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Overpopulation is an Environmental Red Herring

It is not too much of a stretch to suggest that 2020 has been an interesting year (in the sense of “May you live in interesting times”). Fires, plagues, floods, Presidential impeachment, global economic meltdown, lockdowns: this year has seen them all. And we’re only in September. Thank goodness there isn’t a major election coming up where some are predicting social breakdown in nearly every conceivable scenario or anything

It’s not quite dogs and cats living together in peace and harmony, but another sign that the end is nigh is that I find myself nodding along to an article of George Monbiot (greenie extraordinaire) in the Guardian. In it, Monbiot argues that blaming overpopulation for environmental concerns is a cop out, particularly for rich people in first world nations who get to lecture the third world on the need to have fewer children while they enjoy a lifestyle with a carbon footprint bigger than that of small central African nations.

As he states, the current population growth is overwhelmingly concentrated among the world’s poorest people. This means that a rising human population is only producing a tiny fraction of the extra resource use and greenhouse gas emissions due to consumption growth. Instead, we in the West should be turning our attention on our own behaviours (that latest iPhone, the plane trip to Davos to discuss climate change) rather than fretting about more Indian or African babies.

The example Monbiot gives of Dame Jane Goodall is a good one. She told the World Economic Forum in Davos that if only we had the same population as we did 500 years ago (500 million) then the current environmental issues would not be with us. The audience of course consisted of those with ecological footprints many thousand times greater than the global average. But the greater irony is that Goodall has previously appeared in British Airways advertising. If the world’s population was 500 million, and it was entirely composed of the average UK plane passenger, then our environmental impact would probably be greater than the 7.8 billion people alive today. When it comes to the environment, population size does not matter nearly as much as lifestyle.

Indeed, wishing that the world’s population was one-sixteenth its current size is the same as wishing for the moon and just as useless. Tut-tutting about more people being born over there saves us from having to worry about anything we are doing over here. It is environmental virtue-signalling.

Except when it leads to policy outcomes that are far worse than virtue-signalling. Population panic has led to barbaric, coercive population control measures in many countries throughout the world. And this is not an historical problem: UK foreign aid was helping to fund crude, dangerous and coercive sterilisation in India as recently as 2011, it was justified on the grounds that it was helping to “fight climate change”. (At the same time the UK aid was also pouring money into developing coal, gas and oil plants around the world…)

Of course, Monbiot could have been reading Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si in which the Holy Father said that:

“To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues. It is an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution, where a minority believes that it has the right to consume in a way which can never be universalized, since the planet could not even contain the waste products of such consumption.”

And both Monbiot and Pope Francis had perhaps been reading this very blog, since nearly a decade ago I wrote of the thinly-veiled condescending bigotry underlying much of the West’s panic about overpopulation. Perhaps now that the more people are coming around to the view that the world’s population will stop growing in a few decades, we will see less insistence on the kinds of arguments Monbiot is railing against.

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COLUMN BY

Marcus Roberts

Marcus Roberts was two years out of law school when he decided that practising law was no longer for him. He therefore went back to university and did his LLM while tutoring. He now teaches contract and… .

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EDITORS NOTE: This Mercator Net column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Coach Dave Daubenmire: Nobody wants to talk about the sin part of the Bible

Coach Dave Daubenmire discusses his Christian faith and homosexuality in this interview with the ABC and FOX affiliates in Columbus, Ohio. Coach Dave–who recently was denied a football coaching job at Lakewood High School, his alma mater, after being targeted by a homosexual cyber-smear campaign–ably refutes the Big Lie that opposing same-sex sin constitutes “hate.” Here is the link to the Columbus FOX28 site with the interview; and click HERE to watch this on YouTube.

Click HERE for AFTAH’s background article on the Daubenmire non-hiring story and to get contact information for the Lakewood School Board that voted against him for the coaching job that the school had originally recruited him to fill. The FOX 28 write-up on the interview follows after the video (after the jump). To support Coach Dave, visit his Pass the Salt Ministries website.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/l-F29XJm29I[/youtube]

 

Columbus, Ohio FOX28 reports [Editor’s note: It is interesting that this report fails to mention the outside lobbying campaign against Daubenmire that ignited this controversy]

Controversial Former Football Coach Talks to ABC 6/FOX 28

Updated: Friday, February 14 2014, 08:45 PM EST

HEBRON, Ohio — (Maria Durant/Ken Hines) — A football coach known for his controversial conservative Christian views spoke out Friday about his hometown school board’s decision to deny him a coaching position on their high school football team.

Dave Dauenmire claims he was asked to apply for the job of head football coach at his alma mater, Lakewood High School. Daubenmire believes he was the right man to turn around the struggling team.

“I’m a builder of broken football programs,” Daubenmire said, “And there’s no program more broken than Hebron-Lakewood.”

The potential hiring of Daubenmire caused widespread concern among members of the Hebron community due to his outspoken criticism of homosexuality, a view which he has made public through YouTube videos.

“So when I look at the homosexual behavior, they say I hate them, I’m saying I hate what they’re doing,” Daubenmire said.

As for Daubenmire’s potential reaction to a homosexual player, he claimed he would “handle it the same way as if I had a drug addict on my team. I’d love him.”

Daubenmire says he does not plan to look for another coaching position, stating that it would take away from his ministry, Pass the Salt, which operates mostly online.

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