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Man Swarm: How Overpopulation is Killing the Wild World

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Overpopulation is Real.

Now at over seven billion and counting, renowned visionary conservationist and global thinker Dave Foreman helps us understand that only by stabilizing and reducing human population can we stop wrecking our home – Earth.

And it is being driven by one species – Us.

Read Man Swarm, and you will know the truths about overpopulation and population growth. In this book, Dave Foreman:

o Lays out the overpopulation crisis in the United States and worldwide

o Shows how overpopulation is the main driver of the extinction of wildlife, wildlands and the creation of pollution, including destructive greenhouse gases

o Smartly challenges those who don’t believe that the overpopulation crisis is real

The first edition, Man Swarm and the Killing of Wildlife reached the conservationist community; in this new and updated edition, Man Swarm: How Overpopulation is Killing the Wild World, Dave Foreman and editor Laura Carroll expand the readership, from those in their reproductive years to educators, governors, Congresspersons, and even world leaders.

Overpopulation is Solvable.

Are you a lover of the Earth's natural world? Man Swarm shows why you need to be very concerned about overpopulation, gives you tangible ways to be part of the solution, and will inspire you to take action.

196 pages, Paperback

First published May 1, 2011

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Dave Foreman

19 books20 followers

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Tina Cipolla.
112 reviews13 followers
September 11, 2015


Possibly even racist.

This book is an unabashed polemic on the issue of overpopulation and its effect on wildlife and wild spaces. This is a critically important issue given that we are in the midst of the 6th mass extinction. This book could easily have provided an intellectually defensible position on the negative impact of growth on wilderness, but what this author lacks is empathy, sympathy and any real suggestions for a workable solution.

Man Swarm suggests in no uncertain terms that all those poor people keep having babies (and worse, coming to America) and it’s messing up this rich white guy’s nice playground. Can’t all those nasty brown people just go away so Dave and his kith can have a nice place to backpack, camp, hike and kayak and run from wild animals? This is the VERY type of argument that makes people think of environmentalists as crazy. It is unhelpful and in fact does serious damage to the environmental cause by pushing away the people who would otherwise support changes that would be helpful to wildlife and wild spaces.

Additionally, I loathe nothing more when an author purposely distorts facts to make a point. Hunger in the third world is NOT a function of humanity "overshooting the earth's carrying capacity." Any moderately well-informed person knows that there is more than enough food in this world for all 7 billion of us, it is corruption that stops food from getting to the people.

There is plenty of research that shows that given control of their fertility the vast majority of women on the planet would only bring children into the world that they can feed. I'm not sure Dave is aware of this thing called human rights; he stops just short of demanding that we start enforced sterilization but he comes right out and says we need to stop giving aid and food to people who insist on continuing to breed.

The rant about Foreman's preference for Anglo Saxon words and his suggestion that the language itself has been polluted so to speak by French and Latin vocabulary smacks of white supremacy. It is downright offensive.

You may be wondering why I even bothered to finish this book. It is because the central point that the swell of population is hurting wildlife and diminishing wild spaces is very true. This is an issue that I care deeply about, but it is beyond infuriating when someone the who has the stature of Dave Foreman makes such a completely sloppy argument that comes off as whining about other people playing in his sandbox.

Profile Image for Mark.
34 reviews
March 4, 2015
Well-written and informative, renowned conservationist Dave Foreman offers an insightful and well-rounded look at the Earth’s overpopulation problem, how it affects all the other ‘earthlings’ (the creatures we share the planet with) and how overpopulation will destroy almost every level of life to the point of unsustainability, and then extinction. Quite a depressing concept, and easy enough for people to dismiss as something they don’t really need to worry about in their lifetime. But the dire effects and consequences of overpopulation are real, and they are here now, and we are seeing it with pollution, global warming, and loss of wildlife. This is a problem that we cannot ignore, and this book is a must read.
Profile Image for Zach Ammerman.
15 reviews
May 6, 2020
Overpopulation is a real issue that deserves to be treated seriously. If that’s what you’re looking for, don’t read this book. Instead, what you get is a racist (and unconvincing) rant against immigration, and a list of grievances based upon what seem to be old (and somewhat dated) personal grudges of the author.
Profile Image for Steve Voiles.
247 reviews3 followers
March 2, 2017
When people discredit Erlich's Population Bomb for not coming true the do so at their (our) peril. The warnings caused changes that deferred some of the consequences of over-population, but the problem is still with us as Foreman shows in this update on the effects of population on the Earth and on Nature and on Man.

Seems simple to me: the more people there are on the Earth the cheaper we make human life and the stress on resources will become increasingly intolerable. We don't like to think about these things, but only by thinking about them is there any chance at all for meaningful change.

So think about it. Or we are all just whistling in the dark. Pass it forward.
3 reviews
September 21, 2019
A absolute must read for anyone concerned about the environment!

At the root of it all, global warming, pollution, loss of species diversity, overfishing etc... is man. I think given what we know now this premise is indisputable, and yet here we are still trying to apply band-aids to all these problems without recognizing or wanting to recognize that there are simply too many of us! It is hard for me to think how most of our ills wouldn't be greatly reduced if we simply eschewed the growth ethic once and for all but this means challenging some fairly well entrenched gospels - the sacredness of organized religions entreating us to multiply, economics which worships at the altar of infinite growth defying even common sense given the very finite resources this planet affords all species. Finally there is just basic biology and the primal urge we possess to reproduce. It is very difficult to challenge any of these let alone all three but we must if we cherish the survival of plant and animal specie including our own.

Here in one volume the authors, no strangers themselves to ecological protest, bring lucid and passionate arguments for why should all try and reconsider our so called biological imperative because the stakes now are just too high. This is not some Malthusian rant but a considered and cogent argument for intelligent limits on growth as well as considering measures towards the lowering of population over the next few centuries.

Although some may doubtless be offended by what is proposed, I would invite these folks to reassess their sensibilities in a worlds that is rapidly heating and food stocks for all living things dwindling. All of the popular and well publicized solutions are welcome, but ultimately we must practice them while working actively to reduce every kind of ecological footprint - carbon and the one we have on all wild creatures.

Please do yourself and every creature you know a favour and read this book.
Profile Image for Kat Pisano.
31 reviews
December 25, 2019
The author spends most of his time quoting other people and other books that you should read rather than any of his own findings, or any new information. It gets very redundant, does not really flow, and has zero "answers" or real summary of findings. I struggled to get through this book.
1 review1 follower
November 25, 2020
He is right on the problem but wrong on (most) of his solutions. He promotes not having children but doesn't realize the only people who will take this advice are the people who already have declining birth rates.
38 reviews1 follower
August 17, 2016
This book is decent. But it could have been great. The problem is that the author thinks really highly of himself and so he couldn't just write the book. He had to keep having little conversations back and forth with himself and about himself throughout the book. You know people like this ... the ones you don't really like at dinner parties ... the ones who go off on someone about their carbon footprint but then mention that they run the dishwasher every night because they need their favorite mug in the morning. Ok, the author wasn't hypocritical like that. But he reminded me of another professor who thought a bit too much about how smart he was and sounded just like this author.... kind of irritating to read a whole book like that. And sadly, a lot of people will put this book down because of that failing. There are way too many humans on this planet.
Profile Image for Jay Ornelas.
10 reviews
January 18, 2019
Everyone please read this book ASAP! Talk about it, discuss it, and act on its message. It is an easy and interesting read and clearly lays out a thoughtful, rational, and desperately needed message about how our shameful lack of forethought and will to do something about unchecked population growth and family planning is devastating the environment and worsening economic, political, and healthcare related humanitarian crises around the world.

Very few books can change the world for the better. This is one of them.
Profile Image for Diana.
14 reviews
September 26, 2012
An important book - shows how population affects everything - and why it is so difficult to address the dying wild lands and species, global warming (his apt term: global weirding), food issues, and the rest. There are twice as many people today as there were in 1972. Take it from there. Changed my understanding of immigration quotas with logic and understanding of the big picture. Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Omega Baker.
4 reviews18 followers
October 4, 2013
Every time I pick up this book to read I find profound, moving and illuminating quotes from Foreman and other authors. The information in this book weighs heavy on the heart of anyone who loves wild nature and the species who live there. It is for this reason I can only read short sections at a time. It is a well-written and necessary book. It should be required reading for science classes in high school and/or college.
Profile Image for David Ellis.
11 reviews3 followers
April 4, 2015
Instead of arguing whether or not we can somehow come up with the resources to feed and shelter our growing global population, this book explains why our current population of 7 billion has already overshot the resources needed for what remains of our wildlife to survive. Do we want to live in a world without our fellow earthlings? Can we survive after driving all other species extinct? The book concludes by outlining practical steps to take to stop the insane growth of our population.
Profile Image for Linda Wells.
107 reviews
April 5, 2013
This book was excellent. It really showed how the overpopulation of man is destroying the earth and its human and animal inhabitants. It is disturbing to read the facts and figures but one cannot just bury one's head in the sand and do nothing. I highly recommend this book.
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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