Biden could rise to greatness by recognizing COVID-19’s urgent significance: the looming danger of overpopulation

By Donald A. Collins | 15 April 2020
Church and State

(Image: Gage Skidmore / Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0)

On consecutive days we have heard Bernie Sanders and Barack Obama endorse Joseph Biden as the Democrat nominee for President of the United States. Absent a big convention and the usual hoopla which surrounds a political election year, one may be inclined to think “Oh well, we have Biden and as a democrat, I will doubtless vote for him, as I think he is an honorable man far better than the incumbent.”

Certainly the campaign could emphasize the many warts of Trump, but it occurs to me that the rather mundane image Biden projects would be hugely enhanced if he could take a world issue to a higher level and rally the world to join him and us!

Coronavirus had become a world issue which will be playing out over the coming months as a primary focus for the world and for the election.

As we acknowledge the many pandemics from the earlier great plagues to the 1918 Spanish flu, to SARS and to Ebola, many current experts predicted Coronavirus but apparently no leader believed it would become the world’s first earth wide plague. Certainly not Mr. Trump.

But to me the failure of early action, which to me was a bit like the wag’s comment, “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play” that failure was not by far the most frightening omission of communication to me and to many of my colleagues in family planning and the environment.

While many experts have long written and spoken about the dangers of overpopulation we still even now with Coronavirus don’t see any prominent media coverage of this basic underlying cause of our diseases now.

Why not?

In my earlier piece published April 14th, my editor added powerful film presentations which brilliantly raised the issue of the current abject failure of all major leaders to act on this overpopulation issue. I have asked my editor to exactly repeat these additions on this present piece so all can again be treated to the towering, frightening evidence presented and further understand the possible more benign vs the horrific scenarios if we either act or ignore their advice.

Because the weather abnormalities, the massive plague deaths, the crowding of the poor in untenable slums or the disposal of waste such as plastics creating huge blocks in the Pacific and elsewhere are ignored as someone else’s problem.

Power blocks leading the charge against family planning and abortion choice are the world’s main religions.

Their definition of choice is murder. Wonder how they rank Coronavirus deaths alongside fetuses?

Credible experts as you can hear at the end of this piece offer certain scenarios to our present mindless dash toward adding more and more humans on a finite planet.

Reality brings us again to the limits to growth concern raised by a publication of the same name by The Club of Rome in 1972 when world population was 3.8 billion about half what it is now—nearly 8 billion! With the prospect of 10 billion by 2050.

As Eric Lipton and others so brilliantly documented in their updated April 14, 2020 N.Y. Times story, Trump’s delay in taking the advice of his scientific experts about the onrushing Coronavirus caused the current sprout of unnecessary deaths here.

“Any way you cut it, this is going to be bad,” a senior medical adviser at the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dr. Carter Mecher, wrote on the night of Jan. 28, in an email to a group of public health experts scattered around the government and universities. “The projected size of the outbreak already seems hard to believe.”

A week after the first coronavirus case had been identified in the United States, and six long weeks before President Trump finally took aggressive action to confront the danger the nation was facing — a pandemic that is now forecast to take tens of thousands of American lives — Dr. Mecher was urging the upper ranks of the nation’s public health bureaucracy to wake up and prepare for the possibility of far more drastic action.

His was hardly a lone voice. Throughout January, as Mr. Trump repeatedly played down the seriousness of the virus and focused on other issues, an array of figures inside his government — from top White House advisers to experts deep in the cabinet departments and intelligence agencies — identified the threat, sounded alarms and made clear the need for aggressive action.

The president, though, was slow to absorb the scale of the risk and to act accordingly, focusing instead on controlling the message, protecting gains in the economy and batting away warnings from senior officials. It was a problem, he said, that had come out of nowhere and could not have been foreseen.

The Club of Rome’s as yet unheeded overpopulation warning fits this category perfectly.

What a chance for a major world leader in the bight of this pandemic to leap out of the type of campaign Biden is expected to conduct and raise this issue internationally.

Instead of the expected accusatory back and forth with Trump, the proven liar and braggart, Biden could call if elected for a major meeting at the UN where resources, peace prospects and world opinion could be sought, not just for the United States but for all humankind.

Biden could point out that without the end of nuclear war, without educating women better and without offering all women the right to regulate their fertility we are on the precipice of world disorder.

At 89 I may not be around to say I told you so but certainly the presently unheard weeping and gnashing of teeth of the billions of people living on the edge of poverty and despair worldwide will become increasingly audible and palpable to those rich and deaf people who could by raising living standards now let the curve of world numbers start to decline toward sustainable levels just as we now hope for the Coronavirus.

Sadly there remain no major world leaders YET willing to suggest the need for fewer humans who could better share our limited space with all the other living creatures on Earth. The price we will pay for ignoring the burgeoning crisis will be beyond imagination.

Biden could be that man and he would do so with the political cover of Coronavirus while opening a positive avenue to world peace and order.

That bravery on his part could be a major difference for Biden!! From being just another potentially lightly regarded candidate to one who could change the Earth by acting bravely to address the world’s most ignored and important priority.

Biden could rise to greatness by recognizing COVID-19’s true message and provide a significant warning to all humans on the certain disaster coming if nothing is done.

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
Kindle Store

Jane Goodall @ Population Matters Conference 2019

Sir David Attenborough on Overpopulation

The Threat of Overpopulation

How the world went from 170 million people to 7.3 billion, in one map

Be sure to ‘like’ us on Facebook


  1. It is all good and ethical that all women including those in poverty situations should have the right to decide over her own body. However what must be taken into consideration is that in severe poverty a large family will have a sufficient survival rate to ensure the parents have a existance in old age by depending on the children.
    The way forward to population reduction is to ensure the self sustainability in old age of the present generation and possibility of a income that will lead to a prosporus living in return for work well done.
    Let the politicians stop pilfering the national budgets and qualify their people for Intelligent work functions and uplift their nations to a level where there subjects do not have poverty as the national concern but have the quality upbringing of their children as the target on life.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here