83. Are There Too Many People on the Planet?

For decades some scientists have warned that the earth is becoming overpopulated and soon, we won’t have enough resources to accommodate everyone. But is this really true? Or is this a dangerous misconception?



Here’s a transcript of our conversation:


Connor: Hey Brittany.

Brittany: Hi Connor.

Connor: I want to talk about a post I did on Facebook. this has been a couple of months ago, but it’s been bugging me ever since. And it was this picture of this woman, I believe she lives in Sweden. and I remember that cuz my wife lived in Sweden for a little while.

Brittany: It’s fun. I didn’t know that.

Connor: And now she follows this lady on Instagram and, what’s interesting about Sweden, it’s a very big government place. Tons of taxes and their culture. You know, you don’t really have like more than one kid, maybe two, but you don’t really have medium to large families in Sweden. And, it just isn’t a thing. This woman, I think she had nine kids and was going like pregnant

Brittany: Maybe or something, right? Yeah,

Connor: Yeah. She was pregnant with her 10th. And so she posted this photo of all of her kids lined up from oldest to youngest, and then she was pregnant as well. And I didn’t know at the time she was from Sweden, which makes it even more interesting because that’s just not a thing there to have these large kids and families. And so then someone else on Twitter saw this photo and they posted it and, their description of this photo is that it was, he called it environmental terrorism. In other words, you know, terrorism against the environment. And he believed that because from his perspective and a lot of people’s perspective on the left, having a bunch of, children is bad for the environment because they’re gonna have to eat and they’re gonna have to go to school and have houses of their own, which requires us to cut down trees in the forest. And, so from their perspective, overpopulation rather a lot of humans is a bad thing. And so this guy’s tweet went viral. Tons of people liked it, like thousands of people at the time this little screenshot was taken. And so there’s a lot of people out there who think this, that, large families, you know, having a bunch of kids is basically bad for the earth. And that if we are going to save the planet, we need to either not have as many kids or have no kids. And so I wanna talk about that. That’s been really bugging me. What are your thoughts on this?

Brittany: You know, I’ve been, this has been bothering me for a long time because I know a lot of people my age and are a little bit younger are committed to not having kids. There’s a whole campaign. They’re, saying we’re not gonna have kids because we love the earth. How dare we have kids who are going to, you know, grow up and create, you know, contribute to men me, global warming and blah blah blah. And it’s so sad to me. And granted I come from a family where I have nine siblings, right? So we have a lot of kids and it was a great way to grow up. It was so much fun. But also everybody should be able to make this decision for themselves. So I think scaring a bunch of young people by telling them that, you know, we, can’t have kids because we’re destroying the earth, is not only really a mean thing to do, but incorrect. Because to be sure this is not something new. This has not happened over the last 10 years. This whole population overpopulation or, you know, population bomb as they used to call it. this has been a big deal since, I think it was like the sixties when people started writing all these books saying, you know, we only have a handful of years before we’re all gonna die off. One guy even said that by 1989 we would have the great die-off where 65 million people would die. That has not happened, which makes me think it probably is not going to happen.

Connor: Yeah so, the book was Population Bombs Scared a bunch of people. I believe it was published in 1968. Now we’re gonna link on today’s show notes page, Tuttletwins.com/podcast to that Facebook page I mentioned with the lady’s photo. You can see the conversation there. It’s a lot of interesting comments. but I also wanna a link to a Twitter account, that you should go check out. They have a website as well called the Pessimists Archive. Brittany, are you familiar with this?

Brittany: Yes, we talked about them before. We love them. They’re great. Oh,

Connor: That’s right. We did. Yeah, that’s right. We talked

Brittany: We did a whole episode on the might leave here.

Connor: That’s right. Yeah. Thanks for reminding me. So we’ll link to it again, it’s so relevant here and yeah, thanks for reminding me cuz on that episode we talked about how these predictions are often totally wrong, just like with the population bomb. And so today when people say to protect the earth we need to have fewer humans, I say, well wait a minute. Like if Al Gore, you know, a couple of decades ago said all the ice caps are gonna melt by, what was the years like 2010 or something? Like, I

Brittany: I think we’re already supposed to be underwater according to the Al Gores

Connor: Yeah, yeah. Like he had this big movie that came out. He scared everyone, all the media totally bought into it cuz they love spreading this kind of propaganda. And so everyone gets scared and they start saying, we need the government to solve all of our problems. And we needed them to ban, you know, drilling for oil. And you know, now, it’s so crazy that the Green New Deal, we talked about that before, right? Kind of socialism for the environment. Now they even have in some cases talked about how cows are a problem.

Brittany: Yes, that’s right.

Connor: Because when cows fart, I kid you not, you know, farting cows is a problem from, their perspective, this has been in some of their materials because the methane that produces from the, passing of the gas, if you’ll harms the ozone in the environment and leads in, when you combine all the cow farts in the world that creates problems for, I don’t know, melting ice caps or whatever the issue is. and, so, you know, none of these failed predictions have come true. The pessimist archive is, so great cuz it gives so many examples in the past just like this population bomb book or Al Gore’s movie where they’re totally wrong. And so then I look at the people today who continue to, you know, claim that there’s too many people on the planet overpopulation, we need to not have as many kids. And I say, can you point out one of these environmental claims or scares or predictions that turned out true? Like if you want us to start like having fewer children and altering the fabric of our society, what’s your track record? Right? Like why should we listen to you? I just think we gotta start there from a place of trust.

Brittany: Well, what’s funny is it’s not even that they never came true, it’s that the opposite happened, right? So since the 1960s, 1968 we talk about the population bomb book, they talk about how we are going to be on the brink of starvation. You know, by 1989 we now have a country that has an obesity problem, not a starvation problem. We have so much wealth and abundance because the market has given us so much that we literally don’t know what to do with it all that we have an excessive thing we’re we’re eating too much. So it is so funny to me cause I’m just thinking, wait a second. Not only has none of this happened, the exact opposite happened. So why are we still pushing these lies?

Connor: Brittany, did you say you’re in a family of nine siblings? Or do you have nine siblings?

Brittany: I have nine siblings. So there’s 10 of us altogether. Yeah.

Connor: Okay. So I wanna ask you another question cuz another Facebook post that I did a few days after that original photo that I, mentioned was, I saw this actually from, our friend Jeff d over at the

Brittany: Oh yes.

Connor: Ludwig  von Mises Institute. So he posted this and then I, posted it on my own page and it was a photo of a poster, like a billboard in Canada. There’s an organization, there that puts these postcards all over or these posters all over Canada. And it said something it showed a black baby, number one. And then it had some wording to the effect of, if you love your first child, then don’t have anymore. Oh. and so as a child, like you’re not the first-born, right?

Brittany: No, I’m right in the middle.

Connor: You’re right in the middle. So, you know, what would be the perspective of your oldest brother or sister in your family? Had no more of your siblings or you been born, do you really think that he or she would’ve lived a better life and preferred it to what you guys have now?

Brittany: No. In fact, so my best friend is an only child and she is now the opposite. She wants to have nine kids of her own. She wants a big family. But one thing she told me. So, her parents took a look at the economy and they decided they didn’t want her to take student loan debt out and so they were not gonna have any more kids because they were gonna make sure they only had, you know, one child so they could pay for everything.

Connor: Wow.

Brittany: And she has told me several times how much she hated that, she said she would’ve given up her college degree if it meant she didn’t have such a lonely childhood. If she had, you know, people to play with. I never didn’t have someone to play with. It was the opposite. Right? Sometimes I was like, Ugh, get away from me. I don’t wanna share my room or share my toys with you. But my friend was telling me how lucky I am and that’s really given me a lot of perspective because she just tells me how sad and lonely it was to grow up in a family where she was really just around adults all day. And that’s not a bad thing. You know, talking to adults can be fine, but she really wanted other siblings. So that is always really stuck with me when I hear these arguments that, these children don’t necessarily want to be only children.

Connor: Sometimes we adults don’t like talking to other adults.

Brittany: True.

Connor: We wanna talk to kids instead, which is why we have a podcast for kids. This is great.

Brittany: Exactly.

Connor: So, you know, that that poster to me was so appalling because like, you, the children, the people I know in my life who are, only children in their family never, never talk about it in, terms of, oh, I’m so glad my parents didn’t have any other their kids, right? Because those only children, the only child in those families, they’re still playing with friends, they’re still forming other friendships. and so clearly they have a need for social bonding with other kids. Why wouldn’t they want that on a more frequent or intimate basis with someone they can, you know, be around more and understand and love and they would love them back? And I just don’t know anyone who says yes, that’s a good thing. So this organization, they’re, using children for the wrong purposes cuz the children themselves aren’t saying, I don’t want any brother. Like, okay, sure when your brother takes your toys or punches you or something, you might be like, I wish I didn’t have any, you know? But as you get older and even like five minutes after you say something, that, right? You’re playing a game with them and having fun. And so over the long term of our life, no one thinks that. And so this organization is making a political argument that they think there’s too many humans and they’re, they’re using your firstborn child or your potential for, future firstborn child as kind of a way of saying, oh, well if you really love them, you’ll only have one. It’s not about the kids and what they want. This is about their claim about what you, the adults should decide, you know, to be scared about, to be scared of the future and then decide, you know, it sounds like your friend’s parents, they were scared of the economy and what might happen. And today it’s, oh, we gotta be scared of the environment. Well, at what point have, these fears of the environment from the environmentalists, which I hate that term cause I’m an environmentalist, right? Like I, when I take my kids hiking, it’s always, you know what my dad always taught me, you always leave the campground cleaner than you found it, right?

Brittany: They say like, burning Man, there’s this culture, they say leave no trace, right? So if you’re gonna go out and you’re gonna, you know, hang out in Mother Nature, just make sure you’re peak cleaning up after yourself and nobody could even tell that you were there kind of thing,

Connor: Right? Yeah. And so, you know, you and I are environmentalists, but, the term is kind of, you know, backwards now. And so the environmentalists, quote unquote are, people who want to like, prevent other people from using nature, from cutting down trees to build a home or toilet paper. You know, like, and so I love how you pointed out that like technology, like with food, right? Everyone thought we were gonna starve, but then with technology, we’re able to produce even more food on less land with less resources to feed even more people. And so the world just keeps getting better. There’s so much reason for optimism. But these quote-unquote environmentalists only have fear. They have fear of these predictions and it’s all gonna be horrible. And so, you know, we need to have all kinds of problems. I wanna ask you about there’s a term called the population rep, replacement rate, I think is what the term is called. But basically, just in terms of the population, the number of humans, let’s say in the United States of America or in your state, to replace themselves, right? Man and woman, right? Mom and dad, just to replace themselves. They have to have, it’s like 2.2 children on average. In other words,

Brittany: Just replace one person.

Connor: I think, is that a couple?

Brittany: I don’t know. That’s what I meant. what do you think?

Connor: I think it’s, no, I think it’s to replace mom and dad like the whole family. Got it.

Brittany: Ok. Got it.

Connor: But basically, mom and dad need to be having more than a couple of kids on average. Just some people are having three, some people are having two in order for the population even to remain the same size. Now, here’s what I don’t understand, Brittany. I want you to comment on this. The environmentalists are usually also socialists. They’re big government type of people. and so where you and I are caring for nature ourselves and cleaning up after ourselves, environmentalists wanna use the government to kind of, you know, dictate how people can use nature. And so these people tend to be socialists. While socialism is like a big, it’s called a pyramid scheme, right? where some people are being paid for by other people who are just coming into the system, the bottom of the pyramid. And as they work their way up the pyramid, like getting older for example, then there are new people at the bottom of the pyramid, newly born people who are paying for them. So think of, a lot of the adults out there will know, of course of something like social security. This is a government program where the old people get money from the government and who’s it being paid for by all the young people. And then as the young people move up that pyramid and get older, then instead of paying money into social security, they start getting money from social security, which is being paid for by all the people at the bottom. Okay? So here’s why this pyramid scheme is a problem. If we start only having one child, or if we fall below that, you know, that population replacement rate. If we start having a lot less kids, imagine this big old pyramid, like think of Egypt, right? You got this big pyramid, but all of a sudden someone comes and starts like pulling out the stones at the bottom of the pyramid at the base. And your, your base, the bottom of your pyramid is getting smaller and smaller cuz you’re having fewer and fewer children, but you keep having all these, you know, people, teenagers, young adults, adults getting older and older and older. You’ve got this generation, multiple generations of all of these people getting older, but you have fewer people who are younger to pay enough taxes to support all of these older people who now, now can’t work anymore. So this pyramid scheme in my mind doesn’t work. Socialism doesn’t work unless you constantly have more younger people entering the economy, paying all their taxes to support all these old people, right? And so why is it that these socialists want this big pyramid scheme for all their kind of government programs? And yet here they’re saying stop having kids. It doesn’t make any sense to me

Brittany: Because I think you’re assuming that socialism makes sense, it doesn’t, right? There’s really not a whole lot of logic there. It, kind of reminds me of if you’ve ever played the game Jenga, I don’t know if kids still play Jenga, but you know, you pull out the wrong piece and everything collapses. And that’s what’s happening. You’re taking out the people funding the system, right? So if you’re taking out the foundation of people funding social security, what’s gonna happen? It’s all gonna tumble down. And I mean, I think it’s estimated right now that we’re not even gonna like when you and I get old enough to take Social security, it’s not even going to be there because there’s not enough people paying into it. So I think, you’re right. I think it’s why do the socialists keep doing things that they know don’t work. That’s a question I’d love to know, but I’ve yet to get an answer. But I think that is 100% accurate on the population thing. Like they, only see it as a net negative. Instead of saying that this is, we need people to continue our civilization, this is not a bad thing.

Connor: Hey, maybe the way to make socialism stop is to stop having a bunch of kids to who can, you know, be the taxpayers for these big social programs? I dunno. okay, so check out the show notes page. today guys, we will link to some of the resources we’ve mentioned in this episode. This is deeply problematic. There are so many people out there who believe this way and from my family experience sounds like, from yours, Brittany, like that’s just not a way to live. That’s not the good life. And, for people who live in fear and are never right about their predictions to be telling other people to stop having children because their ideal is the environment. Like my ideal is, you know, an amazing family and life. And, and that involves planting things and then eating it involves raising, you know, cows and using their milk and eating steak for dinner. Like for me, the good life involves using nature and using these resources that I think in my case as a religious person, I think God has provided us. But you know, the abundance of nature, whether you think it’s from God or just, you know, whatever, this is to be used. It’s not to be like worshiped, it’s not to be left alone and not have no interaction with nature and not use these resources. Like, it’s almost like its own religion in a sense where you know, their God is the planet and anyone who’s using or, harming the planet is, you know, sinning and they need to be thrown into hell, fire, and damnation. Like it’s, it’s kind of bizarre, but

Brittany: Very bizarre.

Connor: Head to Tuttletwins.com/podcast. Check out the show notes page. Guys, we love talking with you guys. Thanks for all your feedback. If you have show ideas, make sure you’re reaching out to us on Facebook, Instagram, email, Tuttletwins.com. Whatever you want, we’re easy to reach. Share your ideas with us, and subscribe to the show. And before I forget everything else, I was gonna say, Brittany, until next time, we’ll talk to you later.

Brittany: Talk to you later.


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