There are too many humans on Earth, it’s screwing everything up, and we have to change. There. I said it. Environmentalists used to say this frequently and passionately, and then they stopped: talking about population took on racial overtones (“too many of those brown people!”), or fears of “control” and force, as became the case in China.
Meanwhile, there are even more people on Earth, and many more expected, and it’s screwing everything up. But don’t take my word for it:
The only choice…limited number, happy life…meaningful life. Too many…miserable life and always bullying one another, exploiting one another.
That’s what His Holiness the Dalai Lama says. Would he lie to you?
Now here’s the good news—we know what works, and it’s good for everyone, especially women. But we can’t wait.
My guest, Joe Bish, is Director of Issue Advocacy for the Population Media Center based here in Vermont. The PMC works through the power of story. Throughout the world, they present locally sourced soap operas—yes, soap operas!— that help people make better decisions about their lives, their health, and how many kids they have. PMC’s results are well-studied and powerful.
Joe knows population. In this conversation, we talk about how population drives everything from climate change to political instability to extinction, who benefits from population growth (hint: neoliberal economists and pro-growth die hards), how and why PMC’s methods work, and why we all need to return the population overshoot problem to center stage.
Population Media Center —find out more about their wonderful work (and you can give to their annual fund—I did, and hey! I have no money!)
We also talk about this book by Paul Hawken, which gets serious about the climate effects of population:Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Beat Global Warming.
“People” was composed by Jule Styne with original lyrics by Bob Merrill, and is used here via Fair Use as described by Section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law.