This post is about a book Fred Pearce wrote about five years ago called The Coming Population Crash: and Our Planet’s Surprising Future. Fred Pearce has long been one of my favorite writers. I am also a big fan of his book on global warning called With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change.
In this book Pearce points out that human fertility rates all over the world are suddenly falling. In this new book Pearce says that world population growth is still increasing, but as soon as the baby boomer’s children are done having kids, world population will begin dropping. Demographic experts all over the world agree with him and attribute this phenomena basically to the fact the more and more women, world wide, have gotten tired of being baby machines; they are suddenly becoming aware that life can hold infinitely more possibilities for them.
Now-a-days, many more children, instead of dying in childbirth or infancy, are surviving to adulthood and with birth control easily accessible, women all over the world, even in places like India and all over Asia, have opted for having one or two or even no babies. Nowadays, women world wide are more and more going to college (right now women greatly outnumber men at almost all universities), opting for careers in all kinds of fields from law to medicine to politics to executive positions in large corporations and if they happen to live in the third world, even athletic shoe and clothing factories are offering routes out of traditional lives centered around childbearing..
Pearce says that this will result in stable or even falling world populations and that this will eventually bring an end to the current population boom. He says this is almost certain to help reduce our current devastation of the earth. He says that if we can just make it through the next twenty or thirty or forty years without some sort of irreversible ecological disaster, and if we can begin cutting down on our CO2 emissions, humans may still have a chance for survival.
Like all of Fred Pearce’s books, this new one, The Coming Population Crash is full of surprising information you have probably never heard of before (I certain had not) and, since Pearce is such a great writer, the book is also a total joy to read. I highly recommend this book, along with his book on environmental turning points, “With Speed and Violence”that I discussed in this newsletter.