Correlation Is Not Causation?

Just two graphs from public sources.

1. Global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels 1850-2010, from

2. World population, limited to approximately the same time range, from

Correlation is not causation, as it is often pointed out, and rightly so. But I was born “only” some 50 years ago, at a time when the world’s population was ~3.6 billion. It’s over 8 billion now. So that’s 4.4 billion more people that want to, among other things: eat (meat, dairy), own a car (or at least needing some kind of transportation), have homes, drink clean water, do the laundry, have light at night, and so on, and so on. Human stuff.

And yet, it almost seems like a taboo to mention the connection between the destruction of ecosystems, shrinking wildlands, exploitation of natural resources, and the rapid population growth of the last 100 years.

“It’s capitalism!”“It’s burning fossil fuels!”“It’s animal agriculture!”

Take a look at the World Population: Past, Present, and Future graph. How do you take action to address that? And NO, I am absolutely NOT suggesting to start some sick eugenics program, I’m simply asking that we’re accepting the fact that it isn’t “something that someone somewhere is doing” but rather, that it is us.

We can’t keep telling ourselves that our climate problem would be rooted in capitalism, the burning of fossil fuels, animal agriculture. We’re simply a lot of humans, doing human things. And many of those human things were less problematic when there were a lot less of us.

We need to get a majority of now over 8 billion people on board to change our ways. That’s the challenge — and too many people either won’t even acknowledge that, or are not in a place to even bother about it because they’re caught up in living their daily lives. It is a luxury that we in our Western societies, who live in overabundance and have contributed most to the climate crisis, can worry about all this.

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