16 September 2011

The over-population versus over-consumption debate

It’s disturbing that people who are clearly concerned at the inequity between the wealth of the world’s richest one billion people and the poverty of the poorest billions, but who just haven’t looked into the issue deeply enough to see that over-population and over-consumption are two sides of the same coin.

In late 2008, UK environmentalist and writer Jonathon Porritt wrote a masterly analysis of this debate, submitted to Greenpeace for publication in its magazine. Greenpeace rejected it, on the grounds that it was too controversial.

As he commented on his blog (click here to access article) “if ever an article’s core hypothesis (in this case, that environmental NGOs are both gutless and less than honest in addressing population issues) was borne out by its editorial treatment, this has to be it”.

Porritt is a former Director of Friends of the Earth, and in 1996 founded the UK  Forum for the Future organisation.

He concludes that most environmentalists would find his article offensive. “They will go on banging their utterly inadequate over-consumption drum, and somehow sleep easy in their beds (in the belief) that they are doing ‘a good job’. I think not.”


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