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NPG Forum Paper Links Population Growth to Significant Biodiversity Loss
New analysis finds biological diversity endangered by overpopulation, wide variety of organisms at risk.
Alexandria, VA (October 5, 2016) – Following a September 16th report in the journal Science outlining the world’s “sixth extinction” event – a serious ecological threat which scientists are increasingly convinced is imminent, Negative Population Growth (NPG) will release a new Forum paper today drawing the link between population growth and diminishing global biodiversity. Unfortunately for pro-growth optimists, the paper begins with a warning: “One species, Homo sapiens, [is] expanding at the expense of most other creatures – and bankrupting biodiversity in the process.”
In the new publication, NPG special advisor Leon Kolankiewicz draws on three decades of professional experience as an all-around ecologist to review the dwindling variety in our planet’s organisms. Filled with shocking statistics illustrating Earth’s vanishing species, Kolankiewicz’s essay rejects the prevalent conviction that present conservation methods will preserve biodiversity for the long-term. Titled Crushing Biodiversity with the Weight of the Human Race, the new Forum paper echoes NPG’s concerns that our growing human numbers are creating a domino effect on Earth’s genetic diversity.
Kolankiewicz notes: “Since the dawn of history, the multiplication of man’s numbers – and our expansion into virtually every habitat on Earth – have occurred to the great detriment of countless other organisms.” Charts, tables, and graphics throughout the new Forum paper highlight our world’s frightening reality – of all the species on the planet, fewer and fewer are able to withstand the pressure of human population growth. Kolankiewicz explains: “…humans were pursuing immediate survival imperatives rather than strategies of long-term stewardship and sustainability. But never had there existed an organism this powerful and lethal in the 3.5 billion year history of life on Earth.” Beyond population growth, his analysis considers multiple factors which are worsening global biodiversity loss – such as intense farming and logging operations, and the unwillingness of most national governments to implement (or strictly enforce) policies to protect habitat areas.
NPG President Donald Mann praised the work, adding: “This new Forum paper echoes NPG’s long-held concerns regarding the limited number and variety of species on our planet. In masterful detail, Kolankiewicz explains that the incredibly small ecosystem of Planet Earth is shared by trillions of living organisms, and over 7.3 billion humans – more than 324 million in the U.S. alone. And our nation’s population is growing every day – presently by an average of one person every 11 seconds.” In the Forum piece, Kolankiewicz notes: “…increasing human population density accounted for 90% or more of increasing numbers of threatened species. Gross national product (GNP, or what environmentalists call ‘consumption’) accounted for less than 10%, and all other variables – such as agricultural land use practices – amounted to little more than ‘statistical noise.’”
A frequent NPG contributing author, Kolankiewicz advocates prompt reduction of population to an ecologically-sustainable size through voluntary incentives. He explains: “The bottom line is that… we humans are capable of wiping out wildlife and trampling biodiversity even at quite low levels of population size, affluence, and technological power. More progressive attitudes about wildlife, as well as having economic and technological means, will provide greater levels of biodiversity protection and conservation. However, if population size and growth – both in the U.S. and around the world – are not reduced, all we will have succeeded in doing is buying time. The entire edifice of wildlife and biodiversity conservation will collapse, if society itself collapses from ecological overshoot.”
NPG President Donald Mann noted: “Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans – both our elected officials and the general public – still have not recognized the root cause of the biodiversity loss and resource depletion problems we face. At over 324 million people, the United States is already unsustainably overpopulated – and yet the Census Bureau projects that we will continue to grow, reaching 400 million by mid-century.” He added: “NPG hopes that the alarming reality – artfully relayed within Kolankiewicz’s perceptive work – will reach more of our nation’s citizens and elected officials. Only then can we foster broad public support for national policies which work to slow, halt, and eventually reverse U.S. population growth – until we reach a much smaller, truly sustainable level.”