What You Can Do About Overpopulation

Published on April 9th, 2009

CAPS Offers Nine Things to Talk About on Earth Day

Santa Barbara, Calif. (April 9, 2009) – Since Earth Day 2008, an estimated 80 million people have been added to the planet. That’s approximately 150 people a minute, or about 6.6 million people every month. Think of it as adding a city roughly the size of Chicago, Hong Kong or Hyderabad, India – every single month.

World population now is 6.8 billion. This growth in human population, coupled with unprecedented human activity, use of natural resources and rapid economic growth, is unsustainable. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that fertility has been declining in most countries recently. However, Africa continues to experience very high fertility, with some African countries averaging more than seven children per woman. Other countries with a high TFR (total fertility rate) off-the-charts are Afghanistan (7.07), Yemen (6.32), Paraguay (3.75) and Pakistan (3.60), as well as ultra-Orthodox communities within Israel where the TFR may be as high as 8.

But the bad news on top of bad news is that the high birth rates persist in countries with high poverty and illiteracy, poor health care and female inequality. And even though some countries are experiencing fertility rates lower than in the past, the planet nonetheless is still on an unsustainable trajectory. More must be done to decrease high fertility rates in the less developed world.

“In the United States, we’re importing unsustainable population by failing to enforce our immigration laws; on top of that, we’re proposing amnesty for illegal aliens which will impact our growth for years to come because of ‘chain’ migration. Under present policy immigrants can sponsor, in addition to minor children, spouses and parents, their sisters and brothers, who with their spouses, can then bring in their extended families and all adult children” said Diana Hull, Ph.D., President of Californians for Population Stabilization.

“We want to bring needed focus on Earth Day to the problem of overpopulation – here in California, as well as in the U.S. and the world. Clearly it is at the root of most of our environmental problems,” added Hull. “From wildlife habitat loss and water shortages to congested roads and suburban sprawl, overpopulation is a major negative for our quality of life.” To encourage more discussion on the impacts of overpopulation, CAPS offers these suggestions on Earth Day:

  1. Educate yourself about the impacts of overpopulation in your community, your country and the world. Consider how the news behind the headlines (a new housing development, an amnesty for illegal aliens, water shortages) can be traced directly to population growth.
  2. Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, favorite online news site or blog about the impacts of overpopulation on the environment – educate other about how big a problem this is and why it must be addressed. 
  3. Volunteer or contribute to nonprofit organizations that work on overpopulation issues at the state, national or global levels.
  4. Contact your legislators and let them know that you want immigration laws enforced and do not support an amnesty that will add millions of people to an already overpopulated United States. Amnesty will increase population by encouraging even more immigration. Consider that at least 98 percent of California’s present growth is from direct immigration and births to immigrants.
  5. Initiate a discussion with friends, family and colleagues about overpopulation. You might begin by asking what they think will happen to America if the population continues to double every two or three generations.
  6. Keep your population facts at hand for discussion. For instance, the population increased four times between AD 1 and 1830 from an estimated 230 million to 1 billion. A six fold rise to 6.8 billion has occurred in the 180 years since.
  7. Ask environmental organizations to be sure to include information in their literature on how overpopulation impacts the issues they’re concerned about. 
  8. Support policy changes that will have a positive impact on a sustainable country, including ending birthright citizenship and decreasing government incentives for having more than two children.
  9. Advocate for improving education and governance in developing countries.


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