Population the issue

Alex Crowe’s article “Australia’s Environment Report” (canberratimes.com.au, March 18) was a sobering, but incomplete acknowledgement (and warning) of the harm we have done, and continue to do, to the Australian landscape.

Omitted was a direct reference to the primary driver of the environmental decline that she describes: us! Too many of us and ever more of us.

The other constants in this never-ending environmental decline are the never-ending growth in the human population and the never-ending growth in our consumption. The links are causal and correlative; yet our politicians and our economists – indeed, all those who have a vested interest in forever growth – continue to turn a blind eye.

Is there hope that we might, finally, get this matter sorted? Perhaps. Surveys indicate that most Australians believe our population is large enough and that, save for an appropriate level of humanitarian immigration (currently circa 10 per cent), we ought to dispense with much or most of the rest; the (pre-COVID) 90 per cent that is growing our consumption (but not our per capita wealth), expanding our ecological footprint, and ensuring that we will never achieve what is needed to protect all those other species that share this continent with us.

The great difficulty for those voters wise enough to realise we must do things differently is that neither major party offers us this opportunity. Will one or other do so before it is too late?

Graham Clews The Canberra Times 24 March 2022