Human Population Bomb is Ticking
The human population growth factor in global warming is being ignored says a Marlborough conservationist Tony Orman,
also an author and immediate past chairman of the Council of Outdoor Recreation Associations of NZ (CORANZ).
His comment was made following the just concluded United Nations global-warming talks in Paris.
"The world’s most senior politicians have debated ways to combat accelerated climate change. But it’s voluntary and
besides it’s a sticking plaster approach - treat symptoms but ignore the cause. There's one very important undebated
factor - people” he said.
There seemed an inherent fear about addressing the cause of accelerated global warming. Politicians and bureaucrats
would use any scapegoat. A bizarre example was in 2007 when director general of the Department of Conservation Al
Morrison, tried to incriminate wild deer alleging they were guilty of farting and belching.
"Animals can’t argue back in defence, people do. Deer and cows don’t vote but people do. Therein lies the cause of the
problem - people and politics,” said Tony Orman.
People drove cars which belched emissions, coal fired power stations belched and jet planes farted “gases and particles
-- which contribute to climate change.” Humans demand resources, flush toilets, use chemical insecticides and pesticides
and throw away garbage.
"Humans or more particularly numbers of people, are the primary cause of environmental degradation and global warming.
The more people, the more demand for resources. More people require more meat and milk - more cows. More people means
more cars which means more emissions. Gimmee more, more and more".
New Zealand has attempted to weakly and naively contribute by a free-market dollar-driven carbon trading called the
Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).
Tony Orman said motorcar emissions needed to be addressed by lowering motorcar use. New Zealand has one of the highest
car ownership rankings, 9th compared to the UK 33rd.
"Only long term investment in efficient public transport systems thereby reversing the escalation of car commuter
mileages in cities like Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington, will bring motorcar usage and consequently emissions
down” he said.
Instead governments and Auckland mayors ignorantly proceeded with building more motorways simply to accommodate more
cars. Ignored was the root cause of environmental ills i.e. numbers of people.
He said the cause had been well identified in past decades. Controversial author Paul Erlich warned about the people
crisis in his book “The Population Bomb” published in 1968 and in New Zealand in 1970, a few enlightened
environmentalists such as “Save Manapouri” conservationist and deerstalkers association president John B Henderson
publicly questioned “surely we cannot argue for there being any virtue in further proliferating the hordes of humanity?”
Sadly the policy of “Growth for Growth’s Sake” dominates.
Even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) briefly commented acknowledging that “Globally, economic and
population growth continued to be the most important drivers of increases in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.” But that
was lost in the clouds of hot air emitted by the global warming debate. And it will be lost in the “smoke-screens and
mirrors” at Paris.
In New Zealand, successive prime ministers, cabinet ministers and metropolitan mayors seemed oblivious the country’s
population is approaching five million and still blithely boasted of GDP and population growth rates.
New Zealand still had no population policy. Government pursued growth with "a myopic and maniacal passion" and no
thoughts of control.
Serious regional imbalances existed, most graphically illustrated by greater Auckland conurbation busting at the seams,
demanding more public money for congested roads and building highways, upgrading of sewers and stormwaters etc., and
sprawling outwards over fertile soils.
Immigration proceeded apace swelling numbers and diluting and eroding the century old Kiwi culture evolved from two
ethnic groups and developing a bewildering multi-cultural society often in conflict.
" Recently NZ's population was 4.64 million and rising with births exceeding deaths and a new migrant every 7
minutes.The sharp reality is more people and more consumers equal more resource demand, force more costly infrastructure
demand and cause more emissions. More, more and more - an addictive disease,” said Tony Orman.
The planet cannot tolerate infinite growth. It wasalready at a crisis.
Footnote: Tony Orman (MNZIS) of Blenheim is a former town planner, conservationist (‘wise use of resources’), journalist and
author of over 20 books and past chairman Council off Outdoor Recreation Assns of NZ (CORANZ).