Bill Ryerson - Dealing With The Elephant In The Room: Overpopulation

Authored by Adam Taggart via,

Worldwide, three new humans are born every second. Every day, 225,000 more mouths are added to the global dinner table.

That adds up to 80 million new people per year -- the population equivalent of the five largest cities in the world. That's like a new Shanghai, a new Beijing, a new New Delhi, a new Lagos, and a new Tianjin being added every year.

This growth trajectory is simply not sustainable from a planetary resources standpoint. As the global population continues to grow at an exponential rate, its demand is causing key resources like fresh water aquifers, rainforest canopies, fishing stocks, fertile topsoils, etc to similarly deplete exponentially. These oppositional exponentials, mathematically, can only result in an evitable planetary 'overshoot' -- which many argue we are already well into.

What can be done? Bill Ryerson, president of the Population Institute, joins us to discuss the work of the Population Media Center in addressing the interconnected issues of the full rights of women and girls, population, and the environment. It's mission is to empower people to live healthier and more prosperous lives and to stabilize global population at a level at which people can live sustainably with the world’s renewable resources.

Our earlier podcast with Bill focused on the existential dangers of overpopulation (you can listen to it here). This week's podcast focuses on the strategies that show the most promise for slowing, or perhaps even reversing, world population growth, should we be willing to pursue them:

All of those new people on the planet have needs for food, shelter, housing, and clothing. When you look at their environmental impact, the number of new people is a major driver of lost biodiversity, and it's a significant factor in climate change.

Now, I've heard a lot of environmentalists say 'Well, population doesn't matter' because the real culprits in climate change are the high consumers of the West who each have a huge carbon footprint. But in fact, if you take the median projection of population growth by the UN Population Division from now to 2050 -- an additional 2.5 billion people -- and multiply that times the admittedly low per capita carbon emissions of a citizen in the developing world, it's the climate equivalent of adding two United States to the planet.

Put another way, projections show that whether we have a major effort to promote family planning and small family norms and delayed marriage and stopping child marriage, or a minor effort, that will result in a difference, from a climate standpoint, of 2 United States by 2050.

I would venture that the leaders of virtually every environmental group, if spoken to privately, would clearly recognize that population growth is a major threat to the environmental goals of their organization. And yet, publicly, they’ve made a decision not to touch that issue for fear that they'll get themselves in trouble. And part of the reason for that I think has to do with their approach to environmental issues.

Many environmentalists think in terms of regulation as the solution to everything: if we have a climate problem, let's have a carbon tax; if we have a pollution problem, let's have pollution laws and regulations. But if we have a population problem -- oops, what does that mean? Does that mean we have to tell people how many children to have? Therefore they conclude they better stay away from population because telling people how many children to have would obviously get them into trouble.

But what's very clear is that coercion, in addition to being a human rights violation, is not effective. Persuasion and modeling of behavior that helps people understand the benefits to them, of educating their daughters rather than selling them into marriage, of allowing women to have say in how many children to have and allowing women equal rights in the workplace outside the home and various other goals including information and access to family planning services – that all this, within a human rights context, has been the reason that countries like Thailand have moved from rapid population growth to below replacement-level fertility. Environmentalists just haven't come to grips with the fact, or realized that, indeed, the population problem can be much better resolved through human rights-based approaches.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Bill Ryerson (41m:14s).


revolla Common_Law Fri, 05/25/2018 - 22:02 Permalink

They've been singing that overpopulation crap for decades. Pft!

Overpopulation is NOT a problem, and resources are PLENTY.

What is truly needed is for RICH countries to help the poor ones and NOT take advantage of them by STEALING their resources - like they've been doing in Africa for centuries.

In other words, let's get back to the LAW that changed the World.

In reply to by Common_Law

skbull44 revolla Fri, 05/25/2018 - 22:05 Permalink

Infinite growth on a finite planet, what could possibly go wrong?



On aggregate, overpopulation is a huge problem for the planet. It is one of many variables that is pushing us closer to a reckoning. Massive overconsumption is on the list as well, especially for so-called 'advanced' economies. Whether you believe we live on a planet with finite resources or not (and there are those that believe we can cope with any resource shortfall (even water or food) via a 'free' market or space mining), we have a repeating tendency, like all biological species, to overshoot the 'ideal' level and then must contend with the inevitable 'collapse'. What that looks like is anybody's guess and all such predictions are the realm of fiction, regardless of the model and data used for such guesses. And then there are the Black Swans.


In reply to by revolla

techpriest inosent Fri, 05/25/2018 - 22:56 Permalink

Last I checked, the crisis was an aging population, and all industrialized countries facing negative growth rates. Once you have a reasonably secure future, you tend to have 1-2 kids and invest a lot in them instead of having several in the hopes that 2-3 will live long enough to take care of you when you are old.

Aside from this, there are plenty of resources that are being wasted in the Middle East (war = ship goods there and detonate them), along with make-work government programs, that could be put to a stop so that the people cutting the checks can have their resources back. We could also educate people how to turn wasteful land decorations like super green lawns into something productive. Sans Keynesianism, there are a lot of resources available right on this planet.

In reply to by inosent

brushhog SaudiMail Sat, 05/26/2018 - 07:59 Permalink

The funny thing about people is that we have this ridiculous idea that we have the ability to control everything. Number one, we do not have the capacity to even comprehend our predicament much less alter it. Its time to come to grips with the reality that we are just another species on the planet. We are subject to the same immutable laws of nature. Our populations will rise or fall in their time when the natural forces that are far beyond our comprehension say they will. Another thing we have to get over is that we are somehow existing outside of nature, we see this in the concept of the word "natural". Anything touched by human hands is no longer "natural" as if we were weird, unnatural beings. You are natural, whether you know it or not you are a manifestation of nature, everything you do is "natural".

Human beings will act out our nature. If it is our nature to wreck the planet and die off or overpopulate and die back to lower numbers, then that is exactly what we will do. If we dont, then that was our nature. Free will at that level does not exist. Our ability to know what will happen and make massive changes at a species wide level does not exist. We are going to "do" exactly as we "are", we're going to act out our nature and we have no choice in that matter. One thing we know for sure, everything ends, and we will have our time with this planet until we dont. Just like other manifestations of nature have come and gone here so will we.


In reply to by SaudiMail

what happened brushhog Sat, 05/26/2018 - 09:04 Permalink

Or the government will "help" natural forces through legislation or covert population control such as vaccines that contain sterilization agents or adding soy estrogen to products.  They could also manipulate your healthcare through the computer network or deny due process or civil rights.  Get buy in from key professionals, rinse and repeat.

In reply to by brushhog

King of Ruperts Land what happened Sat, 05/26/2018 - 11:49 Permalink

The solution is simple:

1. Buldoze a big trench.

2. Round up all the "pro migration" crowd.

3. Push them in and bulldoze them over.

Now much of the world will be fine because they don't have a population explosion problem. In fact some of them need to seriously consider their population declines.

Those regions of the world that do have population problems will be forced to deal with them and if not nature will take care of it.

In reply to by what happened

Eyes Opened are we there yet Sat, 05/26/2018 - 04:42 Permalink

"send their desperate useless excess to infect the quality countries as part of the Kalergi plan."


And if u lived in one of these Western-manufactured shitholes & u could muster the resources, wouldn't YOU head west ??

The West has been (& continues to) raping these 3rd world countries forever so forgive me if I have no sympathy for empires, past & present.


If there is a shortage of resources its because the 0.01% own & control 90% of the worlds wealth... THATS where the problem lies...


Stop bombing, stealing & installing puppet dictators & maybe just leave countries to their OWN resources... I know... a novel idea....BTW... Can someone explain how a Western citizen can cruise around in a big resource-guzzling SUV whilst a woman in Africa has to walk 10 miles every day for water. ??? 

Its a rhetorical question of course, we all know its because the resources of one group of people are being scavenged by another group of people... simple & unjust...



In reply to by are we there yet

The Squid Eyes Opened Sat, 05/26/2018 - 05:20 Permalink

OK.. I will bite. Too many dangerous commie types coming out on this thread, spouting utter nonsense.

The planet is dying. The human race is basically a virus which has a had a brief period of time with almost perfect conditions to multiply exponentially. (Cheap and abundant energy coupled with industrial agriculture).

The population has overshot by several orders of magnitude and we are soon going to exhaust the cheap energy supplies, which coupled with any number of other diminishing return trends will ensure a ecological/population collapse.

As for your well intentioned, yet totally false claims regarding wealth distribution, the top 1% holds around 50% of the world's total wealth. Do some research before you mouth off.

But anyway, let's use your bogus numbers and say the top .01% do hold 90% of the world's wealth, around $216T.

Let's say somehow your dream of a global communist revolution occurs and the evil rich people are stripped of their ill gotten wealth, which is somehow liquidated at face value and then doled out equally to all of your worldwide comrades, each of the 7.5 billion or so of uswould receive less than US$30k.

Wow. What a world that would be. All of our problems would surely be fixed.

As for how Westerners can drive around in SUVs while people are starving in Africa, that is down to genetics and IQ and the different societies each culture produces.

Move to Africa and see for yourself.


In reply to by Eyes Opened

Eyes Opened The Squid Sat, 05/26/2018 - 08:10 Permalink

Okay Squid... yer right, I did just pull the stats outta me ass 😅 & no probs with u pullin me up there...

But... do u really believe that the developed western nations have not exploited poorer & less well developed countries ??


And do you disagree with my puppet dictators remark ?? 


And do you really think its all down to IQ  ??


I'm not saying there isn't a growing population problem but there are resources being squandered & hoarded by a very small percentage of the population....the pentagons "loss" of 6 trillion is a case in point... but also shit like "carbon" taxes are sumply a mechanism to siphon off wealth from the majority to enrich the minority.


Accusing me of being a "communist" because I point out the injustice of rich countries exploiting poor countries is a bit unfair tho...

I live in the Irish Republic & our history with the brits & their exploitation, tyranny & downright theft of OUR resources may colour my judgement somewhat...

I do NOT believe we're all entitled to something for nothing & as a self-employed person for 30 odd years, I certainly walked that walk...

Just my opinion... 



Edit... BTW I didnt down ya as I believe u have a right to your opinion also.. 😒

In reply to by The Squid

bahian Eyes Opened Sat, 05/26/2018 - 08:58 Permalink

Do you think Africa would be wealthier if left alone by the colonial powers?  What little infrastructure they had at independence in the 50s/60s was built by the Europeans.  The history of the world is one of conquest, subjugation and exploitation. Crying about it doesn't change anything. China was weak and abused in the 19 th. century but now is buying up the world's resources and staking it's claim to the South China Sea at the expense of it's neighbors. The lesson is be strong and you won't get stepped on.  Eire's history is a case in point.

In reply to by Eyes Opened

Eyes Opened bahian Sat, 05/26/2018 - 09:24 Permalink

Quoting you...

"The lesson is be strong and you won't get stepped on.  Eire's history is a case in point."


And theres the rub...

Our Irish freedom fighters would today be classed as terrorists by the western world including the US.


How can a piss-poor people living in a shithole be "strong" against a modern MIC-backed assault on their country... for the benefit  of & profits for the elites... 


Quoting you...

"The history of the world is one of conquest, subjugation and exploitation. Crying about it doesn't change anything. "


I agree,  but that doesn't make it right... or do you believe that the "strong" deserve others resources if they can simply take them by force.. ??

I know that some do indeed believe this & it is a sad reflection on just how little humanity has really evolved despite our technology & knowledge...


In reply to by bahian

Faeriedust Eyes Opened Sat, 05/26/2018 - 23:10 Permalink

Ummmm . . . can I say yes AND no?

Those shitholes weren't manufactured by the West.  Taken advantage of, yes.  Milked for all they are worth, yeah.  But on the other hand, they aren't worth much and never were.  The conquests that actually paid for themselves were India and China, both 2,000 year-old civilizations with lots of accumulated wealth that got carted off.  By the time the British got to Egypt it had become raddled with age, and Turkey was so depleted that the Brits didn't even bother taking the core territory.  The Americas and Australia were in the Stone Age and provided easy land for the taking, but only became worth something after the colonials built it up -- they were mostly money-pits for the colonizing nations after Spain skimmed the Azteca gold off the top.

Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia have basically been overpopulated hellholes since the 16th century. If anything, places like Congo and South Africa are considerably better off for colonial interference, despite the profiteering.  India and China have gotten their feet back on the ground, and Japan is a fully-developed nation that damned near bought America out in the 1980s. 

So let's say, the West committed grievous sins and continues to do so.  But those sins are not the source of all the world's ills.  Neither do Westerners have a monopoly on greed and exploitation.  Most of the world's hellholes remain as such because purely local fatboys and strongmen continue to pursue regimes more corrupt than any Western nation would tolerate.  And billions of dollars in pure charity are directed to those nations every year from the more decent types in the West . . . most of which is stolen and sidelined by local corruption and never reaches the people who actually need it and for whom it was meant.  There isn't a nation in Africa today that wasn't as well or better off as a Western colony.  That's not a pretty truth, but it's true.

In reply to by Eyes Opened

roodeetoodee inosent Sat, 05/26/2018 - 01:57 Permalink

Nah, white people just need to start helping other white people and restore a whole lot of that white pride. Unfortunately whites have lost focus and have let other whites become niggers. It's not a numbers game, it's quality of mind game. All whites need is 100% of whites educated, healthy, engaged and once again proud to be white.

To do that they need to unshackle themselves from the grip of the politically correct, communist, pinko agenda that has infested and plagued their minds for the last 50 years. It should be easy. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your culture and reinforcing its dominance, its a highly natural tendency and as you can see the moment other cultures get so much as a whiff of their own power, its exactly what they go after... and good on them too.

The problem was never white strength. It was non white weakness. Whites took their foot off the pedal and delinked themselves from one another for 50 years while spoon feeding every other race, color and creed during that time at great expense of their own. 

Now its time look around, drop the guilt that's been planted in their minds through very clever and nefarious means and once again strike out on the white pride path that practically built the modern world all on its own. 

Looking for a place to start? Locally - opportunities every where. Nationally - Identify every executive and lobbyist working for big pharma who are responsible for creating and sustaining the opioid epidemic which has trashed the lives of so many good white brothers and sisters, and do [something] about them.

In reply to by inosent

bahian besnook Sat, 05/26/2018 - 09:15 Permalink

Sounds like afro-centrist regurgitation  "whites are the ice people" and other nonsense.  Go visit Germany, especially areas with fewer migrants. The immaculate cities, gorgeous countryside free of junk and billboards, organized agricultural areas, mountain/lake/coastal resorts clean and crime free. With it's scientific, industrial, educational, political , social systems, Deutschland is a magnet for the masses from failed, violent and barbaric third world countries. It is the people that make countries what they are, the rest is apologetic leftist gibberish. East Asia got to where it is by emulating and studying what the West had to offer (eg.

Japan during the Meiji restoration).  

In reply to by besnook