Friday, April 03, 2009

Decreasing the Surplus Population

The last time that Britain’s population was cut in half was the 14th century. The cause was the Black Death.

Seven centuries later, a leading British environmentalist is urging a similar decrease in what Ebenezer Scrooge famously called “the surplus population.” Only this time, he’s asking for volunteers.

In February, Jonathan Porritt, the chairman of the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission, said that couples with more than two children were placing an “‘irresponsible’ burden of the environment.”

He accused his fellow environmentalists of “betraying the interests of [their] members” by not telling people to be responsible for “their total environmental footprint.”

Not surprisingly, Porritt’s comments didn’t sit very well with a lot of Britons. But he’s convinced, as he wrote on his website, that “logic” and “sound evidence” are on his side.

So, six weeks later, he upped the ante: he declared that the UK must cut its population from its current 61 million to 30 million “if it is to build a sustainable society.”

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