Why Are We Afraid To Talk About Overpopulation?

We talk with people often about the Triple Threat, always including a description of the dangerous growth in population of the world and how it makes every problem we face harder to solve. When we do, most people understand the population piece soon after they understand the climate change piece and long before they understand the peak oil piece. It doesn’t take long at all for anyone with normal intelligence to figure out that it’s not healthy to keep packing more and more people on the planet.

Yet the mainstream media are full of assertions that talking about population is “taboo,” “incendiary,” and “off limits.” With whom, may we ask? In our experience, we humans are ready to address overpopulation and engage freely and openly in talking about what we need to do to deal with it. The only ones who perceive the taboo seem to be those who should be leading the discussion.

Perhaps it’s taboo to those whose livelihoods depend on a constantly increasing army of consumers who can be duped into believing that buying more will make them popular or happy. Perhaps it’s taboo with politicians who work unceasingly to avoid any mention of problems they can’t solve within 10 days of entering office. Perhaps it’s taboo with reporters whose career depends on telling simple stories for simple minds, stories that always end with the optimistic assumption that technology carries us ever forward.

But anecdotally, it’s sure not taboo with teachers, or truck drivers, or salespersons, or housekeepers. We’re ready. Let’s get on with it.

  • Let’s challenge the candidates who want to be elected to political office: “What will you do to lessen the overpopulation of the planet, and what will you ask us ordinary citizens to do differently?”
  • Let’s insist on robust funding and institutional support for the United Nations Population Division and inquire frequently about its work.
  • Let’s demand that our news media outlets deal honestly with the population issue and with the pronatalist policies and customs that are so integral to our social fabric.
  • Let’s demand that our towns, neighborhoods, businesses, churches, synagogues, and mosques put an immediate stop to those policies and customs.
  • And among our families, small groups, and workplaces, let’s be the ones who keep asking the tough questions about the choices we’re making. After all, we’re not afraid, are we?