Overpopulation Is Worst Problem, SUNY Faculty Says

Overpopulation is the world’s top environmental issue, followed closely by climate change and the need to develop renewable energy resources to replace fossil fuels, according to a survey of the faculty at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).

"Overpopulation is the only problem," said Charles A. Hall, Ph.D., a systems ecologist. "If we had 100 million people on Earth—or better, 10 million—no others would be a problem." (Current estimates put the planet’s population at more than 6 billion.)

Allan P. Drew, Ph.D., a forest ecologist, put it this way: "Overpopulation means that we are putting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than we should, just because more people are doing it, and this is related to overconsumption by people in general, especially in the ‘developed’ world."

"But, whether developed or developing," said Susan Senecah, Ph.D., who teaches the history of the American environmental movement, "everyone is encouraged to ‘want’ and perceive that they ‘need’ to consume beyond the planet’s ability to provide."

Among the top 10 issues on the ESF list are overconsumption, the need for more sustainable practices worldwide, the growing need for energy conservation, the need for humans to see themselves as part of the global ecosystem, overall carbon dioxide emissions, the need to develop ways to produce consumer products from renewable resources, and dwindling fresh water resources.

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