Green Party’s new population policy

The stresses we put on the planet are a product of individual demands on resources multiplied by the number of us there are.  Ecologists are well aware of this and used to discuss it when I was a child.  One of the reasons these concerns were dropped politically is because population control can be used as an excuse for a lot of nasty policy — racist immigration reforms, draconian meddling in personal fertility and tax structures that punish children who are in no way to blame for being alive.

Still, plenty of sensible voices lament silencing of the issue, which is serious.  And many of these have been unhappy about the Green Party’s refusal to address this issue.  I’ve heard this concern expressed at the door at least four times while canvassing – and I’ve been proud to say that at the last Green Party of Canada AGM, we adopted a sensible population policy that recognizes the problem, yet proposes to address it in ways that are non-intrusive and which enable rather than punish the most disadvantaged people on the planet.

The reality is that draconian population control methods are completely unnecessary.  The most effective ways to decrease fertility in a population is to ensure reliable access to basic essentials and to health care, to educate and enfranchise the women and to offer them birth control if they want it.  So here’s the new Green Party policy on population, which I welcome with pride:

  • Ensure that Canadian Overseas development assistance is focused on improving the education, and the social and economic power and status of women and girls,
  • Integrate goals for reduced fertility into the overall efforts to eliminate poverty.
  • Address the problem of global overpopulation through a foreign policy committed to environmentally sustainable local economies, improving education and health care, and fostering political, and economic rights of women as equal participants in society.
  • Support educational efforts that disseminate knowledge of birth control methods and  efforts that increase the availability of birth control equipment and supplies,
  • Propose that the human population of the world and of Canada be allowed to decline by means of lowered birth rates until a population level not exceeding the earth’s human carrying capacity with available resources and technology, is reached.
  • Encourage the development and spread, in countries around the world, of institutions and services providing for support in old age so that ones security is not dependent on the number of one’s children;
  • Recognize that the high level of per capita resource consumption in developed countries makes the impact of their populations much more serious.
  • Realize that failure to stabilize and reduce human population within a reasonable time will result in the inevitable reduction of human population by means of high death rates as the earth’s human carrying capacity is not only exceeded but reduced by the consumption of resources and the destruction of biological capital, resulting in poverty, starvation, disease, great human suffering and possibly social disruption.

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