Will Renewed Attention to Climate Change Bring Back “Population Control?”


This fall, world population will reach seven billion people at a time of accelerated environmental disruption. This article is part of a series commissioned by RH Reality Check, with Laurie Mazur as guest editor. The series examines the causes and consequences of population and environmental changes from various perspectives, and explores the policies and actions needed to both avoid and mitigate the inevitable impacts of these changes.

Here, graduate student Jade Sasser discusses the danger that the renewed attention to climate change will revive some of the old debates about population and that arguments in favor of “population control” will resurface.

All of the articles in this series can be found here.

Who’s afraid of climate change? Well, I am but not necessarily for the reasons you may think. I’m afraid that the recent, much-deserved attention to climate change will revive some of the old alarmist debates on population. And with those debates, I’m worried that the specter of population control will rear its ugly head again.

You see, as a woman of color, I am particularly sensitive to population control arguments. After all, claims of “overpopulation” usually target women who look like me.

Throughout the 20th century, coercive welfare policies led to thousands of African-American women in the United States being sterilized without their consent in a procedure that came to be known as the “Mississippi Appendectomy.”  In the 1950s, Puerto Rican women’s bodies were used as the testing grounds for controversial and experimental contraceptive trials, in part due to government perceptions that these experiments could help solve the island’s “population problem.” Around the same time, population control became enshrined within development programs in India and Bangladesh, where use of contraceptives and permanent sterilization were attached to food aid programs and the allocation of land and medical care. And, as recently as the late 1990s, hundreds of thousands of poor and indigenous women were sterilized against their will by the government of Peru under the banner of fighting poverty and overpopulation.

What does all of this have to do with the environment? Well, a lot. In the United States, fears of a “population crisis” exploded onto the scene back in the 1960s and 1970s with the rise of the environmental movement, with environmentalists blaming population growth for everything from deforestation and desertification to global food shortages. Neo-Malthusian scholars and activists called for reducing food aid to starving populations in developing countries, and one well-known biologist famously suggested that sterilizing agents be placed into the American water supply.

Population alarmism gained quite a bit of support at the time, both among the general American public and among some members of the international development sector, who felt that controlling and reducing population growth would be beneficial to the global environment and the security of U.S. borders.

Luckily, population controllers were stopped in their tracks by a coalition of women’s health and rights reformers in the mid-1990s. At the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) meetings in Cairo, world leaders agreed that universal access to reproductive health services, within a broader focus on women’s rights and empowerment, would replace population control as the leading paradigm for the international family planning movement. Focused on meeting women’s reproductive health needs, as opposed to controlling and reducing their fertility, this new paradigm was enshrined in a document known as the Cairo Consensus, which was ratified by 179 countries.

At around the same time, the population bubble burst. According to the Population Reference Bureau, nowadays the average woman in a developing country gives birth to 2.5 children, compared to 6 children in 1950. In the industrialized world, this figure is even lower, with women having an average of 1.64 kids. Although in some regions like sub-Saharan Africa, rapid population growth continues to be carried along by demographic momentum, the trend toward the average woman giving birth to fewer children is a long-term, global phenomenon.

But is this enough to keep population controllers at bay? I’m not sure. Climate change has received much well-deserved attention lately in the news. And along with it comes the old, familiar population debate.

In 2009, the Vice Minister of China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission told an international audience that the Chinese one-child policy had proved to be an environmental success, adding that the 400 million births that have been prevented since the introduction of the policy have resulted in 1.8 billion fewer tons of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere. At the same time, several professors in the United States and Australia have proposed carbon taxes for every child born beyond the replacement fertility level of two children per couple.

In addition, the British charity Optimum Population Trust published a report arguing that spending just $7 on international family planning projects could reduce carbon emissions by one ton, concluding that family planning as a method of reducing future emissions of carbon dioxide is significantly cheaper than many low-carbon technologies. The organization created a website which offers consumers the opportunity to offset their carbon footprint by investing in family planning in developing countries. The site argues that investing in family planning is a “cost-effective and permanent way of reducing CO2 emissions and climate change” with “no downsides,” and  offers wealthy Westerners the opportunity to consume their way into reducing their carbon footprints through reducing the childbearing of other women, rather than changing their own greenhouse gas emitting behaviors.

Not only do these approaches get into an ethical gray zone, they are based on faulty logic. We have to remember that the United States is the leading global emitter of greenhouse gases, producing 25 percent of the world’s emissions every year, even though our population accounts for just 4.5 percent of the world total. Many global South countries with rapidly growing populations, like Kenya, emit far fewer greenhouse gases than we do; the average Kenyan produces 0.3 tons of emissions every year, compared with the average American’s average 20 tons of emissions. Clearly, it is what we do, rather than how many of us there are, that drives the climate bus.

As Lisa Hymas argued in her recent article, not all Americans consume the same volume of resources in the same way. Middle and upper class Americans who drive multiple vehicles, build vacation homes, and race to buy every new technological gizmo that comes on the market have a significantly higher carbon footprint than the working class and poor. At the same time, we have to think about the bigger actors that dwarf all of us in their climate-changing behaviors. Mega oil corporations, for example, earn billions of dollars in profits when they extract, burn, refine, and sell fossil fuel products.  And, how could we ever forget the role of the military in this conversation. Its atmosphere-polluting activities are often hidden in the debates over climate change and population growth—a shocking fact, considering that the U.S. military is the single largest consumer of oil in the world.

Despite the fact that they consumer fewer environmental resources, women, communities of color, and the poor suffer more of the impacts of climate change. Climate-related natural disasters, which are on the rise, disproportionately impact women around the world, who are much more likely to drown or die in accidents. Those who survive are more likely to experience domestic violence, sexual abuse, and poor reproductive health outcomes.

Climate change does, however, offers us opportunities to address women’s human and reproductive rights, but the connections must be made in the right way. Ensuring universal access to comprehensive reproductive health services, including emergency obstetric care, both hormonal and barrier methods of contraception, diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, HIV testing, counseling and treatment, and referrals for services for gender-based violence, promotes basic human rights–all women have the right to control their reproductive and sexual lives–and are important components of a gender-sensitive approach to adapting to the effects of climate change. Supporting coercive population interventions among the poor as a means of mitigating or preventing climate change, on the other hand, is not a defensible approach.

We must be ever vigilant, keeping the principles of reproductive health, reproductive rights, and reproductive justice for women at the heart of the approach. Through this framework, and the protection of women’s rights to have children, not to have children, and to parent the children that they do have, we can remain on the right side of both the climate justice and reproductive justice debates.

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  • cmarie

    duplicate

  • cmarie

    Interesting article, though I don’t think there are too many people left who still believe in Anthropological Global Warming, there’s no question that the poor are generally more impacted by environmental disasters, when they do happen, than people in the first world.  Also, please remember, regardless of what the Vice Minister in China said, it’s not all paradise over there.  Women in rural areas especially are now at a much higher risk of being kidnapped and forced into marriages than in the past, simply because there are now so few of them compared to men.  You’re also right about the indulgences awarded by today’s self appointed religious leaders with their distribution of “carbon point reductions” to the rich for restricting the activities of the poor.  Not having been on a plane in almost thirteen years, I’m always amused to hear some celebrity (who almost lives on one) lecturing me on my responsibility to reduce carbon emissions.  And, it’s important not to forget the biggest population control method ever used against anyone and which absolutely targeted people of color.  That of course would be the banning of DDT.  Even though the scientist discovering it was awarded the Nobel Prize in Science for it in 1948 and even though it was used in the U.S and many other first world countries very effectivly during the 50’s and 60’s, it was deliberately withheld from most of Africa for several decades.  This led to the deaths of at least thirty million people (mostly from malaria) and a large percentage of those people would have been children.  Children are more vulnerable to malaria than adults and more likely to die when they do get it.  Then about three years ago came a pitiful “never mind” from Greenpeace, WHO and other supporters of the ban and that horrible chapter in human history finally came to a close but without the media attention it warrented.

  • prochoiceferret

    Interesting article, though I don’t think there are too many people left who still believe in Anthropological Global Warming,

     

    Anthropogenic global warming, however, has the backing of a consensus of the world’s scientists, with more and more evidence being found as time goes on.

     

    Also, please remember, regardless of what the Vice Minister in China said, it’s not all paradise over there.

     

    Yes, I don’t think we’ll have a hard time remembering that the People’s Republic of China is not a paradise.

     

    And, it’s important not to forget the biggest population control method ever used against anyone and which absolutely targeted people of color.  That of course would be the banning of DDT.

     

    Oh, this old chestnut again?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT#Criticism_of_restrictions_on_DDT_use

  • cmarie

    Pro choice ferret…

    re AGW:  Is that why Ivar Giaever resigned from the APS?  Recently even Einstein’s theory has been called into question and that question is being taken seriously and studied.  Einstein wanted his work criticized.  That’s what real scientists do.  The point of their work is to add to the body of scientific knowledge, not to cover their ears and pretend anything is “incontrovertible”.  http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1112388659/nobel-prize-winner-leaves-group-over-global-warming/index.html

    But I have to thank you for your cutting edge research on the subject of DDT and malaria, especially because I’m sure if your family was at the slightest risk of contracting malaria you would be entirely satisfied with the same mosquito nets used a centuary ago rather than take advantage of DDT.  I guess if a former WHO scientist dismisses claims that restrictions on DDT caused malaria deaths that must be the end of it, even after it was WHO itself that was behind the restrictions.  Certainly there is no conflict of interest there.

  • prochoiceferret

    re AGW:  Is that why Ivar Giaever resigned from the APS?  Recently even Einstein’s theory has been called into question and that question is being taken seriously and studied.  Einstein wanted his work criticized.  That’s what real scientists do.  The point of their work is to add to the body of scientific knowledge, not to cover their ears and pretend anything is “incontrovertible”.

     

    Sure, scientific theories can be called into question. It’s going to take a lot more than one guy resigning from a science-related body to shift the overwhelming preponderance of evidence in support of man-made global warming the way that oil companies want it to go.

     

    But I have to thank you for your cutting edge research on the subject of DDT and malaria, especially because I’m sure if your family was at the slightest risk of contracting malaria you would be entirely satisfied with the same mosquito nets used a centuary ago rather than take advantage of DDT.

     

    I might, if the little buggers have become resistant to DDT.

     

    I guess if a former WHO scientist dismisses claims that restrictions on DDT caused malaria deaths that must be the end of it, even after it was WHO itself that was behind the restrictions.  Certainly there is no conflict of interest there.

     

    Conflicted interest: 1

    Willful ignorance: 0

  • cmarie

    Focusing on coal (which we have in abundance) rather than oil would definately be in our interest, but that knowledge isn’t going to make people start taking the global warming scam seriously again.  When I was in college, twenty years ago, we didn’t have an internet and we didn’t know any better.  We believed in global warming because that seemed to be the scientific consensus.  Today, there is no excuse for that kind of complacency (any more than there would be for thinking smoking was harmless– our grandparents had an excuse, we don’t).  And the attempts to question it comes from a lot more than one scientist.  Just google the subject.  500 years ago it was taught that the sun revolved around the earth.  Questioning the taboo is a good thing; dangerous (for your career now and your life then) but it certainly is the only thing that’s ever led to scientific advancement.  This is the first I’ve heard about malarial mosquitoes becoming immune to DDT.  Strange, because that didn’t happen in this country where it was a God send to Florida and Louisiana.  Possibly because they used it very aggressively and quickly.  I hope malarial mosquitoes in Africa didn’t build up immunity during the ban when it was only used very sparingly and of course illegally.   That would be even more of a tragedy.

  • geo

    Jade Sasser has fundamentally misunderstood her topic. It isn’t that debates about population are “alarmist” — the results of ongoing over-population actually are alarming. Very alarming. And this concern is in no way aimed at “women who look like me”, a deplorable play of the race card. It is strictly a numbers issue, aimed at everyone.

    Those concerned about population are not guilty of “faulty logic. The logic is impeccable, as follows:

    The total impact of humankind on the global environment some time ago grew to exceed the ability of that environment to deal with it sustainably. This continues to get worse. We are now living well beyond our environmental means, i.e. not just on the environmental income provided by the renewal capability of the natural systems, but also by consuming the environmental capital.

    For a clear example, consider fisheries. By catching more (weight of) fish each year than a fish stock replaces by the growth of individual fish, we reduce the total fish stock. The smaller fish stock produces a smaller amount of replacement fish the next year, so the decline in the stock accelerates. Many fish stocks have already declined by over 90%. Some previously huge ones, such as the North Atlantic (Grand Banks) cod, have vanished completely, not recovering even now fishing of them has totally stopped.

    So, we have to reduce our total impact as soon as possible, to stop the ever-increasing and in the end irreversible destruction of the natural systems which sustain us.

    Our total environmental impact is our average individual impact multiplied by the number of us. Ms Sasser suggests we can/should reduce the total solely by reducing our invidividual impact. That simply won’t work.

    Poorer countries, which are the most populous now, are doing their best to increase their standard of living. They are not going stop, and it would be unethical to pressure them to do so. Even if the rich countries were to reduce their standard of living to that of, say, India (which they aren’t going to do, of course), their small proportion of the world population would mean that the global average individual impact would continue to increase.

    The only option is to reverse population growth.

    Contrary to Ms Sasser’s accusation, there is no ethical grey area here. She sadly attemps to paint one, through use of the pejorative term “population control”, implying that reduced fertility will occur only through coercion. That implication is false. This can be seen in countries from Thailand to Iran, where increases in the availability of, and information about, contraception have resulted in women voluntarily having many fewer children on average.

    It is a shame to see a graduate student producing such a canard. But perhaps her undergraduate training included neither biology nor arithmetic?

    Geo.

  • geo

    Jade Sasser has fundamentally misunderstood her topic. It isn’t that debates about population are “alarmist” — the results of ongoing over-population actually are alarming. Very alarming. And this concern is in no way aimed at “women who look like me”, a deplorable play of the race card. It is strictly a numbers issue, aimed at everyone.

    Those concerned about population are not guilty of “faulty logic. The logic is impeccable, as follows:

    The total impact of humankind on the global environment some time ago grew to exceed the ability of that environment to deal with it sustainably. This continues to get worse. We are now living well beyond our environmental means, i.e. not just on the environmental income provided by the renewal capability of the natural systems, but also by consuming the environmental capital.

    For a clear example, consider fisheries. By catching more (weight of) fish each year than a fish stock replaces by the growth of individual fish, we reduce the total fish stock. The smaller fish stock produces a smaller amount of replacement fish the next year, so the decline in the stock accelerates. Many fish stocks have already declined by over 90%. Some previously huge ones, such as the North Atlantic (Grand Banks) cod, have vanished completely, not recovering even now fishing of them has totally stopped.

    So, we have to reduce our total impact as soon as possible, to stop the ever-increasing and in the end irreversible destruction of the natural systems which sustain us.

    Our total environmental impact is our average individual impact multiplied by the number of us. Ms Sasser suggests we can/should reduce the total solely by reducing our invidividual impact. That simply won’t work.

    Poorer countries, which are the most populous now, are doing their best to increase their standard of living. They are not going stop, and it would be unethical to pressure them to do so. Even if the rich countries were to reduce their standard of living to that of, say, India (which they aren’t going to do, of course), their small proportion of the world population would mean that the global average individual impact would continue to increase.

    The only option is to reverse population growth.

    Contrary to Ms Sasser’s accusation, there is no ethical grey area here. She sadly attemps to paint one, through use of the pejorative term “population control”, implying that reduced fertility will occur only through coercion. That implication is false. This can be seen in countries from Thailand to Iran, where increases in the availability of, and information about, contraception have resulted in women voluntarily having many fewer children on average.

    It is a shame to see a graduate student producing such a canard. But perhaps her undergraduate training included neither biology nor arithmetic?

    Geo.

  • gina-crosleycorcoran

    Thank you so, so much for this. I also disputed that Hymas article (here: http://thefeministbreeder.com/mother-earth-doesnt-want-kids/) and definitely see this overpopulation argument as a lot of mother-blaming. Thank you for adding your voice.

  • sierra

    It’s about time someone wrote an article like this. I read the other pieces in this environmental series, and although I agreed with a lot of what they said, there was always something missing. We need more people writing about this topic who aren’t afraid to place blame for climate change where it belongs (not in women’s wombs), tackle the uncomfortable issues around race head on, and to still reaffirm the importance of access to voluntary family planning at the same time. Brilliant! Thank you for writing this!!!

     

  • miranda-spencer

    Speaking as someone with a history as both an environmental activist and environmental journalist, I can say with some confidence that despite all the headlines, despite the vast scientific evidence that human-aggravated global climate disruption is real and a dire threat to the entire planet,  the public and governments do not take climate change seriously enough to take even minimal constructive steps needed to mitigate it, much less to impose destructive, draconian population-control programs to that end. Huge swaths of the public and government deny climate change is even taking place! Obama is defanging the EPA and Republican candidates want to dismantle it.

     

    Discussions of the links between population and environment on RHRealityCheck and Grist are voices in the wilderness; meanwhile, the right-wing climate deniers –not green-inclined progressives — are the real people who would take away our reproductive rights. 

     

    I think Geo (above) makes many good points; private actions like family size do have public impacts.  Is it so wrong to  ask people — especially well-off couples in the developed world — to at least consider voluntarily having even one fewer child per family, as part of a greater movement to reduce consumption and demand for resources?

     

    Limiting overall population is just one tool in the toolkit for creating an environmentally sustainable and more equitable world.  To acknowledge that tool exists should not be conflated with 20th century eugenics efforts, and it is rather insulting to those of us who care about all of these issues — environment, repro rights, racism, economic equity — to lump us with those hate-motivated social engineers.

     

    Don’t get me wrong, I found your essay thoughtful and I understand your concerns. But I think the right question isn’t  “Will Renewed Attention to Climate Change Bring Back Population Control?” but “How Can Environmental and Women’s Groups Work Together?” Grist did just that in this interview: http://bit.ly/nCuRso

     

     

  • miranda-spencer

    Speaking as someone with a history as both an environmental activist and environmental journalist, I can say with some confidence that despite all the headlines, despite the vast scientific evidence that human-aggravated global climate disruption is real and a dire threat to the entire planet,  the public and governments do not take climate change seriously enough to take even minimal constructive steps needed to mitigate it, much less to impose destructive, draconian population-control programs to that end. Huge swaths of the public and government deny climate change is even taking place! Obama is defanging the EPA and Republican candidates want to dismantle it.

     

    Discussions of the links between population and environment on RHRealityCheck and Grist are voices in the wilderness; meanwhile, the right-wing climate deniers –not green-inclined progressives — are the real people who would take away our reproductive rights. 

     

    I think Geo (above) makes many good points; private actions like family size do have public impacts.  Is it so wrong to  ask people — especially well-off couples in the developed world — to at least consider voluntarily having even one fewer child per family, as part of a greater movement to reduce consumption and demand for resources?

     

    Limiting overall population is just one tool in the toolkit for creating an environmentally sustainable and more equitable world.  To acknowledge that tool exists should not be conflated with 20th century eugenics efforts, and it is rather insulting to those of us who care about all of these issues — environment, repro rights, racism, economic equity — to lump us with those hate-motivated social engineers.

     

    Don’t get me wrong, I found your essay thoughtful and I understand your concerns. But I think the right question isn’t  “Will Renewed Attention to Climate Change Bring Back Population Control?” but “How Can Environmental and Women’s Groups Work Together?” Grist did just that in this interview: http://bit.ly/nCuRso

     

     

  • miranda-spencer

    Here’s a story that helps back up my observation that climate disbelievers and anti-repro rights folks are often one and the same:

     

    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/10/05/05climatewire-why-conservative-white-males-are-more-likely-11613.html

     

  • cmarie

    Shame that article didn’t have comments… they would have been priceless…

     

  • steven-earl-salmony

    We face a colossal, human-induced global predicament. Emerging and
    converging ecological challenges we have chosen to ignore rather than
    acknowledge during my lifetime is in large part the result of the way
    silence is employed by ‘the powers that be’ and their minions to
    prevail over science. Hysterical blindness, willful deafness and elective
    mutism of knowledgeable human beings with feet of clay rule the world every
    bit as much as malignant narcissism, pathological arrogance and extreme
    foolishness of greedmongering masters of the universe rule the world. This
    pernicious situation is as intolerable as it is dangerous to future human
    well being and environmental health.

    Please consider that during my lifetime, when human numbers exploded from
    less than 3 billion to more than 7 billion worldwide, many experts may not
    have known enough about what they were talking about when they spoke of
    human population dynamics and all causes of the human overpopulation of
    Earth. Their research appears not to be scientific. What I have been trying
    to communicate regarding the human population does not issue from
    ideological or totalitarian thinking, or from group-think consensus for
    that matter. It is not derived from what is politically convenient,
    economically expedient, socially agreeable, religiously tolerable and
    culturally prescribed. I have wanted to openly discuss the best available
    science. That is all. It appears the generally accepted thinking of a
    surprisingly large number of so-called experts in the field of population
    dynamics appears to have an unscientific foundation. Their preternatural
    thought and theorizing about the population dynamics of the human species
    appears to be both incomplete and mistaken. Most disquieting of all, a
    widely shared and consensually validated theory about a demographic
    transition four decades from now is directly contradicted by unchallenged
    scientific research. As a consequence, and it is a pernicious consequence,
    woefully inadequate thinking and fundamentally flawed theorizing has been
    broadcast during my life cycle and continues to be broadcast everywhere by
    the mainstream media as if it is not only science but the best available
    scientific evidence. The implications of this unfortunate behavior,
    inasmuch as it appears to be based upon a colossal misperception of what
    could somehow be real regarding the human population, appear profound. This
    failure of nerve has served to slow momentum needed for a confrontation with
    a formidable global predicament that appears to become more difficult to
    overcome year by year.

    In their elective mutism regarding an astonishing error, are first class
    professional researchers with expertise in population dynamics behaving
    badly by allowing the “ninety-nine percenters” to be misguided and led
    down a primrose path by the “one percenters”? The power of silence on
    the part of knowledgeable human beings with feet of clay is dangerous
    because research is being denied that appears to shed light upon a dark,
    non-recursive biological problem, the understanding of which appears vital
    to future human well being and environmental health. Too many experts
    appear to be ignoring science regarding the human population and instead
    consciously through their silence consenting to the leviathan scale and
    unbridled expansion of global overproduction, overconsumption and
    overpopulation activities that are being adamantly advocated and
    relentlessly pursued by greedmongering masters of the universe, the tiny
    minority among us who are primarily responsible for ravaging the Earth,
    ruining its environs and reducing its fitness for habitation by the
    children. If this assessment of human behavior is indeed a fair
    representation of what is happening on our watch, then the desire to
    preserve the status quo, mainly the selfish interests of ‘the powers that
    be’, could be at least one basis for so much intellectually dishonest and
    morally bereft behavior. Could it be that the outrageous per capita
    overconsumption, large-scale corporate overproduction and unrestricted
    overpopulation activities of the human species worldwide cannot continue
    much longer on a planet with the size, composition and ecology of a finite
    and frangible planet like Earth?

  • steven-earl-salmony

    How can we fail to see something so huge, evident and visible?  The human-driven global predicament is in front of all of us. Perhaps we have been fooled by fools.

    For human beings to count human population numbers is simple, really simple. The population dynamics of human beings with feet of clay are obvious and fully comprehensible. We have allowed ourselves to be dazzled by the BS of demographers just the way human beings have been deceived and victimized by the economists on Wall Street. Demographers and economists are not scientists. ‘The brightest and the best’ have sold their souls to greedmongers, duped the rest of us, made it difficult to see what is real, proclaimed what is known to be knowable as unknowable, engaged in the their own brands of alchemy. In their dishonest and duplicitous efforts to please the self-proclaimed masters of the universe, also known as the keepers of the ‘golden calf’ (a symbol now easily visible as the “raging bull” on Wall Street), they perpetrate frauds at everyone else’s expense, threaten the children’s future, put life as we know it at risk, and are consciously, deliberately, actively precipitating the destruction of Earth as a fit place for human habitation. Never in the course of human events have so few taken so much from so many and left so little for others.

    There are many too many overly educated “wise guys” among us who see the blessed world we inhabit through the lens of their own hubris and selfishness, and see themselves somehow as Homo sapiens sapiens and masters of the universe, as corporate kings and emperor’s with clothes. They supposedly are the brightest and best, the smartest guys in the room, like the guy who used to run the global political economy without recognizing that there was an “ideological flaw” in his economic theories and models, the same guy who reported he could not name 5 guys smarter than himself. These are the guys who have sold their souls, denied science, abjectly failed humanity, forsaken life as we know it, the Earth and God. These ideologues rule the world now and can best be characterized by their malignant narcissism, pathological arrogance, risky addictions, extreme foolishness and wanton greed.