The New Scientist has put on its ‘Ethics cap’ with a series of articles on population, completely missing the main dangers and best answers to helping resolve the most unreported but crucial subject of our time. The series is titled ‘The population delusion‘, immediately implying that worrying about population is deluded, when the opposite is the case. The New Scientist would do well to revisit this subject after consulting charities such as Population Matters to regain the credibility it has lost by publishing these articles.
Article 1. ‘Should we impose population controls?‘. The title implies that the way to tackle population is by ‘control’, immediately putting the subject into an unnecessarily bad light. The answer to this question, is obviously ‘No, we shouldn’t’. Anyone with any understanding of population knows the answer is to advocate the free supply of contraception throughout the world, together with education and equal rights for women, which leads to reduced birth rates through benign methods. There is no need to imply coercion by using the words ‘impose’ and ‘control’, which are a slander on the causes of many charities.
Article 2. “Enough of Us Now“, Paul and Anne Ehrlich. Everything is true in this article and everyone should read it.
Article 3. “Technology will Save Us“ Jesse Ausubel talks to Alison George. Jesse Ausubel is a techno-optimist who believes that technology has saved us before and will do so again. This is wrong on so many fronts it is hard to know where to start. The most basic fact is that we are on a planet with finite resources which are being used up. The fixes of the past, such as the Green Revolution merely kicked the can further down the road for the next generation to sort out. Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution said this: “There can be no permanent progress in the battle against hunger until the agencies that fight for increased food production and those that fight for population stability unite in a common effort,”
Article 4. “Population: Overconsumption is the real problem“, Fred Pearce’s article is from 2009, world population 6.8 billion. It is now 7.6 billion – 800 million more people, an entire new Europe, instantly showing it is not just overconsumption. Pearce says population growth is declining, which is true – but that doesn’t that mean we forget about it, as the 800 million so obviously shows. Pearce is right that consumption is a problem and the the first world is mainly to blame. But the greatest per capita consumption comes from the US, which also has a rising population. Pearce insists we should only try to reduce consumption. Consumption is increasing and is being addressed, but we should be doing far, far more to slow population too. The impact on wildlife and the environment is huge. Smaller, sustainable families are far happier than large unsustainable ones.
Article 5. “Europe’s problems will grow as it shrinks“, Reiner Klingholz. Another poorly titled article, suggesting there will be problems as the European population shrinks. Reading the article, however, the coming problems are miniscule and trivial, compared to the colossal damage caused by our current, and growing, population. The main problem stated by Reiner Klingholz is that Europe’s ‘competitiveness’ could fall behind younger and growing populations in other world regions. So what!? Why is the false god of economics brought into the equation, yet the environment in which we live is ignored. A very superficial article, for example saying Germany’s population will decrease by 8 million by 2050 and remote rural areas may become depopulated. Hardly a crisis. Why is this a problem when the environment will recover? With Africa’s population increasing by 1,300 million in the same period, that will be a crisis. If German immigration took slightly less than 1% of the African population growth, the 8 million drop in German population would be cancelled out and the precious German villages will have some humans, leaving an African increase of 1,292 million people instead of 1,300 million.