Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Comments

Stop the ‘man swarm,’ save the wild world

Let's leave some room for everybody else. Photo: Robin PittmanMore of our kind means fewer wild things. A stabilized human population means hope for wild things. A shrinking human population means a better world for wild things -- and for men and women and children. It's that straightforward. The human population grew more in the last 40 years than in the previous 3 million. The population bomb has blown up -- but the shrapnel hasn't yet hit us hard. What it has hit hard are wild things. The outcomes of humanity's growth yesterday, today, and tomorrow are scalped wildlands, endangered …

Comments

7 billion, unpacked — a comic

The world population is hitting 7 billion. But what does that really mean? In this comic, we unpack some of the numbers and nuances. Click the image below to view the comic, and then click on each page to go to the next one: For those without javascript enabled, here are links to each page: 7 Billion, Unpacked Behind the Numbers The Good News Room for Improvement What Goes Down Can Look Up So What Can You Do? Or you can download and read the comic as a PDF. Written by Lisa Hymas. Illustrated by Thomas Pitilli. Lettering and headers …

Read more: Living, Population, Sex

Comments

video

Who you gonna call? GrowthBusters! [VIDEO]

The new documentary GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth explores why our economy and footprint and population can't keep on expanding forever. It features green luminaries galore -- Jane Goodall, Paul Ehrlich, Lester Brown, Raj Patel, Bill McKibben, Hunter Lovins. And, in the decidedly non-luminary category, I make a brief appearance too, talking about population and my decision to go childfree. Watch the trailer:  If you're in the D.C. area, you can catch the premiere screening on Nov. 2. If not, check out the screening schedule to find out if the film is coming to your town soon. Or buy it yourself …

Comments

What if population grows faster than the experts project?

Cross-posted from Yale Environment 360. In a mere half-century, the number of people on the planet has soared from 3 billion to 7 billion, placing us squarely in the midst of the most rapid expansion of world population in our 50,000-year history -- and placing ever-growing pressure on the Earth and its resources. But that is the past. What of the future? Leading demographers, including those at the United Nations and the U.S. Census Bureau, are projecting that world population will peak at 9.5 billion to 10 billion later this century, and then gradually decline as poorer countries develop. But …

Read more: Living, Population

Comments

Are Americans more worried about population than climate change?

  What's your worry?Elisabeth Rosenthal's big piece on climate change in the Sunday New York Times -- "Where Did Global Warming Go?" -- has been discussed by bloggers and dismantled by Joe Romm. But in that flurry of MSM explication, one interesting tidbit from the story was missed: When the British polling firm Ipsos Mori asked Americans this past summer to list their three most pressing environmental worries, "global warming/climate change" garnered only 27 percent, behind even "overpopulation." Rosenthal's phrasing is telling -- a critical environmental issue is generating even less concern than population!? -- but not surprising. What is surprising …

Comments

Talking to my son about sex and sustainability

Cross-posted from RH Reality Check. "Are we going to talk about sex again?!" screamed my 12-year-old son, Nick, as he ran down the stairs, away from me. That was five years ago, and I had just sat down with him to have one of our father-son talks, this time about sex and sustainability. Now Nick, a senior, is preparing for college at the same time that the global community is preparing for its own important landmark: The United Nations predicts that on Oct. 31, world population will reach 7 billion. The confluence of these two events gives me reason to …

Comments

Remember when Americans used to care about population? [VIDEO]

These days, when even many environmentalists go out of their way to avoid mention of the P word, it's almost hard to believe that population used to be a mainstream, widely discussed issue. Back in the '60s and '70s, security hawks were worried about global birthrates, average Americans were worried about overcrowding, and enviros were worried about famine and wholesale ecological collapse. This segment from PBS's Need to Know highlights some of that history, including Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon each pledging to tackle the threat of population growth, and Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich making some 20 appearances on …

Read more: Living, Population

Comments

An indigenous take on family planning and population

Cross-posted from RH Reality Check. Growing up in the deep, lush jungle of Petén in Guatemala, under an endless green canopy, I learned that human life and the natural world are inseparable. My parents and grandparents taught me that people are just one element of Mother Nature; her protection and care is our responsibility. For generations, my people, the Maya Q'eqchi', have inhabited the Petén, which has always been sacred for its forests, which shelter a diverse array of animals and plants. The wealth of those forests extends well beyond Guatemala's borders: In fact, researchers describe them as the Americas' …

Read more: Living, Population

Comments

We can feed 10 billion of us, study finds — but it won’t be easy

Cross-posted from Cool Green Science. Recent global population growth estimates (10 billion by 2100, anyone?) plus slowing annual increases in agricultural yields have a lot of analysts worried that many of those new people will suffer from chronic hunger -- and that much of the land that hasn't been converted to agriculture will be plowed under to grow crops. But a new study in the journal Nature argues that we can feed the world's growing population without destroying the planet ... if we make major adjustments now in agricultural and consumption practices and patterns. (Hey, if it were easy, we'd …

Read more: Food, Living, Population

Comments

7 billion? It’s time to talk

The subject of population -- like sex, politics, and religion -- elicits such strong opinions that people often go out of their way to avoid talking about it. That's led many to believe that population growth is no longer a valid concern, but if you're worried about people, posterity, or the planet, it's time to talk. On Oct. 31, world population will cross the 7 billion mark. There's nothing particularly significant about that number. It's just a milestone, but it's also an opportunity for reflection and recalibration. A lot has happened since world population crossed the 6 billion mark in …

Read more: Living, Population, Sex