Green Leader Calls for Halving U.K. Population

Thanks to one of my readers for bringing this linked article to my attention.  It seems that one of English Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s key “green advisors” has called for the U.K. to reduce its population by half to build a sustainable society. 

JONATHON PORRITT, one of Gordon Brown’s leading green advisers, is to warn that Britain must drastically reduce its population if it is to build a sustainable society.

Porritt’s call will come at this week’s annual conference of the Optimum Population Trust (OPT), of which he is patron.

It’s significant that influential leaders are beginning to muster the courage to raise this issue.  Is anyone on this side of the Atlantic listening?  Of course, if they understood that their economy would actually be enhanced instead of harmed by such an approach, their job would be that much easier.  But regardless of whether overpopulation is addressed out of concern for the environment or out of concern for its effect upon unemployment and poverty, the end result is the same and I’ll be just as happy. 

You would think that environmentalists would be the first to jump on this bandwagon but, amazingly, they’re among the most resistant.  They fear that linking the environmental movement with a drive to reduce our population will stigmatize them as being too radical.  Here’s an example in this same article:

Population growth is one of the most politically sensitive environmental problems. The issues it raises, including religion, culture and immigration policy, have proved too toxic for most green groups.

Such views on population have split the green movement. George Monbiot, a prominent writer on green issues, has criticised population campaigners, arguing that “relentless” economic growth is a greater threat.

Environmentalists who fear tackling the population issue focus instead on reducing per capita consumption.  For example, they point to the low per capita consumption of energy in densely populated societies like Japan as evidence that nations like the U.S., with much higher per capita consumption, are being wasteful and can dramatically reduce consumption without significant harm to the economy.  However, they don’t understand that per capita consumption of energy in places like Japan is low not because they are more efficient, but because over-crowding has driven down their standard of living.  Low per capita employment in providing goods and services for domestic consumption is an inescapable consequence, making them dependent on exports to prop up their economy.  Without a high per capita consumption market like the U.S. to absorb their productive capacity, their economy would quickly collapse, just as ours would if we tried to emulate their rate of consumption. 

The only solution that relieves the strain on the environment and resources, while retaining the ability to enjoy a high standard of living, is to implement a population management policy that, through non-coercive measures, encourages a reduced birth rate, ultimately resulting in a slow decline in the population.  I hope that America is represented at this OPT conference and I hope that we pay close attention.

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