Synopses & Reviews
Life on the Brink
aspires to reignite a robust discussion of population issues among environmentalists, environmental studies scholars, policymakers, and the general public. Some of the leading voices in the American environmental movement restate the case that population growth is a major force behind many of our most serious ecological problems, including global climate change, habitat loss and species extinctions, air and water pollution, and food and water scarcity. As we surpass seven billion world inhabitants, contributors argue that ending population growth worldwide and in the United States is a moral imperative that deserves renewed commitment.
Hailing from a range of disciplines and offering varied perspectives, these essays hold in common a commitment to sharing resources with other species and a willingness to consider what will be necessary to do so. In defense of nature and of a vibrant human future, contributors confront hard issues regarding contraception, abortion, immigration, and limits to growth that many environmentalists have become too timid or politically correct to address in recent years.
Ending population growth will not happen easily. Creating genuinely sustainable societies requires major change to economic systems and ethical values coupled with clear thinking and hard work. Life on the Brink is an invitation to join the discussion about the great work of building a better future.
Contributors: Albert Bartlett, Joseph Bish, Lester Brown, Tom Butler, Philip Cafaro, Martha Campbell, William R. Catton Jr., Eileen Crist, Anne Ehrlich, Paul Ehrlich, Robert Engelman, Dave Foreman, Amy Gulick, Ronnie Hawkins, Leon Kolankiewicz, Richard Lamm, Jeffrey McKee, Stephanie Mills, Roderick Nash, Tim Palmer, Charmayne Palomba, William Ryerson, Winthrop Staples III, Captain Paul Watson, Don Weeden, George Wuerthner.
About the Author
Philip Cafaro is a professor of philosophy at Colorado State University. His books include Virtue Ethics and the Environment and Thoreauandrsquo;s Living Ethics: Walden and the Pursuit of Virtue (Georgia). Eileen Crist is an associate professor in the Department of Science and Technology in Society at Virginia Tech. Her books include Gaia in Turmoil: Climate Change, Biodepletion, and Earth Ethics in an Age of Crisis.
Table of Contents
List of Tables and Figures ix
Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich, Foreword xi
Part I: Introduction
1. Eileen Crist and Philip Cafaro, Human Population Growth as If the Rest of Life Mattered 3
2. William R. Catton Jr., Destructive Momentum: Could an Enlightened Environmental Movement Overcome It? 16
3. Albert Bartlett, Reflections on Sustainability and Population Growth 29
4. Martha Campbell, Why the Silence on Population? 41
5. Dave Foreman, The Great Backtrack 56
Part II: Impacts
6. Leon Kolankiewicz, Overpopulation versus Biodiversity: How a Plethora of People Produces a Paucity of Wildlife 75
7. Jeffrey McKee, The Human Population Footprint on Global Biodiversity 91
8. Tim Palmer, Beyond Futility 98
9. Lester Brown, Environmental Refugees: The Rising Tide 108
10. George Wuerthner, Population, Fossil Fuels, and Agriculture 123
11. Captain Paul Watson, The Laws of Ecology and Human Population Growth 130
Part III: Necessary Conversations
12. Eileen Crist, Abundant Earth and the Population Question 141
13. Stephanie Mills, Nulliparity and a Cruel Hoax Revisited 154
14. Tom Butler, Colossus versus Liberty: A Bloated Humanityandrsquo;s Assault on Freedom 160
15. Philip Cafaro and Winthrop Staples III, The Environmental Argument for Reducing Immigration into the United States 172
16. Joseph Bish, Toward a New Armada: A Globalist Argument for Stabilizing the U.S. Population 189
17. Ronnie Hawkins, Perceiving Overpopulation: Canandrsquo;t We See What Weandrsquo;re Doing? 202
18. Amy Gulick, Salmon in the Trees 214
Part IV: Solutions
19. Robert Engelman, Trusting Women to End Population Growth 223
20. William Ryerson, How Do We Solve the Population Problem? 240
21. Don Weeden and Charmayne Palomba, A Post- Cairo Paradigm: Both Numbers and Women Matter 255
22. Richard Lamm, Confronting Finitude 274
23. Winthrop Staples III and Philip Cafaro, For a Species Right to Exist 283
24. Roderick Nash, Island Civilization: A Vision for Human Inhabitance in the Fourth Millennium 301
Philip Cafaro, Epilogue: Is Humanity a Cancer on the Earth? 313
Select Bibliography 319