Population is a fundamental driver of every factor that is involved in everyday life, the economy and human interaction with the natural world. Population size and rate of growth and changing age structure must be understood if we are to address the dynamics of our changing world and our impact upon it.

There is a huge amount of human experience and demographic history from which to draw. The human population cycle has generated of great deal of our history. Population booms, busts and their subsequent wars, migrations and revolutions are a dominant part of the human narrative.

What This Means for Canada

Population and consumption determine the level of stress we place on the environment. Although we have not taken great strides in reducing consumption, we can and do discuss our levels of consumption. Population size and growth rate, on the other hand, are rarely discussed even though they ultimately have an even greater impact on the environment than per capita consumption levels. An understating of exponential growth is critical. Population levels can seem to increase at very small annual levels but over time, these seemingly minor growth rates become human tsunamis. They are particularly environmentally devastating when combined with increasing consumption levels.

What Can You Do?

From municipal councils to federal politics, make sure the population elephant in the room is pushed from the corner onto the podium. Challenge the mantra that bigger is better and growth eternal is our only option. Only very small interest groups profit from larger populations and high growth rates. The rest of us pay for it. Canadians want a better country, not a bigger more congested one.
Canada’s current immigration policy continues to be based on the concept of never-ending growth which is a developer/finance centric model rather one which is focused on citizen well-being and environmental health.
In the age of hunter-gatherers, migration was a way of life due to weather and prey animals patterns. They simply followed the best opportunities their dynamic environment offered them.
Canada’s immigration policy is still based on the colonial notion that immigration was necessary to build the country up to a viable size. 150 years ago that was true.

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