Sobering Wisdom from the Elders
An NPG Booknote
NPG adherents, along with all Americans hoping for population sanity, will find stirring essays and insights of longtime advocates of population reduction in the just-released book Facing the Population Challenge: Wisdom from the Elders. Edited by Marilyn Hempel, the book is a project of Blue Planet United – a nonprofit environmental group and publisher of Population Press.
Hempel says the anthology brings together the responses of fifteen giants in the field of human population and development, who were asked how they would advise an assemblage of the world’s leaders on the future of humanity and the biosphere.
Among the wise elders contributing is Lindsey Grant (now NPG Senior Advisor-Emeritus) who updates his essay on the ideology of rampant, destructive, and unsustainable economic growth, aptly titled Capitalism: Growth, Greed and Collapse. Other giants of population reduction advocacy in this collection include Paul and Anne Ehrlich, David and Marcia Pimentel, Lester Brown, Malcolm Potts, and the late Al Bartlett.
The Ehrlich’s essay restates advice familiar from their long careers, along with the book’s most comprehensive road map for urgent radical international reflection and action, in Can a Collapse of Global Civilization Be Avoided? This essay alone should be required reading for the heads of government of G-20 nations.
In his Letter to the President of the U.S., Lester Brown warns again of growing world food insecurity driven by population growth, rising affluence, and slumping productivity. He appeals for demanding tough policies to stretch the world food supply while ending further loss of farmland to pollution, desertification, and urban encroachment, and the safeguarding of world bio-diversity.
In their commentary, the Pimentels see world population reduction as a near certainty over the next century. These decreases can either be eased by the rational and selfless choices of humanity itself, or be left to the cruel and inexorable workings of nature. It’s our choice.
Readers of this volume might ask themselves how much they would be willing to transform their expectations and values to meet this new and demanding ethos of survival. The book is a warning. We in the comfortable, high-consumption western industrial world cannot be reminded of these realities too often.
The book is available through Amazon.com.
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