A former Fort Macleod resident delves deep into the issues of global population growth in her new book.
Valorie M. Allen examines the threat posed by overpopulation while offering solutions in 8 Billion Reasons Why Population Matters: The Defining Problem of the 21st Century.
“I became interested in the population issue around 1970, shortly after Paul Ehrlich published his book The Population Bomb,” said Allen, who lived in the Fort Macleod area from 2008 to 2013 but now resides in Bellevue.
“It was a light bulb moment for me, and suddenly everything started to make sense, like all the critical global issues and how our growing population was the root cause of those issues.”
8 Billion Reasons examines how the world’s population is depleting the Earth’s resources and contributing to climate change.
Allen spent eight years researching and four years writing the 358-page book published by Friesen Press.
“Although I attended college and university, all the information I used in my book came from my volunteer work with environmental, population and animal rights groups, as well as than my own research,” Allen said. “Since population impacts almost every aspect of society, this involved researching many issues ranging from climate change to politics and human trafficking. It snowballed, and that’s why it took so long to write.
8 Billion Reasons explores how decades of work done by environmental and global aid groups is being undermined as the population continues to climb towards eight billion.
Allen details the environmental, social, political and economic crises caused by overpopulation, a subject that is widely misunderstood and ignored.
Allen’s interest in the subject has its roots in his childhood in Crowsnest Pass and his hometown of Bellevue.
“It all started with my love for animals, because we always had animals in the house when I was a kid,” Allen said. “We also had a pond nearby where I marveled at the frogs, salamanders and beautiful butterflies I saw there. As a result, I have spent over 35 years working as a volunteer with environmental, population and animal rights groups.
“Ultimately, this love for animals led me to write this book, because I believe the greatest threat to our wildlife is overpopulation.”
Allen had no intention of becoming an author, but had a moment of realization when she received the Canadian Volunteer Award in the 1990s.
“It made me look back on my decades of work and take stock of what I had actually accomplished,” Allen explained. “I was extremely disappointed to find that all the issues I had worked on had gotten worse instead of better. The growing population had undermined all of my hard work and that of millions of other volunteers.
“This was true of all the critical global issues threatening our planet, such as climate change, water shortages, human trafficking and species extinction.”
Allen, who worked in education for years, realized that there was little population information available to students.
“I thought if only students could connect those very few dots between population and all of our critical global issues, like climate change, they would be motivated to work for positive change. It inspired me to write about overpopulation, which has become a passion of mine.
8 Billion Reasons is written for a wide audience, including the public and for use in education.
Unlike most population books in the past, 8 Billion Reasons is written from a woman’s perspective.
Each chapter on a critical global issue is designed to stand alone, as many educators now assign chapters rather than entire books.
“I hope it appeals to young audiences, because I think it’s our young people, like Greta Thunberg, who will really have the biggest impact and the most positive changes,” Allen said.
Rather than simply focusing on gloom and doom, Allen offers solutions to overpopulation.
8 Billion Reasons was well received.
“Valorie Allen’s research and writings are essential to understanding how human society can be set on a sustainable path,” said Rex Weyler, founding member of Greenpeace International. “Allen’s New Book.” . . clearly articulates the importance of caring for the population. This is also part of another important objective: public education.
Allen plans to give readings at libraries across southern Alberta this fall, including the Fort Macleod Library.
8 Billion Reasons is available on Chapters, Amazon and Friesen Press.
Valorie M. Allen has released his new book “8 Billion Reasons Why Population Matters”. Allen lived in the Fort Macleod area and now resides in Crowsnest Pass.