www.RogerWendell.com
Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM
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Overpopulation

Traffic Jam
7 Billion is Too Many!

Current World Population:

Click Here for the U.S. Census Bureau's population clock...

 

 

It's estimated that the world's entire population, 1,000 years ago, was 300,000,000 - about the same number as the United States in 2006. In 1804, eight hundred years after reaching the 300 million mark, the world's population arrived at one billion people for the first time - it then took another century, in 1927, to hit 2 billion. The twentieth century, however, saw the world's population numbers skyrocket; 3 billion in 1959, 4 billion in 1974; 5 billion in 1987, 6 billion in 1998, and then 7 billion by the end of 2011. The United Nations estimates the world's population will reach 8 billion by 2025 and 10 billion by 2083. At this time the world averages around 200,000 births each and every day - the equivalent of one-and-a-half cities the size of Los Angeles being added to the planet every single month! As of this writing China, India, and the United States remain the most populated countries on the planet with India expected to pass up China in 2025...
- Roger J. Wendell

 

Getting the word out over radio:

Roger J. Wendell at KGNU I've had the good fortune, since the mid 1990's, of conducting interviews and talk shows at KGNU. Although I've used my radio programs to explore a wide variety of topics some of my favorite (and most interesting) have been those related to our overpopulation problem. Further below you'll find a list of some of my guests that focused on population issues. Although I'm especially grateful to have spent time with each and every one of them it's even more important that we were able to bring the overpopulation problem to the attention of my audience. I look forward to future broadcasts on the subject and hope that the information we've provided, so far, has had some impact in raising awareness and concern... - Roger J. Wendell
Former Colorado Governor Dick Lamb On May 29, 2009 I had a great time interviewing former Colorado Governor Richard D. Lamm on the topic of Environmental Consequences of U.S. Population Growth. In addition to our overpopulation discussion we also touched on the governor's involvement in voting the 1976 Olympics out of Colorado, his [and mine!] opposition to the 470 beltway project around Denver, and his well known "Duty to Die" (physician-assisted suicide) statement back in 1984. Governor Lamm has always been thoughtful and courageous - I appreciate having been able to spend an hour with him for this important topic.
Audio Listen Icon Click Here for the entire hour with Governor Lamm...
Dr. Al Bartlett On January 22, 1998 I enjoyed a thoughtful interview with professor emeritus Al Bartlett about population issues. Additionally, because I spend a lot of time in Boulder, I was lucky to encounter Dr. Bartlett on a couple of other occasions as well. And, sadly, after his passing in 2013 I stopped by his house to meet with some family members to help archive some old documents from his volunteerism with the Colorado Mountain Club as Dr. Bartlett and I both had and an interest the CMC and Colorado's mountains...
Audio Listen Icon Click Here for my interview with Dr. Bartlett back then...
Paul Ehrlich In February 2013 I had the pleasure of recording a radio interview (for broadcast in March due to his busy schedule) with author and biologist Paul Ehrlich about his recent RSPB article titled, Can a collapse of global civilization be avoided?. During our time together Dr. Ehrlich reaffirmed that he believes civilization's chances of avoiding collapse by 2050 are less than 10 percent - not to mention the associated destruction to habitat and biodiversity.
Audio Listen Icon Click Here for my 35 minutes with Dr. Ehrlich...

 

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Are you a Populationist??

United Nations Exponential Population Growth Chart In September, 2008 I had the pleasure of conducting a radio interview with author Edward C. Hartman about his book The Population Fix (Breaking America's Addiciton to Population Growth). Mr. Hartman suggested that although there are no hard and fast definitions for the word "populationist," it is an umbrella term for people with concerns about population issues in general. And, although populationists can have all kind of opinions and concerns, there's general agreement that America's (and the world's) population needs to be either stabilized or reduced. Populationists can think of all kinds of ways in achieving these goals with some options including the improvement of education and/or governance in developing countries, increasing family planning funding domestically and/or internationally, and reforming immigration policies here in America.

Either way, our country and planet are in deep trouble so I hope you, too, will consider yourself a "Populationist" as I have for myself!

- Roger J. Wendell
Golden, Colorado - Fall 2008

YouTube Logo - Small Click Here for the VHEMT YouTube "Fertco" baby factory video...

The United States is the THIRD most populated country on Earth [Ed. note: The U.S. hit the unconscionable/unsustainable population mark of 300,000,000 in 2006...] with most of its growth coming from immigration! However, I can't blame immigrants (illegal or otherwise) for wanting to come and make a living for themselves and their families. Nevertheless, U.S. population is out of control and is taking its toll on the rest of the planet. The burgeoning population of our country, and that of other countries around the planet, is the biggest threat against the environment, freedom, and everything we hold dear.
- Roger J. Wendell, spring 1999

 

Do you really believe the price of oil will go down if our population continues to increase?
- Roger J. Wendell, September 2007

 

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Holden-Ehrlich population formula:
I=PAT (Pronounced "EyePat")

This formula simply says;
Impact (I) on environments is due to the number of humans in the
region times their level of affluence (A) times the harmfulness
of the technologies (T) they employ.

 

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THE GREAT CHALLENGE:

Dr. Al Bartlett Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?

        - Dr. Albert A. Bartlett: January 8, 1996
          Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Colorado at Boulder
          (In 1998 I had the good fortune of interviewing Dr. Bartlett on my radio program in Boulder)

Yellow Arrow Pointing Right Click Here for Dr. Bartlett's population page...

 

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Asimov    Brower    Finley    Goodall    Lamm    Kunstler    McPherson    Naess    Nixon    U.S. Government    Wilson    Firor and Jacobsen    Malthus    Wendell   

  • Asimov:

    "In the same way, democracy cannot survive overpopulation.  Human dignity cannot survive it.   Convenience and decency cannot survive it.  As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears.  It doesn't matter if someone dies.  The more people there are, the less one individual matters."

    - Isaac Asimov from page 276 of Bill Moyers' book, A World of Ideas
  • Brower:

    Population is pollution spelled inside out.

    - David Brower, 1971
  • Finley:

    "The underlying problem is not so much how we live; it is that there are so many of us."

    - Russ Finley in his book,
    Poison Darts (Protecting the biodiversity of our world) p. IX
  • Goodall:

    "...a million wetland rice farmers in Bangladesh, china, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam changed their farming methods to nonchemical sustainable agriculture, and increased their yields by about 10 percent.
    But there is a danger here. Increased food yield must be balanced by an optimization of the population in a given area. However carefully farmed, no land can produce enough food, by any method whatsoever, to keep pace with human population growth as it exists today in many parts of the world. When the number of people living in a given area is too great for the carrying capacity of that area they will try to move to new places. In many cases this is already impossible - there are simply too many people."

    "If we do not impose limits on our population growth, life as we know it, on this planet, will no longer be possible. Even if we could, theoretically, feed many more times the number of people than those on the planet today, how many of us would like to live on a planet where villages, towns, and cities meet and merge in one great urban sprawl across the face of the globe?"

    - Jane Goodall in her book,
    Harvest For Hope pp. 210-211
  • Lamm:

    "Do we really want to live in a country with the population of India or China?"

    - Former Colorado Governor Richard Lamm
    on Peter Boyles' KHOW radio talkshow, 02/01/2000
  • Kunstler:

    "So, I hazard to assert that as oil ceases to be cheap and the world rserves are toward depletion, we will indeed suddenly be left with an enormous surplus population - with apologies to both Charles Dickens and Jonathan Swift - that the ecology of the earth will not support."

    - James Howard Kunstler in his novel,
    The Long Emergency (Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and
    Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century)
  • McPherson:

    "...basically I think that we - humans I mean - are destroying the planet, and the more of us there are, the quicker the destruction is taking place."

    - Colin Macpherson in his novel,
    The Tide Turners
  • Naess:

    "In deep ecology, we have the goal not only of stabilizing human population but also of reducing it to a sustainable minimum without revolution or dictatorship.  I should think we must have no more than 100 million people if we are to have the variety of cultures we had one hundred years ago."

    - Arne Naess, (founder of Deep Ecology,
    as quoted from a Los Angeles Zen center interview in April, 1982
  • Nixon:

    "One of the most serious challenges to human destiny in the last third of this century will be the growth of the population.  Whether man's response to that challenge will be a cause for pride or for despair in the year 2000 will depend very much on what we do today.  If we now begin our work in an appropriate manner, and if we continue to devote a considerable amount of attention and energy to this problem, then mankind will be able to surmount this challenge as it has surmounted so many during the long march of civilization."

    - Former President Richard M. Nixon, 07/18/1969
  • U.S. Government:

    "...in the long run, no substantial benefits will result from further growth of the Nation's population..."

    - Commission on Population Growth and the American Future
    in its 1972 Letter of Transmittal to the Presdient and Congress.
  • Edward O. Wilson:

    "Human beings - mammals of the 50-kilogram weight class and members of a group, the primates, otherwise noted for scarcity - have become a hundred times more numerous than any other land animal of comparable size in the history of life. By every conceivable measure, humanity is ecologically abnormal. Our species appropriates between 20 and 40 percent of the solar energy captured in organic material by land plats. There is no way that we can draw upon the resources of the planet to such a degree without drastically reducing the state of most other species."

    - Edward O. Wilson
    The Diveristy of Life, p. 272
  • Firor and Jacobsen:

    "Population stabilization, whether in the United States or in the worl as a whole, is too important to fail for bias, overzealousness, incomplete understanding, or ignorance of its vulnerabilities as a political movement. The enormous challenge of bringing human populations into sustainable harmony with the earth requires the most informed and powerful strategies and the broadest, most effective political coalitions."

    - John Firor and Judith E. Jacobsen
    The Crowded Greenhouse (Population, Climate
    Change, and Creating a Sustainable World), p. 100
    [your humble webmaster had the pleasure of interviewing
    Firor and Jacobsen at KGNU on February 26, 2003]
  • Thomas Robert Malthus:

    "Population, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio. Subsistence increases only in an arithmetical ratio. A slight acquaintance with numbers will show the immensity of the first power in comparison of the second."

    In his book, Overshoot: The Ecological Basis of Revolutionary Change, William Robert Catton
    restated this important Malthusian principle in what he called, "the more accurate vocabulary
    of modern ecology," stating a relationship of inequality between two variables:
    "The cumulative biotic potential of the human species exceeds the carrying capacity of its habitat"
  • Roger J. Wendell:

    "The single biggest threat to other species, biodiversity, climate, our environment, freedom, and overall quality of life is our huge overpopulation problem."

 

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Immigration:

"Our immigration debate misses the point: It's not about race, but the sheer number of new Americans. Sprawl, the loss of open space, challenges to water resources, all these are aggravated by the million new arrivals who become legal permanent residents each year."
- Jim Motavalli
E The Environmental Magazine - May/June 2008, p. 3

 

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Fertility:

According to the Census Bureau, U.S. population will double within the lifetimes of children living today [circa 2000]. About 90% of this doubling will be due to mass immigration. This doubling is attributed to recent immigrants and their descendents. Native born fertility rates are at near replacement levels, however, the fertility rates of recent immigrants is considerably higher. As a result, both fertility and immigration numbers need to be addressed in order to achieve population stabilization in the United States (The world's third most populated country!).

 

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Birth Control:

"What I hope you will discover in reading this book is that the pro-life movement is really no longer the anti-abortion movement, if it ever was. Its agenda has lately become much broader, and to the average American it will appear much more sinister. In recent years it has turned itself into the anti-birth control movement, the anti-sex movement and, indeed, the anti-modern family movement - whether it avows this or not. These transformations have been largely hidden from view, since the national focus is almost always on abortion - and the pro-life movement, so adept at controlling the rhetoric and symbols of this debate, certainly prefers that. Yet the pro-life movement is almost diametrically opposed to some of the foundations of contemporary life."
- Cristina Page in her book,
How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America
(Freedom, Politics, and the War on Sex), p. xi
"You'd think that people who are profoundly and sincerely against abortion would do everything in their power, including promoting birth control, to prevent unwanted pregnancies. But there is not one pro-life group in the United States that support the use of birth control. Shouldn't the American people, pro-lifers included, wonder why, if a group's aim is to end abortion, spreading the contraceptive message isn't a central part of its mission?"
ibid. p. 9

 

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Carrying Capacity

Carrying Capacity Graph by Roger A. Wendell - 04-12-2009
         d = death rate        b = birthrate
"Resources for a population are finite. Examples of resources are food, water, shelter, and habitat. As a population grows it contains more individuals that in turn use more resources. As fewer resources become available the number of births in a population usually decreases and the number of deaths eventually must increase, which slows population growth and eventually decreases population. The point at which birthrates balance death rates is called the carrying capacity or K. Before K there are plenty of resources, births exceed deaths and the population grows. After K there is overcrowding and limited resources, deaths exceed births and the population decreases. At K birth rates and death rates are equal and the population is at equilibrium with its resources, assuming that there are no deaths due to predation or disease."

Dr. C.N. Slobodchikoff, Prairie Dogs
(Communication and Community in an Animal Society) pp. 96-07
 
 
 

 

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Dr. Alan Kuper

Dr. Alan Kuper, of CUSP, and Roger Wendell - San Francisco September 2005
Me and Dr. Kuper, September '05
Dr. Alan Kuper, of Cleveland, passed away at the age of 84 in December, 2008. Dr.Kuper was the founder of CUSP (Comprehensive US Sustainable Population) and worked tirelessly to reverse America's out-of-control population problem. In addition to appearing on my radio show, I had the pleasure of working with him (albeit briefly) at a large Sierra Club gathering in San Francisco (see photo at left) in addition to some interesting email exchanges. We need more activists like Dr. Kuper - he'll be missed by anyone concerned about the huge impact overpopulation is having on our quality of life... - Roger J. Wendell, December 2008

 

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QuiverFull

Duggar Family At the turn of the 21st century a strange competition started to develop in the United States - some of our citizenry were racing to have as large a family as their budgets and health could stand! It really hit the news when "Octo-Mom" had In vitro Fertilisation (IVF) for octuplets (8 babies all at once) even though she already had two kids that were previously produced by IVF. Sadly, small segments of Australia, New Zealand, and England were racing for larger families as well.
Octo-Mom Of course the Duggars were in the news most of the first decade for having what turned out to be 19 children by 2010! What's going on here? Turns out part of the craze has been spawned by some questionable Bible versus suggesting families fill their "quiver" with as many children possible - hence the "birth" of the "QuiverFull" movement. Oh, let's not forget that many people with huge families simply want the attention that comes along with any circus act - and Octo-mom being no exception. Either way, huge families are passé in a world of 7 Billion people with dwindling resources and a declining quality of life for those of us already here...

 

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Population Ethics for the 21st Century
an article from Dr. Michael Tobias,
President of the Dancing Star Foundation (with permission)

Awareness exacts a price. In a world of scarcity, political and ecological triage will inevitably figure. Even with a projected $50 trillion annual economy, the increasing number of newborns on the planet will not make decisions any easier. Will one set out to assist Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, or Mali? The school system in Alabama, or teenage mothers in India? And when conflicts arise, which are to become our national priorities in terms of intervention! Nuclear proliferation in India and Pakistan, or illegal clear-cutting causing huge fires in Sumatra? Such questions have always weighed upon political leaders, in one form or another, but never before have ecological and population considerations played such dramatic roles in analysis and national determinations.

Hence, individual men and women are called upon to become policy makers, to make those same determinations, to take their lifestyles into greater consideration than ever before. By example they can inspire surprisingly huge assemblages of people. Ethical solutions, reasonableness, beauty, and inspiration, all have in their favor the force of silent majorities, the equivalent power of chain letters, the quiet seduction of an ideal.

From my perspective, it would be a very good thing indeed, if even a smattering of the Jain monks' daily vows infiltrated the consciousness of every nation. That would mean a life choreographed according to possibilities of nonviolence, the basis for any sustainable, compassionate, and equitable community on earth; universal one-child families, the only way to begin to slow down the human population explosion in those more than 150 countries and territories where there is a demographic problem; and an emphasis in our lives upon sharing, that human and humane capacity that best reflects the abundant generosity inherent to the creation.

Our species, by its very nature, has long been engaged in a war against the planet, a pattern that is ecologically insane. We know this to be true by now. Our acknowledgment itself is an act of meditation poised for selfless, even heroic change. Among more and more of the world's religious thinkers, there is a surge of ecologically aware activism. Buddhists in Thailand are fighting to save forests. Jews, Catholics, and Anglicans in the U.S. have sponsored a National Religious Partnership for the Environment. And in late 1997 the leader of some 300 million Orthodox Christians, Bartholomew I, finally declared that "To commit a crime against the natural world is a sin. For humans to cause species to become extinct and to destroy the biological diversity of God's creation, for humans to degrade the integrity of the Earth by causing changes in its climate, stripping the Earth of its natural forests, or destroying its wetlands... for humans to contaminate the Earth's waters, its land, its air, and its life with poisonous substances - these are sins." It was the first time that word -"sin"- has ever been officially linked by the Church to human behavior towards the environment.

The same week Bartholomew made this pronouncement, demographers also made big news. They had gathered in New York to examine the whys and wherefores of a silent revolution underway. In a not altogether unexpected trend, an inexplicable dynamic was shown to be at work, showing smaller families in at least 45 countries. The demographers predicted that by the year 2015, 88 "countries and territories will have replacement levels at or below 2.1 children per woman." Granted, few of those countries cited were among the high population nations, yet the pattern seemed to be spreading.

We must remain optimistic if such new trends and attitudes are to gain fuel; to augur the kind of changes necessary to preserve the planet. Awareness itself must be nurtured and protected. It takes great courage to be an optimist, to be in love. There are important spiritual, behavioral, and self-fulfilling reasons for adopting a positive perspective.

As a species, we need all the clarity-grounded optimism we can muster. Our children need to be informed and inspired, not daunted. Although the planet is held captive by much that defines our personality and behavior, that aggression and its myriad tragedies need not be destiny.

But in refashioning global fate beyond simple hope, certain sobering truths must be firmly absorbed and embraced. First among them is the harrowing truth that our species' fertility is out of control, even after half-a-century of family planning efforts. Based on current (mid-1998) global fertility trends, there is little doubt that we will number at least 12 billion people late in the 21st century.

And second, our consumptive patterns are disastrous. Habitat is vanishing, or burning up, and species are disappearing, or verging on disappearance, at a rate of between 10 and 800 per day depending on the acreage in question. Fertility trends and consumptive patterns can change, and they must. It all hinges upon personal choices. Throughout human history, hope and dread have always mingled. But never before have the risks been so permanent. Paradise is here, now, if only we will own up to it, accept it, and do our part to keep it true.

While timing is everything, we must all be prepared for a lifetime of service and diligence. The ethical and ecological responsibilities that being human entails will only increase as humanity finally comes of age.

This essay is adapted from Michael Tobias' unsettling book, WORLD WAR III - Population & the Biosphere at the End of the Millennium, first published in 1994. A new paperback edition, revised and updated, with photographs and a Preface by Jane Goodall, is published by Continuum Publishers, New York. From Pop!ulation Press vol 4, # 6, Summer 1998.

 

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Crowd Living It Up
 
by Catherine Zuckerman,
National Geographic, August 2011

Earth will soon be home to seven billion humans. If you find that hard to fathom, try grasping how many have ever walked the planet. That's what American demographer Carl Haub wanted to find out when, in 1975, he heard someone say that 75 percent of the people who'd ever been born were alive at that time. Dubious, he set out to disprove it, taking two main things into account:

    (1) the assumed dawn of humanity and
    (2) average populations at different periods of time.

Using 50,000 B.C. as his starting point, Haub applied crude birthrates-the number of annual births per thousand people-to each population set, then added them. His estimate? In 1975, 103 billion people had lived, but only 4 percent of them were alive at that time. Applied to 2011, says Haub, those numbers are 108 billion, and 6.4 percent. Mind-boggling, indeed.

[ed. note: The article also showed, graphically in an "hour-glass" type display, that 140 million people are born each year against 57 million deaths each year...]

 

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Links:

  1. Activists - folks on the frontlines!!
  2. Aspen City Council - Immigration Resolution
  3. AS - USA - Alliance for a Sustainable USA
  4. Bartlett, Dr. Albert A. - 1998 Population Interview
  5. Biodiversity
  6. Birth Control Watch
  7. CAIR - Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform
  8. CAPS - Californians for Population Stabilization
  9. Climate Change
  10. Control Growth
  11. Desert Invasion - across the U.S. southern border
  12. Die Off
  13. Fossil Fuels and Peak Oil
  1. Moral Code for a finite world
  2. Numbers USA - Take Action!
  3. Population - Sierra Club's Rocky Mountain Chapter Population Page
  4. Population and Sustainability - Fred Elbel's Population Page
  5. Population Media Center
  6. Sierrans for US Population Stabilization - Support a Comprehensive Sierra Club Population Policy
  7. Sustainability by Dr. Albert Bartlett
  8. Sustainability
  9. UNFPA United Nations Population Fund
  10. U.S. Census Bureau population clock
  11. Voluntary Human Extinction Movement - "May we live long and die out"
  12. World Population Balance
  13. World Charter for Nature - United Nations

 

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