August 11, 1999
Volume 1/ Number 13
Dear Friend and Colleague:
A few weeks ago, PRI revealed Disney’s collaboration in promoting the myth of overpopulation. The 1968 cartoon, “Planificacion Familiar” (“Family Planning”), features Donald Duck, a well-loved children’s figure, proclaiming the dangers of population growth, including mass starvation (PRI’s Weekly News Briefing of 22 June 1999, Volume 1, Number 6). Disney Educational Productions told PRI that “Family Planning” was discontinued in 1988 because of decreasing demand. But a Disney video produced in 1996 reveals that Disney’s penchant for population control propaganda continues to this day.
Steven W. Mosher
Disney Continues to Propagandize ‘Myth of Overpopulation’ in Public Schools
Body Shop Founder Alleges Disney Forcibly Contracepts Sweatshop Workers
Disney’s promotion of “family planning” did not end with the Donald Duck video. “Populations,” a video produced by Disney Educational Productions in 1996, is an attempt to propagandize a whole new generation of public elementary school kids about the “need” for population control.
“Populations” features Bill Nye the “Science Guy.” It opens with a shot of an overcrowded room. Then a mock ad — for “New, Improved ‘Populax’ — for those times when you’re feeling overpopulated” — appears on screen. What do “a colony of ants, a swarm of bees… and a crowd of people” all have in common, a disturbed-looking Nye asks. “We’re all populations!” he shouts.
The 26 minute montage of pop control propaganda continues with a student’s experiment showing plants—and a human population—growing exponentially. “Populations usually keep other populations under control,” a child explains. Ominously, however, the human population continues to grow exponentially.
In a frenetic scene change, another youngster (dressed like a beekeeper) declares: “You have to control population, so it doesn’t get overpopulated.”
Bill Nye, with neo-Malthusian overtones, says that “[w]hen I was in fourth grade, there were about three billion people living on earth. Now there are almost six billion… And by the time people in the fourth grade now are my age, there could be 12 or 15 billion. You see how fast populations can increase?”
Nothing is said about the fact that the UN Population Division has projected that the world’s population will never double again (UN Population Division’s 1998 World Population Prospects).
The video rushes toward its apocalyptic conclusion with a shot of a sweaty Nye racing quickly through a crowded inner-city: “We have to find a way to restrict the rate of growth of the human population. Otherwise, it’s going to get out of control. There won’t be enough for everyone to eat. It’s going to be hard for everyone… [fade to black] …where’s everybody going?”
Again, nothing is said about the fact that in 16 of the last 30 years the world has set new records in food production, and that per capita calorie consumption continues to climb.
“Populations” was made by Disney Educational Productions for use in public schools in collaboration with the National Science Foundation, Rabbit Ears Productions, and KCTS 9 Public Television, Seattle.
Disney apparently practices what it preaches. Allegations of forcibly contracepting employees in Haitian sweatshops, subcontracted by Disney to produce Disney products, were raised during a C-SPAN presentation on 2 February 1999 by Anita Roddick, founder and CEO of the Body Shop, aworldwide natural cosmetic franchise. Roddick cited a recent report of “sweatshops” in Haiti conducted by investigators of National Labor Committee, a human rights watchdog group. “When we saw the conditions of the… Haitian places where they make your sacred cow Disney products,” Roddick said, “and you saw the women being lined up and being forced to have contraceptive pills, or being injected… working inside locked environments,” the reputation of Disney can be further questioned. Roddick called for steps to be taken to stop these abuses (PRI Review, “Donald Duck Wants You!” June / July 1999, 6).