World Population Awareness

Videos, Media

Paving the Way: Ethiopia's Youth on the Road to Sustainability

August 7, 2015, NewSecurityBeat

Paving the Way: Ethiopia's Youth on the Road to Sustainability transports viewers to an innovative development project in Ethiopia's Gurage Zone where youth and their parents are working together to build a more sustainable future by connecting the dots between conservation, access to health care, and sustainable livelihoods. It is the final installment in the Wilson Center's "Healthy People, Healthy Environment" trilogy, which explores integrated population, health, and environment (PHE) projects around the world. doclink

Conversation Earth Radio Series Launch

August 25, 2015, Growth Busters

Welcome to Conversation Earth, a new radio series and podcast that will explore some of the most critical issues of our time. Radio stations and podcast listeners find more information and subscribe at

We plan to publish a new radio episode every Tuesday at, with podcast to follow on Thursday. Each conversation will offer just under a half-hour of philosophy, ethics, science, psychology and/or economics - examining, at a macro level, our relationship with the planet we call home. doclink

Paving the Way: Ethiopia's Youth on the Road to Sustainability

July 2015, NewSecurityBeat

Tesema Merga was part of a vanguard of young Ethiopians who brought the first roads to the Gurage in the 1960s. He and others went on to form the Gurage People's Self-help Development Organization (GPSDO).

Today, Tesema and GPSDO are working with the next generation of local leaders to establish PHE clubs at local schools and encourage girls education and empowerment. doclink

World Population

July 2015, Population History

Clink on the link to see Population Education's interactive map and video (an expansion of Population Connection's 'Dot' video). The 'dot' video is still impressive after all these years. doclink

A Warrior's Cry Against Child Marriage

May 1, 2015, TED Talks

Memory Banda's life took a divergent path from her sister's. When her sister reached puberty, she was sent to a traditional "initiation camp" that teaches girls "how to sexually please a man." She got pregnant there - at age 11. Banda, however, refused to go. Instead, she organized others and asked her community's leader to issue a bylaw that no girl should be forced to marry before turning 18. She pushed on to the national level ... with incredible results for girls across Malawi. doclink

A Woman in Guediawaye: Family Planning for Health and Development in Senegal

April 29, 2015

The CSIS Global Health Policy Center produced a new video, A Woman in Guédiawaye: Family Planning for Health and Development in Senegal. The video follows a young woman, Anta Ba, from Guédiawaye, a poor urban area of Dakar, who explains why she decided to access family planning, despite her husband's opposition, and why these services matter for her own life and for women's health and empowerment in Senegal. Through her story, and through the voices of other champions of family planning in Senegal-government and NGO health workers, an imam, and the Minister of Health-the video illustrates new approaches to expanding access to family planning as well as the challenges ahead. doclink

Global Population and Environment 101

January 7, 2015, Sierra Club Global Population and Environment Program

See doclink

Young People Deserve to Have This Choice. Birth Control Makes it Possible.

October 9, 2014, Population Action International

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently released new recommendations encouraging the use of long-acting contraceptives such as implants and intrauterine devices (IUDS) among teens. Unlike pills and condoms-the most-popular methods among young people-long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) don't require the user to DO anything to prevent pregnancy once the device is inserted, leaving less chance of a memory lapse or mishap resulting in an unintended pregnancy.

Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, wrote a book entitled Generation Unbound: Drifting into Sex and Parenthood without Marriage which explains that often, young people unexpectedly become parents because they are either not using contraception or using it ineffectively. 70% of pregnancies to unmarried women under 30 are unintended. doclink

Improving Nutrition and Food Security Through Family Planning

June 2015

The goal of "Improving Nutrition and Food Security Through Family Planning" is to raise awareness and understanding among decision makers about how family planning can help improve key measures of nutrition for mothers, infants, and children, as well as improve food security on a broader scale. Ultimately, the aim is to start a critical policy dialogue to encourage integration of family planning into nutrition and food security policies, strategies, action plans, and programs throughout the world, particularly in Asia and Africa. As such, this presentation can be used as a tool to not only raise awareness, but also to mobilize political commitment and resources.

Developed under the USAID-funded Informing DEcisionmakers to Act (IDEA) project, this presentation is part of a series of ENGAGE presentations that examine the relationship between family planning and the Millennium Development Goals in developing country contexts. doclink

World Population Video

March 20, 2015, Population Education

Watch human population grow from 1 CE to present and see projected growth in under six minutes. This "dot" video is one of our most popular teaching tools. Recommended for grades six and up. An interactive companion site to the video will launch in July 2015. doclink

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By 2050, 70% of the World's Population Will Be Urban. Is That a Good Thing?

   2012, UNICEF - United Nations Children's Fund

Infographic. UNICEF , with the help of design studio Periscopic, released "An Urban World" to answer this question. It's an interactive, HTML5 visualization of the world from the years 1950-2050. But rather than showing our geographic boundaries, every country is depicted only by their population living in urban environments.

"Now, whether this ends up being a good or bad thing--whether we're talking about urban slums or smartly scaled communities, loosely populated expanses of efficient agriculture, or underdeveloped countrysides stricken by poverty--none of that is written on this map because none of that is written just yet. But it's hard to watch these bubbles grow, expanding into one another in a battle for your mere vision (let alone food, housing, and wages) and earnestly expect that everything is just going to be all right." doclink

Food for 9 Billion

   January 2012, Center for Investigative Reporting

"Food for 9 Billion" is a yearlong examination of the challenge of feeding the world at a time of growing demand, changing diets, rising food and energy prices, shrinking land and water resources, and accelerating climate change. It is a collaborative project of the Center for Investigative Reporting, Homelands Productions, PBS NEWSHOUR and American Public Media's Marketplace

Interactive Map: World Food Stats:

Timeline: Food Through the Ages: doclink

The Cassandra Dilemma - What to Do About It

   December 17, 2011, The Faminarchy Project

The legendary Cassandra had perfect knowledge of the future (she even warned the Trojans about the Trojan horse) and yet nobody would ever believe her. Today modern day Cassandras clearly understand that the current trends in climate disruption, peak oil, water depletion, and soil degradation, combined with a rapidly increasing human population, could soon result in a disaster of unimaginable proportions.

The (less informed) public simply does not believe us. Often they will argue that we must be wrong - even though they are often fundamentally unaware of the facts.

A crisis that unfolds in slow motion is easy to ignore. As each day comes and goes - peak oil, population growth, soil degradation, water shortages, and climate disruption all seem to be no worse than the day before. The vast majority of people never notice the gradual, yet inexorable deterioration of our planet's life support system. For most, their short term problems overwhelm any desire to consider the long term issues.

People engaged in their own day-to-day problems and have little time or energy left over to think about a problem that will not impact them for several decades into the future. "I've already got enough stuff to worry about, " they say.

People seem unable to "conceptualize a future," to "see" what lay ahead for them. They are stuck.

Suppose we have a camera that lets us see (literally) into the future to a time during the height of the predicted collapse. Food is scarce, people are desperate, chaos and extreme violence are rampant, children are killing other children, cannibalism becomes commonplace. Would that jolt people out of their apathy and denial? I think so!

And today, the single most successful NGO effort to reduce population comes from The Population Media Center in the form of television soap operas. They have taken the entertainment-education theories of Miguel Sabido and created soap operas that portray an improved lifestyle through educating women and providing them with birth choices. These television shows clearly conceptualize a better future if certain behaviors are adopted. And they work.

But instead, we Cassandras continue putting out scholarly essays, books, and videos. We attempt to convince through our solid logic and our depth of information. We debate the nits and details of peak oil and population projections.

A creative and unique solution to this problem has two parts: first a book called "The Corn Guild". This is a work of fiction, a fast-paced thriller intended for the general public. It covers a period from 2028 to 2036, a period that chronicles the beginning of collapse (a time when the general public is just beginning to be concerned and scared), to the actual collapse event in the year 2036. And while it is primarily intended to be an accessible, easy, read, it also educates the reader along the way.

The second part - the big part - the unique and creative part - is called "The Faminarchy Project". The Faminarchy project is a website ( where The Corn Guild book can be read (for free) in its entirety.

On the Faminarchy website, visitors are asked to write short story about what will happen during this collapse event in 2036. There are several examples of possible plot lines provided. These 'famine stories' will be published on the website. Writers are encouraged to use their imaginations to create horrifying and extreme stories of chaos and violence. These famine stories will then force those who read them, and especially those who write them, to experience a clear conceptualization of our shared future.

It is essential that we find a way to increase awareness of the real danger ahead. Only then can steps be taken to turn us away from the abyss. doclink

Population Connection Educational Materials

   October 2010

Population Connection has a great program for teachers. You can help by talking to your local schools to see if you can introduce these materials into the curriculum. You can also volunteer your serves as a guest teacher on the topic of sustainability and population, using these same materials. doclink

Group Activites

Earth, the Apple of Our Eye

   October 17, 2013, Population Connection

A visual demonstration (using an apple to represent the earth) of the limited sources of food available from Earth's land, followed by discussion of how to feed a growing population.

Only about three percent of the Earth's surface is capable of growing food. Over the past century, farming technology has made it possible to produce more food from the world's limited cropland to feed the growing world's population. However, much of this arable (farmable) land has been taken out of production for urban/suburban development and livestock grazing, or has been mismanaged leading to irreparable soil erosion. By 2030, we will need to produce 30 percent more grain to feed the expected population of 8.2 billion. Protecting our arable land resources is becoming more important than ever. doclink

Follow the link in the headline to see the entire lesson.

Understanding Exponential Growth

   September 8, 2013, World Population Balance

Click on the link to see a slide show showing how quickly exponential growth takes over. doclink

What is Missing? - Interactive Site

   August 24, 2012, What is Missing Website

An interesting interactive global map on species loss and environmental destruction. The viewer is invited to supply his or her own 'memory' of the way things were and no longer are - i.e., what is missing. doclink

Play Examines Teen Sexuality; Local Schools to Host Sexploration for Students 12 to 16 Years Old

   September 21, 2004, Planned Parenthood

A play written by drama teacher Chris Lane is aimed at students 12 to 16 and deals with sex from abstinence to oral sex. It also touches on relationships, peer pressure, birth control, AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. It provides information about resources to help teens deal with sexual problems and questions. In 1999, trustees would not ban the play, Live On Stage Uncensored, although its treatment of teen sex issues generated an outcry among religious lobbyists and a minority of parents saying the play contributed to moral decay. Lane said his play gives "tactful" treatment to an important subject. The production features characters named Boy and Girl in a series of colourful vignettes, examines sex in a careful way and urges teens to make responsible choices. It encourages kids to discuss the subject in a constructive way. Lane has written plays about bullying and established a theatre company that tours schools. Planned Parenthood will make the play available to teachers and principals. doclink

Conservation Through Having Smaller Famlies

   2005, Sustainable Population Australia

This delightful children's book (follow the link) explains the global economy in a way Samuelson never did. Then it covers ecology and population. You may want to give this to a young person you know - and to a few adults as well. doclink

World Population Growth Infographic

   October 2010, Upack.ocm

Follow the headline link to see how to put this informative graphic on you web page or your Facebook home page.
Population Growth


Story Ideas

Great Human Population Cartoon From Bizarro

   December 10, 2011,

Click to enlarge doclink

Lessons of the Ancients - Ephesians Provide a Cautionary Tale About Sustainability

   June 17, 2006, Tallahassee Democrat

The residents of the ancient metropolis of Ephesus never considered the impermanence of their home.

They were part of the Roman Empire, the most powerful empire on earth, one of the most desirable cities in the civilized world, with a population of at least 250,000.

Ephesus today is an amazing testament to the engineering and of its Greek and Roman former residents.

And yet, for the past 1,500 years, after river silt destroyed its harbor, Ephesus has remained a dead city. The lessons of the Ephesians, are very practical.

Two thousand years ago, its residents assumed that Ephesus would be teeming with children, merchants and politicians as long as there was a sunrise.

We have to wonder whether in 2,000 years, Venice, Italy, or New Orleans will be like Ephesus today.

Just as the colonists of Ephesus never imagined that their access to the Aegean would go the way of the Hittites, New Orleans' founders never conceived that their descendants would permit the destruction of thousands of acres of wetlands that provided a buffer against nature's wrath.

In many cases, we allow things to happen because of our reluctance to alter course. We could be doing a lot of things to save us from ourselves.

We can't assume, that we can continue to do things as we've always done and still go on forever. That nature won't eventually have her way.

We must consider not only how a product is made but how it is to be used. If we don't start to think more sustainably future generations will see us the way we moderns see Ephesus. doclink

Karen Gaia says - Ephesus was well-situated because it was both a port, close to the water, and had hills to protect it, but the city lost its vital access to the sea due to erosion from nearby farming that silted in the waterways. A growing population meant more food was needed, and therefore more farms, and thus the more the water channel was clogged.

Does One Immigrant Make An Impact?

   March 2004, Gregory Bungo

I'm reminded of one of the paradoxes of the ancient Greek philosopher Zeno. Zeno asks whether a single millet seed makes a sound when it falls to the ground. His companion answers "no". Zeno asks whether a bushel of millet seeds make a sound when dropped. The answer, of course, is "yes". So either it is impossible for a bushel of seeds to make a noise when dropped, since the bushel consists of a finite number of silent single seeds, or it is impossible for a single seed to be silent when dropped. I think most people would agree that the single seed makes a noise when it is dropped, but we just can't hear it.

Similarly, we may not notice the ecological damage from one year's (or one person's) immigration, but there is damage, nonetheless. And when we have several years of immigration, we do notice the damage. doclink


Ecogeek of the Week: Daniel Quinn

   July 10, 2007, Green Options

Daniel Quinn, in his most famous work, Ishmael, and throughout his other works, his ideas repeat: the need to examine the cultural myths which we are steeped in from birth, the necessity of adopting new ways of thinking in order to change our behavior. In many of his books he tackles the subjects of sustainability and the environment. Quinn says "I know that there's going to be an end to fossil fuel, and when it comes, we'd better have in place a petroleum-free way of feeding ourselves or it's going to get real ugly around here." "Only the prospect of worldwide mind-change gives me hope for the future. It has happened before, in the Renaissance. It happened in the Soviet Union, bringing about its collapse. It can happen again, and it must -- or indeed we are doomed." What gives Quinn hope is that the number of books published and read on the subject has risen steadily. "It is completely inevitable that our population must continue to grow to 8 billion, 10 billion, 12 billion. If this happens, I'm afraid I see no hope for our species." The world's biologists now concur that we have entered a period of mass extinction as great as any such period of the past. Sustaining 6.5 billion of us costs the world as many as 75, 100, or 200 species a day (the United Nations recently offered the lowest of these estimates). Eventually, the ecological structures that sustain human life will collapse if this continues. Like all other species, our population increases whenever whenever we increase food production. Food production is under our control; if we cease increasing food production, then our population will of necessity cease to grow. If x amount of food is needed to sustain a population of 6.5 billion of us, then that population can't grow to 10 billion if we continue to produce only x amount of food.

If there are still people here in 200 years, they won't be living the way we do, because if people go on living the way we do, then there will be no people here in 200 years. If there are still people here in 200 years, they won't be thinking the way we do, because if people go on thinking the way we do, then they will go on living the way we do? and there will be no people here in 200 years. You could probably cut that down to 100 years. I would say that the tipping point is probably going to have to occur in the next 25 to 50 years? more likely 25 than 50.

It's vital that we get it into our heads that we are members of a community and dependent on that community the same way every other member is. We cannot exist apart from it. Earthworms are more important to the life of this planet than humans are, and if earthworms disappear, we humans will follow very soon after. We don't "own" that community. We need it; it doesn't need us.

Ideas like Apple's iPhone fits into our culture of harm by reassuring us that everything is just getting better and better and better and better, when in fact we are teetering on the brink of catastrophe. doclink

Karen Gaia says: I do not agree with Quinn when he fails to mention family planning as the solution. I do agree that we will need a major sea-change to cut our consumption and change our ways of equating quality of life with material goods -- which must be done in addition to family planning.

Book List

OVER: Overpopulation, Overdevelopment, Overshoot: View this entire amazing 316-pg coffee table photo book online!

   April 5, 2015, Global Population Speakout (GPSO)

Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (OVER) contains powerful and evocative images showing the ecological and social tragedies of humanity's ballooning numbers and consumption. It retails for $50, but as part of Speak Out you can request free books to use raising awareness about these important and urgent issues. doclink

Book Review: Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future

by Ben J. Wattenberg (2004)
   March 19, 2014   By: Reviewed by Art Elphick

With a title including the word "depopulation," I expected to find many points of disagreement with Wattenberg's book, but Wattenberg actually says very little that I haven't read and said myself. However, the one thing Wattenberg fails to mention could lead the reader to a false sense that all is well. Wattenberg never says that we have a serious population problem now or that, if demographic forecasts are correct, overpopulation and over-consumption will continue to worsen.

Wattenberg says that Total Fertility Rates (TFRs) have been falling in most nations around the world (true). In most prosperous nations TFRs have been falling for more than forty years (true). The TFRs for most prosperous nations are currently below replacement levels (true). The TFRs for most lesser-developed nations are currently falling (true). The world-wide TFR is 2.5 - 2.7 births per woman, the lowest it has been (true). Most demographers estimate that the world population will exceed nine billion by 2050, but estimates differ (true). At that point, if TFRs continue falling at current rates, the population will peak (true, and hopefully they will). Nations with low TFRs and long life expectancies will need to import workers or will face higher costs per worker to care for the aged (true). Many nations dislike taking immigrants, so they will face a dilemma (true).

What about species extinctions, world-wide fish stock depletions, over-forestation, desertification, over-tapped aquifers, river mouth dead zones, dying reefs, toxic air, ocean acidification, climate change? These are serious problems now, so even a world population of 7.17 billion is unsustainable. And if Wattenberg and his demographer sources have it right, the population will increase by 28% and per-capita consumption rates will increase possibly more than that for a combined consumption increase of more than 50% by 2050. Wattenberg predicts that population growth will reverse automatically after 2050 - decades after most of the horses have left the barn. All told, Mr. Wattenberg told only half of the story, but documented that part very well. doclink

Growthbusters Book List

   November 2013, Growth Busters

The End of Growth by Richard Heinberg

Enough is Enough by Rob Dietz and Dan O'Neill

Supply Shock by Brian Czech

Managing Without Growth by Peter Victor

Scarcity by Chris Clugston

Shoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train by Brian Czech

Bottleneck by William Catton

Life on the Brink edited by Phil Cafaro and Eileen

Countdown by Alan Weisman

Ten Billion by Stephen Emmott

Better, Not Bigger by Eben Fodor

The Transition Companion by Rob Hopkins

Stepping Lightly by Mark Burch

Voluntary Simplicity by Samuel Alexander

The Hidden Door by Mark Burch

True Wealth by Juliet Schor

Peter Victor's Managing Without Growth computer models doclink

State of the World 2013 Electronic Version for Only US$3.99, for a Limited Time

   April 18, 2013

Earlier this week, Worldwatch launched State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible? to a crowded room of friends and supporters. If you were unable to participate in the event, we will have videos of the symposium available shortly.

To commemorate the launch, the e-book versions of the report are now available for only US$3.99, for a limited time only - . And you can still purchase hard copies of the report from our bookstore ($22) doclink

Have You Had Enough? a Plan for a Sustainable Economy

   January 18, 2013,   By: Suzanne York,

Suzanne York, of describes a new book, Enough is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources, which constructs a realistic and actionable plan that should guide all of us as we confront increasingly dire and critical issues facing the planet. The book describes how we can transition from a global economic system dependent upon unsustainable and endless growth to a steady-state, prosperous, yet non-growing economy, where there are "stable or mildly fluctuating levels in population and consumption of energy and material."

Solutions include: establishing more worker-owned companies, prohibiting banks from issuing money as debt, local currencies, and work-time reduction.

Proposed policies include: limit the use of materials and energy to sustainable levels; stabilize population through compassionate and non-coercive means; achieve a fair distribution of income and wealth; reform monetary and financial systems for stability; change the way we measure progress.

The authors recognize that "hidden in population numbers are real people." Unless compassionate, non-coercive policies are devised, any population policy will ultimately not work. Successful policies include actions such as educating girls, empowering women, and providing family planning services.

As for admitting foreign workers with specific skills to fill jobs, the authors suggest that "Instead of recruiting educated and entrepreneurial people from abroad, wealthy nations should cultivate talent at home and encourage nations abroad to retain their most capable workers." doclink

Karen Gaia says: I am interested to hear your comments on this book. Send to

Life on the Brink

   December 27, 2012, Rewilding Institute

Life on The Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation, published by the University of Georgia Press earlier in December, is an anthology edited by Eileen Crist (Virginia Tech) and Phil Cafaro (Colorado State).

Contributors include PMC's Bill Ryerson, Joe Bish, Albert Bartlett, Lester Brown, Tom Butler, Philip Cafaro, Martha Campbell, William R. Catton Jr., Eileen Crist, Anne Ehrlich, Paul Ehrlich, Robert Engelman, Dave Foreman, Amy Gulick, Ronnie Hawkins, Leon Kolankiewicz, Richard Lamm, Jeffrey McKee, Stephanie Mills, Roderick Nash, Tim Palmer, Charmayne Palomba, Winthrop Staples III, Captain Paul Watson, Don Weeden, George Wuerthner.

Life on the Brink aspires to reignite a robust discussion of population issues among environmentalists, environmental studies scholars, policymakers, and the general public. The book makes the case that population growth is a major force behind many of our most serious ecological problems, including global climate change, habitat loss and species extinctions, air and water pollution, and food and water scarcity. As we surpass seven billion world inhabitants, contributors argue that ending population growth worldwide and in the United States is a moral imperative that deserves renewed commitment.

Hailing from a range of disciplines and offering varied perspectives, these essays hold in common a commitment to sharing resources with other species and a willingness to consider what will be necessary to do so. In defense of nature and of a vibrant human future, contributors confront hard issues regarding contraception, abortion, immigration, and limits to growth that many environmentalists have become too timid or politically correct to address in recent years.

Ending population growth will not happen easily. Creating genuinely sustainable societies requires major change to economic systems and ethical values coupled with clear thinking and hard work. Life on the Brink is an invitation to join the discussion about the great work of building a better future.

One of the reviews: "For decades, overpopulation deniers have claimed that those who advocate population stabilization or reduction do so to retain privileges; are motivated by racist, sexist, or colonialist views; or do not understand economics. Life on the Brink courageously argues that intelligent and compassionate action in our world demands that we reduce our numbers as quickly and humanely as possible. Its urgent message should be widely read and acted upon."-Bron Taylor, author of Dark Green Religion: Nature Spirituality and the Planetary Future doclink

U.S.: Book Review: "Margaret Sanger: a Life of Passion"

   August 3, 2012, Population Connection

Jean H. Baker's biography "Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion" rejects the narrow-mindedness that has characterized many previous Sanger biographies and instead focuses on Margaret Sanger's life as a whole - her flaws and missteps yes, but also her determination, intelligence, and steadfast commitment to improving the lives of millions of women and their families.

Sanger's view on reproductive rights and fight for universal access to birth control (as well as her controversial teachings on safe sex, child bearing and maternal health) made her a frequent target of those on the religious right. But words like "eugenicist" and "egotistical" have been allowed to mar her story and deter from her accomplishments.

Margaret Sanger was the 6th daugher of poor parents in Corning, N.Y., who watched her mother endure five more pregnancies before succumbing to tuberculosis at a young age. She trained as a nurse in what became New York's Lower East Side, helping young women deliver child after child, many of whom could not afford to feed their growing families and begged for the "secret" of pregnancy prevention.

Sanger, in a campaign to fight the injustice of inavailability of pregnancy prevention, wrote books, gave speeches, opened the first women's health clinics in the U.S., and ultimately spawned a birth control movement that would expand around the world.

She was bold and ruthless, difficult to befriend and often turned away potential collaboration. She ignored the contributions of her co-workers, and left her children for long stretches of time, preferring a life of travel and activism to the comforts and responsibilities of home. But she was effective.

Born into a world where sex and pregnancy were rarely discussed (much less sex for pleasure and pregnancy by choice) Sanger lived to see the historic creation of the birth control pill and the declaration of birth control as a constitutional right.

Margaret Sanger, then, was not the perfectly packaged hero we read about in historical textbooks, nor the demon described by the right. In "Margaret Sanger: A Life of Passion," we have the unique opportunity to see the activist as she really was: bold, ruthless, compassionate, flawed. And that, I think, is pretty cool. doclink

The Habitable Planet: Human Population Dynamics Online Textbook

   January 3, 2012, The Habitable Planet

What factors influence human population growth trends most strongly, and how does population growth or decline impact the environment? Does urbanization threaten our quality of life or offer a pathway to better living conditions? What are the social implications of an aging world population? Discover how demographers approach these questions through the study of human population dynamics. doclink

New Book: Man Swarm and the Killing of Wildlife

   June 30, 2011, Rewilding Institute

Dave Foreman of The Rewilding Institute has written a new book about human overpopulation and its effects on wildlife and wild lands. Foreman is well-known for his "Around the Campfire with Uncle Dave" series.

"The population bomb did not fizzle. .. It blew up. ... It is still blowing up."

"Man Swarm is the main driver behind the biodiversity crisis-the greatest mass extinction since the dinosaurs became extinct, the scalping of hundreds of millions of acres of forest and other key wildlife habitat, and the atmospheric pollution by greenhouse gases leading to 'Global Weirding.'"

You can download a brochure with a synopsis of the book and an order form by going to doclink

Karen Gaia says: A review of the book would be welcomed.

Reducing Adolescent Sexual Risk - Book

   June 2011, ETR Associates

* Helps health professionals design, adapt and select curriculum-based programs to effectively address critical factors that affect teens' sexual decision making

* Ideal for program planners, policy makers, district administrators and youth-serving organizations

Free download doclink

Book Review: the Final Energy Crisis

   April 2005, The Finally Energy Crisis

The new peak oil book, The Final Energy Crisis,, features 23 views on oil peak theory, the liklihood that it is true, and the importance of oil-decline for civilisation. Geologist Colin Campbell writes that food production must go local because, without cheap oil, long distance food transport will become an impossibility. Another article by Campbell is on Caspian oil reserves and explores why most of the oil companies have turned away from Caspian oil. Danish astrophysicist Jacob Fisker defines the three laws of thermodynamics for the lay-man. Andrew McKillop's essays ask: What would happen if the Chinese become car- dependent? Why, if Africa has so many mineral and oil riches, are Africans so poor? High oil prices are supposed to be bad for business, but McKillop writes that they benefit third world economies and break first world stagnation cycles as long as oil remains abundant. McKillop anticipates hard times ahead particulary for young adults in 2035. Mark Jones, an English born communist, canvasses possible outcomes of competition between the US and China in the short-term; both countries are doomed in the medium term because oil supply will sustain neither. Organisers for the French anti-nuclear movement make a convincing argument that the production of nuclear energy carries unsustainable hidden fossil fuel subsidies. Energy scientist Ross McCluney, is in favour of alternative energy and renewables, and reviews their potential to replace fossil fuels. The news is that the world's population cannot be sustained by alternatives. Coal will replace them, bringing complications for the atmosphere and how long will those reserves of coal last? Gregson Vaux, a physicist and environmental engineer, calculated world coal peaks taking into account how much faster we will use up coal as a substitute for petroleum. Sheila Newman contrasts the potential of France and Australia after oil, after uranium, and after coal have run down, taking us 130 years into the future to a smaller, leaner, Australia. Ted Trainer writes about how humans might organise as energy depletion sets in and points out that material losses can be compensated so that a 'simpler way' need not mean social impoverishment. doclink

The Crash of Civilizations

   January 9, 2005, Atlantic Monthly

Deforestation stripped Easter Island where building statues took priority. In his panoramic book Collapse, Jared Diamond, author of Guns, Germs, and Steel moves to yet another phenomenon: failed nations, of distant and the recent past. Consider the 1994 slaughter in Rwanda, where the Hutu militias' mass murder of Tutsi civilians was the consequence of evil men manipulating ethnic hatreds, while the U.N. and the U.S stood by and did nothing. In the most all-encompassing summary of why genocide occurred, Diamond observes Rwanda had a population density approaching that of Holland, supported by Stone Age agriculture: Rwanda then suffered a decline in per capita food production because of drought and overworked soil, which caused massive deforestation. This increased rising levels of theft and violence by landless and hungry young men. The decision to kill was made by politicians, for political reasons, but part of the reason why it was carried by the ordinary peasants was feeling that there were too many people on too little land. Diamond says that, in this case, Malthus was right: "population and environmental problems created by non-sustainable resource use will ultimately get solved, if not by pleasant means then by unpleasant" ones. While media reports correctly describe a decline in the rate of world population growth, the crucial short-term truth is that there will be a continued rise in the population of poor young males for a few years in some of the most political unstable countries. Or take the December 2004 tsunami that devastated parts of South Asia. Because humans are living in environmentally fragile zones where they have never before been in such concentrated numbers, the normal occurrence of natural events in the environment is poised to wreak havoc in the new century. Nature and demography will be driving history. In an exploration of why some medieval societies including the Anasazis in the American southwest all became extinct, of why the Inuit in the Arctic and managed to survive, and of why places like Montana's Bitterroot Valley and the Dominican Republic have had happier destinies than Rwanda and Haiti, Diamond brings balance to a debate that tended to avoid explanations of human behavior rooted in environmental, ethnic, cultural or demographic causes. The most incisive portion of Collapse deals with the Dominican Republic and Haiti, two countries sharing the island of Hispaniola, the former a developing society and the latter a complete failure. The Haitian portion is largely denuded of tree cover, while the Dominican side is lush and green. As Diamond explains, the rains come to Hispaniola from the east and the Dominican side supports higher rates of plant growth. Moreover, the eastern side has the highest mountains, whose rivers flow east and the Dominican side gets more water from the run-off, leading to thicker, more nutrient-rich soils. Haiti's mountains cover more of its land mass, reducing the area for agriculture. Since Haiti was a colony of France, large numbers of slaves were imported, increasing the population while overworking the farmland. Spain, by contrast, treated the Dominican side with neglect: a demographic blessing in disguise. China's goal of achieving a first-world lifestyle for its 1.3 billion people will double the world's human resource use, but it is doubtful whether even the world's current human resource use can be sustained. Something has to give way. China's geographical unity lacks major islands, and unlike Italy it lacks large peninsulas that has given it a political and linguistic homogeneity that Europe never had. China's leaders have had the organizational capacity to create gargantuan tragedies such as the Great Leap Forward, when 20 million people were killed, or to take positive steps as when they instituted a ban on logging. Diamond defends the false alarms about resource scarcity in the 1970s and '80s suggesting that Ehrlich's (and Malthus's) point about surging populations and diminishing resources is true: While these trends do not necessarily lead to cataclysm, they have been a factor encouraging warfare and civil unrest across the underdeveloped world. True irresponsibility lies in optimism based on ideology, rather facts. On Easter Island, the felling of trees for high-altitude gardens, the cremation of bodies, the building of canoes and scaffolding for statues led to massive deforestation and decreased crop yields. The Greenland Norse were a communal and hierarchical society, whose strict adherence to European Christianity may have accounted for their conservatism and failure to learn from the Inuits, who burned whale and sea blubber for fuel and used sealskins in their kayaks in order to conserve wood. But Norse Greenland survived for 450 years, twice the lifetime of the United States, in one of the most remote and inhospitable regions of the globe. The parallels between an interconnected Earth, in which each continent affects the other, and the dozen clans of Easter Island are, "chillingly obvious." Like them, we would have no place to flee if something wrong: not suddenly wrong but gradually wrong, so that the danger remains deniable until it's too late. doclink

Jared Diamond's Collapse: a Bestseller for Population Activists

   January 2005, Margaret Liles

There's a current bestseller that reinforces the message of Population Connection, Jared Diamond's Collapse. Besides being a terrific read, Dr. Diamond's book informs! He carefully documents the historical failures and successes of societies. He compares and contrasts these failures and successes to current social dilemmas in a very scientific, non-judgmental manner. Those of us who favor the stabilization, if not reduction, of world population will be sure to note that every successful island society that Dr. Diamond describes practiced some sort of population control, and that those controls were not very pleasant. How much easier it should be, with modern birth control methods, to stabilize the population on our island in space. doclink

Conservation Through Having Smaller Families

   March 2009, Population Media Center

This wonderful childrens' book, by Nola Stewart, explains - using simple cartoon panels - global economy, ecology, population, and family planning. Very useful for tabling. Adults can benefit from this publication as well. doclink

A Defuser's Guide to the Population Explosion - Book Review by Paul and Anne Ehrlich

   March 18, 2010, New Scientist

Peoplequake: Mass migration, Ageing Nations and the Coming Population Crash This is a well-written book by Fred Pearce and will increase the recognition of the important role of demography in human affairs.

Peoplequake covers the gamut from Thomas Malthus's fundamental assumption to fears that the greying of Europe will precipitate the end of western civilisation.

The book discusses the impact of the green revolution, massive migration, the Chinese one-child family programme, declining birth rates in the developing world, the rise of death rates in Russia, and more.

We hope the book Peoplequake will convince many decision-makers that they ignore population issues at their peril.

Pearce assumes climate disruption is our most serious climate-related environmental problem, but many scientists are also concerned about losses of biodiversity and ecosystem services, toxification of the Earth and resource wars turning nuclear.

He is overoptimistic about when global population shrinkage might begin, whether birth rates among the rich will remain low - consumption control being more important than population control - and feeding additional billions even though more than a billion are hungry today.

He doesn't explain that every billion people added to the population will have a more severe impact on human life-support systems, since newcomers must be fed with food grown on more marginal land and provisioned from increasingly lower-grade and distant resources.

Pearce gives an erroneous description of the "Simon-Ehrlich" bet. But even when treating our mistakes, he tries to do so fairly. We highly recommend his book. doclink

Karen Gaia says: there is that word, 'population-control', again. To many that means harsh means to achieve population sustainability, but reducing family size by strictly voluntary means works so much better.

The Triple Crises of Civilization

   May 16, 2010

Rev. David Murphy and George Plumb urge you, in order to face the triple crises of Global Warming, Peak Oil, and exceeding our Carrying Capacity while adding eighty million annually to our population, to read at least one book from each of the following categories:

  • Peak Oil
    • The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century, James Howard Kunstler, Atlantic Monthly Press, 20051
    • Peak Everything: Waking Up to the Century of Declines, Richard Heinberg, New Society Publishers, 20071
    • Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post-Peak Oil World, Michael Rupert, Chelsea Green Press, 20092
    • Transition Handbook, Rob Hopkins, Chelsea Green Press, 2009
  • Climate Change
    • Storms of my Grandchildren, James Hansen, Bloombury USA, 20091
    • Our Choice: A Plan to Solve the Climate Crisis, Al Gore, Rodale Press, 20091
    • Earth, Bill McKibben, Times Books, 20101
    • Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization, Lester Brown, W.W. Norton Co., 20091
  • Population Size and Growth
    • A Pivotal Moment: Population, Justice and the Environmental Challenge, Laurie Mazur, Island Press, 20101 Growing Pains: A Planet in Distress, Valorie M. Allen, IUniverse Press, 20101
    • The Population: Fix-Breaking America's Addiction to Population Growth, Edward Hartman, out of print but available through used sources at, 20061
    • More: Population, Nature and What Women Want, Robert Engelman, Island Press, 20081
  • Combined Crisis
    • The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisi to Sustainability, Gus Speth, Yale University Press, 20081
    • Threshold: The Crisis of Western Civilization, Thom Hartmann, Viking Press, 20091
    • Endgame-the problem of civilization, Derrick Jensen, Seven Stories Press, 20061
    • The Vanishing Face of Gaia: The Final Warning: Enjoy it while you can, James Lovelock, Allen Lane, 20091
  • Religious Point of View
    • A Buddhist Response to the Climate Emergency, John Stanley, David R. Lay, and Gyurme Dorje, Wisdom Press, 2008
    • Love God, Heal Earth: The Ecological Crisis through the Lens of Faith, Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham (founder of Interfaith Power and Light), SkyLight Paths Publishing, 2009
    • Claiming Earth as Common Ground, Rabbi Andrea Cohen-Kiener, St. Lynn's Press, 2009
    • A Climate Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions, Katherine Hayhoe and Andrew Farley, Hachette Book Group, 2009
If you only have time or motivation to read only a couple of books, then James Hansen's book, The Storms of my Grandchildren, and Michael Rupert's Confronting Collapse are must reads. doclink

Book List

The Economics of Birth Control

   November 14, 2013, Population Action International

Spending $1 and getting $4 back sounds like a good deal, doesn't it? Well for every $1 we invest in family planning, we save $4 in other areas like education, public health, and water and sanitation.

It's time to cash in on this deal, and invest in family planning worldwide. When women are able to plan their pregnancies, they live longer, they have smaller families, and they're better able to participate in the workforce. In fact, women who have access to contraception typically make 40% more than those without access - and that economic success is good for the whole country.


Women + Climate Disruption (Infographic)

   November 2013, Sierra Club Global Population and Environment Program

Click on the link in the headline to see this image doclink

Too Much Protein: Are We Eating Too Much Meat? (infographic)

   August 13, 2013, Huffington Post

The grocery delivery program Door To Door Organics, report that Americans eat at least 12 ounces of meat per day, almost 50% more than the recommend daily amount. One 2011 study found eating less meat could double the world's food supply. A March study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine through Harvard University found eating too much red meat can shorten one's lifespan. Also eating too much meat can lead to kidney stones, dehydration and calcium loss. Dieticians of Canada recommend 75 g or 2 1/2 ounces of meat every day, along with a meat alternative to make up the recommended daily intake of five ounces of protein.

Do You Eat Too Much Protein?

Learn about infographics software.



The Shape We're In - Science Magazine Series

   November 22, 2003, Science magazine

In Nov 2003 Science magazine is detailed a series of articles that will be published in the coming months - a group of short Viewpoints about some of the common resources--air, fresh water, fisheries, food and soil, energy--and key trends--in human population, biodiversity, and climate--that are most important for our general well-being. Topics will be: "Prospects for Biodiversity," "Tropical Soils and Food Security," "The Future for Fisheries," "Global Freshwater Resources: Soft-Path Solutions for the 21st Century," "Energy Resources and Global Development," and "Global Air Quality and Pollution." On December 12 Science will present a special issue on the "Tragedy of the Commons," the classic metaphor of the late Garret Hardin which appeared 35 years ago, in which some contemporary ideas about the management of shared resources will be discussed. doclink

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