Erle Ellis’ New York Times OpEd on his research on population and agricultural production in China is worth reading. Says Ellis:
The important message from these rough numbers should be clear. There really is no such thing as a human carrying capacity. We are nothing at all like bacteria in a petri dish… Humans are niche creators. We transform ecosystems to sustain ourselves. This is what we do and have always done. Our planet’s human-carrying capacity emerges from the capabilities of our social systems and our technologies more than from any environmental limits
The president of the Population Institute, Robert Walker, in a cheeky rebuke in the Huffington Post, dismissed Ellis’ research saying:
Such a view, of course, is not just silly, it is dangerous folly. The ancient Greeks had a term for it: hubris…
The idea that the “social sciences” will enable us to feed another 3 billion more people without inflicting further harm to the soil and water that we depend upon for our long-term survival is, sadly, laughable.
Silly, laughable, folly, hubris.
Why all the name calling? Why not offer scholarly, even just a respectful counter argument? Walker also took a swipe at Jonathan Last’s excellent book on American population decline, lumping anyone who challenges population orthodoxy as “climate deniers.”
The population establishment’s continued attempts to quash rather than engage debate raises suspicions that even while some may share its iron-clad orthodoxy, more and more people are discovering that there is little behind the overpopulation curtain.