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(reprint from blog PREFETCHING SELF)

One word sums up both the promise and predicament of humanity in the 21st century – that word is sustainability. What started as a buzzword for the enlightened sourcing and handling of food ingredients is rapidly expanding to become the critical barometer of overall survival regarding everything from food to fuel, pollution to population, animal and ocean habitat to entitlement cultures depending on debt-based banking systems for financial stability.

As farm soils erode, ocean life plummets, fresh water grows scarce, energy demands skyrocket, and the tides of restless, burgeoning populations seek equity in a global standard of living, a creeping sense of unsustainability haunts the future.

The prospect that advancing science will rescue us with wondrous new technologies yet undreamt is tempting but illusory. Most projections of current trends foresee a convergence of a perfect storm by mid-century. For a world that hasn’t been able or willing to even find and implement a suitable replacement for the internal combustion engine based on fossil fuels – after 150 years, chances are science alone will not save us in time.

It’s never been just about the science. The worn-out cry, “If we could put a man of the moon, then why can’t we…{fill in the blank}” has long since been repudiated. The moon shot was a technical problem. Humanity’s issues back on Earth are so much more complicated by social, political, religious, and ideological morasses.

Before the Titanic struck the iceberg, social conventions and civility prevailed. After the strike, denial and distress by necessity quickly switched to expedient actions aimed at certain survival. Left with only so many options at a time of crisis, it’s all too easy for the veil of civil morality and accepted convention to give way during the icy scramble on tilting decks.

It makes one wonder, when the time draw nears for humanity’s own perfect storm, what will the captains of industry, power, and political position decide to do? Surely in their elite certainty of knowing better than the rest of us, they will not hesitate to act. Given a choice between the certain collapse of civilization headed for extinction…or a severe but structured social reorganization that produces a manageable and properly governed social order…what will they choose?

After a quick Internet browse, one can find real world quotes like the following. They’re not from a doomsday thriller novel.

They only sound like it.



Real World Quotes

“A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal.”

Ted Turner
CNN founder, UN donor, Member Club of Rome,

Interview with Audubon Magazineview

“World population needs to be decreased by 50%.”

Henry Kissinger
Former National Security Advisor, Former Secretary of State

Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, Member Club of Rome

“If I were reincarnated I would wish to be returned to earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels.”

Prince Phillip
Duke of Edinburgh, Member Club of Rome,

Quoted in Are You Ready For Our New Age Future?

Insiders Report, American Policy Center, December 1995

“The world has a cancer, and that cancer is man.”

Merton Lambert
Former spokesman for the Rockefeller Foundation

Harpeth Journal, December 18, 1962

“There are many ways to make the death rate increase.”

Robert McNamara
Former Secretary of Defense

From New Solidarity, March 30, 1981

“We are on the verge of a global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order.”

David Rockefeller
Club of Rome Executive Manager

“… the resultant ideal sustainable population is hence more than 500 million but less than one billion.”

Club of Rome
From Goals for Mankind

“The extinction of the human species may not only be inevitable but a good thing.”

Christopher Manes
Earth First!

“Global Sustainability requires the deliberate quest of poverty, reduced resource consumption and set levels of mortality control.”

Maurice King
Professor at Makerere College and Leeds University

“We need to continue to decrease the growth rate of the global population; the planet can't support many more people.”

Nina Fedoroff
Penn State Professor, Bush appointee to National Science Board, adviser to Hilary Clinton

“The only way to get our society to truly change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe.”

Daniel Botkin
Professor Emeritus, Depart. of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, Univ. of California

“The Technetronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by elite, unrestrained by traditional values.”

Zbigniew Brezhinsky
Advisor to 5 U.S. Presidents

From Between Two Ages

“Mankind is the most dangerous, destructive, selfish and unethical animal on the earth.”

Michael Fox
Vice President of The Humane Society

“I suspect that eradicating small pox was wrong. It played an important part in balancing ecosystems.”

John Davis
Editor of Earth First! Journal

“Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.”

Sir John Houghton
First Chairman of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

“It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true.”

Paul Watson
Co-founder of Greenpeace

“…Advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.”

Rebuilding America’s Defenses
The Project for a New American Century

“The most merciful thing that a family does to one of its infant members is to kill it.”

Margaret Sanger
Planned Parenthood Founder

“A reasonable estimate for an industrialized world society at the present North American material standard of living would be 1 billion. At the more frugal European standard of living, 2 to 3 billion would be possible.”

United Nations
Global Biodiversity Assessment

“We put out a lot of carbon dioxide every year. Over 26 billion tons. For each American it’s about 20 tons. For people in poor countries, it’s less than 1 ton. It’s about an average of 5 tons for everyone on the planet. And somehow we have to make changes that will bring that down to zero. It’s been constantly going up; it’s only various economic changes that have even flattened it at all. So we have to go from rapidly rising to falling, and falling all the way to zero. [ CO2 = P x S x E x C ] This equation has four factors, a little bit of multiplication, so you’ve got a thing on the left, CO2, that you want to get to zero – and that’s going to be based on the number of people, the services each per person is using on average, the energy on average for each service, and the CO2 being put out per unit of energy. So let’s look at each one of these and see how we can get this down to zero. Probably one of these numbers is going to have to get pretty near to zero. Now that’s a fact from high school algebra, but let’s take a look. First we’ve got population. The world today has 6.8 billion people. That’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now, if we do a really good job on new vaccines, healthcare, reproductive services, we could perhaps lower that by 10 to 15 percent. But there we see an increase of about 1.3.”

Bill Gates
Founder of Microsoft and The Gates Foundation, TED Lecture

“The United Nation's goal is to reduce population selectively by encouraging abortion, forced sterilization, and control of human reproduction, and regards two-thirds of the human population as excess baggage, with 350,000 people to be eliminated per day.”

Jacques Cousteau, UNESCO Courier, Nov. 1991
French naval officer and explorer, member Club of Rome

“We must speak more clearly about sexuality, contraception, about abortion, about values that control population, because the ecological crisis, in short, is the population crisis. Cut the population by 90% and there aren't enough people left to do a great deal of ecological damage.”

Mikhail Gorbachev
Former President of the Soviet Union, member Club of Rome

“The present vast overpopulation, now far beyond the world carrying capacity, cannot be answered by future reductions in the birth rate due to contraception, sterilization and abortion, but must be met in the present by the reduction of numbers presently existing. This must be done by whatever means necessary.”

Initiative for Eco-92 Earth Charter


“Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.”

David Brower
First Executive Director of the Sierra Club

“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill ... All these dangers are caused by human intervention and it is only through changed attitudes and behaviour that they can be overcome. The real enemy, then, is humanity itself.”

Alexander King, Bertrand Schneider
Founder and Secretary, respectively, of the Club of Rome

The First Global Revolution, pp.104-105

“The hungry world cannot be fed until and unless the growth of its resources and the growth of its population come into balance. Each man and woman-and each nation --must make decisions of conscience and policy in the face of this great problem.”

Lyndon B. Johnson
Former U.S. Vice President and President

“The first task is population control at home. How do we go about it? Many of my colleagues feel that some sort of compulsory birth regulation would be necessary to achieve such control. One plan often mentioned involves the addition of temporary sterilants to water supplies or staple food. Doses of the antidote would be carefully rationed by the government to produce the desired population size.”

Paul Ehrlich
Professor of Population Studies, from The Population Bomb, p.135

“The state of Colorado could seize antibiotics, cremate disease-ridden corpses and, under extreme circumstances, dig mass graves under executive orders...Infected corpses might have to be isolated at temporary morgues to prevent the spread of disease, Estock said. In certain situations, mass cremations or burials might be required. 'I don't want to come across as saying the state's going to make this decision to do mass cremations and ruin the lives of families. That's certainly not the intent,' Estock said. 'But it (the executive order) just gives us maximum flexibility.' “

Rocky Mountain News
“State prepares for bioterrorism / Executive orders give governor additional powers”, February 8, 2003

“At present the population of the world is increasing at about 58,000 per diem. War, so far, has had no very great effect on this increase, which continued throughout each of the world wars. War has hitherto been disappointing in this respect, but perhaps bacteriological war may prove effective. If a Black Death could spread throughout the world once in every generation, survivors could procreate freely without making the world too full. The state of affairs might be unpleasant, but what of it?”

Bertrand Russell
Author and Philosopher

From The Impact of Science On Society (1953)

“Gradually, by selective breeding, the congenital differences between rulers and ruled will increase until they become almost different species. A revolt of the plebs would become as unthinkable as an organized insurrection of sheep against the practice of eating mutton.”

Bertrand Russell
From The Impact of Science on Society (1953)

“…while great wars cannot be avoided until there is a World Government, a World Government cannot be stable until every important country has nearly stationary population.”

Bertram Russell

“Those least fit to carry on the race are increasing most rapidly...Funds that should be used to raise the standard of our civilization are diverted to maintenance of those who should never have been born.”

Margaret Sanger
Founder of Planned Parenthood

Quoted by Elsah Droghin in The Pivot of Civilization

“Effective execution of Agenda 21 will require a profound reorientation of all human society, unlike anything the world has ever experienced - a major shift in the priorities of both governments and individuals and an unprecedented redeployment of human and financial resources. This shift will demand that a concern for the environmental consequences of every human action be integrated into individual and collective decision-making at every level.”

UN Agenda 21


“In my view, after fifty years of service in the United National system, I perceive the utmost urgency and absolute necessity for proper Earth government. There is no shadow of a doubt that the present political and economic systems are no longer appropriate and will lead to the end of life evolution on this planet. We must therefore absolutely and urgently look for new ways.”

Dr. Robert Muller
UN Assistant Secretary General

“Democracy is not a panacea. It cannot organize everything and it is unaware of its own limits. These facts must be faced squarely. Sacrilegious though this may sound, democracy is no longer well suited for the tasks ahead. The complexity and the technical nature of many of today's problems do not always allow elected representatives to make competent decisions at the right time.”

Club of Rome
The First Global Revolution

“We need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination… So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”

Stephen Schneider
Stanford Professor of Climatology, Lead author of many IPCC reports

“Humans on the Earth behave in some ways like a pathogenic micro-organism, or like the cells of a tumor.”

Sir James Lovelock
From Healing Gaia

“Public health measures for child survival don’t necessarily have to be put into practice, merely because they are possible.”

Professor Maurice King
Compiled and edited the bible of the primary health care movement, Medical Care in Developing Countries From 1990 article in the Lancet

“No matter if the science of global warming is all phony, climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”

Christine Stewart
Fmr Canadian Minister of the Environment

“We've got to ride this global warming issue. Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing in terms of economic and environmental policy.”

Timothy Wirth
President of the UN Foundation

“Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”

Maurice Strong
Founder of the UN Environment Program

“If we do not voluntarily bring population growth under control in the next one or two decades, then nature will do it for us in the most brutal way, whether we like it or not.”

Henry W. Kendall
Nobel Prize recipient, a founding member of the Union of Concerned Scientists

“A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells, the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people. We must shift our efforts from the treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many apparently brutal and heartless decisions.”

Paul Ehrlich
Professor of Population Studies

From The Population Bomb

“Current lifestyles and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class - involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, air-conditioning, and suburban housing - are not sustainable.”

Maurice Strong
Rio Earth Summit

“My three main goals would be to reduce human population to about 100 million worldwide, destroy the industrial infrastructure and see wilderness, with it’s full complement of species, returning throughout the world.”

Dave Foreman
Co-founder of Earth First!

“The big threat to the planet is people: there are too many, doing too well economically and burning too much oil.”

Sir James Lovelock
Scientist, environmentalist, futurologist; proposed Gaia hypothesis, from BBC Interview

“Giving society cheap, abundant energy would be the equivalent of giving an idiot child a machine gun.”

Prof Paul Ehrlich

“The optimum human population of earth is zero.”

Dave Foreman
Co-Founder of Earth First!

“We must make this an insecure and inhospitable place for capitalists and their projects. We must reclaim the roads and plowed land, halt dam construction, tear down existing dams, free shackled rivers and return to wilderness millions of acres of presently settled land.”

David Foreman
Co-founder of Earth First!

“Complex technology of any sort is an assault on human dignity. It would be little short of disastrous for us to discover a source of clean, cheap, abundant energy, because of what we might do with it.”

Amory Lovins
Rocky Mountain Institute

“Which is the greater danger - nuclear warfare or the population explosion? The latter absolutely! To bring about nuclear war, someone has to DO something; someone has to press a button. To bring about destruction by overcrowding, mass starvation, anarchy, the destruction of our most cherished values-there is no need to do anything. We need only do nothing except what comes naturally - and breed. And how easy it is to do nothing.”

Isaac Asimov

“There are only two possible ways in which a world of 10 billion people can be averted. Either the current birth rates must come down more quickly or the current death rates must go up. There is no other way…to put it simply: excessive population growth is the greatest single obstacle to the economic and social advancement of most of the societies in the developing world.”

Robert McNamara, Former U.S. Secretary of Defense


“The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States. We can’t let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the US. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are.”

Michael Oppenheimer
Environmental Defense Fund

“A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.”

Paul Ehrlich

“One American burdens the earth much more than twenty Bangladeshes. This is a terrible thing to say in order to stabilize world population, we must eliminate 350,000 people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it's just as bad not to say it.”

Jacques Yves Cousteau
UNESCO Courier

“Frankly, I had thought that at the time Roe was decided, there was concern about population growth and particularly growth in populations that we don't want to have too many of.”

Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Supreme Court Justice

“Each person we add now disproportionately impacts on the environment and life-support systems of the planet.”

Paul Ehrlich

“We should all be obliged to appear before a board every five years and justify our existence...on pain of liquidation.”

George Bernard Shaw
Author, co-founder of the London School of Economics

“A finite world can support only a finite population; therefore, population growth must eventually equal zero.”

Garrett Hardin
Author, ecologist, coined the concept of The Tragedy of the Commons

“Still, whether we like it or not, the task of speeding up the decrease of the human population becomes increasingly urgent.”

Havelock Ellis
British physician, psychologist, author, and social reformer

“Instead of controlling the environment for the benefit of the population, maybe we should control the population to ensure the survival of our environment.”

Sir David Attenborough
Author, broadcaster, naturalist

“Once it was necessary that the people should multiply and be fruitful if the race was to survive. But now to preserve the race it is necessary that people hold back the power of propagation."

Helen Keller
Author, Blind/Deaf Advocate

“Either a species learns to control its own population, or something like disease, famine, war, will take care of the issue.”

Chuck Palahniuk
Author, freelance journalist

“In the last 200 years the population of our planet has grown exponentially, at a rate of 1.9% per year. If it continued at this rate, with the population doubling every 40 years, by 2600 we would all be standing literally shoulder to shoulder.”

Stephen Hawking
Physicist, cosmologist, Director of Research at Cambridge University

“...democracy cannot survive overpopulation. Human dignity cannot survive it. Convenience and decency cannot survive it. As you put more and more people into the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears. It doesn't matter if someone dies. The more people there are, the less one individual matters.”

Isaac Asimov

“Out of the full spectrum of human personality, one-fourth is electing to transcend…One-fourth is ready to so choose, given the example of one other…One-fourth is resistant to election. They are unattracted by life ever-evolving. One-fourth is destructive. They are born angry with God…They are defective seeds…There have always been defective seeds. In the past they were permitted to die a ‘natural death’…We, the elders, have been patiently waiting until the very last moment before the quantum transformation, to take action to cut out this corrupted and corrupting element in the body of humanity. It is like watching a cancer grow…Now, as we approach the quantum shift from creature-human to co-creative human—the human who is an inheritor of god-like powers—the destructive one-fourth must be eliminated from the social body. We have no choice, dearly beloveds. Fortunately you, dearly beloveds, are not responsible for this act. We are. We are in charge of God’s selection process for planet Earth. He selects, we destroy. We are the riders of the pale horse, Death. We come to bring death to those who are unable to know God…The riders of the pale horse are about to pass among you. Grim reapers, they will separate the wheat from the chaff. This is the most painful period in the history of humanity…”

Barbara Marx Hubbard
Former Democratic vice-presidential candidate, Advisor to the U.S. Department of Defense,

From The Book of Co-Creation, self-published, 1980

“There is a single theme behind all our work–we must reduce population levels. Either governments do it our way, through nice clean methods, or they will get the kinds of mess that we have in El Salvador, or in Iran or in Beirut. Population is a political problem. Once population is out of control, it requires authoritarian government, even fascism, to reduce it….”

Thomas Ferguson
Former official in the U.S. State Department Office of Population Affairs

“It is obvious that if in the future racial qualities are to be improved, the improving must be wrought mainly by favoring the fecundity [fertility] of the worthy types... At present, we do just the reverse. There is no check to the fecundity of those who are subnormal...”

Theodore Roosevelt
Former U.S. President

“If the world is to save any part of its resources for the future, it must reduce not only consumption but the number of consumers.”

B.F. Skinner
Behaviorist, author, inventor, social philosopher

“We have been God-like in our planned breeding of our domesticated plants and animals, but we have been rabbit-like in our unplanned breeding of ourselves.”

Arnold Joseph Toynbee
British author and historian

“A program of sterilizing women after their second or third child, despite the relatively greater difficulty of the operation than vasectomy, might be easier to implement than trying to sterilize men. The development of a long-term sterilizing capsule that could be implanted under the skin and removed when pregnancy is desired opens additional possibilities for coercive fertility control. The capsule could be implanted at puberty and might be removable, with official permission, for a limited number of births.”

John P. Holdren, Barack Obama’s science advisor


“The negative impact of population growth on all of our planetary ecosystems is becoming appallingly evident.”

David Rockefeller
Grandson of John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil

“No human is genuinely 'carbon neutral,' especially when all greenhouse gases are figured into the equation.”

United Nations Population Fund report


“There are some reports, for example, that some countries have been trying to construct something like an Ebola Virus, and that would be a very dangerous phenomenon, to say the least. Alvin Toeffler has written about this in terms of some scientists in their laboratories trying to devise certain types of pathogens that would be ethnic specific so that they could just eliminate certain ethnic groups and races; and others are designing some sort of engineering, some sort of insects that can destroy specific crops. Others are engaging even in an eco- type of terrorism whereby they can alter the climate, set off earthquakes, volcanoes remotely through the use of electromagnetic waves. So there are plenty of ingenious minds out there that are at work finding ways in which they can wreak terror upon other nations. It’s real, and that’s the reason why we have to intensify our efforts, and that’s why this is so important.”

U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen
April 28, 1997, Testimony before Congressional Committee

“No woman shall have the legal right to bear a child… without a permit for parenthood.”

Margaret Sanger
Founder of Planned Parenthood

In her proposed The American Baby Code, intended to become law

“The effect on the planet of having one child less is an order of magnitude greater than all these other things we might do, such as switching off lights. An extra child is the equivalent of a lot of flights across the planet.”

John Guillebaud
Professor of Family Planning

College London

“The elderly are useless eaters.”

Henry Kissinger
Former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State

Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, Member Club of Rome

“I mean, sure, we have great respect for the human species .... But evolution can be just damn cruel, and to say that we've got a perfect genome and there's some sanctity to it, I'd just like to know where that idea comes from. It's utter silliness. And the other thing, because no one really has the guts to say it, I mean, if we could make better human beings by knowing how to add genes, why shouldn't we do it?”

James Watson
Molecular biologist, geneticist, zoologist, co-discovered the structure of DNA

“Looking past the near-term concerns that have plagued population policy at the political level, it is increasingly apparent that the long-term sustainability of civilization will require not just a leveling-off of human numbers as projected over the coming half-century, but a colossal reduction in both population and consumption.”

Ken Smail
Professor in the Anthropology Department

College in Ohio

“This planet might be able to support perhaps as many as half a billion people who could live a sustainable life in relative comfort. Human populations must be greatly diminished, and as quickly as possible to limit further environmental damage.”

Eric R. Pianka
Professor of Biology at the University of Texas at Austin

“…in early times, it was easier to control a million people, literally it was easier to control a million people than physically to kill a million people. Today, it is infinitely easier to kill a million people than to control a million people. It is easier to kill than to control....”

Zbignew Brzezinski
Former National Security Advisor

House Address, November 17th, 2008

“The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.”

Henry Kissinger
Former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State

Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, Member Club of Rome

Quoted in New York Times, Oct. 28, 1973

“I believe it is appropriate to have an 'over-representation' of the facts on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience.”

Al Gore
Former U.S. Vice President

Nobel Peace Price Recipient

“In searching for a new enemy to unite us, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill…. But in designating them as the enemy, we fall into the trap of mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy, then, is humanity itself.”

Alexander King, Bertrand Schneider
Founder and Secretary, respectively, Club of Rome

The First Global Revolution, pgs 104-105, 1991

"Eventually, it seems evident, a general system, whether private or public, whereby all personal facts, biological and mental, normal and morbid, are duly and systematically registered, must become inevitable if we are to have a real guide as to those persons who are most fit, or most unfit to carry on the race."

Havelock Ellis
British physician, psychologist, author, and social reformer

The Task of Social Hygiene

"As an advocate of birth control I wish … to point out that the unbalance between the birth rate of the ‘unfit’ and the ‘fit,’ admittedly the greatest present menace to civilization, can never be rectified by the inauguration of a cradle competition between these two classes. In this matter, the example of the inferior classes, the fertility of the feeble-minded, the mentally defective, the poverty-stricken classes, should not be held up for emulation…. On the contrary, the most urgent problem today is how to limit and discourage the over-fertility of the mentally and physically defective."

Margaret Sanger
Founder of Planned Parenthood

“Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.

Guide reproduction wisely - improving fitness and diversity.

Be not a cancer on the earth - Leave room for nature.”

Georgia Guidestones
Anonymously commissioned

Three of the “New 10 Commandments”

Elbert County
, Georgia, USA

“This planet is on course for a catastrophe. The existence of Life itself is at stake.”

Dr Tim Flannery
Research Scientist, Professor at Macquarie University, chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council


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