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154Re: Enclosed article: "The People Problem" (i)

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  • suza2875
    Mar 6, 2013
      A lot of SPs political strategy is totally ridiculous.  You don't need Catholic clergy on your board and should remove them.  You don't need them as they are politically irrelevant even to Catholics and they are an obvious drag.  Then you need to hire a moving van and MOVE to a town that funds municipal contraception, like NYC and DC, though smaller towns are better, and then lobby CITY HALL to increase contraception as a percentage of town budget, primarily to save on school taxes.  Use The Big Sort!  http://www.thebigsort.com/maps.php  It's the ONLY way!  In a balkanized America, we can win environmental contraception funding, beyond free, in one part.  Enough funding for ALL parts!
      Please read these petitions advocating municipal environmental
      contraception funding, which is increasingly politically realistic due
      to The Big Sort in more and more towns, and helps women's rights, quality of life, and school taxes as well as being at
      least 5 times more cost-effective than any other environmental effort.
      The prochoice and contraception movements are placing too high a priority on defensive actions in the red states when we should be going on the offensive, the side of "change", in the blue states, and cities. The worst places
      will get even worse no matter what we do, but the unrealized political potential, the low hanging fruit, is in making the best places even better. This opportunity is being caused by The Big Sort.  Mayors are not answerable to rural voters, unlike governors and presidents.
      We americans love cars more than babies, Very soon we will have to choose, and we will choose cars.
      On Tue, 05 Mar 2013 15:48:18 -0600 (CST) "World Population Balance" <office@...> writes:
      Dear Sustainable Population Friends,

      Enclosed is the actual article recently published about the overpopulation crisis and David Paxson's work.

      Yours for sustainable population,

      Carolyn VandenDolder
      Secretary to the Board


      Richfield man a lonely voice against overpopulation

      By Andrew Wig on February 28, 2013 at 10:22 am
      David Paxson stands on the Penn Avenue overpass at Highway 62, on the border between Minneapolis and Richfield. (Staff photo by Andrew Wig)

      David Paxson stands on the Penn Avenue overpass at Highway 62, on the border between Minneapolis and Richfield. (Staff photo by Andrew Wig)

      Forget about global warming. Forget about saving the ice caps, or the whales, or the rainforest. It all doesn’t matter, says one Richfield-based activist who has made it his life’s work to let the world know: “Whatever your cause, it’s a lost cause.”

      David Paxson has a metronome app on his iPhone at the ready in case he needs to reinforce his point. The tool ticks at 147 beats-per-minute, roughly the net rate at which the world’s population is growing, notes Paxson, a Richfield resident of 32 years.

      Paxson has spent the last 20 focusing on one underlying message, he explained during an interview in a noisy coffee shop:

      “We’re headed toward this cliff of collapse pretty fast.”

      Unless, that is, “we stop population growth and reduce population.”

      Paxson is part of a quiet chorus around the world that warns of the dangers of overpopulation. They point to depleting aquifers and energy reserves and farmland and to a coming humanitarian crisis if something isn’t done to curb the growth.

      They address the truth that there is only so much room to live and so many rocks to mine and so much water to tap on one planet, and that there are more and more souls demanding those resources.

      David Paxson presents to a group at an Isaac Walton League chapter in Brooklyn Park, where he noted outlined a scenario of declining resources and an increasing population. (Staff photo by Andrew Wig)

      David Paxson presents to a group at an Isaac Walton League chapter in Brooklyn Park, where he outlined a scenario of declining resources and an increasing population. (Staff photo by Andrew Wig)

      Paxson may be the loudest voice in Minnesota sending that message – neither he nor supporters interviewed were aware of anyone as active with the cause.

      It was 20 years ago following “a moment of clarity” that Paxson founded World Population Balance, an organization operating with a skeleton crew out of Central Education Center in Richfield.

      Paxson, who has worked in real estate, financial planning and at the Center for Population Studies at the University of Minnesota, recalled his moment of inspiration, when a minister asked him, “What are you really concerned about in this world?”

      What concerned Paxson was not a new realization.

      He thought back to the 1970s, when he says his father first came upon warnings about overpopulation. The best-selling book, “The Population Bomb,” had come out a few years prior and his father told him that had he known better, he wouldn’t have had all three of his children. Paxson understood.

      “And I’m the youngest,” he said.



      Along with his iPhone metronome, Paxson carries several newspaper and magazine articles to make his point. Some of them are from the fall of 2011, when the United Nations declared that the Earth’s population had reached 7 billion.

      But instead of reacting with concern, the media “whitewashed” the issue, Paxson said.

      One of the clippings, which he cut from the bottom of page 1 of the Oct. 31, 2011, Star Tribune, says in its subhead, “As Earth hits a population milestone, there is concern, amazingly, about too few babies.”

      The article was about a fertility crisis in several developed countries around the globe. It outrages Paxson as much as it seems the agreeable 66-year-old can be outraged.

      “I mean, that is so downstream on this. That is so delusional,” he said.

      So is the frustration that comes with being one man against 7 billion. But Paxson does have friends on his side.

      One of his supporters is Karen Shragg, the director of Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield, an author and activist in her own right.

      The concept that  Earth’s population growth must be curbed at some point is “just a very hard thing to talk about, so people don’t know how to,” said Shragg, who gives several of her own talks about overpopulation each year.

      A recent Star Tribune article from Sunday, Feb. 24, helps her and Paxson make their point. The headline says, “Minnesota draining its water supplies.” It goes on to describe water disputes and an unsustainable rate of water use in the state.

      It is the latest in a long line of case studies Paxson can draw from as he makes his point to whomever will listen, travelling the state speaking before groups at venues such as churches, Mason lodges and college campuses.

      Paxson is not necessarily trying to reach the largest possible audience – just the right audience, people “who already get it to some degree,” he said. The next step is to get those would-be activists “overpopulation literate and articulate” so they can spread the message themselves.

      Last weekend, he led one such gathering of like-minded individuals at a Brooklyn Park chapter of the Isaac Walton League, a small retreat-like setting on the Mississippi River centered around a log-cabin-style building. There, he outlined facts and figures as graphs detailing depleting resources and a growing population glowed behind him. He wants to set up more workshops like that one across the country.

      “Right now I’m opening doors. I’m planting seeds,” he explained. “That’s where it needs to start.”


      The one-child solution

      Paxson is less aggressive with others. Some of his neighbors and acquaintances know what he does, but he says doesn’t actively advertise it.

      Although he is armed with his iPhone metronome and business cards that outline his point, “Typically I don’t bring it up at all,” Paxson said.

      He believes he must be careful not to offend, especially when  describing his solution to overpopulation: “humane population reduction.”

      That could be achieved, he says, if couples would all agree to have just one child a piece. Paxson, who said he and his wife decided not to have children, does not does not advocate that solution as an edict, but is firm on its necessity.

      He shudders when technology is instead presented as an ultimate solution.

      “Technology is not going to bail us out of this,” he declared.

      But in a world where humans have been conditioned to produce offspring for the sake of the species’ survival, the proposal from Paxson and others is a hard sell.

      For instance, he admits that his message would be political suicide for someone holding or seeking elected office. Not that they don’t get it on a conceptual level.

      “I wouldn’t be surprised if Barack Obama understands a lot of what we’re talking about today to some degree, maybe even George Bush the First,” reasoned Paxson, who describes himself as politically moderate.

      In general, Paxson believes his message goes over the heads of politicians.

      “Not only are both parties failing on this issue … but so are the people in the Independence Party, in the Green Party. I don’t think even the Green Party gets this issue,” Paxson lamented.


      The religion question

      While the political system comes with obstacles, so does religious doctrine, which marks a point of conflict even within Paxson’s own organization.

      Members of Paxson’s Board of Advisors, a collection of 22 supporters, include three leaders from the Catholic Church, which officially stands against birth control.

      Two of them are nuns, one of whom declined to speak with the Sun Current. Through a communications coordinator at her rectory, she said she would request to be removed from Paxson’s Board of Advisors, prompted by an inquiry asking how she reconciles her role in the church with her affiliation with World Population Balance.

      The other nun on the board was willing to speak at length about overpopulation, just not birth control.

      She called the issue the “white elephant in the parlor” and complained that “nobody talks about it.” She observed that farmland in her area is being depleted, which supports a statistic Paxson likes to cite, that each year the world loses the equivalent of Iowa and Wisconsin in agricultural space.

      But when the subject came to her role as a Catholic leader, she asked that her name not be connected to the birth-control question.

      Among the Catholic officials on Paxson’s board, there was one who agreed to explain how he reconciles his affiliation with Paxson and his religious beliefs. Father Tom Power, who is retired from Pax Christ Church in Eden Prairie but still active in the community, made the very argument that Paxson has already rejected.

      As potential solutions, Power pointed to conservation and sustainable farming practices and different ways in which the food supply may be distributed. He noted Paxson’s easygoing ways in explaining his support.

      “That’s why I feel comfortable,” Power said over the phone. “OK, we’ve got to talk about this. We’ve got to talk about what can be sustained and what can’t. It doesn’t mean that everybody on the board has to buy the solutions. David (Paxson) was very comfortable about that. … He has his preferred solution but he isn’t saying that’s the only solution.”

      Paxson, who is adamant that “human population reduction” is the only answer, reports getting “not so much” flak from religious fundamentalists.

      However, the role of religion is not to be downplayed, suggested Grace Dyrud, an Augsburg College professor.

      “To be honest the Catholic institution is huge in relation to this,” said Dyrud, who teaches a class on environmental psychology. “Fundamentally, any religious group wants many children.”

      Dyrud, who periodically welcomes Paxson into her classroom to speak, described a mindset that encourages prolific child-bearing as part of the problem.

      “We are seeing a movement in this country where it’s kind of chic among the better-off to have four, five, six (children),” she said.

      Dyrud can see the barriers to Paxson’s message in her own students. “He’s up against some really difficult things,” she said. “You don’t want to antagonize people immediately. … It’s pretty hard for students who are 20, 21, to decide, ‘I’m only going to have one child.’”

      The decision is about more than any one family, she added. “It’s not a personal decision anymore, how many children people have. Most people think it is,” Dyrud observed.

      Until that changes, she said, “he’s a voice in the wilderness, as they say.”

      But Paxson remains agreeable. There was one member of his board for whom it is far too late to follow the one-child guideline. He has eight kids.

      “I was delighted to have him,” Paxson said.


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      Carolyn VandenDolder, Office Manager, World Population Balance

      P.O. Box 23472, Minneapolis, MN 55423 U.S.A.

      Voice: 612-869-1640


       E-mail: office@...


      Every minute, the world gains over 140 people, net gain -- over 70 million more every year. Yet many renewable and non-renewable resources are decreasing.

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