The Optimum Population Trust, for those of you who haven't yet come across them, are an odd bunch. Bluntly, they believe the best way to save the planet is to get rid of as many human beings as possible.
On the plus side, at least they are being more honest than most greens in their open contempt for human beings. The reality of many in the environmentalist movement is at core a deep anti-humanism, an arrogant dislike for people who are somehow too stupid to see the problem with their pursuit of a happy life and a healthy family.
On the down side, the OPT's aims are actually pretty worrying - verging on sinister, even. Buried in their website is a detailed spreadsheet [Excel link] laying out their ideal "sustainable" populations for each country. And those "ideal" populations are a little worrying, if you try to imagine the reality of them.
For example, the UK should shrink to 29 million people, from the 60 million we currently have. We are of course a small island, but ask yourself which half of your friends you would rather did not exist?
And we get things comparatively easy in the OPT's dystopian vision of the future.
Only one in six of the current Algerian population should really be allowed. Bosnians are unlikely to be overjoyed that 3 million of their 4 million people are, in the OPT's eyes, an inconvenience. Rwanda should apparently go from 7 million people to only 2 million.
What the OPT seem to forget is that these aren't just statistics. They aren't just "emitters", as their website terms them. They are real human beings, who live, love and laugh. It is peculiar that Sir David Attenborough, the Patron of the Trust, can show so much compassion for animals but is apparently happy to back such a dispassionate dismissal of the value of our fellow humans.
Yesterday, the OPT released the results of a Yougov opinion poll [Excel link] which they trumpeted as showing public support for their aims. "Public want smaller UK population", announces their website. However, when you actually read the tables for the polling results, it turns out that the public are bothered about far more real world, centre right issues than greenie pipe dreams.
It turns out, people are actually perfectly happy for us to be allowed to continue breeding - directly contrary to the OPT's aims.
One major question was, "Do you think people should take the impact on the environment into account when deciding how many children to have?"
The answer is pretty clear. A miniscule 15% say people either should not have any children or should only have one, while 24% either think "the number of children people have won't affect the environment" or that people shouldn't worry about it. Unsurprisingly, the biggest support - 34% - is for people choosing to have two children, which is just about what people actually do have in real life. Far from endorsing the OPT's views, people are voting for no change, and life as usual.
Most interesting is the question which investigates public support for various policies on population. Most left those surveyed pretty unmoved, with only three gaining majority support:
- Reduce immigration: 69%
- Let people work after the retirement age: 63%
- Better family planning support to reduce unwanted pregnancies: 62%
So, it turns out that far from being radical greens who want to interfere in people's family life, the public are just bothered about high levels of immigration and unplanned pregnancies, whilst wanting to allow pensioners to work. More back to basics than ban the babies.