Depletionism: Religion of Fractivists and Other Environmental Extremists

The religion of fractivists and other environmental extremists may be described as depletionism, a new Malthusian creed based on fear and selfishness.

Last week, a group of sustainable population organizations issued a global statement and call to action for World Population Day. According to the statement,

“World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice warned that runaway consumption of limited resources by a rapidly growing population is crippling the Earth’s life-support systems, jeopardizing our future. Identifying population as a “main driver” of the crisis, its recommended actions include reducing fertility rates through education, family planning and rallying leaders behind the goal of establishing a sustainable human population.”

Modern concerns about overpopulation can be traced back to Thomas Robert Malthus’ Essay on the Principle of Overpopulation (1798) where he theorized that humanity would not be able to produce enough food to keep up with the exponentially expanding population. Malthus’ view was the result of mistakenly believing that the supply of resources is finite and, therefore, would be depleted as population grew over time. William Stanley Jevons transferred this view to the study of mineral resources in The Coal Question: An Inquiry Concerning the Progress of the Nation, and the Probable Exhaustion of Our Coal Mines (1865).

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