ESEP 12:53-58 (2012)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00123

Deconstructing the dangerous dogma of denial: the feminist-environmental justice movement and its flight from overpopulation

Madeline Weld*

President, Population Institute of Canada, PO Box 59045, Ottawa, Ontario K1G 5T7, Canada

ABSTRACT: Media reports on the wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world for the most part ignore a crucial underlying factor: rapid, unsustainable population growth. Seventeen years ago, Egypt, one of the countries at the center of the current unrest, hosted the International Conference on Population and Development. Under the influence of feminist and social justice non-governmental organisations, population reduction as an end in itself was off the agenda as antithetical to women’s rights. A focus on development alone was expected to bring about a reduction in population growth. In the absence of national or international (United Nations) population strategies, financial support for family planning has fallen sharply and population growth has remained rapid. Consequently, development has lagged, and a deteriorating environment and resource scarcity have led to conflict in many regions. This article challenges the arguments used to suppress discussion of and action on population growth and invites readers to break the silence of policy makers and scholars to discuss the role of population growth in a myriad of problems, what we can call the population taboo.


KEY WORDS: Overpopulation · Denial · Environmental justice · Feminism/feminist · International conference on population and development · ICPD · Cairo conference


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Cite this article as: Weld M (2012) Deconstructing the dangerous dogma of denial: the feminist-environmental justice movement and its flight from overpopulation. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 12:53-58. https://doi.org/10.3354/esep00123

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