The Best Idea for Population Reduction

The best idea I’ve heard for how to implement a one child policy is to mobilize grandmothers. Grandmothers are past child-bearing age and no longer feel the influence of their genes to have children. Instead they are concerned about the survival of their grandchildren.

If we could educate grandmothers on the imminent threat to their grandchildren by human overshoot then it might be possible to mobilize grandmothers as a single issue voting block in favor of a one child policy. Grandmothers are a large enough group that they could probably sway most votes if they voted as a block.

There is some history to support this idea. The prohibition of alcohol in the US, which required a majority of states to approve a change to the constitution, was spearheaded by a small group of dedicated women fed up with widespread alcoholism in society.

The threat from human overshoot far exceeds that from alcohol abuse so perhaps this idea is not so crazy after all.

I first heard this idea in an interview with Jack Alpert.

Extraenvironmentalist #11: Temporal Blindness

Our education system creates the models we use to interpret information. A faulty model can lead to significant blind spots, especially in thinking about nonlinear problems. Do the cognitive models that you’ve developed allow you to understand the severe problems threatening our global civilization? How accurately can you recognize how trends will impact your society and your life? What is a reasonable response to dealing with 7 billion homo sapiens sapiens?

In Extraenvironmentalist #11 we speak with Jack Alpert of the Stanford Knowledge Integration Lab about the role that our cognitive models play in recognizing the severity of our global predicament. Seth and I discuss Jack’s writings and his Nonlinearity and the Elephant Problem video. After talking about how to deal with scarce resources on a finite planet, we dive into how to deal with overpopulation, including Jack’s approach for building public of rapid population decline through convincing grandmothers that fewer babies need to be born.

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