- In 2011, we must make choices and we MUST make them soon!
More and more Americans and humans around the world understand the 'human
predicament' as to overpopulation.
- No matter how we support environmental causes, saving
the children, saving the animals or any 'cause' you may follow with passion,
Dr. Paul Ehrlich said, "All causes are lost causes without limiting
- In this continuing series, Marilyn Hempel, director of
- www.populationpress.org brings these realities home in
her latest edition of Population Press.
- What are we facing Ms. Hempel?
- Paul and Anne Ehrlich put it so clearly, "The problem
is simple: too many people consuming too much stuff."
- "But when we delve into human behavior, it's complicated,"
Hempel said. "Is human behavior biologically or socially driven?
Unfortunately, "either/or" questions are almost always misleading.
- "Understanding problems and crafting good solutions
are seldom simple. There is no single cause of destructive behavior, nor
is there one solution that will make us all behave sustainably. But during
periods of crisis or political unrest, many people act like either/or thinking
is necessary. As the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed, "The
essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity."
- "The debate among environmental and sustainability
advocates still rages. Which is more important-overpopulation or overconsumption?
It has divided friends, colleagues and organizations. The rhetoric recently
reached new heights (or lows) when environmental author Fred Pearce wrote
on World Population Day, "Some greens think all efforts to save the
world are doomed unless we 'do something' about population growth. This
is nonsense. It stinks!" He goes on to state that because more women
are feeling empowered these days, population growth will take care of itself;
overconsumption is the only "proper target for environmentalists."
- "Uncivil hyper-inflated rhetoric appears to be the
latest fad in public conversation these days. Fred, and all of us, are
entitled to our own opinions-we are not entitled to our own facts. In
this Population Press, we present both. But the facts are paramount.
- Fact 1: Yes, human population growth is slowing, but
the world still adds 77 to 80 million more people each year. [On our way
to adding 2 to 3 billion by mid century] The growth has not stopped and
the slowing has stalled, as shown by the United Nations and Population
Reference Bureau 2010 data, chars and reports. (contained in this report
- Fact 2: Women have become empowered and fertility rates
have dropped due in significant part to the extraordinary work of UNFPA
staff and all the dedicated health services people who are in the field
trying to improve the lives of women and girls. Many of them have risked
their lives to help others.
- Fact 3: Yes, overconsumption is a major problem, especially
in wealthy countries. Many in the 'voluntary simplicity' and sustainability
movements have spent years trying to elucidate the model an alternative
sustainable lifestyle. We need to keep doing that.
- "The 'population or consumption' debate is worse
than silly. It pits us against us friends. There are way too few of us
working on sustainability as it is. To lose our solidity is suicidal.
We don't have the time or energy to spend fighting amongst ourselves.
Earth is in trouble! Civilization is in trouble. As a global community,
we need to stop population growth and stop overconsumption. We need to
stop using fossil fuels before we further disrupt the global climate that
keeps us alive.
- "We need to continue to help women and girls reach
their full potential (family planning services are a crucial part of that).
We need to conserve precious natural resources. We need to eliminate
poverty. We need to restore wild places and make space for other species.
We need to work together."
- "The raging monster upon the land is population
growth. In its presence, sustainability is but a fragile theoretical construct.
To say, as many do, that the difficulties of nations are not due to people,
but to poor ideology and land-use management is sophistic." Harvard
scholar and biologist E.O. Wilson
- Contact Marilyn Hempel at
- www.populationpress.org or