"Can you get your head around a world with ten billion people in it?" asks NPR's Jane Clayson. "Can we avoid a global catastrophe?"
As any sensible NPR listener will know, these are the faux questions of eco-alarmists everywhere. They are posed not merely to jolt anxious citizens or boost ratings but to frame the human future in apocalyptic terms. To state the obvious, once we accept the premise that a "global catastrophe" is imminent, the only outstanding question is whether it can be averted. But what if there is no global catastrophe? What happens then?
Evidently the following cannot be repeated often enough. We've been down the road of population-bomb hysteria before—in the 1960s, when a handful of brash but influential neo-Malthusians hijacked public discourse and inspired horrendous forced-sterilization programs (click the video link above). In the half-century since then, thankfully, the doomsayers have been proved entirely wrong. Owing mainly to Norman Borlaug's Green Revolution, the global population has doubled, and the lives of even the world's poorest citizens have improved dramatically. What's more, we have made this progress in a milieu in which thoughtful people everywhere reject the eugenic premises of top-down "population control" and understand that our demographic future will be determined mainly by the life choices of families. It matters little whether the global population peaks out at 8 billion or 11 billion before eventually leveling off. This is the hand we've been dealt.
The mission of National Public Radio, according to its website, is "to create a more informed public—one challenged and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciation of events, ideas and cultures." That NPR should be among the legacy media outlets cashing in on overpopulation hysteria in 2018 is a troubling but hardly unique sign of the times.