Where the 2012 State of the World Report and The Baby Matrix Meet

Laura Carroll, LiveTrue Books

Every year, Worldwatch Institute, a non-profit research and outreach organization working to “to accelerate the transition to a sustainable world that meets human needs” puts out a State of the World report. This year’s report is titled Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity. The spot on chapter on population stabilization by President Robert Engelman titled “Nine Population Strategies to Stop Short of 9 Billion” relates to key pronatalist assumptions I discuss in The Baby Matrix, and why they need to change.

Engelman argues that although “most analysts assume that the world’s population will rise from today’s 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050, it is quite possible that humanity will never reach this population size”and could “put the human population on an environmentally sustainable path” if the world does these 9 things:

1. “Provide universal access to safe and effective contraceptive options but for both sexes.”

2. “Guarantee education through secondary school for all, especially girls.” According to Engelman, “In every culture surveyed to date, women who have completed at least some secondary school have fewer children on average.”

3. “Eradicate gender bias from law, economic opportunity, health, and culture. Women who can own, inherit, and manage property; divorce; obtain credit; and participate in civic and political affairs on equal terms with men are more likely to postpone childbearing and to have fewer children compared to women who are deprived of these rights.”

4. “Offer age-appropriate sexuality education for all students. Data from the United States indicate that exposure to comprehensive programs that detail puberty, intercourse, options of abstinence and birth control, and respecting the sexual rights and decisions of individuals, can help prevent unwanted pregnancies and hence reduce birth rates.”

5. “End all policies that reward parents financially based on the number of children they have. Governments can preserve and even increase tax and other financial benefits aimed at helping parents by linking these not to the number of children they have, but to parenthood status itself.”

6. “Integrate lessons on population, environment, and development into school curricula at multiple levels. Refraining from advocacy or propaganda, schools should educate students to make well-informed choices about the impacts of their behavior, including childbearing, on the environment.”

7. “Put prices on environmental costs and impacts. In quantifying the cost of an additional family member by calculating taxes and increased food costs, couples may decide that the cost of having an additional child is too high, compared to the benefits of a smaller family that might receive government rebates and have a lower cost of living.”

8. “Adjust to an aging population instead of boosting childbearing through government incentives and programs. Population aging must be met with the needed societal adjustments, such as increased labor participation, rather than by offering incentives to women to have more children.”

9. “Convince leaders to commit to stabilizing population growth through the exercise of human rights and human development. By educating themselves on rights-based population policies, policymakers can ethically and effectively address population-related challenges by empowering women to make their reproductive choices.”

To make these strategies work we need to challenge some major assumptions of a pronatal society. And this is exactly what The Baby Matrix does. It takes a hard look at pronatalist Right to Reproduce, Offspring and Elderhood Assumptions, and why they need to be challenged.

To learn more about these strategies, and why we need to transition to a post-pronatalist society as part of making them truly work, check out The Baby Matrix and Worldwatch Institute’s report!

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