I see that GrowthBusters have started walls of shame and fame for articles appearing in the media.

Being a scientist, I cannot shame the media without also pointing with shame to my own community.

iSHuD 2013 Conference

I was looking for conferences about the environment, expecting to learn something about human impacts upon the environment. So, I did a google search on the keywords: environmental conference and went to the top ranked site which lists some 178 events. Many of these events are more about engineering or law, the "environment" being more incidental to their agenda.

Eventually I found a conference that looked like it might be the real McCoy; iSHuD 2013 International Conference on Sustainable Human Development. Themes for the conference are:

Any student of ecology --- any thinking person --- will appreciate that each of the above themes is fundamentally related to population. Indeed, diversity is defined as a function of population numbers. Each theme above is described in some detail. So I clicked on the links and searched for the keyword: population. Nothing! I searched for number (as in number of people or number of animals). Nothing, zero, zip!

We live in a knowledge-fragmented world which rewards those expert in one field regardless that they be ignorant of everything else. Nevertheless, if there is a single quantity that links each of the above themes, it is human population. Max Born related well-being, the economy, knowledge, technology and population with these few elegant words:

Science and technology will then follow their tendency to rapid expansion in an exponential fashion, until saturation sets in. But that does not necessarily imply an increase of wealth, still less of happiness, as long as the number of people increases at the same rate, and with it their need for food and energy. At this point, the technological problems of the atom touch social problems, such as birth control and the just distribution of goods. There will be hard fighting about these problems...
Born honestly states the central role of human population.

To obtain a thorough appreciation of these things, one should read the works of Paul Colinvaux:

Big! Fierce! The human animal is big. Others are bigger but there is no animal more fierce than a duly equipped human. Other big animals are rare but humans are not rare.

Human population is the number that determines everything. Yet this number is swept under the rug by those who should be talking about it most. Why has iSHuD 2013 gone to such lengths to avoid "the word"?

The iSHuD 2013 conference states:

Scholars are encouraged to submit theoretical, empirical and practice oriented papers on the themes of the conference. ... The main criteria for acceptance are originality, relevance and scientific merit.
Is the iSHuD 2013 conference honest? First and foremost, science must be honest. Is there any hope of scientific merit at the iSHuD 2013 conference?

You tell me.

Scientist Blathering about Threatened Birds

I was listening to the local CBC radio station, they were interviewing a scientist about the many species of birds that are threatened with extinction.

The interviewer asked "Is there was some primary reason for the plight of the birds?".
The scientist being interviewed said "No" and then continued blathering about incidental guff like climate change and cats and whatever.

Strange, I thought. Surely this must have something to do with the burgeoning human population? Why wouldn't the scientist state the obvious?

Anyway, the interviewer did tell us there was more about this story at their news site so I went there for a gander. Yes there was more. More scientists saying guff. Never a mention of the "P-word"!

Flicking down to the comments, I saw that the top rated comment (by globecare) at least raised human overpopluation as being an important part of the problem.

"Human overpopulation, habitat loss, climate change because of the burning of fossil fuels, and cultures of "money before anything else", are the major contributers to the threats of extinction to these birds. Time for a paradigm shift that places ecological importance and sustainability to the top of the list."
Of course, human overppopulation is most fundamental. Human overppopulation is the reason why other species have lost their habitat. Human population has only been able to get so high because of the consumption of fossil fuels. But human population didn't have to get so high. The fact that human population did rise so high is the reason for excessive CO2 emissions and anthropogenic climate change. The culture of greed is also caused by overpopulation.

It is interesting that the people who visited this CBC webpage voted by an overwhelming majority that human overpopulation was a major issue. My bet is that all people would understand that human overpopulation was the issue except for the many years we have all been bombarded by biased reporting from the media and scientists who should know better.

I don't blame the CBC interviewer in this case. I know that they will raise the "P-word" when prompted by an email or given half an opening. Certainly, the interviewer gave the scientist every opportunity to be honest about human overpopulation. It is a scientific disgrace that they skirted the core problem!