Mother Pelican
A Journal of Solidarity and Sustainability

Vol. 15, No. 8, August 2019
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
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Global Solidarity for Global Sustainability

Adaptation to Climate Change ~ International Organization for Standardization

The Root Cause of Human Population Growth, by Steve Salmony

"Be Very Alarmed!" Introducing the Global GDP Meter, by Brian Czech

Catalysing Mass Commitment to Transformative Change, by Andrew Gaines

As Systems Collapse, People Rise: Seven Faces of an Emerging Global Movement, by Otto Scharmer

Do We Need Environmental Ethics?, Malgorzata Dereniowska

Why Economics is Still Not a Science of Adaptive Systems, by Greg Daneke

Solidarity Economy Roads ~ Chapter 2 - The Road of the Poor and the Popular Economy, by Luis Razeto Migliaro

What If There Were No Future? Some Overlooked Consequences of Exponential Growth, by Peter Russell

Dancing with Grief, Acting with Courage, by Dahr Jamail

The Right to Say No ~ Women Organizing Against Extractivism in Southern Africa, by Boniface Mabanza Bambu

Decolonising the Economy, by Laura Basu

Increasing Human Population Density Drives Environmental Degradation in Africa, by Corey J. A. Bradshaw

Investigating Deforestation in Brazil, by Stephen Davis

A 21st Century Economics for the People of a Living Earth, by David Korten

The Catholic Church and Human Relationships with Nature, by Joseph Blay

Against Piety: The Planet, the Pope, and Laudato Si', by Ray Keenoy

Feminism and the Social Solidarity Economy: A Short Call to Action, by Marian Díez

A Charter for the Social Solidarity Economy, by Solidarity and Alternative Economies Network

Challenging Global Corporate Power, by James Shultz

On the Need for an Earth Standard Currency, by Julian Cribb

World's Poorest Nations Weighed Down by Fastest Growing Populations, by Thalif Deen

Responding to Collapse by Turning Toward Each Other, by Meghan Kallman

Is Patriarchy Natural or Artificial?, by Karen Henninger

Patriarchal Gender Theory: Defective Anthropology, Defective Ecology, by Luis Gutiérrez

The Root Cause of Human Population Growth

Steve E. Salmony

August 2019

Rocinha favela in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil ~ Wikipedia

Homo sapiens is a creature of the earth. Understand that food is the tap root of life for the human species. There may be other factors that help sustain human life, but food is the 'tap root' for the growth of absolute human population numbers, just as is the case with other species of earth.

Our problem is a biological one. A positive feedback loop has been established in the food-population relationship because natural limiting factors to the unbridled growth of absolute human population numbers have been eliminated by human ingenuity. Human beings are unique creatures of earth. We are exceptional in many wondrous ways, but not in terms of population dynamics. Hence the recent 'bloom' of absolute global human population numbers that are primarily caused by spectacular increases in the food supply which is derived from greatly enhanced production and distribution capabilities.

The conundrum: increasing food production annually to meet the needs of growing population is fueling a human population explosion. With every passing year more people are being fed and more people are going hungry.

Perhaps we can agree to a desperate need for an adequate-enough explanation for 'why' we have ended up where are, in this global predicament. A growing body of unfalsified research has been ubiquitously denied and consequently not widely shared much less consensually validated by population experts of science as well as those professionals with appropriate expertise in the fields of demography and economics. Uncontested science makes it possible for us to answer the question posed now, here.

A new biological understanding is emerging from ongoing scientific research. It is simply this: as is the case with other species, human population numbers appear or not as a function of food availability; food is the independent, not the dependent, variable in the relationship between food and population numbers; and human population dynamics is essentially similar to, not different from, the population dynamics of other species.

Sound scientific research provides straightforward empirical data of a non-recursive biological problem that is independent of economic, political, ethical, social, legal, religious, and cultural considerations. This means human population dynamics is like the population dynamics of other species. It also means that global human population growth is a viciously cycling positive feedback loop, a relationship between food and population in which food availability drives population growth, and population growth fuels the false perception, the mistaken impression, the fatally flawed misconception that food production needs to be increased to meet the needs of a growing population.

With every passing year, as food production is increased leading to a population increase, millions go hungry. Why are those hungry millions not getting fed year after year after year... and future generations of poor people may not ever be fed? Every year the human population grows. All segments of it grow. More people with blue eyes and more with brown ones. More tall people and more short ones. All segments of the population grows. Every year there are also more people growing up well fed and more people growing up hungry. The hungry segment of the global population goes up just like all the other segments of the population. We are unexpectedly increasing the number of hungry people in the course of feeding more people. We are not bringing hunger to an end by increasing food production.

The skyrocketing increase of the human population in our time on a planet with the size, composition and ecology of Earth has caused a growing number of apparently unforeseen and exceedingly deleterious ecological occurrences. Among these potentially catastrophic, human-driven consequences is climate destabilization. What is fortunately becoming clearer to naked eyes, as we observe what is happening, is the manifold ways overproduction, overconsumption and overpopulation activities of the human species are occurring synergistically and simultaneously threatening life as we know it, environmental health, and future human well-being. The spectacular increase of these distinctly human, overgrowth activities is causing the mass extirpation of earth's biodiversity, the relentless dissipation of its limited natural resources, the unbridled degradation of its environs and the reckless threat to a good enough future for children everywhere.

For a moment let us carefully consider the remote possibility that the human community writ large pulls itself together on a war footing to fight climate change and wins that battle by reducing carbon emissions of all kinds to net zero in 2020, while the tap-root cause of anthropogenic climate change continues to be denied. We may win a major Pyrrhic victory. That is certainly a good thing. And yet, if we do not accurately enough locate the foremost cause of the biological problem that is ailing humankind, the problem that is precipitating climate change, we could lose the prospects of a good enough future for life as we know it.

We have run out of time for population experts to remain reticent. They have to assume their responsibilities by examining data and reporting findings regarding the question, "Why are human population numbers exploding?" The time has come to disclose all of what we know --- the whole truth --- with regard to human creatureliness and human population growth, according to the best available science and 'lights' we possess.


Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., M.P.A., established The AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population in 2001. He lives in Fearrington Village, North Carolina, USA, and can be contacted at


"You who can heal all wounds and hate
make my heart open, free, and great."

— Carol Bialock, Coral Castles, 2019


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