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Honey, Let’s Shrink the Family

Congratulations to UK nonprofit Population Matters for a new video campaign raising awareness of the huge environmental benefits of conceiving fewer children. It’s an obvious choice for the Wall of Fame this week.

Small Families, Small Planet is a video whose time has come. The “population taboo” is fading into history, as scientific studies, news reports and television hosts are all now discussing the fact that having one less child reduces your carbon footprint more than a lifetime doing a host of green and noble things like turning down your thermostat in winter or driving a hybrid or electric vehicle.

This video does a great job of doing just what we need to do – arm young adult couples with complete information about the ramifications of their family size decisions.

“Presenting young people with the facts about population growth and its impact on our planet, it elicits some reactions of amazement and horror, and sees participants thinking again about the impacts of their own choices.”

No one has to outlaw having a second or third child. Young people will make loving, compassionate decisions in the best interest of their child (or all the children of the world), if they know how seriously overpopulated the planet is today, and know what a massive difference it makes to think small.

You may be tempted to think it’s not families in the UK or U.S. who need to think small; it’s families in Niger and Nigeria. It is true that the fertility rate in industrialized nations is far lower than that in sub-Saharan Africa. But it’s also true that one child born in the over-developed world will use resources, emit greenhouse gases and have a footprint more than 20 times that of a child born in the developing world. So people the world over need to be conceiving fewer children, even in nations with a fertility rate near or even below the 2.1 replacement rate. Almost all countries are today overpopulated. We all need to be able to say, “Honey, we shrunk the population.” And this video assures us we can. Share it with young people you know.

“Its focus is on the key statistic that while the UN projects a population of 11.2 billion by the end of the century, just one fewer child in every second family than it expects would see the global population lower than it is today by then. This striking statistic shows that far from being an impossible problem, the power to achieve sustainable population levels is in our hands. As one participant says at the end of the video: ‘everyone is powerful; everyone can make a difference.”

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Dave Gardner

Producer of the documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth. Dave writes and speaks regularly on the subject of growth addiction, including the pro-growth media bias that perpetuates prosperity-from-growth mythology.

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