The Overpopulation Project

Over the past two centuries Earth’s human population has doubled, and doubled again, and doubled yet again, increasing from 1 billion to 8 billion people. This huge increase is the root of grave global environmental problems, from climate change to mass species extinction. Yet in recent years, discussing population issues has become taboo among many environmentalists and policymakers. The Overpopulation Project aims to end the silence, by researching the environmental impacts of overpopulation, exploring humane policies to end population growth around the world, and fostering public and scholarly discussion of these issues.

For the past five years my colleagues Frank Götmark, Jane O'Sullivan, Jenna Dodson, Patrícia Dérer, Pernilla Hansson and I have examined the environmental impacts of overpopulation and reported on best practices for ending population growth around the world. Here are our scholarly publications from the past two years:

* Overpopulation is a major cause of biodiversity loss and smaller human populations are necessary to preserve what is left. P. Cafaro, P. Hansson and F. Götmark. Biological Conservation 272 (2022): 109646.

* Population Growth, Family Planning and the Paris Agreement: An Assessment of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). J. Dodson, P. Dérer, P. Cafaro and F. Götmark. International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics (2022): doi 10.1007/s10784-022-09573-8.

* Reducing human numbers and the size of our economies is necessary to avoid a mass extinction and share Earth justly with other species. P. Cafaro. Philosophia 50 (2022): in press.

* Climate Ethics and Population Policy: A Review of Recent Philosophical Work. P. Cafaro. WIRES: Climate Change 12 (2021): e748 (1-17).

* Discussing Population Concepts: Overpopulation is a Necessary Word and an Inconvenient Truth. F. Götmark, J. O’Sullivan and P. Cafaro. Indian Journal of Population and Development 1 (2021): 51-60.

* Just Population Policies for an Overpopulated World. P. Cafaro. Ecological Citizen 5 (2021): epub-046-1 (1-10).

Here are some of our most popular recent blog posts:

* The United Nations celebrates World Population Day by shaming population ‘alarmists’. July 11, 2022.

* Population in the IPCC’s new mitigation report. April 12, 2022.

* Old Italy. February 8, 2022.

* Glasgow follies. October 26, 2021.

* Top scientists call for new UN sustainable development goal on population. July 20, 2021.

* Two radical ideas whose time has come. May 3, 2021.

* IUCN recognizes the importance of attending to population to preserve biodiversity. March 16, 2021.

* Rights and responsibilities in population policy. January 12, 2021.

* Human rights and population policies. December 8, 2020.

And here are some old favorites:

* Earth overshoot day and population. August 20, 2020.

* Climate refugees or overpopulation escapees? August 3, 2020.

* A lesson from the COVID-19 pandemic on the perils of density. April 16, 2020

* The missing sustainable development goal (SDG)--what should be added? November 15, 2019

* Empty skies, empty words. September 24, 2019

* Overpopulation threatens the world’s food supply, United Nations warns. August 15, 2019

* World Population Prospects 2019 – good news or bad? June 26, 2019

* Family Planning for forests and people – the success story of Costa Rica. May 23, 2019

* Solutions to overpopulation and what you can do. February 22, 2019