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Overpopulation Think Tank - Part 1

Overpopulation Think Tank – Part 1

Five thought leaders break the silence on the role of human overpopulation in ecological overshoot –with an informed, engaging conversation about the subject. This is what intelligent discourse sounds like. For thirty years, many people – some well-intentioned – have been trying to silence discourse about human overpopulation. One of our goals on the GrowthBusters podcast is to break that silence, and this episode does that well by bringing together three great thinkers – actually five, educators and crusaders on the subject. Overpopulation Think Tank - Part 1The occasion was a visit to Colorado by Nandita Bajaj, executive director of Population Balance and co-host of The Overpopulation Podcast.

Nandita designed & teaches the first graduate course on Pronatalism & Overpopulation: The Personal, Cultural, and Global Implications of Having a Child at the Institute for Humane Education at Antioch University. As a bonus, we were joined by her hosts from the University of Denver, Paul Sutton and Sarah Bexell. Sarah leads DU’s Center for Sustainability and teaches at the Institute for Humane Education. Paul is Professor in the Department. of Geography & the Environment, and teaches geographic statistics, population geography, and ecological economics.

The conversation covers a lot of ground – pronatalism, animal rights, human rights, and collaboration.


Pronatalism & Overpopulation: The Personal, Cultural, and Global Implications of Having a Child-Nandita’s course at Antioch University

Abortion Bans Are a Natural Outgrowth of Coercive Pronatalism – by Nandita Bajaj, in Ms. magazine

Dismissal of “Population Alarmism” is Rooted in Pronatalist Ideology – by Nandita Bajaj

Challenging Pronatalism Is Key to Advancing Reproductive Rights and a Sustainable Population – by Nandita Bajaj and Kirsten Stade

Coercive Pro-Birth Policies Have Devastating Impacts on People and the Planet – in Newsweek, by Nandita Bajaj and Kirsten Stade

Population Balance

The Overpopulation Podcast

Countdown by Alan Weisman

Mechai Viraveidya

Overpopulation Facts – The Problem No One Will Discuss – Alexandra Paul’s TedX talk

Population Media Center

The Green Growth Delusion – 1st installment of new series, Green Tinted Glasses – by Christopher Ketcham

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The GrowthBusters theme song was written and produced by Jake Fader and sung by Carlos Jones.

On the GrowthBusters podcast, we come to terms with the limits to growth, explore the joy of sustainable living, and provide a recovery program from our society’s growth addiction (economic/consumption and population). This podcast is part of the GrowthBusters project to raise awareness of overshoot and end our culture’s obsession with, and pursuit of, growth.

Dave Gardner directed the documentary GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth, which Stanford Biologist Paul Ehrlich declared “could be the most important film ever made.” Co-host Stephanie Gardner has degrees in Environmental Studies and Environmental Law & Policy.

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Comments (4)

  • Avatar

    John McMurray


    One thing that caught my ‘ear’ on the podcast was how often China’s one child policy gets slammed for it’s authoritarian imposition on people’s family planning freedom. Yet the Catholic church gets a free pass? China could only punish you in your current life. The church condemns men and women to hell for eternity if they do not produce the maximum number of babies. That seems a lot more authoritarian but gets ignored either because it’s pro-natalist or it’s a ‘religious freedom’ that we’re scared to criticize.


    • Avatar

      John McVicker


      It’s not just Catholic. One speaker I was listening to years ago called it “competitive procreation” among the religions of the world. Islam, Jewish, Catholics and especially Evangelicals (think the Duggars) all use “scripture” to say we should have as many children as possible. One one in a biblical translation says it all. I was raised Catholic – only thing I got from that was lack of intelligent family planning (through birth control means) during my youth – and now I serve at a local semi-Evangelical church. Many families actually adopt children and not have their own – but of course some couples do have 3,4,5,6 kids. They have the means to maintain them and seem to be in control. I also live near towns with families of limited means also having 3,4,5 kids which they can barely afford to raise. It’s not religion at that point – it is other aspects of life. I don’t see any religion other than maybe some sects in the middle east or even perhaps the Amish within the USA where having kids grows their cultures for a purpose. Amish farms need a lot of helping hands and many farms have three or more generations on-site each lending a hand keeping the farm going. Just like American families did 100 years ago – nothing “wrong” with that. Growth for the sake of growth is one thing – intelligence and first-world living tends to slow down child-bearing per couple as they strive to maintain a higher standard of living. Japan is a good example of trying to live but not necessarily trying to populate the world. I envy their control as a society. It can also be quite boring living there too. But nothing wrong with that.


  • Avatar

    John McVicker


    Drive to have children – spot on. The issues of both culture, religion and government policy can be summed up as “competitive procreation”. Tribes wanting to dominate, whether economically, ideologically or religiously, is strong. What politician will run on a platform of conservation and cutting back on the ongoing desire to grow-jobs, homesteads, tax-base… Everything is a jobs program (or the natives will get restless…). Everything is about “our tribe/country/religion is better”. We are still a very immature species and is it that hard to educate across the invisible lines that we protect so strongly? Raising kids can be quite a life process. But putting down a number before you even start having them and then targeting that many kids is beyond sane, in my view. When families want four-kids or more… When families have five but want a few more to make things better. This is when I think personal desire is going far beyond the community-good.

    I am the child of excess. I was put up for adoption by my parents who already had five kids. They just couldn’t afford more. So I am a bit biased. I have friends who have 10 kids, five kids, four kids, etc. My family stopped at two kids and right now, no plans of grand-children. Tribal leaders (who we call politicians, clergy, et al) are all marketing people. Selling their flocks to grow “their” flock. This is something that I find is simply blind-leadership without concern for the future.


  • Avatar

    John McVicker


    If you can do it – try to get Ken Gronbach onto your podcast. He’s a pretty good demographer who can speak to a lot of the topics that come up here.


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