is really very "old hat," but because the mainstream media doesn't report it and our guiding institutions, including many environmental groups, generally ignore it, and given the problem mentioned above, it is posted again here. [Sorry, but it is getting really late in the game (thoughtful people have been aware of the problem for decades), and life on earth is losing.]

From "Endangered Earth Online"

Center for Biological Diversity in D.C. for Population Strategy Meeting

This Monday, the Center for Biological Diversity participated in the fourth annual Population Strategy Working Group Meeting, held in Washington, D.C. Overpopulation Campaign Coordinator Randy Serraglio joined 75 other activists, academics, funders and governmental representatives in a wide-ranging discussion of the dynamics of unsustainable human population growth and strategies for addressing the challenge. Participants included numerous nonprofit organizations in the United States; an elected representative of the Australia parliament; leaders of population groups in Canada and the United Kingdom; and Paul Ehrlich, a leading voice of the modern population movement since the publication of his groundbreaking book "The Population Bomb" more than 40 years ago.

The Center appeared to be the only national environmental group in attendance, and therefore an essential -- if lonely -- voice representing the many species being crowded off this planet by human overpopulation. The Center's strong, science-based positioning on the issue was welcomed by attendees, as were the Endangered Species Condoms we distributed to the attendees, several of whom had already distributed the condoms in their own communities earlier this year.

Check out our newly revamped overpopulation website and learn more about Endangered Species Condoms.


Current world population:
6,875,290,000 [and constantly growing- see the Center's clock on their population webpage below for change since I posted this]


The world’s human population doubled from 1 to 2 billion between 1800 and 1930, and then doubled again by 1975. Sometime in 2011, it’s expected to top 7 billion. This staggering increase and the massive consumption it drives are overwhelming the planet’s finite resources. We’ve already witnessed the devastating effects of overpopulation on biodiversity: Species abundant in North America two centuries ago — from the woodland bison of West Virginia and Arizona’s Merriam’s elk to the Rocky Mountain grasshopper and Puerto Rico’s Culebra parrot — have been wiped out by growing human numbers.

As the world’s population grows unsustainably, so do its unyielding demands for water, land, trees and fossil fuels — all of which come at a steep price for already endangered plants and animals. Most biologists agree we’re in the midst of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event; species are disappearing about 1,000 times faster than is typical of the planet’s history. This time, though, it isn’t because of geologic or cosmic forces but unsustainable human population growth.

Today’s global human population stands at nearly 6.9 billion. Every day, the planet sees a net gain of roughly 250,000 people. If the pace continues, we’ll be on course to reach 8 billion by 2020 and 9 billion by 2050.

Species Extinction & Human Population

By any ecological measure, Homo sapiens sapiens has exceeded its sustainable population size. Just a single human waste product — greenhouse gas — has drastically altered the chemistry of the planet’s atmosphere and oceans, causing global warming and ocean acidification.

In the United States, which has the world’s third largest population after China and India, the fertility rate peaked in 2007 at its highest level since 1971 before dropping off slightly due to the recent economic recession. At 2.1 children per woman, the U.S. fertility rate remains the highest among developed nations, which average around 1.6. The current U.S. population exceeds 300 million and is projected to grow 50 percent by 2050.

The mission of the Center for Biological Diversity is to stop the planetary extinction crisis wiping out rare plants and animals around the world. Explosive, unsustainable human population growth is an essential root cause of this crisis.

We can reduce our own population to an ecologically sustainable level in a number of ways, including the empowerment of women, education of all people, universal access to birth control and a societal commitment to ensuring that all species are given a chance to live and thrive. All of these steps will decrease human poverty and overcrowding, raise our standard of living and sustain the lives of plants, animals and ecosystems everywhere.

Get the latest on our work for biodiversity and learn how to help in our free weekly e-newsletter.

Endangered Species Condoms

Overpopulation and Climate Change

Overpopulation and Extinction

Overpopulation and Oceans

Overpopulation and Urban Wildlands

Other Solutions:

- Limit your fecundity to one child per person or less; two or less per couple (one child per couple will help tremendously)

- Eliminate tax and other legislated incentives for more than the first child.

- Encourage gay unions (not necessarily "marriage")

- Don't encourage mass immigration to the United States. (75% to 90% of our population growth is due to immigration and the children of immigrants, depending upon who you believe.)

- Promote aid for birth control in the United States and similar financial aid to other countries.

- Don't buy in to religious anti-abortion dogma or any promotion to have large families.

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