The usual target of the ‘overpopulation bombers’ isn’t developed nations, but Africa and other poor countries, because to these elitists, the poor are the problem. Don’t take my word for it, here’s patron of the Optimum Population Trust, Dr Norman Myers:
Because of their [Madagascans] poverty, as well as their large, quickly increasing human numbers, they do not have the capacity to practice what we call intensive agriculture. So what do they do? They pick up their machetes and matchboxes and head into the only unoccupied land available–the tropical forest. That is why the forests are being burned down. Too many people with too little income. Too much poverty. The two are inextricably linked.
Altogether on Earth, the number of people trying to live off an income of less than $1 a day is, believe it or not, 1.2 billion. That is about 1 person in 4. This number and the proportion is growing. The poor are causing incredible environmental damage. They are burning down the forests, they are desertifying the savannahs and they are cultivating steep slopes which causes enormous soil erosion. They are doing the most environmental damage in the tropics. And it is in the tropics where most species exist.
Dr. Myers suggests that trees and ‘species’ trump the needs of poor people. Some have a problem with the ethics of that opinion.
What is sick about optimum populationists isn’t that they see a problem like hunger or poverty but instead of constructively looking for ways to alleviate the problem, their solution is just fewer people. Especially poor ones. Jeremy Irons is even threatening to make a film about over population.
But now we might be saved from such small-minded thinking, as the global population seems to be taking care of itself:
the population bomb that I remembering being scared by forty years ago as a schoolkid is being defused fast. Back then, most women round the world had five or six children. Today’s women have just half as many as their mothers – an average of 2.6. Not just in the rich world, but almost everywhere. This is getting close to the long-term replacement level which, allowing for girls who don’t make it to adulthood, is around 2.3. Women are doing cutting their family sizes not because governments tell them to, but for their own good, the good of their families — and, if it helps the planet too, then so much the better.
This is a stunning change in just one generation. Why don’t we hear more about it? Because it doesn’t fit the doomsday agenda.