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Bill Maher and Steven Colbert with GrowthBusting Excellence Award

Masturbate, Don’t Procreate (Podcast Episode 28)

Why are millennials having fewer children?

Bill Maher and Steven Colbert become the first honorees on the GrowthBusters podcast’s “Wall of Excellence.” You’ll find out why in this episode. We want to thank and celebrate influencers who help alert the public that we are in overshoot, demonstrate sustainable living in their own lives, or help educate the public about important ways we can shrink our footprints.

New co-host Erika Arias introduces herself. She is very interested in the voluntary child-free choice and hopes to do research in this area in the future. She shares a clip from a recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher about how it’s actually good news that millennials are having less sex and therefore fewer children. Maher is, of course, famous for being bold enough to make “politically incorrect” statements, but Dave thinks talking about overpopulation is finally becoming politically correct after a few decades of “population taboo.”

Bill Maher and Steven Colbert with GrowthBusting Excellence AwardMaher celebrates the declining birth rate in the over-developed world because it is the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. See this Lund University report for the detail: The Four Lifestyle Choices That Most Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.

On the other hand, Senator Mike Lee thinks having more babies will solve climate change. Thanks to Steven Colbert for a send-up. And even CNN prime time host Chris Cuomo gets some criticism here for painting population contraction as a loss of human potential. Dave finds it astonishing that even some very smart people are not aware that we are in overshoot.

Also in this episode, Dave thought he recalled the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest estimate of the average cost to raise a child in the U.S. is $237,000. We looked that up after recording this episode and the most recent figure we could find is $233,610, a 2015 figure announced in January, 2017.

NOTE: We’re looking for a podcast producer, or at least a podcast editor, to help out. Comment here or send us an email.

LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

New Rule: Masturbate, Don’t Procreate – Bill Maher

Are Millennials Having Less Sex Than Older Generations? A New Report Explores The Phenomenon

Families Projected to Spend an Average of $233,610 Raising a Child Born in 2015 (News release for most recent USDA study we could find)

Expenditures on Children by Families reports by USDA

Senator Mike Lee: More Babies Will Solve Climate Change
(Steven Colbert Gives Mike Lee The Mike Lee Treatment)

The World Economy is a Pyramid Scheme, Steven Chu Says

Climate Change Will Take Food Off Your Table
(Episode 27 of the GrowthBusters podcast with Michael Brownlee, author of Taking Back Our Food Supply: How to Lead the Local Food Revolution to Reclaim a Healthy Future)

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Comments (5)

  • Avatar

    James R. Herman

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    One out of every five US children lives in poverty. 422,000 US children under 18 are in foster care. No one should have more than 2 children, If you are poor then only have one. If you live in poverty then please don’t have any. I’m trying to get presidential candidate Andrew Yang to talk about overpopulation. When politicians didn’t want to talk about all the jobs that artificial intelligence is ending and will continue to end, Andrew decided to run for president. When he brought up that issue he said politicians said “we don’t talk about that” or “we need to study that”. Well overpopulation and ending exclusionary zoning are two more issues politicians don’t want to talk about and neither will Andrew Yang. He’s suggesting a universal basic income of $1000 per month for every American from 18 to 64. However overpopulation will swamp any policy because there is a limit to anything and everything. But he just can’t talk about that. He’s supposed to be the rational, smart candidate. His campaign has a navy blue hat with MATH in white letters. MATH = Make America Think Harder.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Dave Gardner

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      Thanks for trying to get overpopulation into the conversation in national politics, James. You’re more optimistic than me about any prospects for success with that. I’m afraid we have a long way to go, and that’s one reason I do this podcast, as well as hosting The Overpopulation Podcast for World Population Balance (https://www.worldpopulationbalance.org/podcasts). We need many more people to be overshoot-literate, overpopulation-literate, and aware that perpetual economic growth in both a destructive pursuit and impossible to achieve.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Evan Kirby-Smith

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    Dave, once again you are like the lone voice in the universe who has the guts to talk about the real issues facing out plagued civilization. Way back when I was in high school in the late 80’s I remember concluding what I figured was the simplest of realizations, that all our environmental problems stem from the fact that there is just too many of us. Would global warming be a problem if only few hundred million people drove their gas guzzlers around while eating double big macs and super-size soda pop? It doesn’t take a genius to realize that too many humans trumps (no pun intended) all other environmental issues. However not just population, but growth, exponential growth in all activities these naked apes have embarked on in the last thousand years or so. But no one wants to talk about it, right wing, left wing, any wing, they are all ignoring this seemingly outrageously simple fact. When I happened to tune into NPR one day to hear some guy named Dave Gardner talk about the problems of growth and The Growthbusters I knew he was my man, thank you again Dave for keeping the flame. I’d do it myself, but I gave up hope in humanity 30 some odd years ago. Since I concluded that we are all doomed and there is no stopping this juggernaut, spreading the word dropped off my list of priorities. However, being a moral person, and in an effort to be able to look at myself in the mirror and to sleep at night I focused all of my activism on changing myself and if someone took notice then maybe I could make a difference (not that it mattered anyway since we are all doomed). Basically as soon as I saw that J curve of human population way back around 1990 and after reading that old classic “The Limits to Growth” I pretty much went straight down to the urologist to get my vasectomy at the age of 19, to the shock and surprise of my friends, family, and especially my parents. Not that I should be tooting my own horn or anything, guess it’s OK since I’m shooting blanks anyway. Over the years thinking about this subject, every once and awhile logical deduction takes me to some dark places. For example, if there are too many people, really, how bad is it then to kill other human beings? Should I now be pro war, if it results in the elimination of more humans? Should I forgive Hitler, after all he single highhandedly got rid of a bunch of humans. Then I think of that J curve and all the people that died in World War II which barely made a blip on the J graph. So I concluded that war and/or killing is not an efficient way to control population since however many people are killed the population just shoots right back up. Still though I can’t help but doubt the near universal desire to “save lives” when I know that doing so results in the displacement other life forms that should have a right to exist as well. Maybe this “simple” idea of growth being the root cause of our environmental woes is anything but simple. These are some of the moral dilemmas that I wanted to discuss with you in person that time I asked to meet you. I once had a bumper sticker on my car that read “Save the Planet, Kill Yourself”, it was a joke but to me it had an element of seriousness. Dave, maybe if you are so inclined, you can share with me how you personally manage to avoid these dark places that logic inevitably takes anyone who realizes that population growth (as well as other forms of growth) appear to be dangerously out of control. Don’t worry, I ain’t in danger of self-inflicted harm (other than the pain I already endured getting that vasectomy) and I ain’t asking you to be my therapist. Its just that there ain’t too many people out there that think like us.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Dave Gardner

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    Evan, I really appreciate your sentiments and your validation of my work and of my own despair. The good news is there really is a growing chorus singing the songs I’m singing. People are catching on, just not fast enough. So I do, from time to time, feel I’m probably wasting my time. I’ve visited this subject in one previous episode of the GrowthBusters podcast:

    #23 – What Do You Do When the End is Near?
    https://www.growthbusters.org/the-end-is-near-episode-23/

    and in an episode of Conversation Earth:
    #218 – Near-Term Human Extinction – Guy McPherson
    http://www.conversationearth.org/near-term-human-extinction-guy-mcpherson-218/

    Reply

  • Avatar

    Clifton Ware

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    Thanks for yet another enlightening, entertaining episode, handled thoughtfully and sensibly. The clips of Maher and Colbert’s satirical humor added to the content. The two of you provide a generational balance of perspectives.

    Reply

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