A Radical View on Population

March 13, 2009

Author Steven Kotler posted a recent blog entry that has to be the most succinct and radical take on the overpopulation issue I’ve read in years. Because the link is too long to fit in the CFI blogsite’s link field, here it is in text. https://blogs.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-playing-field/200902/the-five-year-ban-because-a-billion-less-people-is-a-great-place-to-st   (Be sure to paste the whole thing into a plain-text editor like Notepad and remove any line breaks before using.)

After painting a stark picture of the resource-starved future that probably faces us all, and soon, Kotler throws down the gauntlet:

“Not too long ago, one of my readers pointed out that I’m pretty good at pointing out what’s wrong in the world and lousy about pointing out solutions. So here’s my simple solution: Stop Having Children.

“I call it the 5 Year Ban. For the next five years let’s not have any kids. All of us. The whole freaking planet.

“I don’t think this should be a top down approach. I don’t mean a literal government ban. I mean a grassroots movement of responsible adults behaving like responsible adults. I mean a populist moratorium on childbirth.

“Why 5 years? Because it’s a manageable number. Because it would mean a billion less people. Because a billion less people is a good place to start.”

That passage really hit home with me, in part because around forty years ago I made my own decision to join Kotler moratorium. (No doubt that was some years before he thought of it.) I found a woman who felt the same way. We’re childfree by choice and have never regretted it.

Every few years FREE INQUIRY does another issue on the population crisis. As it happens, the next one comes out in a couple of days, with a lead article by Paul and Anne Ehrlich. If I’d seen Kotler’s piece when it came out (it’s dated February 8), I probably wouldn’t have sought to reprint it in FI; it’s a little over the top when Kotler urges slamming fertility treatment abuser Nadya Suleman (you know, Octo-Mom) into jail. And he’s relentless in portraying just how dire the issues we face genuinely appear to be.

I’d urge you read Kotler’s piece with an open mind. And ask yourself, aside from the jail-Nadya-Suleman part, what you can really find fault with. Who knows, maybe a reader or two (or more) will join the moratorium.

As for me, I eat meat, drive a car that’s on the efficient side of middle of the pack, mileage-wise, and don’t always recycle. But Sue and I have always lived in an apartment instead of an energy-wasting, four-walls-exposed-to-the-wind detached house, and we’ve never added mouths to this overpopulated world. So on balance I feel like I’m doing my part for the planet.