In 2007, the now-Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson wrote a piece for The Telegraph tilted “Global over-population is the real issue,” in which he firmly declared that “the primary challenge facing our species is the reproduction of our species itself.”
In October 2007, Boris Johnson, now the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, wrote a piece for The Telegraph titled “Global over-population is the real issue,” detailing his concerns with how the notion of global human population control has been “stifled” by proponents on the right and left of the political spectrum.
In the piece, Johnson insisted that the most pressing issue facing humankind was not global warming, but rather the reproduction and fertility of the human race.
“We are getting to the point where you simply can’t discuss it, and we are thereby refusing to say anything sensible about the biggest single challenge facing the Earth; and no, whatever it may now be conventional to say, that single biggest challenge is not global warming,” Johnson wrote.
“That is a secondary challenge. The primary challenge facing our species is the reproduction of our species itself,” Johnson declared.
Johnson seemed to take issue with the idea that the “population of the planet is growing with every word that skitters beneath your eyeball,” adding that “you can see it as you fly over Africa at night, and you see mile after mile of fires burning red in the dark, as the scrub is removed to make way for human beings.”
Boris Johnson compared human population growth to “bacilli in a petri dish”
The British PM described flying over Mexico City, viewing the “vast checkerboard of smog-bound, low-rise dwellings stretching from one horizon to the other,” noting that when you look down, you have “a horrifying vision of habitations multiplying and replicating like bacilli in a Petri dish.”
“The world’s population is now 6.7 billion, roughly double what it was when I was born. If I live to be in my mid-eighties, then it will have trebled in my lifetime,” he said.
“I simply cannot understand why no one discusses this impending calamity, and why no world statesmen have the guts to treat the issue with the seriousness it deserves.”
Johnson suggested that it would be nonsensical to discuss other issues such as global warming or consumerism “when we are continuing to add so relentlessly to the number of consumers.”
He went further, describing how during the 1960’s and 1970’s, his father was “interested in demography,” and that the United Nations would hold “giant conferences” on population control.
Discussions about depopulating the human race used to be “perfectly respectable”
He noted that back then, it was “perfectly respectable to talk about saving the planet by reducing the growth in the number of human beings.”
“But over the years, the argument changed, and certain words became taboo, and certain concepts became forbidden, and we have reached the stage where the very discussion of overall human fertility – global motherhood – has become more or less banned,” Johnson wrote.
Johnson complained that “we seem to have given up on population control,” and blamed “all sorts of explanations” for the “surrender,” including former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who Johnson said “gave it all a bad name” with a “demented plan sterilise Indian men with the lure of a transistor radio.”
“It is time we had a grown-up discussion about the optimum quantity of human beings in this country and on this planet,” Johnson said. “This is a straightforward question of population, and the eventual size of the human race.”
“All the evidence shows that we can help reduce population growth, and world poverty, by promoting literacy and female emancipation and access to birth control. Isn’t it time politicians stopped being so timid, and started talking about the real number one issue?”
Since early in the pandemic, Johnson has become a target of British conservatives who believe his insistence on lockdowns, face masks, and bans on basic human contact like hugging with both unhelpful and unscientific.