Benjamin Dancer wants to save the world.
Dancer’s debut novel, Patriarch Run, features a bad guy who intends to take down the power grid to stop human population growth. Leaders in the sustainability movement have endorsed this “eco-thriller,” for its realistic depiction of threats to America.
The book illustrates the authors’ answer to solving the sustainability crisis: reducing overpopulation.
And he plans to do it with the help of Endangered Species Condoms that come in boxes featuring colorful artwork and catchphrases such as “Fumbling in the dark? Think of the monarch” and “Wrap with care. Save the polar bear.” The Center for Biological Diversity created them to raise awareness about the unintended consequences of continued population growth on wildlife species.
“The thing you don’t like about the world is an unintended consequence of overpopulation,” Dancer said during the Nov. 12 Green Lit Reading Series at Wolverine Farm Letterpress and Publick House.
The world population is 7.5 billion, up from 3.5 billion about 40 years ago. “In my lifetime, the population has doubled,” Dancer said.
One hundred years ago, the population was 1.5 billion and grew to 2 billion around 1930, before World War II.
“You want to know why we have climate change?” he said. “…If all of us are going to drive to work, that becomes a disaster. It’s not about fossil fuel, it’s about our need for it.”
Dancer, who is public relations director for the Colorado EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security (the Colorado branch of a Congressional advisory board), also works a a high school advisor mentoring students. He’s teaching his students from The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert.
Dancer also mentioned the exponential function: anything will double in 70 years.
“I would advocate we don’t need any more population growth,” Dancer said.
Dancer works with people from both sides of the political aisle on society’s vulnerability: namely our food supply, which is transported long distance, and which relies on electricity. If the power grid goes dark, most of us would die.
“Every component of our food system is electrified,” he said.
This intersection between national security and sustainability is of interest to both conservatives and liberals, he said, because conservatives want to improve national security and liberals are interested in increasing the use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power.
If wouldn’t be a threat if our population were sustainable, he said. Dancer outlines how to achieve a sustainable population on his website, and invites everyone to contact him and join the movement.
The author’s emphasis is on loving and respecting one another: “We treat other people the way we treat ourselves.”
If we respected everyone’s rights, he said, we’d solve our problems. For example, countries that respect women’s rights – meaning access to education and contraception – have a population of women who, on average, have just one or two children. (According to girlsnotbrides.org, 15 million girls worldwide are married before age 18 every year.)
“If we respected [women’s] rights, we’d solve our problem,” Dancer said. “(1) Love ourselves, (2) solve overpopulation. A solution is that beautiful: loving ourselves.”
He concluded his talk with an invitation to everyone to contact him if they are interested in these topics, and a statement about his life’s goal:
“I hope this is the beginning of a relationship because I really do want to save the world.”
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Laura Pritchett read from her new novel The Blue Hour, to be published in February 2017, during the Green Lit Reading Series at Wolverine Farm Letterpress and Publick House.