Letter: Control overpopulation; control climate change

…is it the use of fossil fuels that we should be worrying about, or is it a birthrate that is the biggest and real threat.

To the editor:

There have been several commentaries in the Kelowna Capital News with the expected responses (June 3 Tom Fletcher vs Jan Conradi for example) relating to climate change and actions.

BC’s Knowledge Network has a brilliant BBC documentary from David Attenborough titled How Many People can live on Planet Earth, available to watch online until June 10.

Why watch it? Well we constantly are being bombarded by our governments and our scientific community telling us how we need to stop our use of carbon-based fuels, about how we should be thinking about other sources of power, about how we need to recycle, re-use and reduce.

Yes, we mankind, have very likely done a lot of damage to our Planet—letting off a bunch of H-Bombs in Nevada and the Pacific over the years certainly didn’t help—but what we seem to be ignoring is the constantly growing population, and that is why this BBC documentary wil make us think about what would seem to be the real problem.

Jan Conradi actually mentions the increase in CO2 Concentrations Which Began In The 19Th Century: The correlation is that in the 19th century we started to see a reducing death rate thanks to medical science getting better and diseases that had decimated populations were stopped. This resulted in significant population growth.

And what happens when more and more people inhabit our world? We need to feed them, we need to house them, we need to employ them so they can buy the things they need to maintain a lifestyle, all of which means we use up resources and create issues like CO2 emissions.

So, from a stagnant one billion people in the 10,000 years up to 1800 AD, we began seeing the population increase to its current seven billion today with a projection that there will be nine billion by 2050. Our relationship with our planet is at its breaking point, and yes something needs to be done.

However, is it the use of fossil fuels that we should be worrying about, or is it a birthrate that is the biggest and real threat. With two babies born every second, there are approximately 80 million more people every year that we need to feed, and who over the years as they grow to adulthood, will require housing, cars and all the ‘toys’ everyone wants to have.

We need to rethink our use of fossil fuels, we need to rethink our CO2 emissions, but most of all we really, really need to reconsider what is happening with population growth. We, your average Canadian, likely can’t make much of a difference, but perhaps our ‘leaders’ can go on their jaunts to their conferences on the climate and start talking about where the real problem lies—more people will use more resources including fossil fuels, less people will use less—and maybe it is time that our leaders, the U.N., David Suzuki, all supported reductions in the global birthrate alongside the reduction in CO2 emissions etc.

And that’s why readers need to catch this Knowledge Network program before it goes off the air, and then maybe we can get some serious debate on climate change and climate action.

Malcolm Roberts, Kelowna