453: Bill Ryerson, part 2: How can we talk about population? What can we do?

April 26, 2021 by Joshua
in Podcast

What’s the Earth’s carrying capacity? If we’re above it and we choose to lower it, what happens to the economy?

I’ve wondered these questions. I know the mainstream view gets it wrong because humans have lived sustainably. Their models say it’s impossible, so they’re wrong. They must be missing something, at least.

Rapid population growth leads to poverty. It might be a party on the way up, but it’s unsustainable. We can celebrate lowering population. Other cultures have. We can too.

Bill starts by talking about how we can tell we’re over the Earth’s capacity, the dangers of relying on nonrenewable resources like oil. How do we achieve a soft landing if things collapse? Bill works on these things and speaks with experience and thoughtfulness, not just political bromides. We also cover birth control and immigration, topics relevant to the environment.

These topics are critical, but not covered. For me, it’s refreshing to talk reasonably about these things. The media doesn’t.

I also get him acting on his values. As you’ll hear, he hits on something in his back yard he’s neglected for decades. We switch from abstract facts, however important, to personal emotions.

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