“Every person you add to the planet adds more greenhouse gases…” Paul Ehrlich

Date: Tuesday – November 17, 2015
Host: George Noory
“Every person you add to the planet adds more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and so worsens climate disruption. Every person you add to the planet, means we have to grow more food…” Paul Ehrlich



In the first half, Prof. Paul R. Ehrlich discussed his work on population theory and mass extinction. He argues that many species of birds and mammals are being annihilated due to the human population explosion, along with commercial endeavors and the continuing development of natural areas. “Every person you add to the planet adds more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and so worsens climate disruption. Every person you add to the planet, means we have to grow more food…and the biggest enemy of the climate is agriculture– about 30% of the greenhouse gases…come from our food system,” he noted. We’re running out of soil, and toxifying the entire planet, he added.

A huge variety of creatures are being eliminated under current conditions. For example, he cited how the orange-bellied parrot in Australia is disappearing largely because of habitat destruction, passenger pigeons in North America, that once numbered in the millions, are now extinct due to hunting, and many types of bats, which eat a lot of problematic insects, are dwindling down in numbers. Ehrlich estimated that the human population is 4-6 times too high, and for the planet to be able to support us, we should have no more than 2-3 billion people. For those interested in fostering change, and making the Earth more sustainable, he suggested getting involved with the organization MAHB (The Millennium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere).

Have Denialists Reached Their Carrying Capacity?

by Jim Robertson

Denial seems to be the fallback position for those who don’t understand a particular science and/or have a political motive not to believe said science. Lately we’ve been hearing much about the denial of anthropogenic climate change, but willful ignorance can be employed for everything from evolution to overpopulation.

Generally speaking, denialists want to hold humans harmless of something they’re clearly responsible for, whether it’s having a carbon footprint—or a literal footprint. But no one is innocent of the ultimate crime of being born a human. (An aberration. An abnormality. An irregularity. A meat-eating monkey.)

Some still cling to the denial that tobacco (or meat) can cause cancer. Others just don’t care. Many would probably balk at the analogy that humans are a cancer to the Earth.

Historically, it was deniers of the obvious–gravity, astronomy and evolution (literal flat-Earthers)—who we heard the most from. Today’s deniers still include a few who question the “theory” of gravity, evolution and other realities.

But few have gone so far as to call for a de facto book ban as Laurie Mazur did recently in a Los Angeles Times op-ed entitled, “China drops its ‘one-child’ policy, now let’s ban the ‘population bomb’,” featuring the irrational statement, “Let’s be clear: slowing population growth is not a panacea for the challenges of the 21st century.” I’m sure biologist Paul Ehrlich, whose 1968 book she attacks in her article, would challenge that statement. Let’s be real: slowing our population growth is the only lasting remedy, assuming we care about the rest of life on Earth at all.

Has Ms. Mazur ever heard of the term carrying capacity? In Paul and Anne Ehrlich’s 1996 book, Betrayal of Science and Reason: How Anti-environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future, they write in answer to the naïve notion that there is no overpopulation:

“To understand how fallacious this statement is requires recognizing that overpopulation can be reached very quickly by exponentially growing populations in situations of seeming abundance. There is overpopulation when organisms (people in this case) become so numerous that they degrade the ability of the environment to support their kind of animal in the future. The number of people Earth can support in the long term (without degrading the environment)—given existing socioeconomic systems, consumption patterns, and technological abilities—is called the human carrying capacity of the planet at the time. And carrying capacity can be exceeded without causing immediate effects obvious to the untutored observer. ‘Overshoots’ commonly occur in nature with all kinds of organisms. A population has an ‘outbreak,’ grows far beyond its carrying capacity, consumes its resources (for animals, usually food), and crashes to a size far below the previous carrying capacity.”

Homo sapiens has never been a light-touch or low-impact type of creature. Once you realize that, it’s easier to believe they’re overpopulated and have been actually changing the planet’s climate. Whether or not our species has peopled the Earth to the point of saturation, the denialists have undeniably reached their carrying capacity.


Talk about Denialism



There are many forms of denial; denial of human overpopulation is coming into vogue. Get a load of this OP/ED in today’s L.A. Times, reminiscent of 1984:

China drops its ‘one-child’ policy, now let’s ban the ‘population bomb’

OP/ED by Laurie Mazur L.A. Times

Now that China has laid to rest its infamous “one-child” rule, it’s time to retire the “population bomb” fears that inspired it.

The one-child rule grew from a population panic in the 20th century, when human numbers were growing at a faster rate than ever before (or since). The increase conjured a dystopian hell of environmental destruction, resource shortages and massive human suffering.

[Not to mention, non-human species extinctions. Then there’s carbon pollution (both of which Paul Ehrlich mentioned in his book and are directly related to overpopulation) . Has this editor tried to drive the LA freeway lately?…]

World Vasectomy Day

Sent via email from Center for Biological Diversity


World Vasectomy Day
November 13

One of the calendar’s most underappreciated awareness days is fast approaching: World Vasectomy Day, Nov. 13. The population conversation often revolves around the need for reproductive justice and access to healthcare for women, but the other half of the population has an important role to play, too. World Vasectomy Day, started by filmmaker Jonathan Stack, is the perfect opportunity to talk about why men get vasectomies and celebrate those who have already made the choice as an act of love — love for their families, their partners and, of course, the planet.

A vasectomy is one of the best ways to avoid unplanned pregnancy, reduce your carbon legacy and help leave space for wildlife. If you chose to get a vasectomy — or are thinking about it — for the sake of the environment, we want to hear from you. Send us a few sentences about why you “got whacked for wildlife” and we’ll send you our conversation-starting “Get whacked for wildlife” T-shirt. We’ll share your story online (first name and state only) to help inspire other men.

World Vasectomy Day isn’t all talk. On Nov. 13 more than 650 doctors around the world will be performing thousands of vasectomies, many of them for free or at a reduced cost. The Center is supporting New York City doctors working to expand access to the procedure by sponsoring 20 vasectomies next month.

Help Close the Door on Risky Arctic Drilling


From: Ocean Conservancy

Big news! Shell Oil announced that it is giving up its quest to drill for oil in the U.S. Arctic Ocean. Shell’s retreat from the Arctic is a testament to all those who raised their voices in opposition to risky Arctic drilling. More importantly, Shell’s decision is great news for the bowhead whales, walruses, ice-dependent seals and other wildlife species that could have been devastated by an oil spill in this remote region.

But there’s still more work to do to protect Arctic waters from the threat of offshore drilling! In the coming months, the Obama Administration will decide whether to sell more oil leases in the Arctic Ocean. Let’s not go down that road again. Join Ocean Conservancy in calling on President Obama not to go forward with any new lease sales in the Arctic Ocean: https://secure.oceanconservancy.org/site/Advocacy;jsessionid=7440033D34B36417CC1EBCA579359C83.app261b?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1067&s_src=15WAXAXXXX&s_subsrc=15AADN10&AddInterest=2147

The Progressive Pope’s Regressive Stance on Birth Control


By John Seager, President

September 25, 2015


I get why people like Pope Francis—he is charismatic, humble, and has an awfully contagious smile. He’s also radical by papal standards; being the first pope to dominate the social media realm and the first to be named “Person of the Year’ by an LGBT magazine. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t admire his cool tenacity.

But as crowds gather to catch a glimpse of Pope Francis—the religious rock star—on his East Coast tour, I can’t help but wonder about the fans who praise him for his enlightened stance on poverty, inequality, and climate change. Because, unless Francis ends his backwards proscription of birth control, it will be impossible for him to make any long-lasting improvements in those arenas.

From championing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to speaking out against economic disparity, the pope’s attempts to make the world a better place are futile alongside his reluctance to endorse access to the full range of contraceptives as a necessary and moral good.

Contraception, quite literally, saves lives—especially those of women and girls in the developing world who are deprived of antenatal services. Mothers and babies perish when women are prevented from delaying, spacing, or avoiding pregnancies. And young children whose mothers die during pregnancy and childbirth are cruelly left to fend for themselves.

In fact, if every single woman living in the developing world used modern contraception, the number of unintended pregnancies would be reduced by 70 percent and unsafe abortions would drop by 74 percent. Imagine how much that would enable women and girls to obtain an education and career; not to mention boost entire economies.

Increasing universal access to contraceptives is also central to addressing the challenge of climate change—a cause that the pope considers so important that he revolved his entire encyclical around it. While it’s a welcome step in the right direction, Francis remains opposed to breaking the doctrinal chains that prevent the Vatican from recognizing the environmental impacts of unintended pregnancy and, in turn, unsustainable population growth.

According to a recent study, slowing population growth could significantly reduce carbon emissions and diminish the onslaught of dangerous climate change. It truly is a matter of life and death for millions of, what Francis would term, God’s creatures.

Having the ability to choose when and whether to have children gives people—especially women and girls living in poor nations—a greater shot at enduring and recovering from extreme weather events. Families that can prevent unintended pregnancies are usually much better equipped, financially and otherwise, to counter the effects of climate change.

But, for Francis, science and facts take a backseat to doctrine. It’s a fact that eliminating the barriers that prevent women from accessing birth control reduces the rate of abortion—one of the greatest “sins” in the eyes of the Catholic Church. It’s also a fact that increased use of birth control is crucial for attaining many of the proposed UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as empowering women and girls. Yet, even those basic truths are not enough to sway the pope’s edict on modern contraception.

While reformism may have its limits in the Vatican, the championing of human rights shouldn’t. Planning and preventing pregnancy not only saves lives; it helps to fight poverty, close the inequality gap, and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that get pumped into the atmosphere.

It’s time for His Holiness to cease his condemnation of modern contraception and live up to his reputation as a progressive, egalitarian pope. Otherwise, Francis, the rock star, may become Francis, the one-hit wonder.

PETITION: NO shutdowns and NO cuts to Planned Parenthood

Tell Republicans, NO shutdowns and NO cuts to Planned Parenthood >>

Right-wing extremists are coming after Planned Parenthood harder than ever. Republicans are even going as far to say that they will SHUT DOWN THE GOVERNMENT again if Planned Parenthood isn’t defunded.

Add your name to tell Congress to reject any efforts to defund Planned Parenthood and shut down the government:

The GOP is threatening yet ANOTHER government shutdown. This time, Senator Ted Cruz, the ringleader of the defund Obamacare campaign that led to the 2013 government shutdown, is determined to defund Planned Parenthood. Cruz and 27 other Republican men stated that they would oppose ANY bill that continues funding for Planned Parenthood.1

They are planning cuts. BIG cuts that would wipe out the funding Planned Parenthood relies on to provide affordable, critical, and lifesaving healthcare to MILLIONS of women — particularly leaving low-income and uninsured women with nowhere left to turn.

Republicans are determined to continue their attacks on women’s health care, and they are even willing to shut down the government to get their way. 28 Republican men are willing to inflict major damage to the economy unless women are denied critical healthcare services. We can’t stand for this. We only have 18 days to take action. We need to act NOW.

Please, sign the petition and tell Congress to STOP a government shutdown and to continue funding Planned Parenthood:


This Is What The World Would Be Like If Humans Had Never Existed


Basically, we’d see large mammals everywhere.


If humans had never existed, the whole world would look strikingly similar to the Serengeti of Africa. There would be lions in America, and elephants and rhinos roaming Europe.

That’s the conclusion of a new study that details how human-driven animal extinctions have influenced the distribution and populations of large mammals around the world.

“The study shows that large parts of the world would harbor rich large mammal faunas, as diverse as seen in protected areas of eastern and southern Africa today, if it was not for historic and prehistoric human-driven range losses and extinctions,” Dr. Jens-Christian Svenning, a biologist at Aarhus University in Denmark and a co-author of the study, told NBC News.

<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption">The natural diversity of large mammals as it would appear without the impact of humans. The figure shows the variation in the number of large mammals (45 kilograms or larger) that would have occurred per 100 x 100 kilometer. The numbers on the scale indicate the number of species. </span> Credit: Søren FaurbyThe natural diversity of large mammals as it would appear without the impact of humans. The figure shows the variation in the number of large mammals (45 kilograms or larger) that would have occurred per 100 x 100 kilometer. The numbers on the scale indicate the number of species. Share on Pinterest
<span class='image-component__caption' itemprop="caption"><span style="color: #818181; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 10.0799999237061px; line-height: 16.7999992370605px; background-color: #ffffff;">The current diversity of large mammals. It can clearly be seen that large numbers of species virtually only occur in Africa, and that there are generally far fewer species throughout the world than there could have been.</span></span> Credit: Søren FaurbyThe current diversity of large mammals. It can clearly be seen that large numbers of species virtually only occur in Africa, and that there are generally far fewer species throughout the world than there could have been.Share on Pinterest

The study was published last Thursday in the journal Diversity and Distributions. The researchers analyzed what the natural distribution of large mammal species would be if not for the impact of humans.

The study expands on the scientists’ previous research, which showed that the mass extinction of large mammals during the last ice age and in subsequent millennia was largely linked to the spread of modern humans, not to climate change.

Based on their most recent analysis, the researchers concluded that sub-Saharan Africa is virtually the only place on Earth with the naturally high diversity and population of large mammals that would be seen elsewhere if not for humans.

“Most safaris today take place in Africa, but under natural circumstances, as many or even more large animals would no doubt have existed in other places,” Dr. Søren Faurby, a postdoctoral fellow in bioscience at Aarhus and lead author of the study, said in a press release. “The reason that many safaris target Africa is not because the continent is naturally abnormally rich in species of mammals. Instead it reflects that it’s one of the only places where human activities have not yet wiped out most of the large animals.”

“Earth Overshoot Day” Marks Deficit in Planet’s Natural Resources


Overconsumption Pushing Earth Into Overshoot Earlier Each Year

TUCSON, Ariz. – Today is Earth Overshoot Day, the day humanity exhausts the resources the planet can replenish in a year. This year overshoot comes four and a half months too soon and a week earlier than last year. The Center for Biological Diversity is partnering with the Global Footprint Network to raise awareness about overshoot and the impact of unsustainable overconsumption on the planet.

“As we continue to clearcut trees, burn fossil fuels and consume wild animals, the Earth can’t keep up,” said Leigh Moyer, the Center’s population organizer. “We see evidence of this in shrinking habitat, the global climate crisis and crashes in wildlife populations. We’re blowing through nature’s capital, and wildlife and the planet are suffering for it.”

Overshoot takes into account the amount of resources used by the Earth’s human population and the waste we produce, particularly carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere. The Global Footprint Network calculates Earth Overshoot Day by dividing the amount of ecological resources the planet generates each year by humanity’s ecological footprint (the amount of land and water needed to produce the resources we consume and absorb the waste we create), then multiplying by 365, the number of days in a year. The result is the number of days that the Earth’s resources will last at humanity’s current rates of consumption. This year the planet’s resources lasted 224 days, or until Aug. 13. The rest of the year is in “overshoot.”

“We’re currently using more than the equivalent of one and a half Earths every year,” said Moyer. “And if everyone lived like Americans, we’d use four and a half Earths. Since we only have one Earth, this clearly isn’t sustainable.”

In addition to raising awareness about overshoot, the Center is launching a public petition urging the Target retail chain to discontinue use of single-use plastic shopping bags from its stores nationwide. Target positions itself as a sustainable retailer with goals to reduce waste and cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, but continues to give away a billion plastic bags a year, many of which end up in landfills, as litter or as ocean pollution.

The Center’s Population and Sustainability program promotes a wide range of solutions to address overshoot, including reducing meat consumption, developing wildlife-friendly renewable energy sources, and universal access to birth control and family planning.


At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature – to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.