Oversized book on overpopulation

Images of human impact on the world pack this book recently distributed to local leaders by the group Advocates for Sustainable Albemarle Population. Staff photo. Images of human impact on the world pack this book recently distributed to local leaders by the group Advocates for Sustainable Albemarle Population. Staff photo.

A group concerned with local growth is distributing a seven-pound, 300-page coffee table book on overpopulation. Advocates for Sustainable Albemarle Population (ASAP) presented copies of Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot to the Board of Supervisors March 11, and made a similar back-breaking delivery to City Council. (C-VILLE received its own copy—one of the 70 ASAP gave out.)

“We thought it would be useful to local decision-makers to think globally,” said ASAP president Tom Olivier. The book has gorgeous photographs that show the effects of mankind trashing the planet. ASAP would like to “stabilize” the population in Charlottesville and Albemarle at around 165,000 by nixing higher density zoning and adding more conservation easements, said Olivier, to deter those who move here because it’s so darn desirable.

Olivier appreciates the irony of preaching environmental responsibility with a massive, tree-killing tome. “We were kind of surprised by the largeness of it,” he said.

Tom Butler at the Deep Ecology Foundation, which produced Over, concurs. “It’s tremendously ironic. Absolutely.” He said environmental groups have a long history of using large-format photo books to illustrate oppressive environmental issues. “The rationale is, we hope the benefits to the earth will be doing more good than harm in the long run.”

Tim Hulbert, president of the Charlottes-ville Regional Chamber of Commerce, was not among the decision-makers who received a copy of the book, but he debated Olivier on the growth issue March 11. “ASAP’s thesis is the last one in the church, lock the door,” said Hulbert. There’s “an elitism” to ASAP’s desire to stall growth that would make the area even less affordable, he said.

Over is available for nondecision-makers on Amazon for $50.

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