This is the latest in a series of Saturday GINK videos about population and reproduction (or a lack thereof).

British environmental journalist Fred Pearce pissed off many Grist readers with a recent opinion piece arguing that we don’t need to worry about population growth.  I was surprised by the tone of the piece — pugnacious, polemical, overly simplistic — and by Pearce’s swipes at straw men (is there actually a single environmentalist anywhere who “blame[s] the world’s overbreeding poor people for the planet’s peril”?). (I was even more surprised by an earlier version of the piece that vitriolically scapegoated actor Jeremy Irons, of all people, because he dared to express concern about population in the slightly hapless way of celebs who wade into complicated social issues.)

I was surprised because Pearce’s book on this topic — The Coming Population Crash: And Our Planet’s Surprising Future — is so different.  It’s a smart, well-researched, measured, humane, and avidly pro-feminist look at the flawed population movement of the past and the transformative population trends of the present.  I learned a lot from the book, and I agreed with almost everything in it, and yet I didn’t emerge any less concerned about population problems.  The book isn’t a tirade; it’s a nuanced look at an extraordinarily complex topic.  

In his appearance on The Daily Show earlier this year, Pearce was more the gracious author and less the angry polemicist:  

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The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Fred Pearce
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For more from Pearce, listen to this audio interview with him and Robert Walker, executive vice president of the Population Institute. 

Have a video on population or GINK thinking to recommend? Post a link in comments below.


Read more about population and the option of going childfree:

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