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Cross-Post: We are the .00018 Percent!

Imagine 2050 Staff • May 20, 2012

The debate around population is highly contentious.  This is one take on the issue.

Originally posted by Earth First! here.

Does Earth First! Carry the Capacity for a Justice Based Approach to Overpopulation?

By Skyler Simmons

Last October the 7 billionth human came into being on this little planet of ours, once again bringing the question of overpopulation to the forefront. To say that the discourse on human population levels has been ugly would be an understatement. On one side you have the narrow-minded and often times racist rhetoric from within our own ranks(1) wrongly assigning blame to poor, impoverished nations or immigrants for the Earth’s population woes (and conveniently absolving themselves of any guilt) while ignoring issues of First World privilege and over-consumption. On the other side there are many social justice groups reacting to these racist comments by downplaying(2) the negative impacts humans have had on the Earth or trying to narrow the problem down to solely an issue of consumption and resource distribution.

To complicate matters further, many governments have turned to authoritarian measures such as forced sterilization or enacting harsh penalties for women who have more than one child, leaving a rather sour taste in ones mouth when the question of solutions to population growth come up. As if that is not enough, overtly racist groups such as the Federation for American Immigration Reform, The Weeden Foundation, and Carrying Capacity Network, are actively throwing millions of dollars at the environmental movement to get them on the anti-immigrant bandwagon(3).

Unfortunately the asinine comments of our ecological forefathers combined with the population policies of authoritarian regimes have made it next to impossible to discuss the issue of overpopulation without being thrown in with the unsavory company of racists and dictators. What’s a justice minded radical environmentalist to do?

It is important that we confront these racist and authoritarian attitudes but equally important that we not throw the 7 billionth baby out with the bathwater by denying the real impacts of a massive human population on the planet. What follows is an effort to detangle the issue of overpopulation from misanthropy and xenophobia of some environmentalists while laying out justice based, cooperative (rather than coercive) solutions to the population crisis.

Continue the article here.

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