Today’s post is at The Stream: Environmentalists Who Dream of a World without Themselves.
It was anno Domini one thousand nine hundred and sixty eight and the sky was falling. Paul Ehrlich gave the world only months to live. Doom was inevitable. A population bomb was going to explode and kill millions, tens of millions, billions.
People were breeding like rabbits, eating like locusts, and polluting the air like NPR. So much grime was going to be cast into the atmosphere that the sun’s rays were going to be knocked back into space and plunge the globe into an ice age. Yes! Human popsicles planet-wide!
So what. Nobody believed such tall tales, did they? Oh yes they did. Like kids at a summer camp gathered around a midnight fire and anxious to be frightened, over the following decade nearly every politician, member of the intelligentsia, and inveterate do-gooder swallowed the whole story. They were convinced something had to be done.
What about the children?, China asked. Answer: don’t have any. Or don’t have more than one. This would “solve” the population dilemma and prevent economic collapse and mass starvation. The world, or at least China, would avoid a Malthusian apocalypse.