Why Population Isn't the Problem

“There is always an easy solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.” -H. L. Mencken

The writer of this email has given me permission to post it on Climate & Capitalism:

Dear Ian,

A colleague of mine wanted to gain my signature for an open letter he is planning to publish in the Medical Journal of Australia on the nexus between climate change and health.

His call for examining the potential of population control to positively influence climate made me quickly google for help on this to find arguments why this is not the right approach.

And on your site “Climate and Capitalism” I found just what I needed and much more: well written and very informative articles on the topic of population control!

Hence this email as a note of thanks for your (and the authors’) good work.

Best regards,

Dr. Maximilian de Courten
Associate Professor, Clinical Epidemiology
Monash University, Melbourne, Australia

My first thought: This is exactly why Climate and Capitalism exists — to be a resource for people who need to understand the real causes and effects of environmental destruction.

My second thought: Max is right, we have published some excellent articles on the myth that overpopulation is the problem. We should ensure that readers know about them.

So click here for all the articles we’ve published on population … and please pass the word.

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Bill Burgess
6 years 9 months ago

Yes, a useful list of resources, that I have used in my teaching of first year geography courses.

I’m glad you included the last one on the photosynthetic ceiling because I somehow neglected to read it when it first came out.

It prompts me to ask about the ecological footprint. I think it runs into similar issues about quantifying impacts within complex systems, and it can be taken in a Malthusian direction.

But I find it a very effective way of acknowledging our natural context. It nicely shifts attention from population of the poor to consumption by the rich. It is more comprehensive than the carbon footprint.

Any comments about its neo-Malthusian side?

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