The Great Decrease - aka de grote krimp in Dutch - is an organisation that wants to open up to have a discussion about the global population growth. After a number of public evenings in the Netherlands (www.degrotekrimp.nl) about the subject of our population growth, the organisation concluded with a modest international billboard campaign. They decided to post these billboards in places where the birth rates are very low. As the Great Decrease site says:
'Shrink towards abundance!' and 'Celebrate low birth rates!'. In an overpopulated world having less children is the most pro-child action you can take. According to the Great Decrease falling birth rates are a blessing. Therefore we start an international campaign to encourage countries with low birth rates to celebrate this.
The Great Decrease put up billboards in Portugal (with a 1.2 birth rate the country with the lowest birth rate in Europe), Singapore (birth rate of 1.3) and the Netherlands (birth rate of 1.6).
Not everyone agrees, however.
Filipe d'Avillez spotted the billboard in Sintra and went there with his family to show what he thinks about it. They don't agree that the fact that there are fewer children born is something to celebrate. Neither do many other people.
Hans Rosling, who knew how to paint the future by numbers predicted that the world population will never exceed 11 billion anyway, and way back in 2010, in Cannes, he explained that it's only by raising the poorest peoples living standard that we lower birth rates.
If we are worrying about birth rates, because, as the site "The Great Decrease" puts it "the large number of people is the driving force behind today's major problems, including climate change, loss of biodiversity and scarcity of resources" then, one would think, solving these problems would be a more presssing issue than to just have fewer kids. As Hans Rosling notes, as billions are lifted out of poverty by improvements in health, education, and infrastructure, as is happening and seems likely to continue, their energy use goes up dramatically.
There's the paradox, improved quality of life lowers birth rates, but it also increases energy consumption even though there are fewer people born.
These issues won't be solved by a billboard, no matter if it celebrates the low birth rates of Portugal, Singapore or the Netherlands.