Scientists Call for Mass Brainwashing Campaign to Reduce the Population

Wait, women’s liberation is all about lowering the fertility rates?

(Insert lame Ohio astronaut meme.)

The Guardian:

Record heat, record emissions, record fossil fuel consumption. One month out from Cop28, the world is further than ever from reaching its collective climate goals. At the root of all these problems, according to recent research, is the human “behavioural crisis”, a term coined by an interdisciplinary team of scientists.

Oh, fuck you.

Shut up.

Just shut up.

Leave people alone.

“We’ve socially engineered ourselves the way we geoengineered the planet,” says Joseph Merz, lead author of a new paper which proposes that climate breakdown is a symptom of ecological overshoot, which in turn is caused by the deliberate exploitation of human behaviour.

“We need to become mindful of the way we’re being manipulated,” says Merz, who is co-founder of the Merz Institute, an organisation that researches the systemic causes of the climate crisis and how to tackle them.

Merz and colleagues believe that most climate “solutions” proposed so far only tackle symptoms rather than the root cause of the crisis. This, they say, leads to increasing levels of the three “levers” of overshoot: consumption, waste and population.

They claim that unless demand for resources is reduced, many other innovations are just a sticking plaster. “We can deal with climate change and worsen overshoot,” says Merz. “The material footprint of renewable energy is dangerously underdiscussed. These energy farms have to be rebuilt every few decades – they’re not going to solve the bigger problem unless we tackle demand.”

“Overshoot” refers to how many Earths human society is using up to sustain – or grow – itself. Humanity would currently need 1.7 Earths to maintain consumption of resources at a level the planet’s biocapacity can regenerate.

“People are the victims – we have been exploited to the point we are in crisis. These tools are being used to drive us to extinction,” says the evolutionary behavioural ecologist and study co-author Phoebe Barnard. “Why not use them to build a genuinely sustainable world?”

Just one-quarter of the world population is responsible for nearly three-quarters of emissions. The authors suggest the best strategy to counter overshoot would be to use the tools of the marketing, media and entertainment industries in a campaign to redefine our material-intensive socially accepted norms.

The Merz Institute runs an overshoot behaviour lab where they work on interventions to address overshoot. One of these identifies “behavioural influencers” such as screenwriters, web developers and algorithm engineers, all of whom are promoting certain social norms and could be working to rewire society relatively quickly and harmlessly by promoting a new set of behaviours.




I know.

The paper discusses the enormous success of the work of the Population Media Center, an initiative that creates mainstream entertainment to drive behaviour change on population growth and even gender violence. Fertility rates have declined in the countries in which the centre’s telenovelas and radionovelas have aired.

Population growth is a difficult topic to broach given the not-too-distant history of eugenics and ethnic cleansing practised in many nations around the world. However, Merz and colleagues insist it is important to confront the issue as population growth has cancelled out most climate gains from renewables and efficiency over the past three decades.

It’s a question of women’s liberation, frankly,” says Barnard. “Higher levels of education lead to lower fertility rates. Who could possibly claim to be against educating girls – and if they are, why?

But… what about the need for immigrants because of the population crisis…?

Wew lads.