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Letter: Fred Pearce is in a muddle about population

Chris Padley

3rd February, 2010

The charge of 'racism' against population campaigners does not sit with the rest of Fred Pearce's argument

Dear editor,
Fred Pearce seems to have a hang-up about race that muddles his head whenever he talks about population.

In your interview, one moment he warns us that there might be some residual racism in the current resurgence of population concern, and the next warns us that in parts of Europe  the 'indigenous population' is going to die out by the end of the century.

Leaving aside the fact that even if the lowest European fertility rates were maintained for 100 years, which is most unlikely, the population would not have died out at the end of it, how does he define who will be an indigenous European in 100 years time and why should this worry him?

Then, despite the fact that the recent resurgence in population concern in this country has centred on our own overcrowding and its consequences for a wide variety of problems, including development pressure on farmland and countryside, food security, energy consumption, overcrowding in cities, unemployment, shortage and high cost of housing, etc., all of which could all be summed up as sustainability, he alleges that this concern is 'underpinning the notion that it's people in countries far away, with dark skins, breeding, that are damaging planetary systems and are causing greenhouse gases emissions'.

It's difficult to see how, except in his own head. On the other hand, if he wants to underpin the alternative  notion, that our European style over-consumption and over-exploitation of the world's resources is the real problem, possibly promoting the view that 'indigenous Europeans' are not breeding fast enough is not the way to do it.


Chris Padley


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