By Hilary White

LONDON, July 15, 2008 ( – The solution to global warming, says a UK charity, is to implement laws that would result in people having fewer children. Governments should put slow pressure on people to limit their offspring to one or two children to save social and environmental resources.

“There is no unlimited right to have children,” said the Optimum Population Trust (OPT), the group known to be one of the most militantly anti-life organisations in the world. There is a limit, the Trust said, “on the number of children to which people are ‘entitled’.”

“A voluntary population policy should be incorporated into law,” the group said.

Governments, indicated the organization, should implement a “society-wide process of agreement, internalisation and normalisation” to the idea of small families and use a series of “gentle nudges” rather than “hard shoves,” to get people to conform to the new childless paradigm.

All of this, they said, is to ensure that everyone has equal access to wilderness areas. “Our moral and legal rights to access wilderness and natural biological diversity (including other species), enjoy its benefits, and perhaps even see it restored, are at odds with, and arguably outweigh, the private right to have an unlimited number of children.”

The Trust said that “human rights theory, legal precedent and national and international practice do not” support the UN’s reassertion of its 1968 declaration that individuals “have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and timing of their children.”

This year, the slogan by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), one of the world’s largest promoters of abortion for World Population Day, July 11, was “Family Planning: It’s a right. Let’s make it real!”

But the OPT responded saying that there is really only a “far more limited right to ‘found a family’.”

The group quotes a paper by a US academic and animal rights activist, Carter Dillard, who called the notion that people have a natural right to have as many children as they want, “self-contradictory and illogical.”

“Only the decision not to have children is a genuinely private act,” Dillard wrote, whereas the decision to procreate affects the lives of others and limits the freedom of descendants who must then compete for resources. True freedom, the paper says, is the freedom not to be bothered by the existence of other people. “As numbers increase, life becomes more complex,” Dillard wrote, and “the scope of law expands and regulation brings a contraction of rights.”

To support his assertion, Dillard cites the example of China, where the state has “traditionally… perceived women’s reproductive function as a legitimate matter of state control.”

But such open calls for the state to coerce citizens to have fewer children is gaining critics.

Dominic Lawson, writing today for the Independent, said, “The population control freaks have also been skillful in adopting the fashionable political concerns of the day to their cause.” He called the OPT’s use of environmentalist slogans on “carbon footprints,” “yet another illustration of the way these people mould their agenda to whatever is the most fashionable political concern of the day.”

Brendan O’Neill went even further in the Guardian, saying that the new environmentalist movement is a threat to human freedom and democracy.

“It seems to me,” O’Neill wrote, “that green thinking – with its shrill intolerance of dissenting views, its deep distaste for free movement and free choice, and its view of individuals, not as history-makers, but as filthy polluters – poses a more profound threat to liberty even than the government’s paranoid anti-terrorist agenda.”

In 2003, the OPT drew the ire even of the far left British media establishment after its conference at Oxford, at which the group suggested that the solution to Britain’s environmental problems is to reduce the population to 30 million, half of the country’s current number.

Read related coverage:

Government Must Institute Two-Child Policy says Leading UK Population Control Group

Environmentalist Extremists Call Humanity “Virus”, a “Cancer”, Large Families Guilty of “Eco-Crime”