The One Planet, One Child Billboard Campaign alerts people to the overpopulation crisis and celebrates the choice to have a small family. Small families are helping to create a healthy planet, better lives and a promising future.

The world is overpopulated. Numerous scientific reports document the damage we’re doing to life-supporting ecosystems. But a surprising number of journalists, elected officials, pundits and members of the public are unaware.

This ad campaign is raising public awareness of overpopulation, improving everyone’s knowledge on the subject, and serving as a demonstration model that may jump-start a global campaign to speed progress toward a “small family norm.”

Phase one of our project was a one-month “proof of concept,” with two billboards in Minneapolis and another between Denver and Colorado Springs in early 2020. We next expanded our campaign to Vancouver, Canada later in 2020.

A global average of one child per woman for 100 years would contract world population from today’s nearly 7.8 billion to below 3 billion.


    By running this campaign in the U.S. and Canada (initially), we’ll have the opportunity to enlighten the public, journalists, pundits and elected officials about the fact that overpopulation is not just a problem to be addressed in the Global South; it is a very real problem in the industrialized world – because each new person added in that world will have a giant footprint. Even though birth rates are already low in the “overdeveloped world,” they need to be even lower in order to speed contraction back to a sustainable population level.


    Human overpopulation is present in Vancouver just as it is in most parts of the world. Everyone around the world needs to be aware of this crisis, because we all have a role to play in resolving it. Today’s below-replacement birth rates are good, but need to be even lower – until world population has contracted back to a sustainable level. While Vancouver occupies an area of about 2,800 square kilometers, its footprint (the area of the planet required to provide food, water and other resources, and to process the waste) is 36 times that. Reducing overconsumption can help Vancouver get back into sustainable equilibrium, but contracting population also must be part of the equation. Cities like Vancouver need to rethink their economic development strategies, ceasing to pursue population growth, and begin to celebrate the trend of more couples choosing smaller families.


    We cannot continue to grow our economy and population indefinitely. Stoking economic growth isn’t a good reason to bring a child into the world. If we can contract our population, a sustainable economy will be one that is sized to match. A healthy economy is one that is just big enough to meet our needs, and doesn’t outstrip limited resources.


    We’re not dictating anyone’s family-size. We’re helping young couples make informed decisions, and sharing some inspiration. The choice is theirs. The small-family solution to overpopulation is compassionate, voluntary, and ethical. It’s the most loving thing we can do for the children of the world.


    We’re not advocating that we ignore or give ourselves a pass on our overconsumption. But we cannot focus only on overconsumption and ignore the population multiplier in the sustainability equation. Achieving sustainability through reducing consumption alone would require everyone to live in poverty. Addressing overpopulation in all parts of the world will improve lives everywhere.

    Most families around the world have been choosing smaller and smaller families over the past sixty years; very few have voluntarily lowered their standard of living. Why not reinforce what has succeeded – voluntary reduction in fertility rates – rather than pin ALL our hopes on something no society has chosen to do before?


Right now, with nearly 8 billion of us:

  • We are ravaging wildlife populations. The number of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish across the globe is, on average, 68% less than it was 50 years ago.1
  • We are rapidly losing farmland. An area of cultivated land the size of Iowa and Wisconsin combined (75 million acres) is lost every year due to soil erosion and urban sprawl.2
  • We are rapidly destroying forests. Between 2000 and 2012 the Earth averaged a net loss every year of forested land about the size of Ohio (over 30 million acres).3
  • We are consuming non-renewable resources – fossil fuels, minerals, and metals – at an enormous rate. Over time, these resources are decreasing in quality and increasing in cost.
  • We are depleting global groundwater over 3 times faster than rainfall can recharge aquifers.4 By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and 2/3 of the world population could be under water stress conditions.5
  • We are eroding soil 10-40 times faster than soil can naturally form. 6
  • We are over-fishing, acidifying, and polluting our oceans.7
  • We are rapidly disrupting the relatively stable climate that human civilization and all other species have experienced for thousands of years, through our greenhouse gas emissions.8
  • We are creating massive amounts of waste and pollution.  Each of us contributes to:
    • 1) proliferation of ocean “dead zones” and dying coral reefs;
    • 2) rivers, lakes, and underground aquifers filling with industrial and agricultural pollution;
    • 3) soil contamination; and
    • 4) destruction and fouling of other species’ habitats.
  • We are increasing a wide range of social problems: resource conflicts and wars; refugee migration; overcrowding and traffic congestion; dilution of representative democracy; increasing bureaucratic complexity and loss of personal freedoms; higher food, energy, and housing costs; and rising youth unemployment…that continue to worsen as our numbers increase by more than 80 million people every year.
  • Over 40% of the global population – 3.4 billion people – live on less than $5.50 a day.9
  • Based on data from the Global Footprint Network, the Earth can generate renewable resources and absorb humanity’s wastes for only about 2 to 3 billion people at an average European’s level of consumption. It is important to understand that this analysis omits two tremendously important factors. It does not factor in the alarming depletion of all the non-renewable resources such as fossil fuels, metals, and minerals that make industrial civilization possible. Second, the footprint calculation does not set aside significant habitat for other species.
  • If all countries followed the lead of countries with the lowest fertility rates – including Taiwan, Poland, South Korea, Japan and Italy – we could reach a global population of less than 4 billion by 2100!10
Small Family One Child Choice World Population Balance
The World is Overpopulated - One Planet One Child
One Planet One Child Billboard Healthy Planet


Young women (and their partners) around the world are giving very careful consideration to the decision of how many children to have, or even whether to have children. Starting a family is no longer considered the “default,” thing to do once you reach young adulthood or get married.

The One Planet, One Child project hopes to make it easier for you to make an informed family-size decision.

Some of the factors to consider: