The current issue of The Ecologist includes an article around a forthcoming Royal Society report on population issues People and the Planet, which will be issued this coming April. As the Ecologist article makes clear, the battle lines are already being drawn over what is sure to be a heated and acrimonious debate, no matter what conclusions the Royal Society arrives at.
An early entrant into the lists is the British journalist and ubiquitous commentator on environmental matters, Fred Pearce, who is frequently wheeled out on these occasions to offer a refutation of the ‘overpopulation myth’. Mr. Pearce is quoted as saying:
In the past, Mr. Pierce has referred to migration controls as the ‘New Apartheid’ and, according to a 2010 interview, believes that
I have often suggested that a heightened focus on environmental concerns, and overpopulation specifically - as an alternative to some of our other preoccupations (the JQ, say) - offers the possibility of attractive political gains for radical nationalists who are able to exploit them fully. The question is, can we do so without drawing down upon ourselves the charge of eco-fascism? If so, how? The plain fact of the matter is that the earth is certainly incapable of sustaining several billion people in the longer term at anything even close to current western levels of material consumption, even allowing for the Deus ex machina sort of just-in-time technological solutions that cornucopians insist are just around the corner.
We seem to be facing, in reality, a stark choice between a dramatic Malthusian-style culling and (much-reduced) fair shares all round. How should we play this one?
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