Poetry on Overpopulation

Phillips, Esther | August 25, 2017 | Leave a Comment Download as PDF

Shibuya crossing through dirty windows by George Alexander Ishida | Flickr | CC BY 2.0

I’ve been campaigning on overpopulation for the last ten years because I know that every effort I make in educating people is being undone by a tsunami of new arrivals: 10,000 per hour, 200,000 per day, 80 million per year –the equivalent of a new Germany. In my short life of just over half a century I have seen 50%, if not more, of biodiversity disappear. I am ashamed of my species and have begun to wonder whether we are more intelligent than amoebas.

There is a very simple way not to burden your children and grandchildren with the fallout of what we have done and are doing: don’t have any.  Whether it still is morally justifiable to have some is highly dubious as they have no choice, nor say whether they want to join us in this affray.

With that in mind, I have written this poem to my children:

For the love of our children

If we had children they would have been pretty
If we had children they would have been witty
If we had children they would have been clever
Had we had children they may well never:

Never forgive us the collective stupidity
Never forgive us the unfettered greed
Never forgive us that on the day we conceived
We didn’t instead spend the time watching telly

For what future is there for nine billion of them?
All of them programmed to come out on top
Having grazed the surface of the planet
Left to search the universe for a place with a crop

If we had children we would have loved them
And hoped in return they would love us
Nobody to look after us when we are old
Nobody to leave things to when we are cold

The biggest act of love is not to have them
In 80 years time a search for life may be in vain
What chance do they have for a future?
Not having them we’ll have saved them much pain

I am a woman hence programmed to bear them
Have a lovely mate, would have been a fantastic Dad
I am depressed when I think about Humans
But maybe my children would have been barking mad!!

So leave them where they are, as such they are perfect
Won’t play, nor steal, lie, murder, love or create
Leaves me to long for what could have been
And leaves our children in a much happier state

And another poem speaking to the motivation of having fun:

Hell bent on having fun

We are this funny creature
Seeking a reason for our existence
When we discovered there is none
We became hell-bent on having fun

But fun is a powerful drug
Turning Homo Sapiens into a thug
So when we thrash the place
On which our existence depends
A “high” IQ should tell our race
This is where the fun ends

My Mum told me you can’t take
Both the icing and the cake
Adverts over-rode this advice
And greed is such a powerful vice

I know the reptilian brain
Makes it difficult to restrain
Why wait for tomorrow?
When we can have now
The object of desire
And life can be such a cow?

To give ourselves a reason
To continue this existence
We put into the world children
Whether they want to be here or not
Now that is what I call abuse
The planet is getting hot
And no-one has the courage
To say kids are not part of this plot

And a final poem that simply asks, why? :

Why?

We blow the tops off mountains
We dredge the bottom of seas
We fly to visit other planets
And have done away with bees

We are prolific with our seeds
And don’t give a second thought
To what is in store for the weeds
That into the world we brought

Was that Creator on drugs
When he gave free will to thugs?
Or are we more likely an animal
Whose make-up is pretty abysmal?

We think we are oh so genial
Superior to any other creature
Yet, we tease, we bitch, we torture,
We envy, we steal and we kill

Oh yes from time to time we love
Often when we’re after something
Someone else’s treasure trove
Which with delight home we bring

To lead we select the powerful
Even if they’re wholly inept to rule
Why must this gorgeous planet
Be plagued with such a big fool?


The above post is through the MAHB’s Arts Community space –an open space for MAHB members to share, discuss, and connect with artwork processes and products pushing for change. Please visit the MAHB Arts Community to share and reflect on how art can promote critical changes in behavior and systems and contact Erika with any questions or suggestions you have regarding the space.

MAHB Blog: https://mahb.stanford.edu/creative-expressions/poetry-overpopulation/

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The views and opinions expressed through the MAHB Website are those of the contributing authors and do not necessarily reflect an official position of the MAHB. The MAHB aims to share a range of perspectives and welcomes the discussions that they prompt.
  • Karen Shragg

    These are excellent excellent palms a great way to get people to hear you who don’t read long dissertations from is the science community

    • Karen Shragg

      Poems. Oy