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As Global Population Grows, Ecological Threats and Armed Conflict Could Displace Over 1 Billion People by 2050

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/09/09/global-population-grows-ecological-threats-and-armed-conflict-could-displace-over-1



What efforts, if any, are being made to address the Root Cause of ALL these problems:  the Already FAR Too Large – AND STILL GROWING – human population??


"Planet of the Humans" was that effort, by Michael Moore, Jeff Gibbs and Ozzie Zehner.

It is at this moment in time the single best description of the state of the planet imo.

Here is a timely review of how “Planet of the Humans” was steamrolled by the very same persons shown in all their moneyed glory in this magnificent documentary - a TRUE 'Wake Up Call", 2020, joining MIT’s 1972 “Limits to Growth” and Johan Rockström’s 2009 “Planetary Boundaries”:

‘Green’ billionaires behind professional activist network that led suppression of ‘Planet of the Humans’ documentary


This is a long and painful read, and unfortunately adds to the list of green activists supported by billionaires and moneyed interests - Naomi Klein for example.

Here are links to both the “Limits to Growth” and “Planetary Boundaries”, for any who have not actually read them:




Time to wake up people - truly wake up and smell the coffee - or is it MONEY ~

PS to @ReconFire

I am reading Stanley McChrystal’s autobiography, “My Share of the Task” - unexpectedly revealing for those who like to read between the lines.


Watched the film, heard every episode of Rumble including the ones with Jeff and Ozzie as guests, saw Moore talking on Rising, so I feel confident in saying:

The filmmakers don’t have one damn constructive thing to say on population control and in fact Gibbs says he doesn’t even like the term.

The film doesn’t have much constructive in it period other than saying to use less which is valid, but there is no analysis of what are the best bang tactics to use less as we know depending on individual consumer behavior (just as with depending on individual family size preferences) doesn’t cut it. You need to do some collective actions (propaganda, tax policy, free birth control in terms of TFR, economic rules in terms of consumption). In general, I don’t recommend the film though I know many commenters here loved it (and many along with me didn’t). It is still available on the main site: ~https://planetofthehumans.com/

There are plenty of people who have something to constructive to say on population control and in the past I used to donate to some of the groups (I recall one that would fund novellas with small families to show the population that there should be nothing foreign about the concept and how life can be easier).

About the only thing I find useful from the CIA is they do maintain a list of countries by TFR at ~https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/356rank.html#:~:text=Total%20fertility%20rate%20(TFR)%20compares,fertility%20rate%20at%20each%20age. and one can see that Iran has it under control, but isn’t targeting a lower level to get their country back to a reasonable size (they’ve had crazy high fertility in the past and are way overpopulated for the country’s growing food capacity) and Kenya does not have it under control (TFR = 3.43.

Obviously humans should have figured out this issue many decades ago (our world population wasn’t so crazy 100 years ago and if we had gotten our TFR down to 2.0 then, we wouldn’t be where we are now). There is never a date where we should stop trying to figure it out though we are obviously very late now.


You expect to be led by the hand, on an issue this complexity and with so many spectacularly negative implications ?

Of course Jeff Gibb’s doesn’t like the term ‘population control’. He is joined by myself and about seven billion other humans on that I would think. Images of enforced sterilization, gene-editing, or outright extermination crop up easily in people’s minds, and for good reasons.

We used to have a form of population control before we became civilized - spacing children out - three to four years - as on demand breastfeeding was universally practiced. That’s natural, and never had to be thought about - until we teched our way out of hunting and gathering - and settled in as the civilized bunch we are now.

The entire documentary is a question - requiring people watching it to actually think for themselves, instead of retreating to the safe confines of the local holy book, prophet or messiah for answers.

And I will not give you an answer.

But I will ask if you have read in full either Limits to Growth or Planetary Boundaries ?

Almost everyone here is a better reader than I. I can get through articles just barely, and I don’t read many books. I’m thinking of reading “Break 'Em Up: Recovering Our Freedom from Big Ag, Big Tech, and Big Money” by Zephyr Teachout because I’ve been so impressed with her on recent podcasts. If I get through that book it will be a miracle.

Teachout’s book at least as it was discussed does “lead by the hand” in that it has many concrete actions that are suggested for activists to take to make the US economy better regardless of who wins the presidency. Population control is not complicated at all. There are plenty of case studies to look at besides India’s abject failure using coercive methods and China’s success using different coercive measures. Iran, Cuba, Brazil, and many more have all had successes and not all the countries with TFR < 2 (about 1/2 the countries in the world) are rich. You can reduce TFR, but people have to be way more willing to talk about it and not hide behind claims like you are making. Every article or film about it should include constructive things to say in my opinion. Just the overview of the problem is useless.

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  1. A TFR is a Temporary Flight Restriction - that obviously doesn’t fit the context - so I await enlightenment.

  2. [quote=“dara, post:6, topic:82008”]
    Population control is not complicated at all.
    I am glad to hear that - I thought we were in a world of trouble.

  3. [quote=“dara, post:6, topic:82008”]
    people have to be way more willing to talk about it and not hide behind claims like you are making.

We are all in hiding of some sort I think. I went climbing for seven years - that’s a form of hiding I suppose. You said you climbed a lot - same thing perhaps ?

And we are talking about population - that’s the headline on this thread.

But you want solutions - OK - I can agree that’s a good idea.

Your proposals ?

  1. [quote=“dara, post:6, topic:82008”]
    Just the overview of the problem is useless.
    The book I’m reading, by retired four star Stanley McChrystal - the very first priority of his as he assumed command of JTF 714 in 2003 (Special Operations - Green & Blue - i.e., Delta Force & SEALs), was to survey the battlefield personally and up close.

That’s step one. That’s what Limits to Growth, Planetary Boundaries, Planet of the Humans, Our Final Century by Martin Rees, etc etc… are - surveying the battlefield - to determine the nature of the threat.

Far from being “useless” it is also a necessary but insufficient precondition to ultimate success.

One doesn’t have to be a reader - but I admit I don’t know how I would know what I know without books - thousands of them, which provide intersecting viewpoints and in addition personal insights into the character of the men and women who take the time and effort to write them.

This acronym which means Total Fertility Rate which is the number of children each woman in a group has (there are some statistical details on how you keep track of this given you want to talk about a number that varies year to year but some women haven’t finished yet, but this is handled reasonably).
I assume anyone who reads about population much has run into this term before, but I guess I will stop making that assumption.

Lot’s of things aren’t complicated but are politically difficult.

I’ve climbed since I was in my early 20s - a lot in my 30s, a lot less now in my 50s but I hope I’ve got another 10 years. Doesn’t seem like hiding to me, just a very interesting sport that combines testing your strength, stamina, mental problem solving, and guts (though I could do without that part - I’m fine with a few bolts added to dangerous trad climbs) along with some very often great scenery thrown in.

My proposals are that everyone (actors, musicians, politicians, famous people of all kinds) talk much more often about how they deliberately chose to have 0, 1 (or even 2) kids because they understand we live on a finite planet. Musicians or other artists can weave it into their art. Researchers are already doing what they can do I assume, but if there is some political will at some point, maybe we can do more research into which countries have achieved the most rapid and long lasting impact on TFR and how they did it and come up with lists of things that can be be done that are effective. Some of those things won’t work in certain countries (e.g. Iran actually used Islam in its propaganda (a term I use not pejoratively, but neutrally) to get people to have smaller families. The TFR in the US is 1.84 which isn’t too bad. I first started looking at this 15-20 years ago when our number was a bit more than 2 (Note: a perfectly stable population is associated with a number > 2, maybe around 2.07 for a country with a reasonably good health care system so that most people born don’t die before they could reach an age of reproduction). I’ve written on CD before saying a worldwide number of 1.5 would be a good target (100-200 years of this will get us back to a reasonable population), so I’d still like to reduce fertility here. In general, most of the people I read that I liked say you start at the very beginning with meeting the unmet demand for birth control. There must be near zero unintended pregnancies. After that, you may not hit the number you want so there are basically two methods I know of, one is somewhat coercive: propaganda (we can’t use Islam here, but basically trying to make a lot more people aware of the direct connection their fertility choice makes on the earth - I still meet engineers who think rationally, are somewhat concerned about the environment and still had 3 or 4 kids - these people did not receive enough propaganda, and the coercive one is you make people pay more taxes for more fertility which is typically proposed as just getting rid of the child tax credit after two kids (though if you have 1 and then twins or some other situation you have no control over, seems like there should be allowances - also, you’d want to set it up so that rich people have a disincentive that is proportional to their income and just removing the deduction doesn’t cut it). I don’t see why any more that this is needed in the US.

In other countries, we need to convince more US voters that it is money well spent to give foreign aid for birth control. When I donated to one group (forgot the name), their take was we are going after the lowest hanging fruit which was training doctors in Pakistan to do scalpel-less vasectomies for free. Sure they may not get to many men before they have 3 or 4 kids, but so many have 5 or 6 (Pakistan’s TFR is now 3.6) that knocking that number down has the biggest bank for your donation buck. Just as we tried for world wide discussions on climate change, we should try for worldwide discussions on population. All countries should propose population numbers for their region that are sustainable and we should be tracking progress towards getting to sustainable numbers. Because I absolutely agree that climate change is a huge mess and first world consumption is the biggest driver, that isn’t the only environmental problem we have (though it has its fingers in most of them). Poor people may not use that much energy, but they all need air, water, and food and more of them are going to be fighting than now (which is already a sad amount even if you take away our immoral wars out of the equation).

When I say it isn’t complicated, I mean it isn’t like a Gen IV nuclear reactor which as you know I think there is promise to that idea but it is a VERY complicated problem technically. For this problem, most everyone who reads rationally knows what to do, it just isn’t easy to get done politically. The more people who lift their embargo on talking about the problem the better.

Which is why I brought it up in the first place.  The vast majority of those who at least pretend to be concerned with the conjoined problems of excessive consumption and the resultant excessive pollution are apparently, like author Corbett, willing only to discuss trivial surface “solutions” while failing to address the underlying true cause of our Mother Earth’s manifold problems.  The 10%, or at best 15%, temporary “cures” she suggests will be utterly swamped by the impend­ing 50% (or more) increase in population and the resultant 50% (or more) increases in demand for resources and the un­avoidable waste products and pollution.   A worldwide TFR well BELOW 2.0 for at least a few (and preferably several) generations is the ONLY viable long-term solution to the problem WE have created.

p.s.  To save time for those of you who are about to respond along the lines of, “Oh yeh?  What have YOU done??” ,
I have fathered only one child (at 42 relatively late, thereby skipping half a generation, anyway), and my daughter has born only one child (at 32 also relatively late, skipping another half generation), so, in practicing what we preach, we Addamses* have effectively had only two children in three generations.   Please join us!

* Addams and Eve - how coincidentally delicious!!

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Uncle, I’m not sue why you felt the need to shout this. Or even write it.
What do you think the IEP can or should do, in fact, about the existing population? Surely you’re not advocating some involuntary (or even voluntary) population reduction program?

The authors and institute should instead be commended for writing about a topic that gets far too little consideration - one that even liberals have been persuaded is a non-issue at best or even an elitist conspiracy at worst.

Seriously, I wonder at the trigger for your rage here.

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I would imagine @UncleFester would advocate as do I for non coercive (and if a complete failure, coercive is going to happen at some point) fertility reduction. With the math of our world population pyramid biased to the youngest generations due to many years of high TFR (total fertility rate) this won’t actually reduce the population for a few decades at least. No one advocates for killing people though many will die prematurely anyway.

Couldn’t agree more.

I don’t know the politics of the IEP but I don’t see any automatic problem with them advocating for smaller family size even while that communication is more often associated with other groups like UNFPA.

Because the headline implies that the author simply accepts that population growth is inevitable and that we need to compensate for its effects rather than doing our best to limit and eventually – as Dara pointed out in more detail – re­duce the number of humans.  If we don’t due so humanely by decreasing the birth rate then Mother Nature will do it for us (or to us) by increasing the death rate. Just a one percent per year increase in population would result in more than 21 Billion humans by 2120.  I rather doubt that more than a very small fraction of that number will be living luxurious – or even comfortable – lives — there simply are not enough resources on this planet.

OTOH, Covid-19 may be just a low-level warning of what could be in store for us in the next few years . . .



I had a friend a while back, a few actually, from South Sudan. Christian name, Christian upbringing, child soldiers. My friend went back to the Sudan, to the village where he was born. His Dad told him he was now too soft to rejoin the tribe (Dinka). But my friend didn’t return to live there, but to find a wife, which he did, and returned to Canada, where he now has several children.

Tribal life - return to Canada - religion - it’s way more complicated than Gen IV - and just as intractable.

I’m dead certain there are literally millions of stories people could add to the short one I presented.

Complicated means we don’t understand enough for a solution - which is exactly where we are.

The natural world will definitely solve the problem for us if we can’t.

Well we are obviously not going to change each other’s mind on this. Your example is not relevant to me. If the government Of South Sudan had pushed a lot of propaganda like Iran did (maybe you can’t call Iran tribal though I’d say some aspects are similar and their fertility went from 6.5 to 1.6 in 40 years) and yet they had no success bringing down TFR, then it would be relevant.

The problem is quite solvable if we had the right leaders (but we don’t and that includes the pope). That makes it very different from Gen IV where new leadership implementing known solutions won’t necessarily get us there (though for Gen IV I think we will get there in terms of a working design - though it isn’t obvious it will be a cost winner at least at some locations).

AMEN!!   Let the Vatican pay to rehabilitate Central and South America, where GROSS OVERPOPULATION is
directly attributable to the policies and false teachings of the Cult of Rome.

Ah-yup.   IIRC, the brilliant minds of the MIC, aka the PTB, aka “the economists”, seem O-K with the GDP so long as it’s growing at around 3% per year.  This implies that production of goods & services is growing at about 3% per year, which means our using up resources and producing the resultant wastes are growing at about 3% per year — which means either that people are getting 3% greedier each year, or the population is getting 3% bigger each year, or some combination of the above.  I find it hard to imagine that most people could get any greedier than they already are, so I’ll settle for population growth of 3% per year being necessary to support the ‘ideal’ of a 3% annual growth in GDP.  Let’s take current population to be roughly 7.5 Billion People, and look at what each year’s population being 3% bigger than the previous year’s population implies:
    In 10 years — 7.5 Billion People × 1.0310 = 10.08 Billion People
    In 20 years — 7.5 Billion People × 1.0320 = 13.55 Billion People
    In 30 years — 7.5 Billion People × 1.0330 = 18.20 Billion People
    In 40 years — 7.5 Billion People × 1.0340 = 24.47 Billion People
    In 50 years — 7.5 Billion People × 1.0350 = 32.88 Billion People

Does anyone REALLY think that, no matter what improvements we make in resource conservation, energy efficiency and waste reduction, that the earth can possibly support 32 BILLION People???   Obviously, this growth has to stop somewhere, so why not sooner than later?  Why not as soon as possible, so that most of the remaining non-human species have half a chance of still being here 50 years from now??

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You would think it was obvious, but then we are very privileged to have both the time, training and equipment to ‘see’ the situation.

Naturally the vested interests attack the messengers - they have to, as the data is not on their side.

This attack on the truth - on science - on common decency - is more than odious - it is criminal.

Well, Fes, I guess we just interpret the article and report somewhat differently. I didn’t infer any accepting that population growth was inevitable. It’s clearly pointing out that population growth is adding to the dangers. While it isn’t prescriptive on that issue, neither is it on the other risk factors. It is simply pointing out the dangers. Anyway, our concerns about pop. growth, and the likelihood of a far less humane response from nature are mutual.

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The film doesn’t have anything useful to say about anything; it’s an execrable piece of garbage that misleads at every step. It could hardly be worse if it were jointly funded by Koch Industries and the Yakuza.


One might say the proximal cause of climate and the larger ecological catastrophe is inequality, because the globally rich emit almost all the GHGs, control almost all of the rest by deciding how and where the poor live and what they do and make, and use the poor who neither cause nor benefit from the destruction but are the first and worst to suffer from it, like they are from everything else. The root cause is the psychological disturbance in many people in civilization, and the cause that links those 2 is the political-economic system that has taken over most of the world that’s an expression of that disturbance.

@manysummits :
The film is not a question; it’s a collection of horribly outdated and thus misleading disinformation that wouldn’t be excusable in the most off-the-cuff amateur youtube video, let alone a professional film that comes with the name of an experienced major filmmaker attached to it. Paying any attention to it, let alone citing it, is a sure sign the citer has no idea what what they’re talking about, or is lying about the most important issue in history, ultimately in order to delay the solutions so long civilization and most life on Earth are doomed. They’ve almost succeeded.

The root cause of the climate and larger ecological crisis is psychological; the proximal cause the root cause causes is inequality—the political economic system that expresses the psychological illness of the rich and suppresses the needs and desires of the vast majority. IOW, the problem is being almost entirely caused by a very small group of people, while the rest do little or no harm. If the poorest 6 billion disappeared tomorrow, there would be essentially no change in the progression of the crisis. And that’s the only place any growth in numbers of people is happening.