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Feb 2, Oct 25, Oct 23, Oct 19, Oct 16, Oct 15, Today, they are portrayed as potential terrorists or dangerous migrants, or both rolled up into one. National security pundits warn about new kinds of population bombs, often with an Islamic cast. Western civilization is laying itself down to die. The scapegoating of immigrants for environmental degradation gives nativism an environmental twist. Abernethy, a professor at Vanderbilt University, was representing an organization called the Carrying Capacity Network. I later learned that Abernethy worked with the white supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens.

In the person of Abernethy I encountered a well-funded nativist network, founded by Michigan ophthalmologist and neo-eugenicist John Tanton, that cloaks itself in green language to lure liberal environmentalists into its conservative fold. Its main contention is that immigration, by spurring US population growth, drives environmental degradation. When they come to the US, the argument goes, immigrants cause everything from traffic congestion to deforestation to accelerated greenhouse gas emissions.

This environmental burden compounds the supposed economic burden they place on taxpayers, schools, hospitals, and other public services. In the late s and early s, this nativist movement sought to take over the Sierra Club by becoming members en masse in order to get the Club to take a stand against immigration and put nativists on the board. Fortunately, they were beaten back, but they have hardly faded away. New front groups, with names like Progressives for Immigration Reform, continue to woo environmentalists with Malthusian arguments.

The violence moves beyond sins of omission to the more dangerous terrain of actively committed transgressions against human dignity and lives. This makes it ethically imperative to confront and challenge its core beliefs. What is more, freeing ourselves from population fundamentalism allows us to imagine, and start to create, a more peaceful, equitable, and sustainable future.

In addition to images of ticking time bombs depicting overpopulation, there are actual clocks that register each new birth as if it were a potential disaster. One such clock is posted on a medical building at a busy intersection in New Delhi. On the website of the Population Media Center in the US, a similar clock tells how many human beings were added to the planet during your visit.

The countdown to doom is measured one birth at a time. Humanity is heading backwards, not forwards. Sometimes the population time keepers raise the rhetoric to fever pitch. In his book Countdown , author Alan Weisman warns that the population crisis could lead humanity to extinction. How do we rid ourselves of the ticking time bombs, the countdown clocks, the dismal models, and the dystopic dread that the Reverend Malthus set in motion two centuries ago?

Their latest clamor concerns climate change. Some American population and environment groups now argue that reducing population growth in developing countries is the key to mitigating climate change.


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In , the US emitted Others, like Johns Hopkins philosopher Travis Rieder, are grabbing media attention by arguing that the looming climate catastrophe means that we should socially engineer a reduction in birth rates, not just in developing countries but at home, too. New parents in the US should be financially penalized for having children, Rieder maintains, while mothers in developing countries should have their birth control refills paid for.

The absurd notion that babies cause climate change is a convenient way to obscure its structural causes, including the economic and political clout of the fossil fuel industry. Equally worrying is the way powerful interests in the international family planning field are turning the clock back toward population control, undoing a lot of the progress made at the international population conference in Cairo.

They are reintroducing numerical targets, promoting long-acting contraceptives over other methods, and brushing aside critical health, safety, and human rights concerns.

Here in the US, population interests are targeting low-income young women and women of color with long-acting reversible contraceptives LARC for short , notably the IUD and hormonal implants. These methods are being touted as a technical fix for high rates of adolescent pregnancy and a solution to endemic poverty. There are now reports of poor women on Medicaid not being able to get their IUDs removed unless they pay privately out of their own pocket.

Meanwhile, the anti-abortion movement very cleverly plays the moral high ground card whenever the international family planning establishment fails to speak out against coercion or sweeps contraceptive risks under the rug. In these instances, the anti-abortion movement falsely bills itself as the true defender of women.

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The election of Donald Trump puts reproductive rights, including the legal right to abortion, granted in the Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade , in serious jeopardy. One of his earliest acts as president was to reinstate the global gag rule first imposed by Ronald Reagan. You can promote reproductive rights and support access to birth control, including the right to safe, legal abortion, without supporting population control.

You can be an environmentalist, too, without subscribing to Malthusian notions of Scarcity. From the time of the Puritans onwards, the vision of Armageddon-style battles between good and evil, God and the Devil, has predisposed Americans to simple-minded dualisms and extremist ideologies. Malthusianism is one of them.

The overpopulation fears it ignites help keep the larger American apocalyptic fire burning, and that fire in turn helps keeps Malthusianism alive.

I think of him visiting the home of one of his poor parishioners. I imagine him as an inexperienced young man, standing in the doorway, peering in, aghast at the squalor and the emaciated children. Perhaps the woman of the house is breastfeeding a newborn baby. He has seen enough, thank you. Incapable of making that basic human connection, he retreats to his study and the neat, comforting world of numbers.

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What if he had dared to stay, dared to ask a few sympathetic questions of both husband and wife, dared to get to the bottom of what caused their predicament? Works of Radical Imagination. Sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on Seven Stories new releases, events, and resources. A Candidate Called Bernie. An Interview with J.

Malcolm Garcia. Remembering Paul Krassner. The root of their problem is common to all of the types of the Thinking Center: they are out of touch with the inner guidance and support of their Essential nature. As with Fives and Sixes, this creates a deep anxiety in Sevens. They do not feel that they know what to do or how to make choices that will be beneficial to themselves and others. Sevens cope with this anxiety in two ways. First, they try to keep their minds busy all of the time. As long as Sevens can keep their minds occupied, especially with projects and positive ideas for the future, they can, to some extent, keep anxiety and negative feelings out of conscious awareness.

Likewise, since their thinking is stimulated by activity, Sevens are compelled to stay on the go, moving from one experience to the next, searching for more stimulation. This is not to say that Sevens are "spinning their wheels. Frances, a successful business consultant, sounds more energetic than is humanly possible—and yet, she is a typical Seven:.

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At the office, I am joyful and my mind is running at its best. They therefore tend to try everything—and ultimately may even resort to anything as a substitute for what they are really looking for. We can see this in action even in the most trivial areas of their daily lives. Having two weeks for a vacation and a desire to visit Europe brings a similar quandary. Which countries and cities to visit? Which sites to see?

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Furthermore, as Sevens speed up their pursuit of whatever seems to offer freedom and satisfaction, they tend to make worse choices, and they are less able to be satisfied because everything is experienced indirectly, through the dense filter of their fast-paced mental activity. The result is that Sevens end up anxious, frustrated, and enraged, with fewer resources available to them physically, emotionally, or financially.

They may end up ruining their health, their relationships, and their finances in their search for happiness. Gertrude is busy establishing her career and family now, but she looks back at how this tendency contributed to her getting a rough start in life.