The video recording, as well as M4A audio recording is also available on the Internet Archive at https://archive.org/details/20230417-st-on-madeline-weld-population-growth-ecological-sustainability-1920x-1080

April 17 (the third Monday of the month, dodging Easter Monday) is the 109th meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario. The registration is at https://populationgrowth.eventbrite.ca .

Population Growth and Ecological Sustainability

The size of a country’s population has an impact on virtually everything: urbanization and land development,  infrastructure, housing, energy use, consumption of resources, waste production and management, jobs and more. Canada is rapidly growing its population yet there is no public discussion about what an optimum population might be. 

It is assumed that a continually growing population is good thing because it makes the economy grow. But who is benefitting from all that growth?  Why are the people upon whom growth is being imposed not consulted about whether they want it? 

The world population is still growing by about 70 million annually. Even with vastly increased immigration, Canada cannot have much impact on such growth. It can however support ethical family planning programs in its foreign aid and share its knowledge and expertise on sustainability issues. Ideally, it could lead by example to show that a stable or shrinking population is economically viable.

Bio:  Madeline Weld is retired from Health Canada, having previously worked at the University of Ottawa. She has a B.Sc. in zoology from the University of Guelph (1977) and an M.S. (1979) and Ph.D. (1983) in physiology from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Madeline has had a lifelong interest in population – triggered no doubt by seeing population density and poverty up close, starting at the age of four, when her father was posted to Rio de Janeiro (the then capital of Brazil) for three years (1959-62) and later to Pakistan (1965-67). She has been a member of Population Institute Canada since its founding in 1992 (under another name by retired engineer Whitman Wright) and president since 1995. PIC is a voluntary organization that promotes awareness of population matters and sustainable populations for all countries.


Suggested pre-reading: 


Post-meeting artifacts


20230417_ST-ON_Weld_PopulationAndSustainability.pptx (Powerpoint slides on Google Drive)