People are ruining the planet and there needs to be a lot fewer of them in order to save the environment, according to a recent article by a Brown University academic.
“[Pope Francis] utterly failed to address a major threat to humanity’s future that he and the Catholic Church have helped create: over-population” claimed the professor, who went on to state that that Pope Francis’ new-found environmentalism is “aimed at diverting attention away from a major threat — one that his own militant opposition to contraception is making worse.”
The view that overpopulation is the root cause of environmental problems is held by people in remarkably high places, including those who advise Pope Francis on global warming. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who advised both Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, claims that the maximum number of people Earth can support is a mere 1 billion people. As of 2015, there are more than 7.2 billion humans on Earth, making the question of which 6.2 billion people are supposed to die a fairly important one.
President Obama’s Science Adviser James Holdren has stated that he wants to see a “decline in fertility to well below replacement” in the United States, because “280 million [Americans] in 2040 is likely to be much too many.” As of 2015, there are more than 322 million Americans. Holdren has also claimed that global warming will cause the death of 1 billion people by 2020.
Even though China has backed away from its one-child policy, advocates of human population control believe that global warming and other environmental problems are ultimately the result of human overpopulation. They also believe that the natural world is more valuable than humanity is. Therefore, they believe that reducing the number of humans is imperative, and that doing so is the only real way to ensure that the environment is protected.
There are entire environmental groups dedicated solely to this view. The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, for example, claims that “Voluntary human extinction is the humanitarian alternative to human disasters” and believes that humanity should commit species suicide rather than continue damaging the environment.
The more moderate, but much more powerful, Population Connection merely “advocates progressive action to stabilize world population at a level that can be sustained by Earth’s resources.” According to the group’s website, it “educates” 3 million K-12 students annually and had an annual budget of $5.6 million in 2013.
“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years” claimed Paul Ehrlich, the Population Connection’s founder, in 1970.
Ehrlich is largely responsible for this view, having co-published The Population Bomb with the Sierra Club in 1968. The book made a number of claims including that millions of humans would starve to death in the 1970s and 1980s, that mass famines would sweep England leading to the country’s collapse, and that ecological destruction would devastate the planet causing the collapse of civilization.
However, the dire predictions failed to materialize as the number of people living in poverty has significantly declined and the amount of food per person has steadily increased, despite population growth. The world’s GDP per person has immeasurably increased despite increases in population. The world’s population continued to grow and new technologies enabled farmers to realize huge increases in food production despite Ehrlich’s predictions. And as poor countries like China and India developed, they too began to bring people out of poverty and end chronic hunger.
When confronted with the fact that many of his predictions did not occur, Ehrlich stated “perhaps the most serious flaw in The Bomb was that it was much too optimistic about the future.”
Human population control has even influence more moderate environmental groups, like the Sierra Club, which claims that “… all of our environmental successes may be short-lived if they do not include efforts to address population growth.
“Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license … All potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing” stated David Brower, the first Executive Director of the Sierra Club.
The public has become more skeptical of environmentalists who claim that ecological issues will doom humanity. A Gallup poll found that 42 percent of Americans say the seriousness of global warming is “generally exaggerated” by the media, compared to 33 percent who say it’s “generally underestimated.” The percentage of Americans who are concerned about environmental threats is declining as the threats fail to materialize. Most Americans agree with the goals of the environmental movement, but don’t see environmental issues as urgent problems.
Much of the money behind the population control movement comes from Phil Harvey. Harvey is the founder and chairman of several multi-million dollar organizations including Adam & Eve, one of the world’s largest producers of sex toys and pornographic films, and has been described as “one of the most influential figures in the American sex industry today.”