Women are on track to save the planet from environmental ruin by having fewer children, science writer Fred Pearce argued on The Daily Show last night.
Contrary to the fear that overpopulation will exhaust the world's resources, Pearce says that women making choices to having fewer children are "defusing the population bomb." And that's not just in the developed world, as Stewart said he'd assumed.
"They're saying, if I have a choice between working and having a family, and if men, and the state, and the church, and employers make it really hard for me to have both, then they say, 'Well, I'll have a job and forget about the family,'" he said.
And that's happened without the social control of forced sterilization or widely adopted one-child policies, both of which Pearce chronicles in his new book, The Coming Population Crash And Our Planet's Surprising Future. It's happened with the help of the various prongs of reproductive choice, from sexual education to contraception to access to abortion.
"What we're now discovering is that women are doing it on their own," Pearce said.