Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Demographic Bomb is a Dud

By Marian Starkey, Communications Manager

This week, Amsterdam is playing host to the ultra-conservative World Congress of Families. An international gathering of family traditionalists, the WCF offers seminars that range from homeschooling to faith to MTV. Sessions like "The Social and Economic Effects of Declining Birth Rates" and "The Philosophical Roots of Demographic Winter" are also part of the program. There's even a seminar called "Threats to the Family from Addiction to Pornography."

Tonight, participants will attend the first international screening of Demographic Bomb: Worldwide Decline of Human Fertility Rates. The incendiary film is the sequel to Demographic Winter, a documentary released in 2008 that was alarmist enough as a stand-alone, in my opinion.

Here's the trailer for Demographic Bomb:

Here's the trailer for Demographic Winter:

Some of the footage overlaps with the trailer above, but there are a few unique opinions that make watching it worthwhile. I especially like the part where a 1970s "preoccupation" with the population bomb is blamed for informing women's rights, gay rights, and environmentalist movements. Yes, what a tragedy that women, homosexuals, and the other species that share our planet finally got a voice.

Demographic Bomb is supposed to scare viewers into believing that an impending economic collapse will be the result of our refusal to continue a century of rapid population growth. One talking head points out that never has a country with a shrinking population experienced economic growth. That can be explained by the fact that until this decade, the only time regional populations shrank was during an epidemic. The Black Plague in Europe had people a bit too preoccupied with burying relatives and trying to stay alive to be able to think about increasing their capital. Population decline due to increased affluence and lifestyle choices is brand new and we cannot predict how it will affect national economies in the near or long-term future.

The end of the trailer is the part that disturbed me the most, when a man mused that really, only "certain kinds of people are on their way to extinction." The ensuing spooky white text on black background laments that it's not politically correct to say so, despite the fact that academics are well-informed about this "problem." I guess the guy at the beginning who described a France with no "original" French people went out on an un-PC limb in making his comments. After all, a future France filled with North Africans is something that makes xenophobes shake in their boots.

Basically, what the World Congress of Families wants you to know is that it supports you and your family. That is, if you are heterosexual, have at least two children, are [preferably] white, Christian, and do not look at pornography.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tiny People, Big Footprints

By Brian Dixon

A new study by statisticians at Oregon State University points out that reducing family size may be as much as 20 times more important than anything else people might do to reduce their carbon footprint.

This is just the latest evidence of the clear connection between population growth and climate change. We can only hope that sometime soon policymakers will make the same connection as the scientists.

It’s an especially critical connection to make as the world stumbles toward a global plan to bring emissions to a level that allows for climate stability. Really, is it even possible to achieve that if the global population grows to 12 billion by 2050? That’s not outside the realm of the possible.

It seems obvious that if we’re ever to get to a fair, just and humane level of global per capita emissions – one which isn’t dependent on keeping billions and billions of people in abject poverty and despair – stabilizing population is necessary.