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Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics

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ESEP 12:21-34 (2012)  -  DOI:

Tribute to an ‘obnoxious’ ecocatalytical demotechnician: Jack Vallentyne on population

Stuart H. Hurlbert*

Department of Biology and Center for Inland Waters, San Diego State University, San Diego, California 92182, USA

ABSTRACT: The late John R. Vallentyne was a limnologist and one of Canada’s most influential scientists in the latter half of the last century. While his work in institution-building and in improving water quality in North American lakes is widely known, his creative, if infrequent, writings on human overpopulation and its environmental consequences are less so. This tribute analyzes these, starting with his concept of demotechnic growth, relating his thoughts to those of David Suzuki and Garrett Hardin, 2 admirers who encouraged him to write his cry-from-the-heart book, Tragedy in Mouse Utopia, which was published shortly before his death. His ideas are related to current population issues such as immigration and the estimation of environmentally sustainable population levels. An attempt is made to explain his relative silence on Canada’s population and immigration policies. He has left some of the heavy-lifting to his colleagues and the next generation.

KEY WORDS: John R. Vallentyne · Population growth · Demotechnic growth · Tragedy in Mouse Utopia · Garrett Hardin · David Suzuki · Johnny Biosphere · Censorship

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Cite this article as: Hurlbert SH (2012) Tribute to an ‘obnoxious’ ecocatalytical demotechnician: Jack Vallentyne on population. Ethics Sci Environ Polit 12:21-34.

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