President's Note December 2020

Written by John Seager, President and CEO | Published: December 14, 2020

My iPhone died on Election Day. It was disorienting. I’d grown accustomed—even addicted—to endless micro doses of what passes for reality in these hyperkinetic times. Instead, as final figures trickled in, I followed developments on a device descended from Philo Farnsworth’s image dissector (my television).

If there is one thing all Americans can agree on about this election, it’s that the outcome wasn’t entirely what anyone hoped for. The dismal Trump era will thankfully end. Yet congressional results were mixed.

We were extremely heartened by the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. They are committed to taking decisive action to repeal the Global Gag Rule and to reinvigorate an array of vital programs. There is no time to lose when we’re literally seeing the world set aflame due to our heedless ways. We were, however, dismayed to see the defeat of several stalwart House supporters of programs that help achieve population stabilization. While some great Senate candidates fell short of victory on Election Day, control of that body is still up for grabs.

As I ineffectually poked at my phone, it almost seemed to be sending me a message of sorts. Maybe the lesson is that, even in fraught moments when we’re grasping for good news, we need to keep our eyes on the far horizon. We need to be less obsessed with the latest tweet or breaking news. Since the era of rapid population growth began around 1800, it’s taken more than two full centuries for us to reach current overpopulation levels. Like it or not, it’s going to take time and much sustained effort to restore balance.

Of course, the events of the day matter greatly. And this election in particular was critical. But we must keep thinking about the next generation, the next century, even the next millennium, which is no easy task in this instantaneous era.

By meeting the population challenge, we can set the table for a much brighter future. Over the past 50 years, we’ve gone from about four nations at or below replacement rate in terms of family size to nearly 100 nations in that category. That’s still fewer than half the nations on earth, but it provides a roadmap for a better future if we’re willing to persevere.

One of the best ways to achieve a better, safer, less-crowded future is by ensuring today’s young people understand the challenges posed by rapid population growth. We’re the only nationwide provider of K-12 Population Education. If we don’t do it, no one will. We adapted rapidly to training thousands of educators remotely under the current COVID regime, since there is no time to lose.

Recently, I’ve been scheduling conversations with quite a few of our longest-serving members. They’re deeply concerned about the need for a lasting legacy, as they understand the importance of population stabilization. We’re grateful that they see the need for sustained action to curb overpopulation.

If you’d like to have one of those “old fashioned” conversations with me, just send me an email. I’m glad to report I’m now the proud owner of a fully-functioning refurbished iPhone.

John Seager, President and CEO