Jade always wanted to be a mother. Ever since she was a little girl that was her dream. She had visions of singing a special lullaby she learned at climate justice marches to her newborn baby.
But, now, Jade is seriously questioning her maternal intentions. In our current state of climate chaos, she often asks herself if it’s selfish for her to bring a child into the world.
Jade is not alone in her sad, misguided reproductive thought process.
At ConceivableFuture.org, you can find dozens of video testimonials from women like Jade discussing how climate change has directly affected their decision to have a baby.
Conceivable Future is an organization that describes itself as a “women-led network of Americans bringing awareness to the threat climate change poses to reproductive justice.” Many of the women who have shared their story on the group’s website claim they have opted out of having children because they don’t want to increase their carbon footprint or they can’t imagine bringing a baby into the future dystopian wasteland of Earth.
The community at Conceivable Future may seem like a radical smattering of people who would rather recycle than reproduce, but the idea is far from novel.
ZPG has returned
It’s the ZPG movement all over again.
ZPG is a catchy acronym that stands for “Zero Population Growth.” The movement was ignited in the late 1960s by Paul Ehrlich’s book, “The Population Bomb.” It advocated — you guessed it — that the population stop growing before it’s too late.
The bestselling book is filled with prophesied visions of horrific devastation and perilous warnings. For example:
We must be relentless in pushing for population control around the world. I wish I could offer you some sugarcoated solutions, but I’m afraid the time for them is long gone. A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people. Treating only the symptoms of cancer may make the victim more comfortable at first, but eventually he dies — often horribly. A similar fate awaits a world with a population explosion if only the symptoms are treated.
Ehrlich’s tasteless comparison between humans and cancer worked instantly.
“The Population Bomb” spread like a virus through book clubs and libraries. Soon local chapters of the ZPG movement started popping up.
Men and women alike attended rallies wearing pins emblazoned with slogans like “The Pill in Time Saves Nine!”; “None Is Fun”; “Stop at Two”; and “Control Your Local Stork.”
Hollywood even did their best to promote Ehrlich’s apocalyptic rantings. He frequently joined Johnny Carson as a guest on "The Tonight Show" and Paramount turned “The Population Bomb” into a science fiction thriller under the movement’s moniker, “Z.P.G.” (Trust me, the trailer is well worth your time.)
The ZPG message became so popular that membership grew to 35,000 between 1969 and 1972.
And then the movement lost media attention. The combination of Ehrlich’s obvious unrealized predictions, the vicious attack on families, and the constant criticism of the Vatican wore thin on people after a while.
But ZPG didn’t completely disappear along with the hippie sub-culture of the 1970s. The movement actually never ceased operations. They simply rebranded as Population Connection in 2002 and today employ a slightly less antagonistic approach to spreading the lie of an overpopulated planet.
Today, Population Connection claims to have 14 times as many members as it did in 1972.
I wonder if they attribute their increase in membership to their message not quite working as intended.
I’m sure Population Connection is thrilled with the emergence of ancillary groups like Conceivable Future.
The packaging and the audience for these organizations may seem trendy and fresh, but the message remains the same: Humans, especially new ones, are bad.
In 1968, the ZPG movement was born out of the disgusting lie of overpopulation and impending doom. It would be criminal to allow the next generation to forgo bringing precious babies into the world all because a 50-year-old myth got a makeover.