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We're In For A Scary Halloween (If You Listen to the Population Controllers)

Led by the U.N. Population Fund, various anti-people groups are attempting to terrify the good citizens of Earth this Halloween by raising the specter of … babies. The seven billionth baby, to be exact.

Take the group Population Matters, for example, which will be:

… marking the day [of Seven Billion] by highlighting the unsustainability of continuing population growth. This increase in population puts huge pressure on the environment and makes attempts to address issues such as biodiversity loss and climate change even more difficult. As Population Matters patron Sir David Attenborough has said, “All environmental problems become harder — and ultimately impossible — to solve with ever more people.”

The earth's population has risen in the last century, its press release goes on to complain. Turning a blind eye to the lengthening life spans and soaring per capita incomes that have accompanied this growth, Population Matters wants a world where childbearing is restricted and there are a lot fewer human beings.

“Everyone agrees that we need to find ways to create a sustainable world for future generations. Slowing population growth can play a valuable role in this,” says Simon Ross, Population Matters' chief executive. “Where people have choices, such as the UK, we are asking them to have 'two or fewer' children as part of a sustainable lifestyle.”

Population Matters is not alone in using the birth of Baby Seven Billion to advance an anti-people agenda. The Sierra Club's Carl Pope says that the rising population will make the future world “a very grim place.”

Robert Engelman of the Worldwatch Institute opines that, while ending population growth “won't solve [our] problems by itself … it will help — a lot.” He goes on to add this effort is “in the interest of all who care about a truly sustainable environment and human future.”

We at PRI disagree. In fact, we disagree so much that I have accepted an invitation from BBC to publicly debate Chris Packham of Population Matters this Friday, October 14th.

I will first tell Mr. Packham to check his math. Even a rudimentary look at human numbers reveals that the world's population is not continuing to climb, but is leveling off. According to the latest UN estimates, the world's population will level off in thirty years or so and then begin to decline, slowly at first and with increasing rapidity. (See PRI's latest cartoon about this very subject).

If he is worried about 7 billion people on the planet, I will tell him, just take a deep breath. By the end of the century, the population will fall below 7 billion again.

Second, I will remind him that population growth is an important driver of economic progress. Every stomach comes with two hands attached. Every mouth is backed by a creative human intelligence. We can solve the problems that are caused by our growing numbers. In fact, we have been doing so for many centuries now.

The reason why human well-being is increasing faster than human numbers is quite simple. The more minds you have in play, the more rapidly scientific and technical advances occur. And in today's world, you have hundreds of millions of minds at work. Not only that, they are interconnected in an unprecedented way, while at the same time having access to endless stores of information. Whatever problems are caused by our slowly increasing numbers are dwarfed by our incredible and growing potential for coming up with creative solutions.

Third, I will tell Mr. Packham that forced pace population control programs have never been the answer. Aren't we all glad — and haven't we all benefited — from the fact that Steve Jobs' birth mother choose life, instead of an abortion? Don't we all mourn the 400 million Chinese children who were aborted by the state?

I am certain that the parents of Baby Seven Billion will celebrate his birth. And we at PRI will be celebrating right alongside them.

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your BBC debate

Can you give us any more details about your debate tomorrow? Which BBC programme and when?