Overpopulation is the dark multiplier of humanity’s final impacts on the ecosystems of Earth. If we reverse it, then our new human ecology will have a chance of succeeding.
A lower population frees up more resources for fewer people and more resources for other species. Reducing our human population through natural attrition clears the way for our Seven Results’ goals of “social and economic justice” and “equitable access to resources”. Fewer people means more room for other species now desperate to find food, water and space in “healthy, recovering ecosystems”—another one of the Seven Results . Without immediately reducing our human numbers, none of that will be possible.
There were about one billion people on Earth for the first time around 1830 – 1850. In 2012, we were 7 billion. In 2018, with 7.624 billion humans before mid-year, we still confuse the joy of having children with the state of the Earth, and remain unwilling to connect the two to reality.
You can see the real time population growth here.
The UN, 2017: “The current world population … is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100…. With roughly 83 million people being added to the world’s population every year, the upward trend in population size is expected to continue, even assuming that fertility levels will continue to decline.”
UN projections are based on assumptions about human behavior in the future. Here is some insight into the complex patterns of population growth and even decline in some areas.
Us and Them, or Us and Not Them?
Other species have rights to exist and flourish in meaningful numbers as much as we do. Reducing our population can make that possible. This is part of defining what enough is. Enough people, enough personal consumption, enough petrochemical-fueled travel, enough individual wealth, and enough of everything we do that affects humanity, every species’ and the viability of Earth.
Depending on culturally relevant middle-class living standards, enough may vary a lot, or not so much. Whatever our population becomes, Green Vegans around the world recognize the consequences. Bound to our decisions about having or not having children, is the inevitable causing or not causing suffering and loss to individuals from other species, species, other people, and ecosystems.
How acceptable is it to us that multitudes of other species will be reduced to biological insignificance and extinction? How many individuals will die, and in what manner? Starvation? Thirst? Depression? How many more intricately social elephants will suffer the trauma of seeing their family herd gunned down because there are too many desperate people, poor people, encroaching upon their habitat? How many wolves will have their social relationships ripped from the essence of who they are as their family packs are gunned down to protect animal agriculture grazing on public land? How many individuals from other species will be homeless when we cut down their forests for lumber and palm oil plantations?
For us and other species, quality of life counts. Apes have it. Amazon otters have it. Snow leopards have it. Pikas and Ganges River dolphins have it. The now extinct Great Auks, Passenger Pigeons, and Steller Sea Cows had it.
Our new human ecology means we are becoming a different kind of human being. We are fulfilling our capacities to be just, compassionate, and—realistic. We honor life when we keep our own populations relatively low, our quality of life high, and other species far more abundant than now.
If common sense has us agreeing that endless growth of human populations is wrong, then we must look to our own lives to stop it. Have one child, if any, but no more. This will likely be the most important decision you will make about social and economic justice for others, the survival versus destruction of ecosystems and climate change. Our possibilities for creating good are limitless.
HERE IS A GREAT RESOURCE we recommend to further reading and action.