With many developed nations around the world facing demographic crises, Dr. Kevin Schmiesing challenges the radical environmentalist and population control lobbies that view motherhood as a problem. Schmiesing advocates a more positive form of environmental stewardship, arguing that children, far from being an omen of impending catastrophe, have the potential to “generate prosperity, and leave the natural environment better than they found it.”
Over at the Huffington Post blog, David Roberts, a staff writer for Grist.org, describes the relationship between activist causes, like women’s reproductive rights and “sustainable development,” and population control.
Roberts says he doesn’t directly address the problem of over-population because talking about it as such isn’t very effective. Apparently, telling people that they and their kids very existence is the “ultimate problem of all problems” doesn’t resonate very well. It “alienates a large swathe of the general public,” you know, the ones who still have some residual moral sensibilities.
So, instead, Roberts pursues items that he think will ultimately result in lowered populations…a subordination of these causes as means to the greater end. He writes, “Each of these — empowering women and spreading prosperity — is worth pursuing in its own right. Each is a powerful political rallying cry. Each produces a range of ancillary benefits.”
But of course the greatest benefit of them both is that they help in “scaling human population back.”
And as Roberts notes, the connection between radical environmentalism and population control has been devastating for the cause, leading him to conclude that overt population control rhetoric “is political poison.”
His concluding advice? “If you’re worried about population, work toward sustainable development and female empowerment.”
And, I might add, if you are able to similarly disguise a radical environmentalist agenda and separate out the perception of pursuing population control, why not work toward that too?
From the “we had to destroy the village to save it” department, check out this item from the Huffington Post by Dave Johnson, “A Global Warming Suggestion: Fewer Babies.”
It’s pretty indefatigable logic: if there are no people to be affected by environmental catastrophe, then the problem has been avoided. Johnson writes, “Yes, hundreds of millions of people will face water shortages and starvation by 2080 — but only if those hundreds of millions of people are alive in the first place.”
He continues, “What am I getting at? One solution to the crisis is for people to stop having so many babies. We’re already using up the fisheries. The cattle being raised to feed so many meat-eaters is as big a problem as the cars we’re all driving.”
Read more background on the connection between global warming activism and population control measures here, which introduces the joint paper, “From Climate Control to Population Control: Troubling Background on the ‘Evangelical Climate Initiative’.”
I mentioned South Korea in a commentary on population a few months ago. New data show that the erstwhile East Asian tiger is now the world’s leader in population contraction. Its fertility rate is 1.08, less than half the replacement rate of 2.1. In other words, if that rate persists, South Korea will halve its population with each generation.
As is usual, aggressive government action played a role in the problem. The nation established its population control policy in 1961. Among other things, it favored government employees with two or fewer children and gave housing preferences to small families. Reacting lethargically to a trend already long in evidence, it ended its advocacy of fertility decline in 1996. Now, in an equally tardy move, the government has decided to promote population increase. In what must be an unprecedented occurrence—one that may be among the more startling signs of the times—the Planned Parenthood affiliate in South Korea is cooperating with the government in its effort to raise the birthrate.
HT: Joseph D’Agostino of PRI.
Cross-posted on Friends of CE.
Call it something like an anthropological Rorschach test. What do you see when you look at the picture above? Do you see more than just a ‘carbon footprint’?
It’s a fair question to ask, I think, of those who are a part of the radical environmentalist/population control political lobby. It’s also a note of caution to fellow Christians who want to build bridges with those folks…there is a complex of interrelated policies that are logically consistent once you assume the tenets of secular environmentalism.
Some worldviews just aren’t compatible with others.
Rev. Richard Cizik, the point-man on environmental policy for the National Association of Evangelicals, said in a speech earlier this year to the World Bank:
I’d like to take on the population issue, but in my community global warming is the third rail issue. I’ve touched the third rail . . . but still have a job. And I’ll still have a job after my talk here today. But population is a much more dangerous issue to touch. . . We need to confront population control and we can — we’re not Roman Catholics after all — but it’s too hot to handle now.
Just how much has secularist misanthropy already infiltrated our thinking?
For more on the connection between the climate change lobby and population control, see the newly released joint paper from the Acton Institute and the Institute on Religion & Democracy, “From Climate Control to Population Control: Troubling Background on the ‘Evangelical Climate Initiative'” (PDF here).