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Photo by Charlotte Bailey

Are there really Too Many People?

ENVIRONMENTALISTS, SOCIALISTS, AND population enthusiasts came together for the launch of Too Many People? by Ian Angus and Simon Butler on Nov. 22. Co-author Angus educated guests through an interview at the launch, speaking about his intentions behind the book.

“We tried to write a book that was accessible to everyone, not just scientists,” said Angus.

He said whether there are too many people in the world is not an empirical fact. Using different mathematical models, some scholars have determined the world can only sustainably support half a billion people, while others have calculated 60 billion people could inhabit earth. Angus disagreed.

“There are [already] too many people for the system to feed,” said Angus.

He pointed to limited resources, as well as the ways we use resources like energy and oil, as the catalyst for the problems associated with overpopulation.

““Water is a big problem,” argued Angus. “Canada’s a country with huge [water] resources, but we’ve got a system that treats this resource as a free gift, that we can use or waste if we need to.”

Angus argued there is technology available to farmers that would allow them to produce food for vastly smaller amounts of money, but so long as they have free access to water, the government won’t invest in those technologies.

Debate was sparked among those who watched Angus’ interview over the lack of answers provided by Too Many People? Unlike many books that Angus mentioned that diagnose problems with simple solutions—such as Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth telling people to conserve energy in order to save the world—Too Many People? does not offer simple solutions to population problems discussed in the book.

Angus thinks there is only one solution to the problems brought on by overpopulation: Revolution on behalf of earth’s residents. Although he recognizes people are skeptical, Angus believes change is possible through revolt.

“I was in Libya five years ago,” said Angus. “If people had told me that they were going to overthrow the government, I wouldn’t have believed it. Those things can be done. It’s not going to be easy, and it’s not going to be fast, but it’s the only way—by building a movement to change the society.”

Although Angus argued this action is necessary to produce change, he recognized change isn’t coming any time soon.

“It takes centuries to change demographics,” said Angus.

—Charlotte Bailey