Category Archives: population growth

100 Year Weather Event, or the future of life in the Pacific Northwest?

My heart goes out to everyone in the Pacific Northwest who is being adversely affected by the current rains.

In the Pacific Northwest we’re used to heavy rain and all that it entails. But the recent rains have led to a level of flooding and hardship that people are calling a “100 Year Event”. I most recently heard people talking about this at Breitenbush where I spent new years and learned that two of the newly built bridges that span trails there had been washed out. Next up have been the January rains which have led to roads washing out, peoples’ houses being flooded and lots of landslides. Some towns like Vernonia, Oregon, seem to be having repeat flood events and the recent news is of thousands having to leave homes around the state, car accidents and lots of property damage.

My main question is “is this global climate change and its effects?” If so, are those who are calling this a “100 year event” actually missing the possibility that this may be how life here will continue to be from now on – rainy, with more and more rain and displacement.

I’ve long been following demographic trends around population growth and have been making the connection between our increased numbers and our effect on the environment. More pollution, species loss, rapid glacier melt, and running out of resources like oil have all been shown to be happening on an upward trend for years. What is less obvious is how all of this effects our world in places like Oregon, where we’re in a situation like the frog in the slowly heating water – we probably won’t change what we’re doing until the heat is turned way up, otherwise, the frog, in this scenario slowly boils and dies. Now, with the current rain, we have a warning sign that can’t be ignored.

Will we be smart and move towards actions that will slow global climate change or will we continue to adjust to its adverse effects and grin and bear it? Some smart moves that I think Oregonians could take that might increase our chances of experiencing a better future would be to plant trees and stop clear-cutting the ones we have. This would improve our (and the rest of the world’s) air quality, help control storm water and erosion problems and keep hillsides from sliding. I also think it would make sense for there to be some sort of program to move people out of floodplains and onto higher ground.

If there’s a chance that this year’s rains might repeat regularly what other moves should we as a society consider to avoid the high costs of the damage and to keep us all safe and dry? I’m sure there are hundreds. Should we be removing any extra pavement that exists as the group Depave works to do? Should we be planting millions of fruit and nut trees to make ourselves more food self-reliant and cut down on shipping costs of food? Are millions of new community and backyard gardens in our future? I’d love to see a state-wide or bioregion-wide analysis done of how we currently use our land and other resources and plug in possible weather events into the equation. I’m sure that would shed light on how prepared we will be for any future contingencies.

Will we learn from the current weather event? I suggest we treat it not like a “100 year event” but plan for the possibility that it may happen again next week, and next year. Let’s plan for the future not be run over by it.


I posted this article on Daily Kos and there have been 100+ comments in one day. It’s a very interesting discussion of this topic. I highly recommend giving it a read – some very cool analysis, ideas, links and videos on the topic.


Albert on TV – 2011

Albert Kaufman, Jim Lockhart and Richard Carpenter on today’s issues – Portland Cable Access – Fall, 2011

I took part in a show with Jim Lockhart and Richard Carpenter recently to discuss population growth and other environmental issues.  I got to be the star and so thought I’d put this out into cyberspace for my own record of my current thinking and hopefully to entertain and enlighten others.  Let me know what you think.

Donate to Albertideation

If you appreciate the work I do in the world and would like to contribute towards it financially, please let me know or click on the donate button to the right.  I like what I do in the world and would love to keep making the changes I’d like to see. Your support helps. Thanks! Albert

Message from John Seager, President of Population Connection

I just read this letter from the President, John Seager, from Population Connection’s Reporter, and thought I’d share it with you. The magazine (pdf) can be downloaded at

Species evolve as their world
changes. So do organizations.
Founded in 1968 as ZPG, our
mission has evolved from “stop at two”
children to its present form:

Overpopulation threatens the quality of
life for people everywhere. Population
Connection is the national grassroots population
organization that educates young
people and advocates progressive action
to stabilize world population at a level
that can be sustained by Earth’s resources.

As for the still-relevant goal of “zero
population growth,” will the earth be
sustainable if population stabilizes at
nine or ten billion? I think not.
ZPG played that early role urging
Americans to “stop at two” children. It
worked. Currently, our two biggest
challenges are unplanned births and net

Global population growth is different.
Unless one believes that extraterrestrials
walk among us, no one is migrating
to—or from—Planet Earth. Addressing
the unmet need for contraception of
200 million women worldwide is the
top priority these days.
How can we move toward population
stabilization? One part seems easy, in
theory. Just get 218 members of the
House and 60 members of the Senate
to pass bills addressing various aspects
of the issue with funding and programs.
President Obama signs them into law.
Mission accomplished.
Watching the Senate debate health
care provided a sense of just how excruciating
that process is these days. As
Teddy Roosevelt said, politics is “the art
of the possible.” Alas, it demands compromise
that’s often hard to swallow.
At Population Connection we work
on solutions. We reach three million
students each year. We painstakingly
correlate our curricula with thousands
of state and national standards.
We work with Congress, which is
besieged on all fronts by groups, each
convinced that its own issue—from
farms to schools, from energy to cities
—is most important.We work with prochoice
legislators who carry the banner.
We also work with legislators who
oppose abortion, but support family
All things considered, 2009 was a
very good year for our cause with the
rescission of the Global Gag Rule,
restoration of UN family planning
funds, and a remarkable 40% increase
in congressionally-appropriated international
family planning funding.
I have a certain fondness for those
early “glory days” of ZPG. Times
change, though. Today, we measure
success in terms of training 11,000
teachers annually on hundreds of campuses
and elsewhere.
We also measure it in terms of getting
legislation through the labyrinthine corridors
of Congress, where awkward
compromise lurks around every corner.
Thanks to your support, we can tell legislators
that people “back home”
expect them to take action. That matters
a great deal.
Population Connection will continue
to evolve as circumstances change and
new opportunities present themselves.
Evolution is essential.

John Seager

Albert Kaufman
Portland, Oregon

Population growth affects the quality of life for everyone. Population Connection is the national grassroots population organization that educates young people and advocates progressive action to stabilize world population at a level that can be sustained by Earth’s resources.

Click the link below to make a donation:

Talking about population issues on TV

I was asked to be on a local cable access show recently to talk about population issues.  Here’s the video.  The sound quality is not great in the beginning, but clears up quickly.  I’d love your feedback.

I was a guest on OPB’s Think Out Loud – 12/22/09

I got to talk live on OPB’s Think Out Loud show today.  Here’s the show for your listening enjoyment!

OPB Think Out Loud 12/22/09

World Population Growth Chart