Amidst the media hysteria about the U.S. population reaching 300 million this month, it seems an opportune moment to reflect on the deeply subjective nature of the concept of "overpopulation." One example: how is it that Europe's low birth rate is a population "crisis," whereas Africa's high birth rate is also a population "crisis"? Three guesses.
For this and other food for thought, I highly recommend 10 Reasons to Rethink 'Overpopulation', a thoughtful new resource from Hampshire College's Population and Development Program that explores the links between population, reproductive health, human rights, racism, and the environment. Here are some particularly compelling reasons to rethink:
- Population control targets women's fertility and restricts reproductive rights.
- Population alarmism encourages apocalyptic thinking that legitimizes human rights abuses.
- Conventional views of overpopulation stand in the way of greater global understanding and solidarity.
If I had my way, it would be required reading for all 300 million Americans…