Episode 66 – Myths, Part 2: The Overpopulation Myth

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This week we’re going deep on a controversial topic: human population growth.

We talk about the roots of the overpopulation myth, the truths we can glean from it, and the scary ways that both eco-fascists and seemingly centrist figures have joined the population conversation.

We take a closer look at the ways we talk about consumption and give tips on how to talk to your social circle when they bring up population fears. Because we don’t have to live our lives from the scarcity-minded “lifeboat ethics” perspective! But a climate-just future will take work from all of us.

Story: 8 billion people and stopping eco-fascism in its tracks (Olivia)

Day of 8 Billion, United Nations report
World population to reach 8 billion on 15 November 2022, United Nations
Global population hits 8 billion as growth poses more challenges for the planet, CNN
World Population Reaches 8 Billion, U.N. Says, New York Times
Our World in Data
The Frontline: Climate Denial’s Racist Roots, Mary Annaise Heglar for Atmos, June 15 2022
Population, Earth Overshoot Day
Population, Sustainability, and Malthus: Crash Course World History 215, Crash Course
Consumption Dwarfs Population as Main Environmental Threat, Yale Environment 360, April 2009
Climate Change’s White Supremacy Problem, Our Changing Climate
Overpopulation infographics by fulanivegan on Instagram.
Caroline Lucas’ Twitter status and discussion
And the article: It should not be controversial to say a population of 8 billion will have a grave impact on the climate, Guardian Opinion
Billionaires like Elon Musk want to save civilization by having tons of genetically superior kids. Inside the movement to take ‘control of human evolution.’, Insider

So the next time someone brings up population, don’t shut down the conversation. Acknowledge the fear and anxiety that comes up around this topic. Then shift it to a conversation about consumption. Connect population growth to the other issues of inequality and injustice in the world. [We’ve included some of the facts we cited in the episode below.] Challenge yourself and others to think about the future from a climate justice perspective.

Some #facts to remember for the next time someone says the world needs less people:

  • “Carbon emissions of the richest 1%, or about 63 million people, were more than double the emissions of the poorest half of humanity between 1990 and 2015, according to a 2020 analysis by the Stockholm Environment Institute and non-profit Oxfam International.” [via CNN]
  • The US emits more than three times its population share. [Our World In Data]
  • The world’s richest half-billion people are responsible for 50 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. [Yale 360 in 2009]
The Dump

We’ve been watching Ghosts and reading How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu, Verity by Colleen Hoover, and Beach Read by Emily Henry. Should we do a Octavia E. Butler / Kindred / Parable book/movie club episode? Let us know.

Check out Elise’s vintage shop page Heiss Vintage if you live in Austin and want to know when she’s doing pop-ups!

The World Is Burning bookshop is live! Help us come up with book list titles and bulk up our reading list.

Our World is Burning themed playlist is on Spotify.

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Thanks for listening!

Ep. 74 – Burning Questions Part II World Is Burning

Can you believe we've gone 2 1/2 years without creating our very own game show about us? Neither can we! Test your climate knowledge alongside us as we ask ourselves the burning questions: Where are tumbleweeds from? What are our favorite climate activists' favorite insects? and How do you do fractions again? Subscribe/follow/press the button to keep up with new episodes every Wednesday! You can also follow us @worldisburnin on Instagram and Twitter or @worldisburning on TikTok, and check out our website worldisburning.com for extended show notes including sources and photos. World Is Burning is hosted by Olivia Hamilton and Elise Nye. Our theme music is by Kaycie Satterfield, and our logo was made by Sonja Katanic. — Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/worldisburning/message
  1. Ep. 74 – Burning Questions Part II
  2. Ep 73 – Burning Questions
  3. Ep. 72 – It’s A Joke Until It’s Not – the Overton Window and AI
  4. Ep. 71 – Oil Spills – Deepwater Horizon and Dawn Dish Soap
  5. Ep. 70 – Deep Sea Explorers – Jacques Cousteau & Dr. Sylvia Earle