The Population Crisis – A Call to Arms, Part Two

Rimmer, Eric | January 4, 2018 | Leave a Comment Download as PDF

Gadarene Swine depicted in an illustration currently on display at the Getty Center | Public Domain

The following post is Part Two of Eric Rimmer’s earlier article,
The Population Crisis – A Call to Arms.

Global Human Population continues to rise, inexorably.

Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 10.48.03 AM

The rate of increase is 88 million a year – or about 240,000 a day.
Every minute of every day, it looks like this:

See the Pen Total Human Population by Erika (@egav) on CodePen.

If we are to make an impact on population growth. We must slow, then STOP THAT CLOCK!

This provides a slogan, a goal, and a measure of progress!

Assuming we can have a fully active global campaign in place by 2020, and if we made 2030 a target to STOP THE CLOCK – we would have 10 years to achieve an end to human population growth. At a current daily growth rate of 240,000, we would need to slow human population growth by 24,000 year on year for 10 years, or 66 per day. That does not sound like an impossible target!  (After we STOP THE CLOCK we could decide how much further to shrink the population).

However, to bring about the target reduction, it must be fully recognized that only universal one-child families can deliver our goals (see: Population Workbook). That will be an extremely hard sell.

In the poor countries the huge number of births is often the product of beliefs and circumstances that span many centuries, and will be tough to change. However, without the change, many countries are on a suicidal path, and may be induced to recognize that. In the rich countries, the bonus will be a reduction in consumption and CO2 emissions, as well as births.

To achieve any of that, we must influence those that can help to influence others. Possible targets include:

• The United Nations organization

• Each Leader of the 193 UN Member Nations

• World Scientists (They have just issued a Second Warning)

• The so-called “Greens” e.g. WWF

• Population campaign organizations.

• (Are there others?)

Each of those targets would need a specific campaign organization, to be integrated into an overall campaign. Related campaigns, like “World Vasectomy Day”, could be combined with other campaign activities.

As we design an overall campaign, there are many related activities to consider – all ideas are welcome! But everything depends on widespread recognition that we MUST stop and reverse that clock, if we are going to have any chance of averting a massive global tragedy.

The post above follows Eric Rimmer’s earlier article,
The Population Crisis – A Call to Arms.

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  • Karen Gaia

    The author seems oblivious to what is going on in the U.S. regarding the current administraion, contraception and abortion.

  • Winifred Ryan

    Umm guys, and I notice this is dominantly guys doing the discussing here, other organizations include CHILDREN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATION and WOMEN’S HEALTH ORGANIZATIONS! Not only can they receive resources now, but there will be better options for the future. Holy toledo y’all are dense.

  • billdowling

    If anyone reading this really wants to help with Eric’s Call to Arms, instead of merely discussing all the many issues involved here, one of the very best things they can do is sign the One Child Pledge on the World Population Balance website here:
    and encourage all their friends neighbours and aquantances to do so too,
    Alterantively, they could either support this organisation financially, or one of the other 100 or so organisations all over the world that are seriously concerned about these population issues to various degrees. Please choose wisely!

  • brian mcgavin

    It can’t come soon enough given the multiple resource challenges we are facing. In a world without abundant oil that will hit us hard in less than twenty years and food becomes scarce, there will be a massive impact on ships transporting grain and other goods to the billions now dependent on them. The impact on the global aid industry will be profound, triggering unprecedented mass migration, yet short-sighted governments are oblivious to this.
    A one-child generational commitment to bring population down to genuinely more sustainable numbers is a worthy goal to ensure a better future for our children and the planet. Iif we achieved this, we could revert to a two child replacement average. Surely a better choice than the calls young men and families were called to make in the death trenches of the First World war?


    I’m a doctor, and chose my specialty of family planning over 50 years ago and have done 5000 vasectomies and 1000s of IUD insertions because of this very concern. Writing as a doctor then, I agree with Eric Rimmer’s diagnosis, prognosis and proposed treatment. We differ only as to how to offer that treatment without incurring knee-jerk rejection by the patients (namely, parents in all world settings). So I agree:
    The Diagnosis, that human numbers are the primary “upstream” driver of all looming world calamities including climate change and species extinction, see my – unremitting growth is after all the behavior of the cancer cell;
    The Prognosis, that if human numbers do not decline benignly by massively fewer births, to sustainability which on a finite planet is not ‘optional’, then they will assuredly reach that level brutally by massively more deaths through starvation, violence, disease and climate catastrophes;
    The Treatment, that because of the already-missed opportunity for world population to have stabilized at under 3 billion, the GFN’s one-planet level, by achieving a two-child planetary norm,
    now needs to be much lower than that for several generations.
    But I maintain that we will get to and then crucially below world replacement fertility FASTER – granting absolutely that would still be MUCH slower than should ideally be, for a halfway decent future for all life – by majoring initially on gaining acceptance of 2-child families. Starting there, through properly resourcing (as the world never has) voluntary family planning and focusing on removing the persistent barriers to it, which are both tangible and intangible; but moving on to the one-child concept, by means of proper environmental education through Media as well as schools resulting in full societal ‘ownership’ in each setting – at the earliest opportunity (which I accept could be NOW in some countries). History (eg India in the Gandhi era of the 1970s) demonstrates clearly that population zealotry – a label often applied to any one-child policy – can be seriously counter-productive. Moving too fast risks a violent backlash in some quarters, but more commonly in low-resource countries with current family sizes well above 3, ordinary couples would simply disregard it, as a ‘nutty’ notion. Unless coerced. And unacceptably more coerced than they needed to be in China since 1980, a unique society.

    • Your needle is really stuck in that two-child family groove, John !

      Please look again at the carefully-calculated two-child population-projection in the Work-Book that is in the MAHB library, and referenced several times in these articles.

      Yours is clearly NOT a winning strategy – and most of the terrible events that we both predict will take place, while you patiently wait for “acceptance” of a misleading goal !

      And please remember, as I have several times assured you, that I am NOT, at this stage, recommending that we should immediately introduce a One-Child Policy.

      Rather that we should, with all our collective intellectual abilities, introduce a global education program to explain the perils ahead – and then to explain the simple arithmetic of One-Child families, as the ONLY merciful solution to our terrible dilemma.

      At a later stage, if we are good educators, the demand for a One-Child POLICY will emerge, from multiple places.

      If you wish to extend this debate, John – please take it off-line – we are using a lot of peoples’ time !

  • stevenearlsalmony

    Okay. We have too many people on the planet. We can see quite clearly that we have to do something. WHY, why is attention not directed to the ecological science of human population dynamics? Just for a moment let us imagine that we choose to do one thing and one thing only: We widely share an adequate enough understanding of human population dynamics. Then, perhaps, we could begin to reasonably address the problem posed by the skyrocketing growth of absolute global human population numbers.

    • billdowling

      May I try to answer your question?
      I answered your WHY question below – more economic growth is the top priority!
      As regards choosing one thing to do and one thing only (assuming we do widely share an adequate understanding of human population dynamics) the only thing we can choose to do that will stand a fair chance of working now is reduce the global average birth rate; from the present 2..5 down to 1.0 ASAP; and then hold it at that until the population comes down to a long term sustainable level..
      But to stop population growth and reverse it soon enough to be able to get the total poulation population down low enough and soon enough for a long term sustainable future with a reasonable level of resources still remaining to support it at anything like an acceptable lifestyle (assuming far more equitable levels of consumption than we have now!) – we need do this at least 10x faster than the typical reduction rate we have been achieving, which is of the order of only O.1 per decade.
      N.B. This is the grave error the UN are making in all their population projections. They are highly misleading if not meaningless other than to illustrate the current trend which is rapidy upwards still, in spite of their assuming an ongoing reduction in the birth rate. In the longer term there is no way that the planet will be able to support the increased levels of population that they predict in the future.
      With a 0.1 reduction every year it will take us 15 years to get the global average birth rate down to 1.0, We then have to sustain this 1 child birth rate for for at least one human lifetime (say 80 years) before it will be low enough to be sensibly described as being sustainable. Depending on the situation as regards global resource decline and hence the actual level of support still available to support that reduced population we may have to hold the one child restriction for longer. But, if the situation turns out to be better than anticipated then we may be able to return to a 2 child replacement level sooner and then move on to establish a global steady state economy.
      I hope this helps. I will happily try to answer any fiurther questions.

  • billdowling

    A number of readers have asked WHY we collectively continue to allow if not encourage further population growth.
    In my opinion the answer is patently obvious. The quest for ever more “economic growth” !
    Above all thisapplies to nearly every person in business, power and influence in every country in the world now.
    But under our capitalist and highly democratic systems in particular ,they have even got tacit support and agreement to this never ending quest from all of those who work like slaves for them, go into debt to buy their products (most of which we do not really need) and wilingly hand over their taxes to support them in their elevated positions while they run their countries badly (e.g. see Immigration and the NHS in the UK!) without any real thought for the environment or the long term survival of the people they rule over on a finite planet beyond staying in their positions of wealth power and long as possible.
    More people means more consumers which means more profit which means more economic growth – until the resources that support this gigantic “Ponzi scheme” do finally run out and the planet can give them and us no more, and it all sooner or later comes to a very sad and painful end.for all of us.
    This mad rush, that increasingly benefits the rich at the expense of the poor, towards what is now an invevitable disaster to some degree at least, must be stopped.
    We can stop fueling it by simply refusing to produce so many more new consumers for them,. All we have to do is cut the birth rate by having no more than one child or no children ASAP..
    Once that has been accomplished, we can then take a serious look at what e.g. CASSE at has to offer as the final solution – a Steady State Economy.

    • stevenearlsalmony

      Dear Bill Dowling, If you and others with expertise in population dynamics please examine the research in the following links,

      Comments from participants and observers of this discussion are welcome. Thank you All.

      Steven Earl Salmony, PhD, MPA
      AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population
      established 2001
      Chapel Hill, NC,

      • billdowling

        The first basically says that the human population will grow untill there isn’t enough food to sustain that level of population. Absolutely true.
        There is only just about enough food to feed all 7.6 bilion of us humans now or so many people wouldnt still be starving, although It is hard to swallow this when some of those in the richest countries eat as much as they do and waste as much as they do. The other huge problem is that we are eating too much meat.. The developing countries now want to eat meat as well, and this is not the most efficient way to feed people in terms of land use..Fish stocks are also declining rapidly all over the world due to overfishing, there are serious problems with soil erosion and aquifers are running dry so water shortgaes will continue to increase and spread all over the world. Take my word for it we wont be able to sustainably feed even the existing population let alone any more people for very much longer. Even without the aforementioned problems the decline in fossil fuels on the planet alone will see to that, particularly if we are forced to use far less of them to stop climate change.
        We have only managed to reach 7.6 billion and our current level of technology on the back of abundant cheap energy from fossil fuiels. Alternative energy sources simply cannot make up for the vast store of energy in these fuels, and the convenience of using them -particularly oil. And in any case we will need huge amounts of fossil fuel energy to build all the replacement energy infrastructure. We caannot support even 7.6 billion people without fossil fuels, never mind any more.and they will all be gone or too expensive and difficult to bother to try to extract them by mid century.

        I am well aware of all the sterling work the population media centre is doing to reduce birth rates in Africa where they are extremely high.
        Many other organisations are trying to do the same thing in many different ways and in other parts of the world. It is all still nowhere near enough. But, collectively they do form an important part of the far greater action needed to get birth rates dowm rapidlly all over the world. The main need is for governments to put more money into birth rate reduction measures such as increasing the education and equality of women, easy access to familiy planning advice and free contraceptives.. Unfortunately, as I have already said above they wont readily put enough money into this because, apart from needing it for other things they deem more important, they are obsessed with more economic growth – and population growth reduction actually works against that! Getting them to accept that actual population reduction is required will be even harder, because that will mean having to put up with some actual economic decline, at least in the short term..
        At which point I really need to move into the realms of debating the benefit of putting up with some economic decline in order to gain a better quality of life on a planet that is now struggling badly to sustain any more economic growth and will therefore inevitable fail to do so quite soon, but can still offer us a great deal in respect of a decent but quite different quality of life in the future. .
        That will take a lot more more time than I have right now.
        I suggest you need to look at CASSE http://www..

        • stevenearlsalmony

          Dear Bill Dowling, Thank you for responding just as you have. Very few population experts have been willing to speak out so clearly about what you and I both know (thanks to crystal clear scientific research) to be real and true concerning the population dynamics of the human species: Human population numbers will grow as long as there is food to sustain human existence. If this seminal understanding is not widely shared and consensually validated, how on Earth will the human family ever respond ably to the global threat to future human well being and environmental health that is presented by the unbridled increase in absolute numbers of the already colossal size of the human population worldwide.

          Please note that I agree CASSE is valuable. CASSE does provide us with what appears to me as an alternate, reality-oriented path to the future. Question: Will the self-proclaimed masters of the universe among us who rule the world and manage the “economic colossus” known to all as the global political economy change their ways and fundamentally re-organize the human-designed colossus?

          • billdowling

            Answer : If they wont listen to the second warning (25 years after the first!) by the Union of Concerned Scientists last November – which was backed by over 15,000 scientists in 184 countries -probably not!
            But, I am working on trying to form Union of Concerned Population NGOs to back them up.
            Also, a Union of Environmental & Conservation NGOs to back them up.
            The main problem is that not enough of the latter two potential unions seem to agree on sufficient to form a powerful alliance of all three Unions in order to stand any real chance of changing things in the right direction!

          • stevenearlsalmony

            Over the course of my lifetime ‘environmentalists’ have acted like pitiful snowflakes by failing to do so much as openly acknowledge the clear and present danger posed to humanity and life as we know it by the colossal current size and fully anticipated, unbridled growth of global human population numbers. Environmentalists colluded with the masters of the universe among us to maintain a deafening silence regarding the ecological science of human population dynamics. Elective mutism regarding human population numbers has played a determinative role in ravaging the world we inhabit as well as extirpating life as we know it. Most of the leaders in the environmental and conservation NGOs were long ago coopted by the masters of the universe who bought and paid for their shutupness. The shibboleth of all these leaders can be summed up this way: See no truth, hear no truth, speak no truth about evident threats posed by the size of the world’s human population to future human well being and environmental health.

            That said, I would be willing to do as I am able to promote an initiative to enlist environment, conservation and population non-governmental organizations in the union you envision….while there still could be time remaining to respond ably to the human-induced global challenges already visible on the horizon that loom ominously before the human family on our watch. My email address is sesalmony(at)

        • Mike Hanauer

          I think there is way too much talk about meat.

          I have nothing against the choice of not eating meat (or fish or whatever you wish to exclude including perhaps plants that are high on the food chain). Yet, animals have been feeding on animals since forever. It is neither a sin nor is it a blessing. THE HIGHER THE HUMAN POPULATION, THE MORE PERSONAL FREEDOMS WE MUST LOSE TO MAINTAIN A TOLERABLE ENVIRONMENT AND SOCIETY. “Cowspiracy” never mentions human overpopulation as a problem — to me that feels like a conspiracy. I just get steamed when vegetarianism is treated like a religion with little thought about the big picture. And, so much of our mistreatment of animals is due to what it takes to feed the human overpopulation and to habitat loss, again caused largely by pop growth. Many of the same considerations apply to all food in trying to feed so many humans. Franenfoods include flora and fauna. The chemicals and genetic engineering, in either case, needed to feed so many of us, are so damaging.

          US population doubles every 60 years. We are now at at least double a sustainable number for a reasonable standard of living. Climate Change is one of the many symptoms, as is crowding, overfishing, pollution, loss of species, the need for franken foods, always more housing and sprawl, and the anthropocene. So is income inequality, loss of quality-of-life, and always more revenue needed by individuals and government to accommodate quantity rather than quality. How many of these problems will forgoing animal products fix?

          Having said that, I agree that eating less meat and vegetables lower on the food chain, and keeping away from GMOs etc is beneficial. But, I also believe that quality of life is important, for us and for all the critters. I think the best way to assure that is to become sustainable. The USA is now at double a sustainable population.

          Yes, you know all of that, and I hold great respect for your knowledge. But, as “Cowspiracy” shows, the overarching population connection is generally not understood and even ignored or denied. I think we need to be cognizant of that. We need to stop and see how overpop is at the core.

          • billdowling

            Mike, Please see my last message earlier today.
            Best wishes

  • billdowling

    Jack – Please “Dont scare the horses” i.e.dont frighten people needlessly like this!

    Obviously the more people there are on the planet than the planet can sustainably support at any end date under consideration the more people there are that will suffer and die between now and then for all sorts of nasty reasons.

    That is precisely why we should not have a population that is still growing by 80million a year.

    We must stop it growing first!.-and fast!

    Eric by his one child graph and I by reference to the WWF living planet report clearly suggest that at least half the present population “have to go” somehow, but except instead of saying they will go by sufferring and dying, we are saying that this dreadful demise can be completely avoided – humanely, intelligently and relatively painlessly (i.e. by mental rather than physical trauma) by simply agreeing to introduce a global one child limit in the next few years. That way the existing population will rapidly decline to well under half that early in the next century and the excessively unsustainable numbers will not be here to suffer and die in the first place.

    There is little point in debating eactly how many people we actually need the population to be reduced by to be sustainable in the long term unless we can quickly manage to stop the population from growing first. Surely you can see that?

    If we humans collectively cannot even manage to achieve this much, which really takes little more intelligence than simple common sense to establish the need for, obviously we are collectively totally incapable of using the level of intelligence required to even consider reducing the population by the huge numbers and by the means you suggest are needed to achieve your somewhat utopean dream in 2100.

    Personally, I do fully comprehend all of your arguments. although I would happily settle for a lot more people living in a less “modern ” .but still reasonably comfortable lifestyle in 2100.

    But, If we cannot take this most basically intelligent first step towards a far more sustainable future (i.e. stop the population from growing first – and fast!) I think the most intelligent amongst us need to start a serious seach for more intelligent life elsewhere, because quite clearly we wont find enough of it worth saving on this planet. The vast majority of us humans will fully deserve to go the way of the dinosaurs in the sixth mass extinction.

    The really serious problem we have is this – How do we stop them taking us there with them?

    • stevenearlsalmony

      A major problem we face is presented to all of us by people who say, “Don’t scare the horses!” And by experts who put their heads in the sand and refuse to look at something remarkably sensible, and clearly discoverable through scientific investigation. We do not need to search for signs of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. We possess more than enough of the requisite intelligence. What will lack is the willingness to put that intellectual fundament to good use by opening our eyes and carefully examining extant, uncontested scientific research of human population dynamics. We understand the Big Bang better than we understand the root cause of human population growth. Such a situation marks the fountainhead of absurdity and most probably is ruinous for Homo sapiens sapiens as well as life as we know it, perhaps sooner than any of us expects.

  • Tormod V. Burkey

    You forgot REVERSE that clock. Stopping population growth is only a first step if we are already too many and the absolute population size is a bigger problem than the remaining growth. Focussing on growth lets the countries that are overpopulated, and with outragesous consumption, but have reduced their population growth rates a good bit, off too easily. Aside from knowing no ecology, this is what people like Hans Rosling get wrong—not to mention the morons that keep bringing it up. Not to mention the whole “Malthus was wrong” blather that they learn in social sciences school. Only way to have zero ecological footprint is never to be born in the first place.

    • No I didn’t forget to REVERSE the clocK – it is right there, in my text.

  • Please Please Please!!! Each of your please create a estimate of the number of people who will die from starvation and conflict on the earth between now and 2100. Only if you have such a number in hand can proceed rationally with this discussion. What if it was 1 in 10 of all living How many people would that be? What if it was 9 out of 10 of all living. How many would that be. Both are really big numbers but I bet none of you have made such an estimate. I have in this video Underestimating Overpopulation

    • BillN

      Interesting discussion. Overpopulation is a problem in our own country, driven by immigration, and yet no lawmakers (of whom I am aware) will speak to this. Ignorance or political cowardice, I’m not sure.

  • billdowling

    Absolutely invaluable information and almost completely incontrovertable – except by arguing that a one child universal limit is a completely unrealistic expectation.

    But the authors do say in the Population Workbook preamble: (See Part 1)

    “While the authors do not expect that such an agreement is likely
    to be reached in the forseeable future – they do believe that this
    information should be widely circulated, so that there is widespread
    acceptance that this is the only merciful solution to our population predicament”.

    And I would like to suggest that it isn’t an unrealistic expectation at all, not if enough people – who are parents and grandparents now and have genuine feelings of love and concern for their future and in turn their children and their children’s future – could be convinced of the fact that the only way to achievea long term sustainable future for our descendants on this planet is a one child global agreement.ASAP.

    i.e. IF enough people could be convinced that the population (a) needs to be stopped from growing very soon and very quickly and (b) that the gobal population needs to be reduced down to well below half what it is now by early in the next century.
    As has been shown here, It is a mathematical fact that only a one child global limit being internationally agreed within the next few years can do both these things.
    Personally I can only try to convince you that this is what is necessary by reference to the WWF living planet report that is published .every two years. For many years now it has been pointing out that the last time we humans were living at the one planet level was back in 1970 with half the population that we have now, .and also that we are currently living as if there was 1.7 planets.instead of only the one we do have.

    Would anyone seriously like to dispute the fact that “one planet living” is where we have to be once again, in order to living to be living sustainably in the long term?
    Would anyone seriously like to dispute the fact that the planet isn’t getting any bigger?
    Would anyone seriously like to dispute the fact that the planet’s resources are declining?.
    Would anyone seriously like to dispute the fact that technological advances cannot compensate for an ever increasing population at an ever-increasing per capita consumption of what are already far less than sufficient resources for long term sustainability – forever?

    So, I appeal to all parents and grandparents, who I am sure would all like to be able to honestly claim that they truly love their children and grandchildren, to stand up and be counted and call out and write to their politicians and governments for an end to this ongoing global obsession for ever more “economic growth”.

    Because the more of this there is now the worse the future will be for your children and your grandchildren.

    While you may be able to give them more “jam” in the short term for a while longer – will they be as grateful to you when they discover that you have made pretty sure that they can only have “dripping” in the future?.

    As Sir David Attenborough has put it –

    ” Who’s fault will it be? If my grandchildren thought of me when they looked at the desolation that has overgrown great patches of the earth and thought ” He knew what was happenning and did nothing about it, I would feel deeply, deeply ashamed of myself “

    • stevenearlsalmony

      YES, definitely yes. We know WHAT is happening on our watch. The question population professionals with appropriate expertise willfully refuse to acknowledge the best available scientific research is this one: “WHY absolute global population numbers have increased by 5+ billion human beings in the last 70 years?” And I do feel deeply ashamed of myself and my not-so-great generation of arrogant and avaricious elders.

    • Jim Boyer

      I’ve read from wiser people than I that the consequences of reducing human populations in various regions of the world will give those reduced numbers the desire to increase their consumption and that may continue the destructive onslaught of earth’s resources. Maybe not, but an educated (and responsible) public, realizing the problem of unsustainable economic growth while at the same time reducing our numbers may be the ideal. Possible? Probably not.

  • E. James Lieberman

    Thanks–I agree this is urgent.
    E. James Lieberman, M.D., M.P.H. co-author, “Like It Is: A Teen Sex Guide”

    • stevenearlsalmony

      Universal sex education and safe, voluntary contraception is surely a step forward on the path to a good enough future for children everywhere; however, such interventions have nothing whatever to do with identifying the root cause of the human population explosion.

  • stevenearlsalmony

    Eric Rimmer is certainly on the right track. INCREASES in total human population numbers have to be limited. Now the growth of absolute human numbers worldwide are unbridled and increasing in a near exponential way. The most salient question that has to be asked and adequately answered is this: WHY, why are absolute global human population numbers skyrocketing? If we cannot widely share and consensually validate a science-grounded, reality-oriented understanding of why human numbers are increasing so rapidly, most notably in the past three score and ten years, how does anybody sensibly expect us to come up with an able response to the question?

  • martin naylor

    Start a global movement that covers everything.People in power will not change

    • stevenearlsalmony

      Self-proclaimed masters of the universe among us glorify incomprehensible greed. Children will look back in anger and with utter disbelief at these leading elders and their followers who are selfishly ravaging earth while duplicitously claiming to be protecting and preserving it. Never in the course of human events have so few self-righteously taken so much from many too many and left so little for others, children everywhere and coming generations. Simply unforgiveable.