Somehow just about every fashionable cause of the left in the past century and a half has managed to involve a call for reducing the population. Scientific management and the “rationalization” of social policy pointed to eugenics. Statist centralized economics required planning and control of population growth. The early environmentalist movement, concerned about the depletion of natural resources, called unabashedly for a decrease in the human population.
The more contemporary environmental movement — which worries less about resources and more about ecology — has not failed to point in the same direction. A few months ago, for instance, activists in Australia made a push for a “baby levy” to disincentivize child-bearing (because, they said, “Every newborn baby in Australia represents a potent source of greenhouse gas emissions.”)
Now we hear that Ted Turner is worried that overpopulation is the cause of global warming. “We’re too many people; that’s why we have global warming,” he told Charlie Rose, “too many people are using too much stuff.” He even suggests that “on a voluntary basis, everybody in the world’s got to pledge to themselves that one or two children is it.”
Someone should ask Turner which of his five children he considers excessive burdens on the planet.