Deputy Director’s Corner

Deputy Director’s Corner
Recent headlines have been unusually full of population-related discussion.
Is America finally waking up to our most critical issue?
NPG Deputy Director Tracy Canada can be reached by email at

On November 9th, CNN ran a story titled “Climate change could create 100 million poor, over half a billion homeless.” As you know, NPG has long drawn the link between population growth and climate change – as our human numbers grow, we inevitably consume more of our resources, produce more pollution, and contribute to worsening climate change. Sadly, CNN missed a golden opportunity to highlight this inextricable link.

However… as recently noted by Robert Engelman (senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute), there may be some silver lining to this cloud of disappointment. The grim reports referenced in the CNN article were “released ahead of the United Nation’s 21st annual global conference on climate change….” It appears that – in preparation for this annual global conference to address and combat climate change – more nations are beginning to consider the impact of population growth on greenhouse-gas emissions.

According to Engelman, the word “population” is mentioned “20 times in a new 66-page synthesis of country pledges to cut greenhouse-gas emissions….” Engelman highlights the trend that I have also noticed:

“Researchers around the world are increasingly recognizing the strength of the population-climate change link.

And it isn’t just researchers. In 2014, Utah state Governor Gary Herbert’s State of the State address noted: “The first challenge we face is population growth. Utah is now the second-fastest growing state in the nation… and our population is projected to nearly double in the next 35 years. This population growth impacts everything we do.” (And while Herbert hasn’t led a statewide push to slow, halt, or reverse population growth – he at least listed it as the state’s “first challenge,” which is almost unprecedented in the current pro-growth climate!)

After the Pope’s scathing encyclical on climate change earlier this year, I was pleased to see vocal criticism – from scientists around the world, and even major publications like The Guardian – of the Pope’s dismissal of population growth as a major source of the problem. Reporter Suzanne Goldenberg notes that Pope Francis: “…explicitly rejects the idea of population growth as a strain on global resources.”

Even everyday American citizens seem to be getting on board with the NPG message. A new public opinion survey found that 86% of American adults support policies that make it easier for people 18 and over to get the full range of birth control methods.

And 94% agree – for those who want to avoid getting pregnant or causing a pregnancy, using birth control is taking personal responsibility.

This positive momentum cannot stop now! We must keep moving forward – continuing every day in the battle for a smaller, truly sustainable U.S. and world population. Each day, more and more Americans are joining us in the fight to slow, halt, and eventually reverse U.S. population growth!

It is YOUR continued support that has allowed us to so far!

Since 1972, NPG has been America’s premier grassroots organization advocating a reasonable, responsible national population policy. With your valuable membership dues – and generous contributions throughout the year – we are able to continue and expand our critical education and outreach programs. Our FREE NPG Teacher’s Packets go to hundreds of schools nationwide – reaching tens of thousands of students each year… our 2015 NPG Scholarships awarded $20,000 to talented college students – helping them meet the rising cost of higher education… and our 2015 NPG national Press Releases have been picked up by thousands of media outlets across America – reaching a subscribed audience of hundreds of millions of Americans.

It is only with your help that NPG can host these

and many other critical programs –

enlisting more concerned citizens in the fight for America’s future!


Tracy Henke

Tracy Henke served as Deputy Director of NPG from 2012 to 2017, contributing to the structure and development of NPG’s publications programs. Acting as NPG’s principal editor and a contributing author – as well as a regular contact for the public and media, Tracy extensively researched U.S. population issues and worked to establish significant grassroots support for the NPG mission. She holds a degree in Leadership & Social Change from Virginia Tech, with a professional background in non-profit and program management.

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