World Population Day: Prospective Parents Advised to “Think Small”

New Car Window Stickers Express Pride at Planning a Small Family
Dave Gardner with his Think Small Family Sticker
Dave Gardner with his Think Small Family Sticker
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - July 7, 2014 - PRLog -- Thinking small when planning a family is being touted on World Population Day as the most loving, responsible decision young people can make. Filmmaker and sustainability advocate Dave Gardner got tired of seeing “big stick-figure family stickers on the rear windows of SUVs, burning gas and heating up the climate as proud soccer moms transport kids to multiple schools, games and piano lessons.” Gardner, who directed the documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth, decided enough was enough. He designed stick-figure family stickers promoting the idea that conceiving fewer children is “cool.”

He also created a YouTube video to explain and promote the idea. The video begins with an amusing look at statements people make on their vehicles, and then moves on to reasons parents can be proud to “think small” when planning a family. Behind the video and stickers is a mounting body of research verifying the world is overpopulated.

According to Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich, human impact on Earth’s life-supporting ecosystems is the product of consumption, population and technology. “Population is the great multiplier,” Australian paleontologist Tim Flannery has confirmed. Gardner adds, “Population growth increases the severity of every crisis we face. When young couples are armed with accurate information about overpopulation, they will voluntarily make a loving decision to limit the number of children they conceive to zero, one, or two at most.”

Why would they do that? “Because they want their children to have a shot at living good lives,” Gardner explains. Large families means overpopulation continues. Smaller families will bring the world more swiftly back to what scientists believe would be a sustainable population level. There is widespread agreement it’s less than half the current world population of 7.2 billion. “That’s where we need to be if we want our kids to have their needs met,” Gardner explains.

The GrowthBusters team designed stickers for families with zero, one or two children, because those are all below replacement fertility rate. An annual assessment by scientists at the Global Footprint Network indicates current population/consumption/technology levels are already liquidating the planet of needed resources and reducing its carrying capacity. “We need to reduce our population,” concludes Gardner.

With a UN mid-range scenario estimating world population of 10.9 billion in 2100, getting the level down to 3 billion might seem a tall order. The GrowthBusters team is optimistic, however. “Thailand has slashed its fertility rate from 7 to only 1.5 children per couple in a matter of decades,” remarks Dave Paxson, GrowthBusters advisor and president of World Population Balance. “If everyone follows that lead, by 2100 world population will be less than six billion, and below three billion within a few more decades. We can solve overpopulation – humanely."

A “Stopped at Two” sticker adorns the Prius Gardner drives. He had a vasectomy after his second child was born, specifically because he felt a responsibility to leave a healthy world for future generations. He recently remarried, to a woman who has four children. “I just had to have that sticker on the car to get the message out that it’s hip to have a small family,” notes Gardner. “But my wife sometimes drives that car, so I have to tape cardboard over the sticker when she drives it. I don’t blame her for not knowing 25 years ago that the world was overpopulated,” he explains.

Going forward, however, Gardner’s mission is to make sure all prospective parents know the true ramifications of their family-size decisions. “With the Think Small Family Stickers, we want people to be as proud of their sustainable family-size decisions as they are of their honor student,” he says.

GrowthBusters director Dave Gardner is available for interviews. Photos and video files available on request.

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