The Population Question
For many people of my generation, environmental awareness started with population. The sudden understanding of the nature of exponential growth forms a basic model for all manner of 'unsustainable' processes.
It happened to me when I was 19, reading this article by John Fremlin in the New Scientist:
How Many People Can the World Support? 1964 (doc)
For many years I was rather obsessed with the 'population problem' , but gradually I came to realise that it was only one of three principal drivers of environmental impacts (in the famous IPAT identity), and much the least dynamic. Logically, greater attention should focus on the others, as explained in this short inteview
A short interview on the population question 2004 (doc)
This is not to say that the population question is not important, or that the world would have been in a much better place if sensible population policies had not been obstructed by religious and other ideology over the last several decades. I had many conversations with one of the UK's most outspoken 'population philosophers', the late Jack Parsons. Jack was a compulsive polemicist, writing leaflets such as 'The Treason of the BBC' and 'The Vatican Body-Count'. His magnum opus, a two-volume work on population competition as an instrument of policy, was so near the knuckle that no mainstream publisher would touch it (Human Population Competition, 1998). It deserves to be much better-known and discussed. His papers are kept in a special archive at CAT. Here is a short memoir: