Sep 22, 2022 • 1HR 11M

Overpopulation: From 8 billion to 3 | Phoebe Barnard

Should we make the decision to have less children before it's made for us?

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Rachel Donald
Planet: Critical is the podcast for a world in crisis. We face severe climate, energy, economic and political breakdown. Journalist Rachel Donald interviews those confronting the crisis, revealing what's really going on—and what needs to be done.
Episode details

Phoebe Barnard is a biologist, global change scientist, and policy analyst with decades of experience confronting some of the most pressing problems of our time, bridging the gap between academia and government. She’s also CEO of the Stable Planet Alliance, a coalition of scientific, legal, social, health, media, policy, leadership, faith, culture, and grassroots organizations tackling the overpopulation and hyperconsumption problem.


Phoebe joins me to discuss overpopulation—its effects, our trajectory, and the difficult decisions we face as a species. She argues we must reduce our population to 3 billion in the next century if planet earth is to survive, and us along with it, warning that population reduction policies may be forced on citizens in the future if we do not choose for ourselves now.

We discuss the morality and politics of overpopulation, addressing the West’s all-too-recent history of eugenics and ethnic cleansing. We then explore population reduction as an intergenerational right: There may be less of us in the future, but those future people may be better off for it.


Planet: Critical investigates why the world is in crisis—and what to do about it.

© Rachel Donald