Source: Grist.com

Happy Friday! Here’s another reblogged post I found a bit thought-provoking, this time poking holes in the argument that “overpopulation” is the cause of all the environmental issues we face today.  I’ve never bought into the notion that “it’s all those poor people having babies that’s causing global warming!” while conveniently forgetting that, on average, one child in the “developed” world consumes more resources than several children in the global south.

The too many people argument directs the attention and efforts of sincere activists to programs that will not have any substantial effect. At the same time, it weakens efforts to build an effective global movement against ecological destruction: It divides our forces, by blaming the principal victims of the crisis for problems they did not cause.

Above all, it ignores the massively destructive role of an irrational economic and social system that has gross waste and devastation built into its DNA. 

When I first read the article, I thought, “Way to oversimplify things. What about all the consumers in rich nations driving the demand for products that the “1%” (as folks call them) sells them?” If you read the comments, you’ll see lots of other people thought the same thing.  The writer, Ian Angus, wrote a follow up article that clarifies his position and explained what most of us missed: the disparate impact the”1%” has on the environment compared to the “99%”. Sure, average American household does have an impact on the environment, from energy use to petroleum-based products, but that family isn’t the one deciding to dump oil in the Niger delta, or allowing oil companies to engage is inherently risky drilling without setting up a viable—and legally-require—emergency plan.

I’m glad I did a bit more digging before I posted, because I started to go on about how the article ignored the effect of consumers (aka. “developed” nation middle-class people) on the environment. A couple of hours and articles later, I have (I hope) a slightly better understanding. My posts always take more time than I anticipate because I always do a bit more research to make sure I’m not just running my mouth (or fingers) with whatever pops into my head ^_^

Read: Is the environmental crisis caused by the 7 billion or the 1%? | 7 billion: What to expect when you’re expanding—a special series | Grist.

And then once you’ve read that and the comments, see the reply here at Climate and Capitalism.

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