There are many people apparently trying to blame climate change entirely on population growth in China and India and elsewhere, or on migrants from those countries to ‘developed’ countries.
Let us be clear population will certainly be a problem if we expect everyone to pollute and destroy like people in the ‘Western, developed world’ and it will be a problem if it gets big enough no matter what, but it is not the only problem, or the “everything issue” as its promoters often claim. As such focus on population tends to be a distraction from other issues.
In complex systems, Everything is the everything issue.
Focusing on one thing that does not cause ‘us‘ to change, or to think about change, in our daily lives and political systems is a diversion – we live in an ecological system of problems not just one problem. Promoting ‘population as the (only) problem’ causes us to ignore the ways we Australians, or other ‘developed peoples,’ have been acting to bring about ecological and climate disaster for ourselves and others for a long time (at least over 200 years), despite our relatively low populations.
Strangely, people campaigning against population and those migrants who increase local populations rarely campaign against migrants from the UK or America who are moving their pollution footprint here and making our country much less habitable. They campaign against migrants from China, or India, who have comparatively low footprints, and whom we might learn from.
Population is not just a distraction but a defense mechanism, to say that our country is ok, we are good and don’t really have to do anything other than attack other people.
Why not campaign for Australians to stop breeding as well, if our population is the problem?
Likewise, population campaigners rarely mention exports of Australian, or American, or UK, fossil fuels, which will take temperatures up directly throughout the world. Perhaps its just a matter of not blaming us for anything?
Why not campaign against the political structures which make it much harder to launch renewable sites than to launch more highly polluting and poisoning coal or gas mines? Even if our population crashed, those mines would still contribute to the world’s problems. Focusing on population is another way of not blaming us, or not taking responsibility for what our countries contribute, and have contributed, to the growing challenges.
Why not campaign for lower fossil fuel usage in our own country? Unless its about not taking responsibility, and not doing anything ourselves. Its not our fault, we don’t have to do anything.
Why not promote responsibility in Australia for our own pollution? If twenty poorer Indians make less pollution than one Australian, or whatever the current figure is, then we are the problem. But “Don’t blame us”.
Why not point to the forests we are clearing, the land we are poisoning, the top soil we are stripping, the rivers we are making unusuable, the underground water we are fouling? We have been destroying the country and subsidising companies to do this destruction, since Westerners arrived here. This is not the fault of modern immigrants, or of massive population. It has always been the case. It is our system that is the problem.
Why not campaign against the economic system that demands increasing migration, instead of the expense of teaching locals skills and capacities? The economic system also seems to be prepared to chuck older people on the scrap heap, if there is no growing population (rather than corporate profits) to tax, or cheap labour? Why ignore the economic system that depends on fossil fuel sales, and fossil fuel use? Perhaps its not just about not blaming ‘us’, but not challenging the economic powers of the country and giving them an excuse.
The way population is used in supposed climate campaigns, seems to be just a comforting way of blaming other people, rather than getting on with what we should be doing and cutting back on the way we already over-stress our environment. It is not just a defense mechanism, or a distraction, but a deadly distraction that allows destruction to continue.
Some one responded that there is no way 11 billion people is not a problem, and that academics are deceptive…
However, no one is saying that endless population increase is not a problem or we should ignore it. It is a problem, but it seems to be being used by some people as a complete distraction from doing anything else.
And what is it that we can do about population increase anyway?
Should we be murdering people en mass? Encouraging pandemics to wipe them out? Have a nuclear war? We know having educated female populations is good for population control. And according to Wiki pedia:
Population growth has declined mainly due to the abrupt decline in the global total fertility rate, from 5.3 in 1963 to 2.3 in 2021. The decline in the total fertility rate has occurred in every region of the worldhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_decline
Scientific American states:
China’s population has fallen after decades of sky-high growth… the United Nations predicts dozens of countries will have shrinking populations by 2050… But if you listen to economists (and Elon Musk), you might believe falling birthrates mean the sky is falling as fewer babies means fewer workers and consumers driving economic growth.https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/population-decline-will-change-the-world-for-the-better/
If we are interested in climate change as a symptom of population alone, then we should try and wipe out the most heavily polluting populations, like those in the USA and Australia? If not why not?
[The answer seems relatively clear…. we don’t complain about, or wipe out, Australia and the USA, because that affects us…]
Being responsible adults, shouldn’t we be changing the way we and our societies, behave, rather than demand that other people change?
Why not try and stop new fossil fuel fields coming online in Australia, to destabilise the world? Why not try and lower our own social footprints? Why not help other countries install renewables as well as get on with it here? Why not try fixing the economy so the bosses do not demand population increase?
There are many things we can do about climate. Focusing on population does not help us do them.