Brits Break Silence On Population-Climate Change Links

Too Many Babies Too Much Carbon photo

Green technology may well still save the world. But two British family planning and reproductive health experts, Dr. Pip Hayes and Professor John Guillebaud, say the best green move any British couple can make is to have just two kids, or at least one less than they were perhaps planning on.

A British baby makes 160 times more GHG emissions than an Ethiopian baby
That's a calculation not from the British experts but from the Optimum Population Trust. But the experts do point out that with 79 million people being added to Planet Earth each year - the equivalent to erecting a mid-sized 1.5 million person city each week - every nation would do well to have a defined population policy (Britain does not, ditto the U.S.). 6.7 billion humans and counting
Guillebaud and Hayes say better availability of and access to contraception rather than coercion are needed worldwide to get women to plan smaller families. The idea that population is going to emerge as a bigger issue in the food, energy and climate debates is key in the recently published book The Dominant Animal, Paul and Anne Erlichs' follow up to their 70's book "bomb" The Population Bomb. Much of the wide-spread famine the Erlichs' predicted back then was solved by improvements in agricultural technology. But Earth's carrying capacity (estimated at approximately 2 billion, though debated) is now being far exceeded for techno fixes, they surmise. Guillebaud told the Guardian:

We are not criticising those people in Britain who had large families in the past, because a lot of people had no inkling about the sustainability implications.

Zen And The Art Of Population Management
Another recently published book More: Population, Nature, And What Women Want by Robert Engelman (a Worldwatch Institute director) follows a bit of the Erlichs' way of thinking. Engelman suggests in less strident tones than the Erlichs that it might simply be smart to start slowing down our population growth, globally, by giving women the tools they need (information, education and condoms, more or less) to space their families as they would like and thus get to sustainable population levels. Via ::Science Daily
More on overpopulation:
The Elephant In The Room: Overpopulation
Get involved in the debate at the TreeHugger Forums:
Do We Have The Right To Reproduce?

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