Population Control Policies: What Western Bias and Eugenics History Overlook

Allison Grossman, California Institute of Integral Studies

Human consumption is the greatest threat to our planet today. Many countries are addressing this through clean energy initiatives, the impact of which have not been substantial enough to mitigate environmental damages thus far. This is largely because clean energy is not enough to offset the effects of our overuse of energy. In other words, there are too many humans using too much energy and not enough is being done to address it. The environmental crisis would see far more progress if lawmakers aimed to regulate overconsumption by humans on this planet. However, this would require policy focused on human behavior such as reproduction, sex education, or access to contraception. Western bias that prioritizes technology over social change and fears its’ own shameful history of eugenics struggle to acknowledge the impact of population on climate change. This paper considers how Eastern countries have engaged with this issue, while the United States has avoided it. It will consider how certain cultures’ way of thinking and knowing about sexuality impact the policy they pass on environmental issues. Specifically, China’s one-child policy, though deeply flawed, responded to important environmental issues that Western biases and norms inhibited the U.S. from considering.

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 Presented in Session 201. Interpreations of Sex and Gender