While the Bible reminds us that, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him,” (Psalm 127:3 NLT) the promotion of small families has become increasingly popular in culture. The latest example comes in the form of a new ad campaign produced by a group called World Population Balance operating under the slogan, “One Planet, One Child.”
The controversial ads which popped up in Vancouver, Canada a few weeks ago tout slogans like: “The most loving gift you can give your first child is to not have another” and “Traffic congestion starts at conception.”
Though the group dismisses claims that they’re trying to do anything other than encourage small families, their director, Dave Gardner has been praising nations with one-child policies. Over the years he has also celebrated the fact that global fertility rates have dropped.
Overpopulation theorists like Gardner have been around for decades. Their line of thinking creates cultural values that sit in direct opposition to life. When too many people are the “problem,” it doesn’t take long before certain lives no longer have value. One-child policies inevitably lead to an increase in abortions—including forced abortions or abortions caused by a child of the “wrong” gender.
Another place the danger of one-child policies can be exhibited is in a country like China that promoted and enforced one-child policies for decades. Now, as their population ages and as the natural balance in numbers of men and women have been compromised, the nation faces a population crisis. There aren’t enough women to marry, and fertility rates are low. In fact, China’s shortage of women has led to increased discrimination and human trafficking.
This is why China changed its policy 2015 and now allows up to two children per family.
Critics of the Vancouver campaign have successfully prompted the removal of several of these ads. Specifically, an ad featuring a black baby was removed after the group was accused of racism. With the black population of Vancouver hovering around 1%, it does seem odd that a black child would be on the poster for population control.
Gardner has apologized for the way the ad was “misconstrued,” adding that it’s not his intention to, “tell anyone how many children to have.” Strangely though, that seems to be the theme of the entire campaign. Fewer children will help “save” our planet.
The Bible seems to take a completely different tone. Nowhere in God’s word are we instructed to “protect” creation at the expense of human life. In fact, it seems God himself is committed to the task of guarding over all of this earth that he has made. God’s word tells us not a sparrow falls without him knowing it (Matthew 10:29). It seems clear that God is firmly in control of our planet, and our environment!
Let’s not forget that every single advancement in environmental protections has been created by a human being. This is the reality that those fearing a “population bomb” overlook. The human species constantly innovates and transforms its understanding of science and the universe. We now feed more people off one acre of farmland than any other time in human history. No one knows the advancements that are just waiting around the corner for a son or daughter born today to discover.
Fears of overpopulation have existed for centuries (ever hear of Malthus?), yet the world remains. The most likely way the apocalyptic vision of Gardner and those like him becomes reality is if we fail to appreciate and guard the resource that is human life itself. Our children are truly the key to our future.
Yes, we can be good stewards of the earth we’ve been given. But not at the expense of our children.