The Ecological Citizen Vol 1 No 2 2018: 181–9
Human population growth is slowing down, but there is no end in sight: we are due to reach 11 billion towards the end of this century, and to continue expanding our numbers well into the next. This article discusses why focusing on the rate of population growth as the central problem amounts to a mistaken and misleading approach to thinking about the issue, as does the suggestion that we should aim to 'stabilize' population size. Our current population size is already unsustainable, which poses great risks to human beings and wildlife alike. The aim must be to reverse human population growth rather than merely to slow it down or lock it in at some arbitrary, unsustainable size. High fertility rates are largely a product of social norms. But social norms can change, and this is a powerful argument for active and honest dialogue about the problem of unsustainable human population growth.