Speaking out about the last of the last taboos: human population dynamics and overpopulation

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An apparently unforeseen, unfortunately unwelcome and still unchallenged scientific finding regarding the relationship between food supply and human population numbers has been avoided and continues to be denied by the very experts upon whom the human community relies for guidance and direction. For a decade ‘the brightest and best’ have refused comment on what appears to be the best available science concerning the relationship between food availability and the size of the human population on Earth. Too many experts have ignored certain scientific evidence and failed to report their findings in professional journals, as would be expected. This failure of many experts has to be acknowledged and put behind us so that momentum can gather to move the human family in a new direction; so that we can begin making necessary changes toward sustainability.

Until now what appears so obvious, almost rhetorical to many people, regarding the human population has been rarely acknowledged and seldom reported by experts who have unassumed responsibilities to science and unfulfilled duties to perform for humanity’s sake. Perspectives of many too many professional researchers regarding human population dynamics and overpopulation have not been shared widely and openly. Public discourse of science regarding so vital a topic as human overpopulation has been voided, as it were, into a black hole of silence. Experts in possession of scientific understanding have remained mute about what people see and, in so choosing, have refused to validate what is already alive in the world: vital knowledge of the human population.

Scientists with expertise in many other fields of inquiry utterly depend on other top notch colleagues to present the best available scientific evidence in each field of study. That is to say, first class scientists who are not expert in matters related to population dynamics and human overpopulation, for example, are dependent upon similarly situated experts in fields of study related to population dynamics and overpopulation for reports of the best scientific evidence. Regrettably, professionals with appropriate expertise in population dynamics and human overpopulation have not been carefully examining and objectively reporting findings regarding certain scientific research from Hopfenberg and Pimentel on the human population. This most problematic situation has to be recognized, addressed and overcome.

How are human beings to consciously, deliberately and ably respond to the global challenges posed to humanity by human overpopulation of the Earth if experts in population dynamics and overpopulation choose to pose as if they are willfully blind, hysterically deaf and electively mute in the face of simple, plain and uncontested scientific evidence? Responding to science with silence, as has been occurring for the past ten years, is woefully inadequate and could result in humankind inadvertently precipitating the ruination of the world as a fit place for children everywhere to inhabit.

On our watch, the human family appears to be unknowingly precipitating a planetary emergency with potentially profound implications for the future of life as we know it on Earth. If a human-driven global emergency is in fact looming before us, it is incumbent upon those leaders inside and outside the community of scientists in my generation of elders to take the measure of the admittedly huge, complicated and interlocking global ecological challenges that are so distinctly human-forced, so forbiddingly emergent and so rapidly convergent in our time. The extent to which the global predicament already visible on the horizon is derived directly from unbridled overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities of the human species, there can be no doubt that human beings can make such changes in our behavioral repertoire as can humanely alter the dangerous ‘trajectory’ of our activities. That is to say, global threats to human well being and environmental health that are currently induced by humankind can certainly be acknowledged, ameliorated, eventually addressed and ultimately overcome by the family of humanity. But not without a transformed consciousness steeped in intellectual honesty, moral courage and a capacity for bold action that is to be found in a new kind of leadership and followership. Not without a new vision of an alternate path to the future. Not without making such behavior changes as are needed to move the human community away from growing a soon to become patently unsustainable "economic colossus", based on the rampant increase of unbridled human overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities, toward adopting sustainable individual lifestyles and right-sizing "too big to fail" corporate enterprises.

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Steve Salmony is a self-proclaimed global citizen, a psychologist and father of three grown children. Married 39 years ago. In 2001 Steve founded the AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population to raise consciousness of the colossal threat that the unbridled, near exponential growth of absolute global human population numbers poses for all great and small living things on Earth in our time. His quixotic campaign focuses upon the best available science of human population dynamics and human overpopulation of the Earth, in order to save the planet as a place fit for habitation by children everywhere. He contributed this article to Media Monitors Network (MMN).

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