Control the population

I wholeheartedly agree with Graham Clews (Letters, March 24) that population is the issue and has been ignored for too long as a driver of environmental decline. When will our major environmental organisations appreciate that humans cause loss of habitat for other species, be it from urban expansion, agriculture or mining? And it is habitat that is critical for preserving other species. If you increase the number of people then other species’ habitats will be lost from one human activity or another.

This week the Australian Security Leaders’ Climate Group issued an open letter. It was largely about climate change but it contained this sentence: “Globally, water and food crises exacerbated by climate change, along with population pressures, have resulted in escalating cycles of civil unrest and conflict”. In other words, population growth contributes not just to environmental decline but to civil unrest and conflict.

Why is Russia invading Ukraine? There are many reasons including the megalomania of Putin. Another is to secure the rich farmlands of Ukraine and ensure food security for 146 million Russians, even though its population is now declining slightly. The memory of hunger, however, lingers with major famines in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, not to mention the worst in 1601-2 that killed nearly a third of its people.

Food scarcity, or having too many mouths to feed for the food available, is now looming as a problem in many parts of the world.

Jenny Goldie The Canberra Times 28 March 2022