Overpopulation

Heres a program from our archives.We tend to look at overpopulation as a matter of numbers, but that may not be the most useful approach. I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Ambience, Nursery, baby cries Ehrlich: Overpopulation basically has nothing whatever to do with population density, the number of people per square mile.” Paul Ehrlich is a professor of Population Studies at Stanford University, and co-author of a recent book, “The Population Explosion.” Ehrlich: The critical thing is the impact that people have on the resources of the planet and the ability of the environmental systems of the planet to support people, and when you look at that, it turns out that the average American has something on the order of a hundred times the impact on the planet, as say, does the average citizen of Bangladesh, which shouldn’t be surprising because of course the average citizen of Bangladesh does not drive a gas guzzler, does not have an air-conditioned home, doesn’t jet around the world, doesn’t use huge piles of plastics, doesn’t read a newspaper that weighs five pounds on Sunday, and so on. And so we are enormous users of the resources of the planet, and with more than a quarter of a billion people in the United States, we’re one of the giant countries, we’re extraordinarily consumptive, we’re very affluent, and we’re very very sloppy with the technologies we use to supply that affluence, and so by far, the biggest threat in terms of population to the planet is the population of the United States. So how do we begin to deal with overpopulation in a meaningful way? Ehrlich: You try and stop population growth as rapidly as possible and particularly in the rich countries where it could be done very rapidly, start their population sizes shrinking. You want to reduce the amount of needless consumption; and then one of the places where we’ve got lots of room to work, particularly in the United States, is getting more efficient and less environmentally damaging technologies. This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.

Overpopulation

The most overpopulated country in the world is..?
Air Date:09/06/2018
Scientist:
Transcript:

Heres a program from our archives.We tend to look at overpopulation as a matter of numbers, but that may not be the most useful approach. I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Ambience, Nursery, baby cries Ehrlich: Overpopulation basically has nothing whatever to do with population density, the number of people per square mile." Paul Ehrlich is a professor of Population Studies at Stanford University, and co-author of a recent book, "The Population Explosion." Ehrlich: The critical thing is the impact that people have on the resources of the planet and the ability of the environmental systems of the planet to support people, and when you look at that, it turns out that the average American has something on the order of a hundred times the impact on the planet, as say, does the average citizen of Bangladesh, which shouldn't be surprising because of course the average citizen of Bangladesh does not drive a gas guzzler, does not have an air-conditioned home, doesn't jet around the world, doesn't use huge piles of plastics, doesn't read a newspaper that weighs five pounds on Sunday, and so on. And so we are enormous users of the resources of the planet, and with more than a quarter of a billion people in the United States, we're one of the giant countries, we're extraordinarily consumptive, we're very affluent, and we're very very sloppy with the technologies we use to supply that affluence, and so by far, the biggest threat in terms of population to the planet is the population of the United States. So how do we begin to deal with overpopulation in a meaningful way? Ehrlich: You try and stop population growth as rapidly as possible and particularly in the rich countries where it could be done very rapidly, start their population sizes shrinking. You want to reduce the amount of needless consumption; and then one of the places where we've got lots of room to work, particularly in the United States, is getting more efficient and less environmentally damaging technologies. This archival program is part of our thirtieth anniversary celebration. If you want hear more, check out our podcast.