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Should We Stop Worrying and Love the (Population) Bomb?

Today is World Population Day, observed in many ways around the world. Every year at this time I survey the landscape and assess our progress toward achieving a sustainable world population.

There is good news and bad. Overall I think progress is being made on my goal of getting overpopulation onto our radar screens. More about that below.

First I want to highlight the efforts of the GrowthBusters project to have more awareness and information about the subject:

1. Top 10 Reasons to Choose a Small Family

2. Top 10 Population Films of All Time

3. Our new video, Should We Stop Worrying and Love the (Population) Bomb:

Next, the bad news. Here are the things that are bugging me today about the world population situation:

We are told to relax, the problem is solving itself…
yet the latest UN mid-range estimate (raised again just last month) indicates we could have another 100 years of population growth, adding another 3 billion to the current 7.2 billion. It shows us hitting 9 billion in 2041, 10 billion in 2061 and nearly 11 billion by 2100.

We are told the die is cast, the growth is built-in to our current demography…
yet if around the world tomorrow it was agreed we were in a global emergency and we needed to stop reproducing temporarily, in 9 months population growth could stop, immediately. Granted this is highly unlikely due to denial and propaganda from growth-pushers, but it is mathematically and physically possible. The less we expect from ourselves in the way of behavioral change, the less we will get.

Much effort is being put into finding technological and behavioral solutions to meet the needs of the next 3 billion…
yet the likelihood of success in both of those categories is even less than the likelihood of convincing the current population to dramatically reduce their reproduction. Why are we so sure we can’t do the one, and so sure we must do the other? The truth is that we cannot ignore either one, but let’s not fool ourselves about the prospects of wringing more water or food out of the planet.

Growth apologists and pushers are busy trying to convince us population decline is a looming disaster…
yet the challenges presented by declining populations turn out to be minor annoyances compared to the real disasters continued growth will bring on.

Environmental and social justice proponents tell us we should stop eating meat, stop watering lawns, stop driving cars and flying in planes, and stop living in suburban mcmansions,…
but they are not willing to even talk about overpopulation, let alone recommend we choose to have fewer children.


Finally, the good news. This year there have been more good commentaries published on the subject than last, and the quality of these is very high. Here are a few highlights:

New UN Population Projections Released: Pockets of High Fertility Drive Overall Increase

Our Overcrowded Planet: A Failure of Family Planning

The Rise and Fall (Again) of the Dreaded Birth Dearth

Why We Deny the Realities of Population Growth

Population 10 Billion by Danny Dorling and Ten Billion by Stephen Emmott – review


Thanks for reading. If you like our new video, please pass it around; it can generate some good conversations today, raise awareness, inform more people, and inspire some young adults to do the right thing. Also, help us create more good videos like this one. Your generous (tax-deductible in the U.S.) contribution is essential so we can continue this work! Donate here.

Dave Gardner
Filmmaker & GrowthBuster

Dave Gardner is the director of the groundbreaking documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth.

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Comments (2)

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    I wish to send you a copy of the Santa Cruz group’s brochure, Small Families Live Better. (Forgive the bad grammar for brevity.) Please give me an address to which I can email it, and I’ll send you a cc in Sp/Eng.
    Feel free to conform it to you area, i.e., updated tel.# of Planned Parenthood, etc..


  • Avatar

    Dave Gardner


    Thanks, Jill. Please send it to dave at growth busters dot com


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