Tuesday, February 9, 2010


1. Overpopulation is more than a third-world phenomena in scope. Even industrial societies with relatively stable and falling population levels are overpopulated.

2. We are not obliged for any compelling reason to replace current population levels anywhere. On the contrary, our obligation is to effort the most rapid population decrease as politically possible in the least inhumane of effective ways.

3. Population growth is a major ingredient of environmental degradation.

4. Immigration is a major ingredient of population growth in many jurisdictions, most especially Canada, the United States, the UK and Australia, and therefore deserves our focus.

5. Restricting immigration not only constrains domestic population growth, it constrains population growth in those countries in chronic overshoot who use emigration as a safety value to relieve ecological pressure and avoid coming to terms with it. Porous borders in affluent nations often stimulate fertility rates in countries of emigration.

6. Restricting immigration and suppressing domestic fertility allows respite for biodiversity.

7. The loss of biodiversity services and natural habitat is a more imminent and serious threat to humanity than climate change.

8. Biodiversity loss and C02 emissions are to a large measure, the product of human population growth. Whether CO2 emissions are an agency of climate change or not, they are ultimately a function of population and economic growth. Therefore addressing population growth is the most efficient approach to solving or mitigating biodiversity losses and containing C02 emissions whether they are of valid concern or not.

9. Reducing population levels is in itself, not the answer to all problems but it makes all problems easier to deal with. Population growth may or may not be THE root cause of all problems, but it is certainly A root cause of all problems.

10. We do not have an energy shortage, or a food shortage, or a water shortage, or a housing shortage, or a job shortage. We have a people longage. Peak oil is not a problem, it is a solution, as are lack of food availability, or a limited supply of water. Growth is the problem. Not the lack of resources that fuel growth. We need limiting factors, not a more efficient method to extract limited resources or make more efficient use of them. The greatest calamity that could ever be inflicted on human and non-human species alike would be the discovery of an abundant, cheap and perpetual energy source, or unlimited availability of cheap food and universal and uninhibited access to bountiful water supplies. Until we put the horse before the cart, that is, reducing and stabilizing the population within the framework of a zero growth economy, relieving the bottlenecks that resource shortages place in front of us offers temporary relief at best. Humanity always grows to meet supply. It is Says Law---Supply creates demand. There is no technological fix to growth and the problems that result from it. Efficient and renewable technologies only provoke more total consumption of the input that is thought to be in short supply, just as freeing up land for more production promotes as well as accommodates human expansion in numbers and appetites. A commitment to the scientific method does not imply a faith in technology---only belief in a rigorous and rational method of discovering truth.

Tim Murray
February 9, 2010

1 comment:

Brian Sanderson said...

Re: "Peak oil is not a problem, it is a solution, as are lack of food availability, or a limited supply of water."

Actually this is the default solution (deprivation) which we see all around the world today, but not here, yet. Strangely, some green-types regard deprivation as a badge of honor. Better solutions are possible... Given available resources and technologies, there will be a human population that optimizes human well-being. This would be worth estimating...

Would people be more motivated by the prospect of having a better life than predictions of doom and gloom?

I think Paul Colinvaux (The Fates of Nations) provides a most compelling demonstration that "All poverty is caused by continued population growth".