Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor from SPA members, supporters and others are a rich source of community insights and concerns about population issues. The SPA web site maintains an archive of published letters.

2 September 2020

Save the planet

Saturday, August 22, was Earth Overshoot Day. This is the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. Clearly, we are in overshoot: there are too many of us, using too many resources, producing too many wastes.

We need to stabilise our numbers everywhere, and then reduce them voluntarily, before nature does it for us. We need to use fewer resources, apart from those needed to lift the poor out of poverty. And we need to reduce our wastes, not least the greenhouse gases that we release into the atmosphere and cause global warming. This last one is critical.

Back in 2011, Professor Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of the Potsdam Institute and climate adviser to the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and to the EU, said that in a 4-degree warmer world, the human carrying capacity was less than one billion people. We are at 7.8 billion now.

Jenny Goldie Canberra Times

31 August 2020

Populate and perish

In the chummy confines of The National Press Club, Population Minister Alan Tudge (“Inner Sydney fast growing before COVID”, August 29-30) can burble about a speedy return to the “normal” of “fast population growth”. It’s not “normal”. It’s a radical imposition on the electors and the environment. Australia’s historical average for annual net migration is lower than 80,000. The post-2005 average is more than twice that number. Akin to a giant Ponzi, it is a manipulation of mass migration. Victoria was the state most dependent on a “big Australia”. That stage-prop gone, it’s no surprise – notwithstanding the pandemic crisis – that its economy lags all other states.

Stephen Saunders Sydney Morning Herald

26 July 2020

Shrinking demand will soon hit construction sector

Construction activity, like everything else, responds to demand. It has been driven in large part for many years by high annual population growth of 400,000 including immigration at 240,000 people a year. COVID-19 has stopped that immigration. Nobody knows if or when it will ever resume.

Those earning a living in construction may soon experience shrinking demand. There’ll be too many land and property developers, project managers, architects, engineers, surveyors, builders, tradesmen, real estate agents, conveyancers, and suppliers of materials and appliances.

Is COVID-19 forcing upon Australia an ultimate inevitability, the end to impossible, unlimited growth in human numbers?

Before COVID-19 arrived the weather was already messaging us; more frequent droughts and water supply crises in the Murray Darling Basin – evidence we were exceeding our environmental limits. Only economists and madmen would deny that and seek a return to it.

Vincent Patulny Canberra Times