Sunday, July 29, 2007

Overpopulation and the environment - A thorny issue

I am so baked that even within my own specialty (environmental issues) I needed to go and ask for ideas. So I went over to Wikipedia and typed “list of environmental issues”. And voilá! There is a list. In the list, one of the topics that is touched upon is increasing population.

If we assume that the number of people that the Earth can sustain is a limited number, when population grows at high rates, increasingly our resource based becomes more taxed and stressed. Therefore, it sounds like a good idea to try and curb overpopulation. However, just like any other environmental issue, the linkages between population and environment are still hotly debated and contested.

I won’t enter into this debate, I just thought it was important to mention that we ought to think about population control when we try to reduce the pressures on ecosystems.

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1 comment:

Jark the Saint said...

The only problem with "population control" arguments, historically, is that they have always been used to oppress and minimize and experiment on communities which have been less fortunate than 'our own' -- this turned out to be another discourse of eugenics and politics than a legitimate environmental issue. For instance, one "average" person in Vancouver has the environmental footprint of hundreds-if-not-thousands of people living in Indian or African Ghettoes; or another example would be to look at those working in any of the world's sweatshops and asking yourself, do any of these people have access to "adequate living" to even effect (at all) an environmental footprint. The answers are very revealing.