Uncrowded empowers individuals in the most effective way possible: by focusing on how their lives begin, and by helping parents invest more in each child in part by having fewer children.
Uncrowded is replacing outdated models of parenting that isolate families and value systematic growth over individual development with a rights-based model for responsible parenting that maximizes the development of each child as a democratic citizen. Outdated parenting models have crowded our world with enough people to degrade our own atmosphere, destroyed communities, and lead to dysfunctional democracies characterized by massive inequality. Uncrowded is reversing these trends with a parenting model that balances five universal values inherent in having children, a model that brings children into the world on a path to becoming truly free and equal, and able to govern the sustainable communities in which they live.
The best way to create life is to make sure it will be better than our own, and that means working with others do the same.
Uncrowded was founded by people who want to find a new and common-sense way of thinking about our crowded world, and about the underlying causes of many environmental and social problems like crime, traffic and pollution, that many of us experience in our daily lives. We focus on the cause of these problems rather than the problems themselves, and integrate human rights, environmental, and child advocacy efforts to avoid working at cross-purposes and furthering one area at cost to another. We believe that the decision to have children should make the world a better place to live, in part because the children we have will have to live in it.
Over the past several decades, thanks to the evolution of human and particularly women’s rights as well as the availability of contraception and reproductive health services, most people in the world have had fewer children than their parents and grandparents, and many people have chosen not to have children at all. That change has meant more resources and better conditions for each child born, and has accelerated economic and social development, prevented famines and other environmental catastrophes, and given more freedom to parents and those that choose not to parent. Because we have had fewer children, and invested more in each child born, it is a safer, healthier, happier and greener world than it might have been.
But while most of us are changing the way we act to make the world a better place, many of our laws and policies remain stuck in the past, sending the wrong message. Instead of supporting parents who have smaller families where parents can provide more for themselves and for each child they have, and valuing and investing in future children as individuals, many governments are pushing outdated policies that hurt parents by promoting bigger families and inflated economies where children are treated as future laborers and consumers. They ignore the rights of children to be born into loving homes and to be provided for. They ignore everyone’s right to a clean and safe environment and to nature. They encourage each of us to have lots of children, to have those children at a young age, and to have those children whether or not we have the resources to care for them. They do little to protect children from neglectful and abusive parents. These laws and policies are sending the wrong message: promoting bad parenting, valuing economies over future children as individuals, and destroying what remains of the natural world.
At the same time, special interests are fighting back against people’s desire to have fewer children and are actively promoting an overpopulated and crowded world. These interests benefit from inflating economies, and from constantly growing crowds of surplus labor, disenfranchised citizens, and insatiable consumers. These interests want to prevent population from falling to a sustainable number and stabilizing. These interests work against the conditions necessary for vibrant and substantive democracies – a relatively small group of self-governing people – and instead value the unlimited expansion of power and wealth.
Humanity is now at a crossroads: Whether the average person alive today has between 1 and 2 children, or between 2 and 3 children, will largely determine whether the world’s population stabilizes and falls in the next century to a sustainable level that allows for humans and nature to coexist, or explodes to over twice its current size, and overruns and destroys what is left of the natural world.
Population growth is a collective action problem, and self-exacerbating. People have little incentive to reduce their family size for public reasons if others will not do the same, and it gets harder for people to cooperate regarding family size the more people there are. People need a way to cooperate regarding family size.
[pullquote4 align=”right”]Systems start with the people in them, and people start becoming who they are the day they are born.[/pullquote4]At Uncrowded we see law as cooperative and expressive, and are working to change our laws and policies, the tools we use to solve collective action problems, to reflect the progress in family planning and drop in birthrates the world has seen over the past several decades. We are also working to ferret out and hold accountable those regressive special interests who are fighting back against the trend towards smaller families and who are instead promoting thoughtless parenting and a crowded world. Uncrowded values future children as individuals and participants in the democratic process, pushes for continued progress in how we parent, furthers the right of children to be born into loving homes where they are provided for, and furthers everyone’s right to enjoy a clean and safe environment and the freedom of nature.
How is Uncrowded different from other organizations?
Uncrowded is the first-ever integrated human rights, environmental, and child advocacy organization – working in all three areas simultaneously and in a way that advances these causes together. We believe the key to protecting both children and environment lies in a deeply democratic praxis of human rights, a political reformation that values, invests in, and empowers future children as individuals and self-governing citizens, based upon these two core principles:
Family planning is the heart of democracy and the first place rational societies concentrate their efforts because family planning determines constituency, the ultimate source of democratic political authority. Human rights, environmentalism, and child advocacy remain insufficiently thought out without a thorough examination of the morality of family planning. Uncrowded believes there is a fundamental human right to have children. But because having children has been fundamental to the survival of our species, and because having children slowly leads to changes in the future rather than producing immediate collective results, the right to have children has never been seriously examined. When it is, we see that it is intricate, complex, and limited, like the right to speak freely, and that it is based primarily on the values of continuity and the improvement of life. We see that it also requires parents to act responsibly when choosing to have children, in part so that the children born become self-governing parts of vibrant and substantive democracies.
While there is a fundamental human right to have children there is also a fundamental human right to an uncrowded environment in which we can be free of other people, which means that local wilderness areas and biodiversity must be restored and reasonably accessible to all.
These two rights are related because we all deserve to live in a world that does not need to be protected from the people that inhabit it. Here are some of the areas in which we work, and specific goals we wish to achieve, to move us all towards an uncrowded future.
Our Vision of the Future
Freedom: Wilderness and nature mean freedom — the freedom to actually or physically escape the power of other people as well as their culture and their influence, and to truly individuate ourselves from others. Nature and wilderness mean the freedom to choose who has power over us. We all have a basic human right to wilderness and nature, and wilderness and nature should be restored around us and always be nearby so that we can truly get away from others and be let alone. Uncrowded is working to include a right to wilderness and biodiversity within the rights implied by the U.S. Constitution, as well as the key international instruments that list fundamental international human rights.
Understanding: We understand that the decision to have children is not a private or socially isolated matter because doing so impacts such a large number of people. The decision impacts the child born and drastically changes the lives of the parents to whom the child is born. Having children also affects everyone in our democratic society with whom the child will share equal power as a citizen and inevitably displaces the wilderness and nature that allows us to be free of other people. We also understand that our fundamental human right to have children diminishes with each child that we have and that having one or two children will normally suffice. People can understand and internalize a replacement level fertility norm. Uncrowded is working to make the law reflect the fact that our interest in having children diminishes with each child that we have, and that everyone in society shares an interest in all children being raised well.
Thresholds: If we care about and value each child that will be born we must also care about the conditions into which they should—and should not—be born. Every child has a right to be born into conditions necessary for a good life, part of which involves having opportunities equal to those of other children in that society.
Undaunted: For the good of all we have to be undaunted and break the taboo against speaking out about good and bad parenting. We have to recognize, publicly, that having children that we will not care for, or more children than we can care for, is wrong. Uncrowded is breaking the taboo, and openly working to ferret out and hold accountable those special interests who are actively promoting parents having too many children, or children they will not care for.
Responsibility: Parents must raise the children they have to be good citizens because those children will impact all of us and eventually share equal power with us in our democratic society. The children born today, as future citizens, will one day wield power over us all. Uncrowded is working to make sure each child is born into conditions that promote their becoming good members of society.
Equality: Societies are morally obligated to ensure resources that will give the children born opportunities equal to those of other children in that society. In order to do that, resources must be redistributed, but parents also cannot have more children than their society can provide for. Uncrowded is working to ensure that each child born has opportunities approaching that of other children in that society.