25. Climate Memo Mondays, 5-31-21
Karen Shragg, Essay and Book on Overpopulation and Essay on Growth
The following essay by Karen Shragg was published in 2020 and republished, slightly expanded, in Free Inquiry (June-July 2021), 14-15 (not yet available to copy 5-30.) She has a book on the subject: Move Upstream: A Call to Solve Overpopulation and Change Our Stories. Dick 5-30-21
Morality which includes an equal treatment under just laws, equal job opportunity, equal access to healthy food, etc, are all threatened by the far-reaching tentacles of overpopulation. Simply put, when demand exceeds supply there is an immoral scramble for getting one’s fair share. . . .
What I am saying is that overpopulation itself is a roadblock to any kind of moral progress. Extending the moral arc of humanity, no matter how secular and scientific we become, is impossible in a world of nearly 8 billion growing by 80+ million a year. . . .
The scientists at the Global Footprint Network (www.globalfootprintnetwork.org) have already done the homework for us, and it doesn’t look good for the moral arc. I am making the argument that the moral arc will continue go down, and even crash as the population of our country and the world goes up.
If you accept my premise that scarcity, brought on by too much demand on a limited planet, is a petri dish for disorder and immorality, then opposing growth is our collective moral duty. My colleagues and I come from a place of wanting to prevent chaos and helping the biosphere. We have taken on the ever more treacherous mantle of screaming about overpopulation because we see the big picture. I have asked people why they work on this issue and they all say basically the same thing, they want to save the biosphere that supports us and the wildlife and open spaces they love.
As 8 Billion Angels filmmaker and overpopulation activist Terry Spahr says,
“Global warming, food and water shortages, catastrophic storms, extinction of species, plant and animal habitat loss…. The list of environmental, social and economic catastrophes affecting our planet with greater frequency and severity goes on and on. If there was a simple root cause and a fundamental solution, wouldn’t you want to know?” The answer he goes on to say, is unsustainable human population. . . .
Unless we start working on this critically important issue as a moral imperative, then morality itself will be rendered irrelevant, for it will be flattened by the thundering feet of billions of desperate people.
SHRAGG’S BOOK ON OVERPOPULATION.
MOVE UPSTREAM: A CALL TO SOLVE OVERPOPULATION
Our world is overpopulated. This fact lies outside of the typical activist's perspective and doesn't fit into society's dominant anthropocentric worldview. When it comes to our use of natural resources, we are taught to consider issues related to consumption such as energy efficiency and recycling. However, the number of people - and how fast that number is growing - is a more important factor. More people consume more resources, need more services, produce more waste, and create more world conflict as resources diminish.
Working on downstream issues, such as saving the environment, feeding the hungry, and ending homelessness, is noble but ineffective and inefficient without also working to solve the primary cause of these and other important issues. In Move Upstream: A Call to Solve Overpopulation, Karen Shragg challenges social and environmental activists to stop working downstream and take the problem of overpopulation seriously. She also provides compassionate ideas to solve the problem.
READ ABOUT NEGATIVE POPULATION GROWTH https://npg.org/users/shragg.html