According to a 2017 paper ‘Having one less child’ is the single most effective climate action you can take.
Together with guest moderator Anja Kollmuss, Dr. Elisabeth Ignasiak untangles this deeply emotional and highly controversial topic. We look at the history of population control, the research on population and climate change, economic implications and women’s rights. And we have a frank discussion on the question: ‘Should I have fewer children to fight climate change?’
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Thank you to Paul Lautenschläger, the sound engineer for this episode.
You can find the episode transcript here.
History of population control
- The Population Bomb (1968) by Paul R. Ehrlich
- Tragedy of the commons (1968) by Garrett Hardin
- Meadows, Donella H; Meadows, Dennis L; Randers, Jørgen; Behrens III, William W (1972). The Limits to Growth; A Report for the Club of Rome’s Project on the Predicament of Mankind
- Wikipedia: Family planning policies of China
- Wikipedia: Family planning in India
- A Fine Balance (1995) by Rohinton Mistry
- The Ugly History of Environmental Fears and Population Controls
- World Population from 10,000 BCE to 2021; Data from Gapminder (v6), HYDE (v3.2), United Nations Population Division (2019) via Our World in Data. Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina (2019) – “Population, 10,000 BCE to 2021”. Published online at OurWorldInData.org. Retrieved from: ‘https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/population’ [Online Resource]
- World Population Prospects 2022 – Summary of Results by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs
- Kartha, S., Kemp-Benedict, E., Ghosh, E., Nazareth, A. and Gore, T. (2020). The Carbon Inequality Era: An assessment of the global distribution of consumption emissions among individuals from 1990 to 2015 and beyond. Joint Research Report. Stockholm Environment Institute and Oxfam International.
- Global inequalities in CO₂ emissions, based on consumption by Hannah Ritchie 2018 via Our World in Data [Online Resource]. Max Roser and Esteban Ortiz-Ospina (2019)
Environmental and climate impacts of overpopulation
- The climate mitigation gap: education and government recommendations miss the most effective individual actions (2017) by Seth Wynes and Kimberly Nicholas
- Climate change 2014: Mitigation of climate change – Summary for policymakers. Contribution of working group III to the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- Overpopulation is a major cause of biodiversity loss and smaller human populations are necessary to preserve what is left (2022) by Cafaro et al.
- Demographic change and carbon dioxide emissions (2012) by O’Neill et al.
- A good life for all within planetary boundaries (2018) by O’Neill et al.
Economic consequences of declining populations
- Norway’s Ageing Population Problem
- Japan’s population is shrinking: What does it mean for the economy? World Economic Forum
- Less is More by Jason Hickel
- Prosperity without Growth – Foundations for the Economy of Tomorrow (2017) by Tim Jackson
- United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA): Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended—a global crisis, says new UNFPA report
- Project Drawdown: Family Planning and Education
Should we have fewer children to fight climate change?
- Children Change Their Parents’ Minds about Climate Change (2019) by Lydia Denworth
- Your Kids Are Not Doomed (2022) by Ezra Klein – The New York Times
About this podcast
How to Make a Difference is produced and hosted by Dr. Elisabeth Ignasiak. Music by Valentina Gribanova.