For many years, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has believed that one of the biggest climate problems on earth is the rapidly increasing number of people, when combined with a way of life, especially in the wealthy countries, that an increasing number of the world's population is trying to achieve. The world's governments must now realize that we have passed a number of limits for our own growth, in relation to the consequences this has for the planet and the environment, both in the short and long term.
The year 2050 is the reference year in climate work. Then we will risk being over 9 billion people on earth, compared to about 4 billion in 1980. Today we are 6.8 billion people on earth; there will therefore be 2 billion more mouths to feed, and just as many consumers. Today, about every 6-7 people are alive. inhabitant of this planet at or below the starvation level. This alone amounts to over 1 billion people. 2 billion extra mouths to feed is madness in this sense, in a world that will also have to fight climate change.
Kurt Oddekalv, who annually gives lectures to 10-11,000 people about the environment and climate, precisely has overpopulation as one of the fixed focal points in his lectures. What do you mean there are too many people on earth?
- I usually say that we are 3 billion humans too many, and that humans take up too much space in the ecosystem. This applies both in terms of the number of people, but also in the way in which we live off the planet, especially in the developing countries.
3 billion people too many - is it a scientific number, a number you use to wake people up, or a mixture in relation to the biases we have in the distribution of food and consumption in the world?
- The 3 billion is a number I usually bring up to provoke a little, especially in relation to those who believe that we humans should continue to reproduce like rabbits. It is actually the case that we are about 3 billion too many people in relation to what the planet can bear.
Calculations that have been made show that at least 40 per cent of the world's population would starve if one had not fertilized with artificial/mineral fertiliser. As of today, this amounts to approximately 2.7 billion people alone. We have more and more mouths to feed. Around the rain, the world's population increases by 215,000 people every day. What are your thoughts on that?
- That humanity must reduce its own reproduction, as we are collectively part of the climate problem. Each country and each region must find its tolerance limit in terms of how many people we can secure food for.