The Ecological Citizen: Confronting human supremacy


Long article

Just population policies for an overpopulated world

Phil Cafaro

The Ecological Citizen Vol 5 No 1 2021: 55–64 [epub-046]

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First published: 20 October 2021  |  PERMANENT URL  |  DOWNLOAD CITATION IN RIS FORMAT


After three decades of neglect, environmentalists are waking back up to the need to limit human numbers. But like Rip Van Winkle, we find that the world changed while we were asleep. There are now billions more people, hundreds of millions of new members in the global middle class, and elevated consumption among the wealthy. Meanwhile the planet has grown warmer, more polluted, tamer and more depauperate. This article specifies what just population policies look like for an overpopulated world: one where most national populations must decrease significantly to create sustainable societies, and where failure to do so threatens environmental disaster for humans and the rest of life on Earth. It argues that governments in both underdeveloped and overdeveloped countries should encourage and enable one-child families and discourage larger ones, striking a proper balance between reproductive rights and reproductive responsibilities.



Ecological ethics, Limits, Overpopulation, Sixth mass extinction, Sustainability