Man Swarm and the Killing of Wildlife

Concerned about having hit 7 billion and want to know what you can do? This book is for you. Open to learning why we should be concerned, even very concerned? This book is for you.

In Man Swarm, author and leading conservationist Dave Foreman boldly brings the population issue back the forefront. Foreman comes from the position that too often we just look at how overpopulation affects humans, and don’t take animals, wilderness—“wild things” into account. He wants us to look at this issue as solving the carrying capacity of “all Earthlings.”

He dissects different ways to look at population growth, and knocks readers over with startling statistics, especially as we look to the future. What will be the effects of the increasing numbers of women giving birth at a lower rate? How will human longevity continue to make a major contribution to population expansion, “regardless of whatever progress might be made in reducing fertility?” You’ll get answers to questions like these and more.

You’ll learn how we have been here before-Foreman shows us historical cycles of how human populations grow, carrying capacity is overshot (the resource base is depleted or ruined), hunger and starvation come, people fight over what is left, the fighting cuts the population and “the game begins anew.” He shows us how we are doing the same thing, and how we too are “setting ourselves up for crash.”

He takes on social issues that can make a positive impact on population stabilization, and gives us ways to create our own “personal climate change strategy.” But perhaps most boldly, Foreman lays out how national and international policy needs to change to curb population growth. He is brave enough to take immigration head on, and argues why we need to reinstitute Sierra Club’s 1989 population policy. He also makes the case for why we need to see overpopulation as a global problem, and how critical it is that all countries get “their own population house in order.”

I applaud how Man Swarm effectively shows us why we need to join growing numbers who “understand the human population explosion is still happening and that it is the main driver of mass species extinction, wildland destruction and development, and greenhouse gas pollution.”

My only beef: Foreman talks about the conscious choice not to have children as a powerful environmental act (that he has chosen himself), but seems to still be drinking pronatalist kool-aid, because at the same time he says “not wanting offspring is odd.” Not only is this kind of messaging about the childfree life inaccurate, it sure doesn’t encourage people to make this choice as one of the “practical steps we can take to bring our numbers down to what Earth can support.”

Still, it’s a brave book about living true to what needs to happen to stabilize our population, for the future of our world and the people and wildlife on it. When it comes to boldness, this book gets my vote.

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