2

One Million People View Video Series on Population Control

In the summer of 2009, the Population Research Institute went out on a limb.

We made a cartoon.

It wasn’t a very long cartoon, only about a minute and a half—and the animation was deliberately minimalist. But it was clever, quick, and easy to watch. The music was original, cool, and jazzily low-key. It avoided politics entirely, choosing instead to focus on widely accepted science and math. It was entitled “Overpopulation: The Making Of A Myth,” and it was just a simple discussion about the myth of overpopulation.

And most importantly, it was funny.

“I watch a lot of animation,” says Joseph Powell, the creator and animator of the series. “And I watch a lot of viral videos. Like anyone else, I share the funny, memorable ones. So, I figured if I could break down the myth, one facet at a time, in a way that was accessible and funny, people would feel better, and want to pass it on.”

And the gamble paid off. According to PRI’s Colin Mason, within a week the video had gone completely viral.

“We’ve been posting videos to YouTube since about the time YouTube was created,” says Mason. “Our highest-traffic video at the time had about 13,000 views. Our first cartoon got that many views in 3 days.”

“I’d never seen anything like it,” Mason continues. “I remember going to bed one night, and then getting up the next morning and checking the video’s stats. It had been watched by 10,000 just overnight.”

The series became a sensation among people interested in the overpopulation topic—and even among those who weren’t. With each episode, it became more and more popular, placing it among the most highly watched pro-life video series ever created … and carving out a place for PRI as one of the highest-ranked non-profit channels on YouTube.

The numbers alone tell the story. Overall, the series has received more than 1.1 million views (the first episode still holds the record with 380,000 and counting). The videos are ferociously discussed on YouTube (there are over 14,000 comments), and off YouTube (the Facebook page has over 5,000 members). Not only that, but references to the series have worked their way into dozens of internet message boards, discussion threads, blogs and web sites … including Wikipedia.

Prominent Catholic blogger Thomas Peters of CatholicVote.org calls the series “flat-out brilliant. It’s factual, but accessible.” Tim Drake of The National Catholic Register calls it “a clever look at the myth of overpopulation,” while First Things says that our “humorous cartoons” show that “fortunately, the myth of overpopulation is easy to debunk.”

“The fight against the myth of overpopulation does not have to be a bare-knuckled brawl,” says Steven Mosher, PRI’s president. “These videos are funny and easy to digest, the very opposite of Al Gore’s prognostications on the ‘dangers’ of too many people. Our viewers end up considering the science that supports our pro-people position, often for the very first time.

“We say to our skeptics: watch, laugh, and learn.”

The first video:

Latest video:

All of the videos, as well as Overpopulation Is A Myth T-shirts, can be found at www.overpopulationisamyth.com.


Steve Mosher is the president of Population Research Institute.
  • I read all of the YouTube comments, mostly negative. Many there say that this is obviously fallacious but fail to explain where the fallacy is.

    The videos are a simple representation of a rather complex process. The growth of population will trigger many challenges but will also generate solutions of its own.

    The problem of analyzing the growth of human population lies in the fact that it a very counter-intuitive problem.

    Allow me to? explain some of the fallacies IN THE YOUTUBE COMMENTS.

    THE ENVIRONMENT WILL SUFFER, SPECIES WILL GO EXTINCT

    More species went extinct when mankind was less than 1 or 2 million people. Even more went extinct before there were any humans on earth.

    LETS STABILIZE THE POPULATION NOW
    We can’t accelerate the natural process.
    Besides births cannot? outpace deaths for ever. That is what these videos are trying to show. At one point more people die than those being born. As population grows, we shall be forced to grow wiser and administer goods more efficiently (I call that the WALMART trend.) We shall have more human time and capital to manage more and manage better. More geniuses will be born, also more plumbers, more carpenters, more pickpockets, and more dreamers, etc. We could not have national parks and rangers in 1770 but we could easily afford them when the population grew. So the population growth brought problems but also solutions. If we were to return to a population of say 2 billion (like some proposers of a “new order” have suggested) we would have to destroy huge swaths of the global economy and many of the areas we manage well today would not be managed at all. That would not benefit anyone but a few.

    Eventually the population stabilizes by itself reaching a state of soft peaks and valleys. Trying to get to that point artificially triggers a population winter like the one Europe is already beginning to experience and China will experience in a few decades. DO THE MATH. Stop shouting “fallacy!” Pop growth control is the real suicide.

    POVERTY WILL OVERWHELM SOCIETY

    The SEARS catalog stores appeared when the population of the US was about 4 or 5 million people. At that point all could contribute to sustain an effective postal service. After we reached 250 million or so it was possible to have WALMARTS. Notice that the net earnings of WALMART are huge but they represent? the smallest percentage of the price of goods in history! That goes to show you that somewhere, someone is thinking on how to fulfill the needs of more and more people all the time. This trend will accelerate and deepen. Corporations will be forced to be more efficient in fulfilling market demands. If they try to stick to a smaller market they will be swallowed whole by those who actually manage to serve larger markets. So GOOD SERVICE and EFFICIENCY will become a matter of survival. That is going to become more and more evident as the population grows. There is one application of Jesus’ parable of the talents: the slave the hid the talent had to give it to the one managing the largest amount BECAUSE HE COULD MANAGE IT.

    To my usual critics in this venue: I know you think I am automatically wrong. I can’t change ignorance but I can ignore it.

    Catholic Lane: Thanks for posting this article. The folks at PRI need to be praised for their excellent work.

  • fishman

    hmmm… so you recommend Letting population stabilizing ‘naturally’ and I have no doubt it will, but doesn’t that mean stabilize by starvation a disease ? Is that a good thing? what other factors drive birth rate down besides lack of resources?

    I’m not disagreeing just trying to understand so I can explain to others.