In an article for Political
Economy Research Center Reports, Michael Sanera highlights one of
the main problems facing rational discussions about population — textbooks
used in the United States dont provide a fair and accurate treatment
of population issues.
Sanera surveyed 23 textbooks used in science,
geography and environmental science which included sections on population
growth. Of those only three included any mention of common objections
to the neo-Malthusian view of population. Only three of the textbooks,
for example, bother to inform readers that world population growth has
been declining since the 1970s. Only one presents any criticism of the
notion of “carrying capacity” as applied to human populations,
even though such criticisms are leveled by even mainstream writers such
as Joel Cohen.
As Sanera notes, the North American Association
for Environmental Education published guidelines in 1996 for balanced
discussion of environmental issues in textbooks. Needless to say, such
balance is still lacking.
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