The P Word

Jet over Cramond, Edinburgh

Letters pages rock. Mr Angry in full cry. Or Ms Angry in the case of Carolyn Anderson in this winter’s Wildlife Trust magazine. She writes that advertising for flying holidays “is an insult to the intelligence and principles of your readership.”

Hey, count me out, Cazza. (I can call you Cazza, can’t I?) I’d love to live in a world where flights to the Galapagos – a particular focus for her venom – are an option. Thing is: I suspect such a world has far fewer people doing that sort of thing.

Voldemort. There, I’ve said it. No, sorry, population, I mean. I wonder if this issue has somehow gotten collapsed with racism. All I hear is that the Indians/Africans/Asians just need a little contraception, a little education, a little women’s lib, a little patronising, a little condescension. What about our numbers? Wouldn’t a reduction in Europeans and Americans do more to ease our stranglehold on the planet?

Reading on down the Letters Page, I get the flavour of how ingrained is our avoidance of overpopulation in an email from Robin Trow. “The most serious threat, global warming,” he writes, and lays this at our door. Fair enough, and, yes, let’s reduce our consumption, but let’s also do this hard thing, which lies at the root of so much more than rising CO2.

Like maybe pushing the final, critical species out of the planetary matrix, as I’m reading in The Sixth Extinction. Or felling the next tree in the quest for cheap burgers. Or any other doom-laden activity.

Ho, hum. I could go on but I’ll leave it to someone more eloquent than I. Check out Lisa Hymas at Grist.

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