This post is meant to be a supplement to the one started earlier on Overpopulation by spikey
I want to first thank spikey for his well thought out post. This thread is meant to supplement that in that it focuses on the wide range of issues
used as propaganda to push a overpopulation/population control agenda. This thread is a visual guide to some of the images and fear-tactics used. The
images I am using are from a visual presentation that was put together by the "Population and Development Program" based at Hampshire College. The
presentation and report is available for free (which is also why I am letting people know about it) and can be downloaded:
More information can be found about the project: here
As well as a pamphlet called "10 Reasons to Rethink 'Overpopulation'":
Also note that these images, from the presentation are only a sampling of what's there, it is not meant to be exhaustive, I'm just using one or two
from each section just to present the basic concepts for discussion and to give you an idea. Again for the full (free) presentation, which I highly
recommend, go to the website
As another note, I want to add that I am not advocating actively trying to produce even more people. I am however saying we need to be more critical
of this overpopulation myth based on the reasons we are told, as these problems are not the result of too many people, but are the result of poor
allocation of resources, exploitation of certain parts of this planet, poor planning, and under utilization/development of technology (certain farming
techniques, free energy, etc.)
The following slides show examples of how proponents of overpopulation/depopulation often try to conflate race, gender, fertility and pregnancy with
social problems such as poverty, disease, pollution, etc. without considering other more direct causes of these issues such as unequal distribution of
resources, corporate exploitation/degradation of land and natural resources, a lack of basic rights for women, corrupt/oppressive government, and so
on. It has been shown that in countries where women are given more equality; have access to health care, education, financial resources (such as small
business loans, the right to establish credit and own land), and basic rights such as voting, that birth rates automatically start to decline.
Typically, high birth rates has been associated with health impairments and low life expectancy, low living standards, low status of women, and
low levels of education.
Text: "This image presents a racialized portrait of hunger, in which world famine comes in the guise of a headless African child, a totem of wood
waiting to be fed."
Text: "Juxtaposing a malnourished family with a contraceptive scientist, this report visually equates contraceptives with the end of famine, ignoring
the complexity of unequal world resources."
The following images show how the overpopulation agenda attempts to connect exploding population, pregnancy, and fertility with economic degradation.
Often images of third world countries are presented with no context to the fact that these underdeveloped nations produce a minuscule amount of
pollution when compared to developed nations in North America and Europe.
Text: "In this mass mail letter, an alarming text describing a population thread is juxtaposed over an everyday street scene from India. Ignoring the
industrial sources of environmental degradation, this as posits that population control is the sole solution to "cataclysm"."
Text: "The logo for Enough Already, a population planning group, inversely links wilderness and population growth. Depicting a baby with a banned
circle, the image has a distressing, yet perhaps not fully intentioned visual message."
Text: "Attributing forest devastation and desertification to the nightmare of population growth, this Time article oversimplified the factors causing
Proponents of overpopulation often present alarming images meant to elicit fear...often using metaphors and images of a "ticking time bomb" and
"population explosion". This fear-mongering is usually presented in a way that ignores the larger causes of things like environmental degradation,
famine, poverty, etc. and instead makes these issues seem like solely a population problem.
Text: "Attempting to connect environmental degradation and runaway population growth, this graphic in E Magazine depicts human figures strapped to a
bomb of Planet Earth, with the ticker set to 6 billion minus one. Although ecological damage is an important issue, is it only population growth which
swallows up undeveloped land, or is it also a zoning and development issue?"
Text: "This image of a swarming globe, a bomb waiting to be defused became iconic in population control pamphlets and posters from the Hugh Moore Fund
in the 1950's and 60's. National and corporate interests in population control are personified by a predominantly male emergency team, in a joint
effort, the men and a sole female nurse hoist scissors to snip the burning which, alluding to the surgical procedure of sterilization when a woman's
fallopian tube is cut.
Text: "This poster personifies India's increasing population as a caretaker feeding infants, which symbolize housing, illiteracy, poverty and health
problems. Instead of addressing imbalanced economic development and resource distribution, increasing population is portrayed as the main culprit of
these national issues."
Scarcity is another myth pushed by the overpopulation agenda. Instead of addressing how resources are allocated, wasted and mismanaged, the propaganda
pushes this idea that poor populations are a cause of this manufactured scarcity.
Text: "This graphic disturbingly implies that unchecked fertility gives "birth" to famine. A woman's body is depicted as pregnant with a devil of
Text: "Instead of portraying the host of factors contributing to world hunger, including systemic impact of colonial economics, cash crop farming, and
climate-related problems, this Hugh Moore Fund brochure presents an image of reversal. Hunger is depicted as a shrunken figure who "stalks" the
Text: "While this cartoon addresses the paradox of drafting resolutions instead of distributing food, famine is again caricatured as an emaciated
person of color, being fed by a privileged white hand."
Population control advocates push a campaign of sterilization that is reminiscent of past eugenics campaigns, where certain "undesirables" are coerced
into often unsafe, risky surgical procedures.
Text: "This Draper Report ultimately has a dehumanizing effect in its effort to showcase a photograph of a young woman undergoing a tubal ligation
operation with text justifying large-scale sterilization programs, this report established its own dangerous and coercive logic. The text mirrors this
dehumanization even comparing the health of a post operative patient to that of a "race-horse". The right for reproductive choice has suddenly been
narrowed into a sole option-sterilization."
Photo Caption: "In Karachi Pakistan, a doctor gives medicine and the equivalent of $1.59 to women who have been sterilized."
Text: "Sterilization clinics funded by international aid organizations have also relied on cash and/or food incentives for women to become sterilized.
These incentive programs, geared towards women in struggling families and often without access to adequate contraceptive choices, create a coercive
environment where people are forced to weigh reproductive rights against basic survival needs."
Here, the plight of "unwanted children" is manipulated to push agendas like capping family sizes and sterilization. Aging populations are manipulated
by the media as "a problem demographic" that will take resources away from the younger generation unless a population control agenda is followed.
Menacing crowds of men and armed "gangs" of children are shown and manipulated as "evidence" of social upheaval due to overpopulation. They are all
variations of carefully orchestrated fear tactics that either misrepresent the situation entirely, or only present a small fraction of the issue.
Text: "Population control agendas often emphasize the plight of unwanted children, failing to acknowledge the ways population control policies in
countries like India and China have exacerbated conditions that create unwanted children. Due to one or two child limits people have abandoned or
selectively aborted girls. Some advocating for sex selection say that it helps lower family size and stem population growth. They disregard its
negative impact on population child sex ratios. Sex selection has led to severe gender imbalances in both China and India. The theme of this 1982
Draper Fund Report, "Children: The Right to be Wanted " appears to advocate for children when in fact it promotes reducing birth rates as a tool of
population control. In China, orphanages have filled with abandoned girls since the 1980s as a direct result of the one-child policy. This framing of
'wanted' and 'unwanted' births reinforces embedded eugenic and gender categories and hierarchies regarding ideal births. "
Text: "In this scene of men crowding on a bus in India, what could be seen as a need for better transport and urban planning is instead construed as
an example of overpopulation. Population media often negatively depicts gender and high- density Third World cities, ignoring the fact that many
Western cities also have high population density and transportation pressures. Moreover, these images ignore the potential of the high density city,
with its economies of scale, to be more ecologically viable than suburban sprawl."
We need to carefully pay attention to data presented by alarmists, as anything can be manipulated in order to prove a point.
Text: "As Paul Harrison and Fred Pearce note in their Population Atlas, "How current population growth is perceived depends very much on the data you
look at." While Graph No.1 shows total world population growth rising over time, Graph No. 2 shows how population growth rates are now on the
decline. It is important to view these two graphs together to gain a fuller picture of population dynamics. Demographers now agree that the so-called
"Population Explosion" is over. The UN now projects that population will grow to approximately 9 billion people in 2050 and then begin to level
Overpopulation advocates take advantage of and manipulate people's natural apprehension of things that are different, often presenting race and
immigration and menacing threats whose "tides of rampant baby making & migration" need to be offset through a population control agenda and
Text: "Dominant political groups often deploy population fears to foment ethnic hatred and legitimize severe tactics of segregation. In Israeli
politics, high Palestinian birth rates are often discussed with fear, as if the Palestinan birth rate itself is a direct menace to national security.
By recently building physical walls to divide Israel from the West Bank, the Israeli government purports to secure the country against Palestinian
terrorists. Literally demonstrating a demographics of fear, this barrier typecasts an entire ethnic population as a threat. "
Text: "This 2003 Report by Population Action International continues the trend of blaming population pressures for political instability. Note the
armed young African man on the front cover with an undifferentiated crowd behind him. Instead of unpacking the multiple social, economic, and
political factors that have led to conflict in a particular region, the report simplifies and decontextualizes visual information to fit a population
As already stated, population agenda-ists use fear and alarm with respect to immigration in order to promote a population control agenda.
Text: "Carrying Capacity Network (CCN), an anti-immigration group that masquerades as environmentalist, calls for a moratorium on immigration. As this
image shows, it misleadingly blames immigrants for deforestation, pollution, and urban sprawl, ignoring the role of weak environmental regulations,
poor urban planning and industrial corporate practices in degrading the environment. CCN and its twin organization, Population-Environment Balance,
are directly linked to white nativist and supremacist groups. Virginia Abernethy, chair of the CCN board, is an active member of the white
segregationist group, the Council of Conservative Citizens. Abernethy also opposes the concept of "racial mixing" in American society.
Although some old ideas like sterilization may be falling out of vogue with the population control crowd, sometimes old ideas are repackaged in new
ways, and other ideas, sometimes new, are promoted and manipulated in order to push an agenda...so we must keep an eye out for this propaganda and
question anything that talks about themes of population reduction/control as a solution to our social and economic problems.
Text: "Population control has not gone away. Although the language has changed, population control is still a prevalent ideology and social policy
that needs to be actively monitored. We need to ensure that resources directed towards women's empowerment and reproductive health are really
providing the services women want and are not part of a narrow, target-driven population agenda.
While the 1994 UN population conference in Cairo criticized individual targets in family planning programs, it left in place demographic targets at
the national level. Countries such as India and China still have highly coercive family planning programs, and in the US women receiving welfare in a
number of states are subject to 'family caps', and an atmosphere of disapproval when they want to have a child. We need to come up with new images
and visions for a world where women have real power over their lives and reproductive decisions. Importantly, women's rights should be undivided
rights, not split into separate campaigns. Population control is a fear-based initiative. Critically analyzing and understanding these fear-based
images can help us remove the negative lens through which certain peoples are viewed as a burden or threat rather than as integral members of a global
Again, these are only a few of the many many examples of population control propaganda that are talked about in the presentation. So if you have the
type I highly recommend checking it out. I hadn't thought of many of the issues presented in these slides...and while you might not agree with
everything in the presentation, it certainly got me to rethink some of the things I had heard over the years with regard to over population and
edit on 18-4-2011 by meeneecat because: add