Human Population Control.
Simply put, it is altering the rate of growth of the human population. This is primarily accomplished by limiting a population’s birth rate, mostly as a response to factors like overpopulation. Thus far, the two most widely used forms of population control have been contraception and abortion. While the former has been adopted in many a country, the latter is a hotly contested topic the world over.
Though famine and war have in the past reduced human population unintentionally (WWI & WWII), they are both extreme lines few people in power want to straddle. With Earth’s population almost at the 8 billion mark, many would think the conversation to control the Earth’s ballooning population started only recently… and by “recently” I mean from three decades ago.
Far from it.
From Plato (427BC – 347BC) to Ibn Khaldun (1332AD – 1406AD), this discussion has been thrown around between eras, but where some of these older discussions mostly sought to find the optimum population density for city planning, recent talks, as championed by Hollywood, seeks to wipe out chunks of the world’s population so the rest can live more comfortably.
In 1968, a US biologist and environmentalist, Paul R. Ehrlich published a book that made a strong case for the adoption of stringent population control policies. In his book, The Population Bomb, Paul Ehrlich likened the human population to cancer; treating only the symptom of human population would grant temporary reprieve from the problem. If the root cause, the cancer, is not cut off – with brutal and heartless decisiveness – the world would meet a grim fate.
His solution to the problem? Compulsory birth regulation through sterilization. Staple foods, along with the water supply would be “poisoned” with sterilant, with the antidote carefully rationed to produce the desired family and population size.
As twisted as that might sound today, back then Paul Ehrlich’s book was so convincing, the US government bought into the idea, influencing its policies in the late 60’s, leading into the 70’s.
However, after his book was published, the world’s population growth rate started a downward trend; from its 1968 peak of 2.09% to 1.09% in 2018. Make of that what you will.
On the other end of the spectrum, China’s approach to population control appeared to have been successful; at least according to the Chinese government officials. Introduced in 1980, the one-child policy was proposed to lessen the social and economic problems of China. Under this policy, couples were discouraged from having more than one child, with non-compliance often resulting in fines. Extreme cases, according to unofficial reports, cite forced abortions and sterilizations.
Though the government ended the program in 2016 (after operating for 35 years), with couples allowed two children, the Chinese government estimated around 400 million births were prevented during that period.
Now, Hollywood has for the past decade (and then some) used its “big screen” platform to push interesting but specific themes in its movies; Human Population Control. Culling out significant portions of the population in order to ensure the survival of humanity and mother Earth.
“Natural resources are dwindling, the world is headed towards collapse, humans are doing their absolute best to kill our beautiful blue planet. What can we do about that?”
Does that sound familiar?
I just gave you the plot a lot of blockbuster movies in Hollywood have recycled often this past decade. From the hugely popular Avengers: Infinity War/Endgame, to the bland and rather anaemic Inferno, Hollywood has for the greater part of the just-ended decade been pushing movies that force viewers to consider overpopulation as a threat to humanity and our way of life.
The main villains from the aforementioned movies, Thanos and Bertrand Zobrist, share similar goals; sacrificing half of the world’s population in order to fix the world and/or bring balance.
As dark and inherently twisted these villains might seem, they execute their plans with unyielding conviction, believing themselves chosen for the “righteous crusade”.
Indeed, they are evil but they have accepted sometimes you need to crack more than a few eggs to make an omelette.
I have for the longest time held the belief that the higher ups in Hollywood just want to feed their blueprint of “extermination” to an individual or group of people crazy enough to follow through; to bring balance.
Why put out so many movies in that vein if you secretly don’t wish for it to happen?
When 11,323 people died from the Ebola epidemic of 2014, the devastation left in its wake was gut-wrenching and brutal; Lives taken, families shattered. Although a lot of conspiracy theorists believed the virus was reintroduced to “thin out” the African population, I think anyone following Hollywood’s plan would have favoured a global rollout.
Thank God that didn’t happen though. At least not with Ebola.
Fast-forward a few years however and we have a situation that could easily have been a Hollywood movie, if Contagion didn’t already exist.
Enter the CORONAVIRUS.
Since its discovery in Wuhan (China) back in December 2019, the virus has invaded virtually every country on Earth and has killed tens of thousands of people. Though not as deadly as Ebola, the Coronavirus has a tighter grip on the world right now.
The near-universal lockdown imposed across countries has all but frozen the world in place. Whiles this lockdown aims to flatten the curve and restrict the spread of the disease, something some struggle obeying, the world has been utilizing this time of human “inactivity” to detoxify itself.
The skies are clearer because there are less vehicles on the roads, less smoke-spewing factories in operation and generally less people burning stuff – especially in Africa and India.
These changes have invariably made the air cleaner in cities that observe the lockdown.
Waterbodies are cleaner and clearer now because there are less boats and ships churning up dirt in the water – though I cannot say the same for the rivers in Ghana suffering the effects of illegal gold mining. The reduced activity might provide some needed respite for the creatures within from overfishing.
With almost everyone indoors, the streets are freer now. If people do leave home, they can rest easy knowing they won’t be stuck in traffic, breathing in fumes or suffering through the constant car horns.
Though these changes don’t measure up to Hollywood’s standards, they illustrate the impact we’ve had on the planet. A lot of the movies advocating for stringent population control believe there are no alternate methods.
While the Coronavirus has dealt a heavy blow, the world’s response to fighting it has proven we can take care of ourselves and Earth at the same time. We kinda found the balance.
Too bad we needed a pandemic to see it… but as we wait for the cure and the inevitable economic fallout, we can at least take the good with the bad.