Overpopulation Quotations 3_11

  • These Quotations are presented here in the spirit of discussion and dialogue. 
  • They do not necessarily represent the views of Overpopulation Insights
  • A selection of links is available for further information and study


Empowering Women

When it is her only opportunity in life, a woman will become a Mother many times over. But with access to opportunities to run companies, influence society, advance politically women tend to have fewer children — by choice. This observation does not require a fancy degree or long, expensive ‘study’. We only have to look at developed countries to see this playing out very clearly. A Mother’s access (not only a woman’s access) to financial independence and political empowerment will do far more to curb population growth than a million other ‘solutions’ dreamed up by those who are not connected to the realities of creating new human beings.



Education and Women

Education is one the primary ways to escape poverty and improve the quality of life. According to a recent article in TIME Magazine, one additional year of secondary education can increase salaries for girls by 15-25%. In general, educating girls has a profound effect on reducing overpopulation and child marriage. Girls educated for seven or more years, on average, marry four years later and have 2.2 fewer children as per data from the Girl Effect.

Jolkona Foundation


Paul Ehrlich and Technology

The Scientist: It’s hard to dispute that resources will become scarcer if the human population continues to grow. But there’s a pervasive optimism that ingenuity and technology will result in more efficient ways to use, recycle, or find replacements for these resources.

Paul Ehrlich: They’ve been saying that ever since I’ve been in this game, which is now 60 years, roughly. In 1968 they were saying we could easily support five billion people. Well, we’ve got seven billion now, and we’re not supporting them. What I’ve always said in response to “technology will take care of it” is: why don’t we see technology take care of the people we have today, before we talk about how easy it will be to take care of more people?

No person who can count up to 20 without taking off their shoes doubts the basic premise that a population can outgrow its resources. If you continue growth at today’s rate, there will be more people than elementary particles in a few thousand years. There’s no question at all that there are limits to growth. The issue is: what are they? The Hall and Day paper basically revisits some of the earlier data and suggests, as does everything in the world that is happening today, that not only are we reaching the limits, but we’re already past the long-term carrying capacity of the planet.

The Sceintist.com


Why Civilizations Collapse

Zen masters are known for being practical, honest and direct. That Murphy fits that profile was obvious in his responses when I asked for comments on the 12 key elements in “ The coming Population Wars: 12-bomb equation ,” my column on evolutionary anthropologist Jared Diamond’s 2005 Pulitzer prize winner, “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed.” In it Diamond paints a dark scenario:

“One of the disturbing facts of history is that so many civilizations collapse,” warns Diamond. So many “civilizations share a sharp curve of decline. Indeed, a society’s demise may begin only a decade or two after it reaches its peak population, wealth and power.” Diamond’s 12-part equation reflected the Pentagon’s 2020 global warfare scenario: “More people require more food, space, water, energy, and other resources,” resulting in “warfare defining human life on the planet,” the end of economic growth and capitalism, even civilization.

Murphy is one of those obsessed souls, like McKibben, who refuses to accept Diamond’s seemingly inevitable scenario. Instead, Murphy keeps fighting to change the course of history, in his work as a biotech expert and as a high-tech farmer. We expected something special from Murphy and we’re not disappointed. Here are his blunt remarks, beginning with this powerful admission that could have been made by Diamond: “We are long past the point that technology or biotech can prevent a significant die-off.”

Paul B. Farrell, Market Watch.com


Fear and Overpopulation

Global Population Speak Out has become necessary because for too long there has been a taboo on discussing overpopulation. And when someone does bring it up, knee-jerk reactions frequently kick in to squelch intelligent discourse on the subject. During the month of February most of the world should get a chance to learn what’s true and what’s false. And we’ll have the opportunity to get over our fear of discussing this critical subject. Let’s toss the excess baggage out the window and have some honest, open, intelligent discussion of the problems and the solutions.

Dave Gardner, Filmmaker


New Novel

The massive growth of humanity’s population is straining the Earth’s resources and climate, and one scientist is working to counter it with a ruthless plan while another examines whether urbanized people can adapt to the wild.That’s the scenario in The Next – An Omen, an apocalyptic novel written and self-published in December by R.T. Douse of Palo Cedro. He even shot the cover photo, the moon setting behind Lassen Peak, from his back porch.

His book details the work of the two scientists, Allan Plover and Samuel Morrison, and Kelly Mason, a young woman with a unique sixth-sense.

Both scientists have noticed and fear the coming problem of overpopulation — too many people straining the Earth’s resources.

The Record Searchlight: Redding.com


Sustainable Growth: An Oxymoron

You say that sustainable growth, when applied to material things, is an oxymoron. Can you explain that again?

Here’s the problem: when we talk about ‘sustainable,’ we mean ‘for an unspecified long period of time.’ Next, we must acknowledge the mathematical fact that steady growth (a fixed percent per year) yields very large numbers in modest periods of time. For example, a population of 10.000 people growing at 7% per year, will become a population of 10.000.000 people in just 100 years. From these two statements we can see that the term ‘sustainable growth’ implies ‘increasing endlessly.’ However, the finite size of resources, ecosystems, environment, and the Earth, makes it impossible for a material quantity to grow endlessly.

Professor Albert Bartlett: Be Fruitful and Don’t Multiply


Three Strands

Think of the global predicament as a rope made from three colossal strands. Because overpopulation, overproduction and overconsumption activities by the human species are occurring synergistically and on such a gigantic and soon to become patently unsustainable scale, taking hold of one of the strands will not change the course of events. All three strands will have to be simultaneously grasped carefully, skillfully and humanely somehow. What appears before us is a super ordinate challenge, unlike anything seen in the course of human history, I suppose.



Bogus Democracy?

The entity called state cares very little for the opinions of the common person – it only pretends to care for the sake of preserving social order. One doesn’t have to look far beyond the bogus “democracy” that the Western world favors: whilst the parties of the political class claim to be different in their platforms that they tout during the elections, the policies they make differ very little in practice. One need only look at the results of the “hope” and “change” campaign launched by the presiding head of Executive branch of the U.S. government for a painful reminder of this fact.



A Community Without Men

Herland is a philosophical novel which questions the basic “rules” of behavior and a woman’s place in society. Gilman imagines what a community might look like without male influence and paints a picture of a society where there is no war, no negative impact on the environment, no overpopulation, no judgment of a punishing God, no hatred, no sadness, no jealousy, no poverty, no wants or needs left unfulfilled. In Gilman’s society all is good, all are educated, and even sex is seen as unneeded. Herland is a sanitized society which is only threatened when men arrive on its soil. Within the pages of her utopian novel, it is easy to see Gilman’s belief that women had a large role to play in the the betterment of society, and that only when women take it upon themselves to be independent can society be improved.



Remember: A Billion people = 1000 Million people



1 Comment

One Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Heather
    Apr 18, 2011 @ 13:29:45

    Hi David,

    Great to see you back up and running. Thanks for quoting me as well! You pull together many great insights here.

    I would like to add another point on the consumption problem. Consumption is the economic driver of capitalism — and well, basically the way most of the money is set to move. It’s about incentives and what we see everyday is a flawed and imperfect economic model. It certainly has it’s good points but here is the root problem.

    We have tremendous wealth generated by an limitless (literally) human capital yet, crippling proverty — the worst off are the women bearing children, i.e. those providing the future human capital. If we examine this closer, we can see that our economic system is fundamentally backwards! This perpetuates the wars, famine, greed.

    Building an economy around human capital as the central commodity would be a much better design. Gold only has value if people are mining it. Yet, the miners are deemed to have less economic value than gold. That is outrageous! Gold has no energy or use unless human put it to use. Same goes with oil.

    This is an important part of tackling poverty and reproduction issues — and I suppose falls within the education parameters. It’s much easier to change an economic system than try to stop human’s sexual activities. But leave it to the human ego to try deny it’s wrongs all the while trying supercede what nature has created and will continue to create long after we are dust.

    In response to caribousmom’s quote, I do understand measuring the difference to society when removing males from the equation makes an interesting case for peace. For many reasons, I can agree with that discussion. But it ignores a mother’s ability to influence her son and her husband. Our independence these days allows us an important opportunity to create influence. Women need to own the responsibility is especially where we can be most influential and protected as in places like the U.S. — as we raise our sons, we create our men. We can make good men.

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