Ehrlich's NGO Zero Population Growth then parted ways with Tanton (a past president), renamed itself the Population Connection, and embraced an end-poverty-to-curb-population approach. Ehrlich and his wife Anne, a conservation biologist, also left the board of Tanton's Federation for American Immigration Reform. Yet the scars between environmentalists and the development community are only beginning to heal. "When you talk about population," says Larry Fahn, Sierra Club president during some of the bitterest infighting, "the immigration people come out of the woodwork with their hate mongering. It's unfortunate that the subject brings out a racist agenda."
David Brower, the former executive director, of the Sierra, originally suggested Ehrlich write The Population Bomb. The Sierra Club had long supported population stabilization. But in the 1990s, anti-immigration activists spurred by John Tanton—who controls an array of English-only, zero- immigration, and nativist groups—stealthily twice attempted to take over the board. Perhaps naively, some Sierra Club stalwarts concerned with population joined their cause. The battle lasted for a decade, culminating when Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center ran for Sierra's board in an effort to expose Tanton's true agenda—and the fact that one of his groups had accepted money from white supremacists. [Karen Gaia: This is not the whole story - see note below].
Deep connections have been found between the persistence (indeed, often worsening) of rural poverty in the Indian sub-continent and the habitat destruction that has accompanied economic and population growth.
Authors such as Indian economists Narpat S Jodha and Kanchan Chopra, and young economists associated with the South Asian Network of Development and Environmental Economists have found that interactions between people and the environment harbor tipping points, where an unexpected collapse of the rural resource base means a sudden dramatic loss in a community's wealth. Its source could have been population pressure and unprotected property rights over a fragile resource base. Civic strife has been known to follow attempts at migration by local populations. These researchers also found that the claim that “every 1 per cent increase in GDP per head reduces poverty by around 1.7 per cent" is unwarranted.
The problem is that GDP is not a suitable indicator of economic development. Development should instead be assessed on the basis of a comprehensive notion of wealth measured by the social worth of an economy's stock of capital assets, comprising manufactured capital (roads, ports, machinery, and so on), human capital (population size and composition, education, health), knowledge (the arts, humanities, and sciences), and natural capital (ecosystems, sources of water, the atmosphere, land, sub-soil resources). If institutions are weak or simply bad, the social worth of those same assets would be small, and that would translate into a low value of wealth.
India provided the final stage to re-enact Malthus theory on growth pattern between population and food grain production in the 1960s, when India was plagued by booming population growth and a diffident growth in food production.
The first scenario results in a population that would reach two billion in 2066-2071. By 2101, four states, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh would account for almost half of the country's population. Scenario B does not reach two billion, growth peaks in 2081-2086, after which it decreases.
India passed the 1 billion population benchmark in 2000, and stood at 1.1 billion in 2007. The government has been concerned about population growth outpacing economic growth, and India was the first country to adopt a policy to slow population growth. Since the policy was first stated in 1952, the country's total fertility rate has declined from about six children per woman to about three, but fertility levels vary greatly throughout India.
India's population has reached 1.21 billion, making it home to 17% of the world's people, though growth actually slowed - from 21.5% per decade to 17.6% - for the first time in 90 years, according to preliminary figures released by census officials.
India's population increase has largely been among the poorer and least educated sections of its people. Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, UP and Rajasthan account for 40% of the country's population and 50% of its population growth.
But then Nilekani goes on to say: "In the last two decades, this depressing vision of India's population as an "overwhelming burden" has been turned on its head. With growth, our human capital has emerged as a vibrant source of workers and consumers not just for India, but also for the global economy." India has realized a 'demographic dividend,' a phrase which came from David Bloom and Jeffrey Williamson who studied the economic success stories of some east Asian countries, in particular Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan They found that one of the reasons for the success which had hitherto been ignored was, paradoxically, population growth.
First he mentions Malthus, saying that "As a poor and extremely crowded part of the world, we seemed to vindicate Thomas Malthus's uniquely despondent vision - that greater population growth inevitably led to greater famine and despair, and Paul Erlich of his 1966 visit to Dehli: "People eating, people washing, people sleeping"..people visiting, arguing and screaming"..people clinging to buses"..people, people, people."
The past 200 years of ever increasing reliance on fossil fuels is altering the climate in ways yet unknown. The world should commit to renewable and less carbon intensive solutions, yet the International Energy Agency just issued its annual World Energy Outlook 2012 report that states the world is failing to move towards a more sustainable path for energy, as it continues its addiction to fossil fuels in the face of climate change and growing water scarcity.