Why Do Academics Overlook Overpopulation?
by Ozzie Zehner
I’ve recently been studying how much research funding and attention goes into topics such as overpopulation and consumerism in comparison to energy production technologies.
As I describe in Green Illusions, there are reasons to critique the presumption that alternative energy technologies will lessen environmental impacts of humans on the planet. Meanwhile, research on consumption and population issues pales in comparison. At least by the numbers.
On one of the largest academic social networks, Academia.edu, 2,934 academics list “renewable energy” as a research interest. Just 221 list “consumerism.” A scant 4 list “overpopulation” as a focus of their research. Academia.edu represents just a subset of the academy. However, these raw publication and interest metrics bring up some important questions.
Has academia rolled over to become an outlet for energy firms to plug into? To what degree is academic research relevant to the big-picture problems that humanity is facing? Please let me know what you think below:
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