Below is my translation of the first paragraph of Nic Ulmi’s review article, Une planète trop peuplée: anatomie d’un mythe, in the June 9 edition of Le Temps, the most widely-read French language daily newspaper in Switzerland.
Are there too many of us? Are we multiplying too quickly? Are our growing numbers the main cause of the ecological crisis that is looming over us? No, no, and no, it seems. Overpopulation (the “P Bomb” to use the scary expression introduced in the 1968 book by Paul Ehrlich, who popularized this idea) is a myth. It’s a harmful belief, because it diverts attention from real problems and real solutions. It’s a cruel belief because it scapegoats people who have children, whose numbers increase and who migrate — and who actually contribute very little to climate change. This is the argument that the Canadian ‘eco-socialist’ Ian Angus and his Australian colleague Simon Butler present brilliantly in Une Planète trop peuplée? (Editions Ecosociété), a radical deconstruction of the ‘populationist myth.’ So who is responsible? Is every one of us in the North a big polluter? Again no: this too is false.
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