Eric Assoudrin of World Watch called for a more daring approach to promote One Child Policy in order to promote sustainable development. Cheered on by the moderator at a session, which took place at UN, he called for ‘political will’ to push one-child policy.
In a side event organized by the UN Major Group for Children and Youth (UNMGCY) titled “Dialogue on Emerging Issues: Keeping the 2030 Agenda Relevant in a ‘Changing World’ – The only sustainable growth is degrowth”, panelists discussed various topics related to sustainable development.
At one point during the Q&A, a specific question was raised on what would be sustainable levels of population? This clearly caused discomfort among some of the panelists. However, Eric Assoudrin had an immediate answer. According to him, it is 2 billion as proposed by Paul Elrich, the famous Malthusian who himself acknowledged that his predictions regarding overpopulation ‘have not come to pass’.
“Am going to wade into the hornets’ nest of trying to answer the population question.” He joked as he began to answer the question. “There has been a lot of research on sustainable levels. And-Paul Elrich and John Holdren did one estimate of roughly 2 billion people and that was probably 15 years ago that that estimate was done. So we’ve done a lot more damage since then. it really depends on how much we consume right? Paul Elrich and John Holdren also were the ones behind the human impact equals population multiplied by affluence or consumption multiplied by technology. So if we can find the political will to live the Cuban lifestyles well low material affluence but good social services, good infrastructure, good education then we can sustain more people. Than if we all try to live these unjust kinds of high consumer lifestyles with pools of poverty you know in the slums around us. But really it’s smaller than 7.5 billion and its certainly smaller than 9.6 billion where we’re heading or even higher. So we have to find some sort of political will just like around contract and converge around carbon emissions.. We’ll have to find some way to normalize and open up the conversation again around population because even in the American environmental movement we’ve…there’s a taboo now, talking about population control which is you know red flag word but whatever you want to call it. You just can’t just focus on giving families family planning access without the information, without the cultural normalization of smaller families and then….it’s interesting , I just worked on a project called Earth Education- we were looking at what children need to know for the shifting ecological realities that they have been born into. In some countries like Netherlands and other Scandinavian countries they have great comprehensive sexuality education starting around age six. It talks about female equality, it talks about sex, it talks about appropriate touching everything from a very early age. It’s not just about giving access to reproductive technology which we’re struggling even to do that basic minimum in this country for example. But really normalizing the conversation of sex, family size of pushing in the same way that we push people to consume more through advertisement. We should start talking about and normalizing conversation around ideal family size which in truth might be of one child families more and more if that is…if we can find that political will and normalize one child families. That’s the only realistic path other than coercion to get us–.or epidemics– to get us to a smaller population which is essential.”
The side event was a part of High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development organized at UN headquarters. Even though the conference hall was equipped to record the session, no documentation of the event was found except for a live video streamed by one of the panelists.
Eric’s comment “if we can find that political will and normalize [the] one child family that’s the only realistic path other than coercion” does not make sense said Reggie Litte John, Founder and President of Women Without Frontiers. Little John who has worked extensively to expose the coercive one-child policy of China and its resultant, Gendercide, said “The only way to “normalize [the] one child family” is through coercion. China has demonstrated that a One Child Policy can only be achieved through forced abortion, forced sterilization and forced contraception – all at the hands of womb police. China has stated it has “prevented” 400 million lives through the One Child Policy — greater than the entire population of the U.S. and Canada combined. They have stated that this is their contribution in the fight against global warming. But people are more than walking carbon footprints. Imposing a global one-child policy would throw women’s rights back to the dark ages.”
Earlier on July 11th, campaigns were organized outside the UN asking people to sign petitions calling for UN Secretary General to promote a small family norm. UN agencies ‘celebrated’ World Population Day by organizing sterilization and distributing contraception in several countries. The same month UNFPA honored two affiliates of Planned Parenthood for their efforts in population control.
More than half of the world’s population is below replacement level. China is planning to pay couples to have children and 26 states out of 29 states in India have reached below replacement fertility. Yet population control dominates conversations at UN. No matter the problems discussed population control seems to be the solution at UN.
This post was originally written for IYC.