Climate Change: Important Spotlight for Sustainable Population Advocacy

Greenpeace Climate March 2015 Madrid

Climate change is just one of the repercussions of growing the human enterprise well past the sustainable capacity of our planet’s life-supporting ecosystems. One would think policymakers, journalists and the public around the world would be up in arms over mounting fresh water crises, species extinction, fisheries collapse, fertile soil depletion, peak energy and increasing violence. Yes, these all get a little attention, but that attention never focuses on their cause – overshoot.

The destabilization of our climate, finally, seems to have rocketed to the top of our attention list. Also – as reported by World Population Balance Research Associate Alan Ware in this newsletter – its connection to human population is finally getting attention. You may find it interesting that some scientists and sustainability activists don’t think climate change is the worst of the crises we face.

Ten years ago, Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich (co-author of The Population Bomb), told me:

“I’m glad that people are paying attention to climate change, but I’m sad that they don’t see how extremely serious it could be, the extreme steps that would really need to be taken to do anything about it, and the fact that many other environmental problems – like decay of the epidemiological environment, toxification of the planet, land use change, and particularly the destruction of biodiversity – could end up in the long term being much worse.”

What climate change has going for it is that it feels like a ticking time bomb. The scientific community’s focus on metrics, timelines and specific CO2 goals makes it more visible and more urgent. While it still hasn’t achieved an appropriate level of visibility and  urgency, it is by far getting more attention than other symptoms of overshoot. Sustainable population advocates are smart to take
advantage of it.

Although there are hopeful signs human overpopulation is finally being discussed and reported on, there still remains too much caution. The tiptoeing and tap-dancing hasn’t completely subsided. Even on the climate front, we’re still behaving as if this is a 2 alarm fire when it’s actually a 10.

If you’re looking for ways to advance the cause of sustainable population, share the Lund University study and the latest World Scientists’ Warning with everyone you know. Do the same with our Sustainable Population Resolution. You’ll find more about all three of these in the Sustainable Population Resolution story in this newsletter. The Overpopulation Podcast and our email Updates are also important to share.

We cannot rest. We can’t coast. We must continue cranking up the volume on the conversation to raise public awareness of just how critical the climate and overpopulation crises are, and their connection.

Climate change is just one of the repercussions of growing the human enterprise well past the sustainable capacity of our planet’s life-supporting ecosystems. One would think policymakers, journalists and the public around the world would be up in arms over mounting fresh water crises, species extinction, fisheries collapse, fertile soil depletion, peak energy and increasing violence. Yes, these all get a little attention, but that attention never focuses on their cause – overshoot.

The destabilization of our climate, finally, seems to have rocketed to the top of our attention list. Also – as reported by World Population Balance Research Associate Alan Ware in this newsletter – its connection to human population is finally getting attention. You may find it interesting that some scientists and sustainability activists don’t think climate change is the worst of the crises we face.

Ten years ago, Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich (co-author of The Population Bomb), told me:

“I’m glad that people are paying attention to climate change, but I’m sad that they don’t see how extremely serious it could be, the extreme steps that would really need to be taken to do anything about it, and the fact that many other environmental problems – like decay of the epidemiological environment, toxification of the planet, land use change, and particularly the destruction of biodiversity – could end up in the long term being much worse.”

What climate change has going for it is that it feels like a ticking time bomb. The scientific community’s focus on metrics, timelines and specific CO2 goals makes it more visible and more urgent. While it still hasn’t achieved an appropriate level of visibility and  urgency, it is by far getting more attention than other symptoms of overshoot. Sustainable population advocates are smart to take
advantage of it.

Although there are hopeful signs human overpopulation is finally being discussed and reported on, there still remains too much caution. The tiptoeing and tap-dancing hasn’t completely subsided. Even on the climate front, we’re still behaving as if this is a 2 alarm fire when it’s actually a 10.

If you’re looking for ways to advance the cause of sustainable population, share the Lund University study and the latest World Scientists’ Warning with everyone you know. Do the same with our Sustainable Population Resolution. You’ll find more about all three of these in the Sustainable Population Resolution story in this newsletter. The Overpopulation Podcast and our email Updates are also important to share.

We cannot rest. We can’t coast. We must continue cranking up the volume on the conversation to raise public awareness of just how critical the climate and overpopulation crises are, and their connection.

Dave Gardner, Executive Director

Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner co-hosts The Overpopulation Podcast for World Population Balance, in addition to serving as executive director. He worked as a professional filmmaker for over 35 years. During his career he’s directed documentaries and other award-winning projects for a long list of Fortune 500 corporate clients and PBS. He eventually found a successful career serving big business and a life pursuing the "American Dream" were not his Holy Grail. Read more about Dave Gardner, Executive Director