Topics

Many impacts of human population and consumption growth are obvious, others, such as some of the negative impacts on our own species, less so. Part of the solution rests in education and improving women's rights. The issues overlap, making categorisation of the articles difficult, but here's a rough guide to some of the articles David has written to date:

South Africa's national bird: The blue crane

Population & consumption growth

I'm often told "worry about consumption growth in rich countries, not population growth in poor ones." It's a pathetically weak argument; we can and should worry about both issues in all countries. Each individual person has population and consumption impacts inside and outside their home nation. In "Strutting like Mick Jagger: Blue cranes" I highlight how South Africa's national bird has been impacted by both domestic and international population and consumption growth. In "Too Much Waste, Too Many Dead People" I write about a community being evicted because of the need to extend a cemetery – even the growth in the number of dead people has negative impacts on the living.

"South African population and consumption issues" is an article introducing Too Much Too Many to international readers and featured in international publications. "Statistics, people without the tears" is a personal article, using my own health issues in the light of bland statistics. One approach of TMTM is to move the population and consumption debate away from statistics, by using personal examples.

A celebratory ceremony in Venda marking a women's rights initiative

Women’s rights

South Africa has a desperate need to improve women's rights and access to sexual and reproductive choices. In "There's a dangerous elephant in the room. Let's worry about stickers" I highlight how little is being done about back street abortion. In "Lunch with vigilantes" I discuss women in an Eastern Cape community who have dealt with shocking domestic violence issues. On the other side of the country, in Venda, the background is similar, but this community thankfully benefits from the work of a great NGO: "Righting the wrongs in rural South Africa".  In "Unmet needs and demands in the Ciskei" I look at some of the challenges faced by Pathfinder.

Wilderness and wildlife

In "Lions in the cross hairs" I highlight the surprising necessity of culling lions in our national parks, when we only have 3,000 left in the wild. A highlight of this journey is enjoying some of the country's spectacular wildlife experiences. In "Living in a wildlife documentary" I share my adventure on the sardine run. "My time in wilderness. Sort of" is a light hearted look at a day on the Wild Coast. "Pelican patrol" looks at the diverse ways we impact endangered coastal birds whereas with "The Cape parrot – rarer than rhino" it's even rarer birds who star. South Africa has plenty of wildlife splendour, but we've lost a lot. In "South Africa's greatest migration" I discuss what must have been one of the world's greatest natural spectacles, which has been wiped out by man. In "Deepest Darkest Africa" I look at the importance of darkness as a facet of wilderness.

Limited resources

In "We can't treasure only the Karoo" I question the approach of anti-fracking lobby group TKAG and whether environmentalists need a more sophisticated approach. The chairman of TKAG, Jonathan Deal, responded (see the comments section) and I then wrote "A response to Jonathan Deal". Resources are finite and as our numbers grow and we increase consumption further pressures are created. In "Pondoland friendly toothpaste" I look at the demand for titanium, in "When should we start fracking in the Karoo?" it’s shale gas, in both "In hot water: Prince Albert" and "No working taps: living on rainwater" the issues is obviously water. In "Size matters: Elephant contraception" I highlight that with one species, elephant, we have worked out that there's only a finite amount of resources and that rising populations are damaging to other species.

Baboons near Cape Point, Cape Town

Land

Another resource which is limited is land. In "Baboon shepherds with paint ball guns" I look at the impact of urbanisation on the Cape peninsula's baboons, in "The problems at Driftsands Nature Reserve" and "To live by force: when there is no space elsewhere" I look at the competing interests around Cape Town for housing by the desperately poor and the preservation of unique flora of global importance. There's not enough space for either, let alone both.

A public shark autopsy in Durban

Culture and attitudes

In "Mummy, mummy, look at me with a butchered shark!" and "Sharks: Predators providing fear, wonder and a soup ingredient" I question how far we've developed our view of the world since Victorian times and how our interests generally trump those of all other species. "Need a monkey paw? I know the place to go" looks at the traditional medicine industry, which threatens endangered species but also its popularity itself  threatens the whole trade and the jobs and culture relying on it.

Education 

Improving education is fundamental to many population challenges. In "Disempowering a generation" I look at the shocking neglect of education in the rural Eastern Cape, which is leading to the permanent lifelong disempowerment of a generation.

Family planning and vasectomy

World Vasectomy Day was 18 October 2013, an event raising awareness about the general reluctance of men to get involved with family planning and asking whether lessening unwanted pregnancies should form part of population policy. To promote World Vasectomy Day, in South Africa, I wrote articles for Johannesburg newspapers The Star and The Citizen as well as for the websites of Marie Claire, Health24 and Africa Geographic.  You can access links to all these articles, as well as podcasts of radio my interviews, by clicking here.