Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Conservationist Denies Climate Change is a Problem

An interesting headline if it were true. But while I would not dispute that climate change is a major problem confronting the planet, I would suggest that it is not the most important issue, by a long way. The most important issue is that which is the cause of climate change. And that is the overuse of non-renewable resources, which in turn is totally dependent on the human population of the planet, which is still growing and totally out of control.

Politicians seem to have a knack of always sidestepping the real issues, and there is always the worry that virtually all politicians and economies are committed to growth. However, economic growth does not have to be connected to population growth.

In fact sustainable economic growth is probably only achievable in a country like Great Britain if there is negative population growth. All these issues would have been apparent in the boom and bust economies of the historical past, where populations exploded, then were devastated by plagues and disasters. But with the globalisation of world economies these ups and downs have been largely displaced from the developed world. But this is almost certainly only a temporary respite. Famines and economic depression have plagued Africa for the past half century, and the gap between rich and poor has widened all over the world. And no amount of foreign aid is going to revive Africa, despite the pledges of politicians and rock stars.

Avian 'flu set alarm bells ringing, probably rightly so. Because while the likelihood of avian 'flu transferring to humans is low, it is equally true to say that the probability of a major pandemic disease sweeping the world in the near future is extremely high. Just as it is not impossible that another natural disaster of the scale of the erruption of Tambora over a century and a half ago, would probably lead to widespread famine and disease even in the developed world. The 2004 tsunami showed what a relatively small natural disaster can do -- it was only a fraction of the scale of disasters that have occurred within historic times. The erruptions of Pompei, Krakatoa, the earthquakes of Lisbon and San Francisco would all cause incomparable damage if they occurred tomorrow, largely because the human populations they will affect are so much larger.

Until politicians place population control on the same footing, with the same level of funding as the so-called war against terror, they are doing something considerably worse than fiddling while Rome burns. And the devastation to human life is potentially incomparably more serious than any terrorist attack.


  1. Yet again, the CEO hits the nail firmly on the head.

    This kind of honesty - all too rare from most of the other org.s - is one of the key reasons why I enthusiastically support WLT.

    Fred Pearce, science writer, has two books out right now, one on rivers and water (mis)use and the other on climate change. He just about can bring himself to name the beast - too many humans taking too much - but few others seem able. Bravo WLT !

  2. A recent news report on the G8 meeting said that HIV/AIDS is the top of the agenda. Population control did not appear.

    It's odd that the problem was at being discussed 30 years ago. Now that the world population is so much greater and the problems so much more obvious, it has disappeared from debate.

  3. Thanks for these comments. I often feel I'ma lonely voice in the wilderness. But I know there are many people who do realise the scale of the problem. But how do we make politicians take notice. When Bush and his poodle take no notice of a world that is aginst their Middle East policy, it is unlikely that persons such as them, supported by the religious right are going to heed the voice of reason.

  4. Dear Sir,
    all your words are so true and well said...
    but, maybe we could just continue to step to the next level of our journey and coming closer to suitable solutions of problems and start to unveil very basic reasons behind the existing situation such as lack of knowledge, lack of moral/ethic standards - corruption, lack of economic independence of people making crucial decisions in each particular country, economic exploatation of natural resources by industrial superpowers/corporations (plain imperialistic style)...

    I simply can't see a solution for Africa or any other country on Earth without creating a "critical mass" of educated, economically independent individuals in each particular country with high moral/ethical standards, who are simply forced by the situation or nature to act in accordance with best sustainable practices already known to human kind. We don't need to invent nothing new.

    Let's be clear...one or just a few individuals are simply not enough to make a difference...for any change there have to be a "critical mass" to move - to force a change in direction.

    1.KNOWLEDGE...of how society works, of history, of natural sciences, of media, of POLITICS( lobbying) - of Power
    2.FOCUS to the freedom of an individual and to the sustainable life on Earth
    3."Critical mass" of focused individuals

    If we could provide that, every PM or president or any government will be forced to listen or will be forced to leave his/her/its position. Until then, we could just gossip, chit-chat, elaborate, shout for no real change.

    But, have we any other choice? The clock is ticking...