My TEDx Talk

I recently had the honor of speaking at TEDxTopanga about a topic that is very important to me, human overpopulation.

I spoke on the importance of smaller family size because it is a taboo subject all around the world and I don’t like shying away from important topics! It is vital that we discuss the issue of if we are going to solve the very serious dilemma we are in. Let’s stop the denial!

If enough people watch the video, it will appear on TED.com, a site that opens up this discussion to millions of people. As of now, amongst the thousands of talks on TED.com, not one focuses on human overpopulation.

Please help me start a conversation about stabilizing world population by playing the video below. And please share the link on your facebook and twitter pages. Every bit helps!

Thank you for your support! Enjoy the video and I look forward to your feedback!

11 Responses to My TEDx Talk

  1. Re your Ted Talk – Bravo to you. You will be interested in my latest book, which gets at the heart of why we tuck the population conversation away and much more. Check out The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction Will Create a Better World. http://www.amazon.com/Baby-Matrix-Outmoded-Parenthood-Reproduction/dp/0615642993/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1357664925&sr=1-1&keywords=the+baby+matrix
    ~Best regards, Laura Carroll

  2. Robert Fireovid says:

    Dear Ms. Paul,

    Thank you very much for encouraging the public to consider the problems associated with human population growth and for publicly sharing your personal decision to limit your offspring.

    We in Vermont are starting an annual picnic event at a State Park to celebrate Vermonters who choose to limit their offspring. It will be on Saturday, June 22. Maybe California would like to celebrate with us?

  3. Rita Miller says:

    About a year ago all the major news outlets noisily celebrated the human population reaching seven billion. The liberal and progressive media continue to hammer out stories about climate change without a single report on how human overpopulation helped us get here. Our elected politicians gear up for immigration reform without considering that mass immigration has brought this country’s population to an unsustainable level. And perhaps worst of all, the environmental groups continue to suppress any reasonable discussion about the link between U.S. population growth and the environment. I am grateful for your seemingly lone voice that rises gently but powerfully from a dense forest of denial, unrealistic optimism, capitalist’s cries for eternal growth, and dangerously misguided religious activists.

    Like you, I also declined to have children because when I came of age there were already far too many people in the world. I first learned about your work on Barry Lynn’s Culture Shock radio show. It was an excellent discussion. Thank you for your important contribution!

  4. Doris N Almstroem says:

    Thank you very much for your excellent TED talk.

    Please don’t mind the comments on that talk when they are negative, as I did see some that deliberately are misunderstanding your message. Rather take to your heart that you yourself stated the case clearly and compassionately. It is so vital that we should aim for, on the average, small families with the help of the free choice by every woman who wants to plan her family.

    In http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/apr/14/smart-family-planning-reduces-poverty Lester R Brown writes:

    “If the goal is to eradicate poverty, hunger, and illiteracy, then we have little choice but to strive for the lower projection [by UN].

    Slowing world population growth means ensuring that all women who want to plan their families have access to family planning information and services. Unfortunately, this is currently not the case for 215 million women, 59% of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

    These women and their families represent roughly 1 billion of the earth’s poorest people, for whom unintended pregnancies and unwanted births are an enormous burden.”

    I think your reasoning is wise and warmhearted and so I hope that you in the years to come will feel more and more confident and supported in talking about this huge issue precisely from your chosen point of view: humanism, women’s freedom of choice, human rights (including girls’ right to education and health) and why we who live in the affluent part of the world should think about our own impact on the future of this only earth that now is home to stunning 7 billion people.

    I can recommend every one who wants to educate her/him/self on this and related issues to study Lester R Brown’s recent book “Full Planet, Empty Plates”, which gives the whole complicated context and the latest trends, also most compassionately. http://www.earth-policy.org/books/fpep

    In addition I’ll be happy take a look at the book-tip above by Laura Carroll and to follow your next steps, Alexandra, in caring for the planet and its inhabitants, all of whom should have food, water, education, freedom, rights, and not just some of us in the developed world. Advocacy and voluntary simplicity, where it is possible, should pave the way for understanding that smaller families are part of the solution world wide.

    Keep going strong! Warm regards,
    Doris N A
    (writing from Sweden)

  5. Kelly Bailey says:

    i do like Alexandra Paul video & the way she talk to

  6. Dave says:

    Hi All

    The below post and response from Alexandra comes from the April 2010 Ask Alexandra (3rd Question on page) regarding this very topic. Thought it might be good to re-post my Questions and her response below so it can be entered into the discussion.

    Dave

    ———————–

    Original Question to Ask Alexandra post from April 2010 (3rd Question)

    ———————–

    Dear Alexandra

    Recently I was reading an article on you in the Huffington Post titled Married, Without Children. Now first I agree over population is a major issue facing this planet in more ways then one.

    In the article you stated “I now believed that only one child per couple could forestall the chaos of 12 billion people living on earth.” I was wondering how you would suggest to accomplish this? Education obviously is one avenue. Why I am asking is because I am a Supporter of Tibet and do review a lot of videos on China and Tibet and came across this short video below. Well not to short 40 minutes but after reviewing this I wonder on a 1 child policy. Here in the video China obviously as we all know has a 1 child policy and this is going to lead to a big issue in a few years. As you mentioned blood line is important to a lot of people especially to Chinese and in some areas to not have a male heir is something they look down upon so you get situations like in the video below where baby girls are either 1 aborted or 2 given up for adoption. Problem is as you see from the video below so many baby girls are not adopted leading to issues like the below video is showing where some orphanages over loaded with baby girls take drastic measures of leaving the baby girls to die. Now I realize China and the US are far different but……

    Also what about the off balance China will face in a few years due to too many males and not enough females so you have grown men then unable to find a wife which could lead to other issues like rape or trafficking in females, prostitution. Also in some areas heir is so important for community standing that you have people willing to kidnap young boys and pass them off as their own child to look better to their neighbors. The second video below will detail this last bit. I know you are busy but urge you to watch so you see what I am referring to.

    So I was wondering what your thoughts are based on this view of this issue which as I said I do agree is very important. Just a matter I guess of how to go about it properly to avoid these sorts of issues.

    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=C6D6D3A0AA29B7B6

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3SwsoKLSPqk

    Thank You and Keep up all your great work!

    Dave

    • alexandra says:

      Original Response from Alexandra to Ask Alexandra post from April 2010 (3rd reply)

      ———————–

      Dear Dave,

      You are SO right – if we are going to stabilize human population numbers, we have to do it the right way or there will be backlashes like what has happened in China, with people murdering their first born if it is female. And thus creating an imbalance of the sexes, and lots of dead little girls:
      http://geography.about.com/od/populationgeography/a/onechild.htm
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One-child_policy

      I have always believed that it is vital to stabilize human population growth by encouraging families to have fewer children, not forcing them. Encouragement means, among other things, tax incentives for having one or two children only, instead of tax breaks for each child born. It means educating people on the benefits of smaller families: more time and love for each child, a child that has more confidence and tests better, less financial and emotional stress on parents. It means debunking the myths that “big families are happy families” and “only children are lonely children”. It means providing birth control to everyone who wants it. And making sure the birth control method is appropriate to each person’s situation and culture. For example, you wouldnt want to give a woman who cannot count birth control pills – Norplant might be a more effective method. Handing out condoms in a society where the men feel having lots of children is a measure of their manliness is useless – better to have family planning the responsibility of the women in those households. Also, in very poor places where condoms might be re-used to save money, a one-use device is unwise and Norplant or sterilization might be better options. Education about vasectomies, which are much cheaper and less complicated than hysterectomies, is vital so men understand that the procedure wont make them impotent, a common fear.

      Another way to lower birth rates is to educate women, and raise their position in society. An educated woman is a woman who has other dreams besides bearing kids, and who is more likely to stand up to her husband when he insists on a bigger family (men generally want more kids than women, because they dont rear them in most countries). She is a woman who will start a family at a later age, and space her kids with more years between each than an uneducated woman.

      Raising a female’s status is very important. In many societies (like China), a girl baby is simply a drain on the family: she is married off when she is a teenager and becomes part of her husband’s family. Not only do her parents have to scrimp and save to pay a dowry to the husband’s family for him to marry her, but the daughter is no longer a source of financial support for her parents in old age. Thus the problems in China when a couple who are only allowed 1 child, have a girl. She is considered a burden – they are desperate for a boy to help in the fields, financially support them when they get old, and to stay within that family forever.

      Thus, it is also important that governments ensure support for the elderly, as one of the reasons that couples will have many kids is that they want boys first and foremost, to help them financially (see paragraph above).

      Adequate medical care is another way to lower the human population. This may seem counterintuitive, but before the advent of modern medicine the reason couples would have lots of kids is because a large percentage of babies died before the age of 5. When medicine improved, human habits did not evolve as quickly. This is one of the explanation for the huge spike in population in the 1800s.

      One argument for keeping birth rates up is that a dwindling working demographic cannot support a top-heavy retired population financially, and our economy would crash. There would undoubtedly be hardship for a generation when the transition to markedly smaller families (I recommend one child per couple) begins, but pretty quickly things would even out (the young would balance out the old) .

      What wont quickly balance out is when the world population reaches 9 billion (as we are on track to do before 2050 http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2007/pop952.doc.htm) and we dont have enough fresh water for everyone, not enough fertile ground to grow crops, not enough space to ensure quality of life. Many believe the next world war will be over water. So no matter the economic problems one child families may incur for a while, it is nothing compared to the chaos and suffering that will be brought on by 10 billion humans trying to live on this planet at the same time.

      How much will all this cost? Less than the wars the United States is paying for in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      My goal is to de-stigmatize this fear of population stabilization. When I was born, the world population was 3 billion. In 46 years, it has more than doubled. There is no bigger issue facing the planet today.

      http://www.npg.org/
      http://www.populationmedia.org/
      http://www.populationconnection.org/site/PageServer

      Thank you for bringing it up by writing a letter to my website. I hope you keep the conversation going.

      Alexandra

  7. Gary says:

    Alexandra.
    For way too many years now I have been wondering why it is that seemingly nobody could see what was inevitably going to happen if the problem of population growth was not addressed. I have spent over twenty years researching and pouring over data on the subject just to see if my conclusions were wrong.
    It is refreshing to see you talking about this, and I absolutely agree with every single point you make.
    I support only two organisations which are Population Matters and CASSE. There is no point in supporting anything other than these two subjects for if we don’t get these right….. well you could compare it to re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.
    Keep up the great work.

  8. Piyush says:

    Keep up the good work. It is quite surprising that despite so many problems the world is facing, many of which have roots in overpopulation, an insignificant fraction of the population talks about this problem. The cultural barriers need to be broken and the economic system need to be changed from the grow or die system to a steady state economic system (www.steadystate.org).

  9. Cherry Wildsmith says:

    An fascinating dialogue is worth comment. I believe that it’s best to write more on this topic, it may not be a taboo topic however usually individuals are not sufficient to speak on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  10. Kelly Bailey says:

    I do thank Alexandra Paul has a good thing going on & do like her to & her family to I do have her picture on my computer & my kindle fire & my Gameboy to & I do have book of her to.i would love to here from her & her family to.

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