Our Intentions Were Misconstrued; We Could Have Done Better

One Planet One Child campaign seeks a beautiful future for ALL children

These ads are about ensuring a beautiful future for all children. We endeavored to be as inclusive as possible in this ad campaign, so we were running six variations of this ad, depicting children or families of different nationality or skin color.

We want to include everyone in the conversation. The infant in the particular ad spotlighted by the TV report was Black. That, combined with the text encouraging the viewer to consider choosing a one-child family, allowed some to form the wrong impression that the campaign is “targeting” people of color to have fewer children, ignoring the rest of the population.

Also, it’s not our intention to tell anyone how many children to have; that is a personal choice. We want to offer information so that when choosing your family size you are informed and empowered to make the best decision for you and the planet.

It was a mistake that we didn’t anticipate the possibility someone might see only the one ad, or that someone might share just that ad on social media. You can imagine the firestorm of negative reactions to seeing only that ad coupled with a misinterpretation of its message and intent. The text itself was also too easy to misinterpret as “telling me how many kids I should have.”

We have to break through the barrier of silence, so people have access to science-based information about the existence of this crisis and its ethical, humanitarian and voluntary solution.

We want to bring this subject into the daylight so we can educate people that:

  • overpopulation and its solution do not belong exclusively to the people of any one region, nation, ethnicity or religion
  • there is no need to find someone to blame for this crisis and we should all avoid trying to affix blame or trying to shame anyone
  • there is no need for government to dictate or legislate family size

This is an effort born out of love for all children. This campaign is standing up for the rights of all children.

See our One Planet, One Child Declaration of Intent for a thorough explanation of this. This was all outlined on the homepage of our campaign website (www.oneplanetonechild.org). But clearly many people just reacted to the one ad, didn’t investigate or trust our description of the campaign, and may not be aware of the bleak future our children face if we don’t inform ourselves and act carefully.

Racism is born of ignorance and fear. Our One Planet, One Child campaign seeks to combat ignorance with information, and overcome fear with love.

One reason the topic of overpopulation has been avoided for too long is that responsible advocacy for sustainable population has often been met with unfounded accusations of racism. We believe that results from fear that overpopulation solutions will follow some mistaken efforts undertaken in the past. This has unfortunately created an atmosphere in which people jump to the conclusion that any advocacy for, or discussion of, sustainable population is racist. That has to end. Having an open public conversation about this issue will allow us to ensure those types of solutions are not ever tried again. It will allow us to explore and pursue solutions that are humanitarian, ethical and voluntary.

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Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner co-hosts the GrowthBusters podcast about coming to terms with limits to growth. He directed the 2011 documentary, GrowthBusters: Hooked on Growth.