The Better(not bigger)VT Mission Statement

Better Not Bigger Vermont informs and motivates the public to take positive actions that reduce the harmful impacts that growing population, consumption, and development have on the environment, economy, and quality of life for current and future generations.

Vermont's most effective tool, by far, for reducing its carbon footprint is DISCOURAGE POPULATION GROWTH (see the first graph on our 'Population Graphs' page)

The U.S. Census Clock is embedded at the bottom of this page. (Click on this image to open it in a new tab on your browser)

Population Clock

What is a sustainable population?

The Better(not bigger)VT definition of sustainable is, “A sustainable human population is one where the people living in a given politically- or geographically-defined area (such as Vermont) do not live beyond the limits of the renewable resources of that area for either input (energy and matter) or output (food, material goods, and absorption of pollution). They then purchase or trade from environmentally-aware sources those necessities that cannot be locally satisfied in sufficient amounts. They will thereby live in a manner that allows present & future generations of people and all other life native in the area to enjoy healthy habitats over the long term.”

Better(not bigger)Vermont History

Better(not bigger)Vermont began in 2005 when Vermonters for a Sustainable Population was formed by a group of Vermont residents who are very concerned about the population-driven environmental degradation taking place on our planet and in the United States, which has the fastest population growth in the developed world. This growth is leading to sprawl, congestion and excessive use of energy and other natural resources. It also makes it much more difficult to solve the global problems of global warming, loss of biodiversity, poverty, and creating peace instead of war. We believe that Vermonters need to acknowledge and discuss the population issue, and take steps that will lead to a sustainable population globally, in this country, and in Vermont.

Better(not bigger)Vermont:
A Unique Environmental Organization

Better(not bigger)VT is the only one of the hundred or so environmental organizations in Vermont that deals with the primary cause of our environmental problems and not the symptoms.

Better(not bigger)VT is the first Vermont environmental organization to endorse a steady state economy which is absolutely essential to achieving sustainability and a healthy environment. (May, 2009).

Better(not bigger)VT produced the most comprehensive report ever published on Vermont’s environment, the “Disappearing Vermont?” report. In fact no other environmental organization has published a report on Vermont’s environment showing long term historical data for a wide variety of indicators.

Better(not bigger)VT produced the only report that estimates what Vermont's population should be in order to be sustainable. “What is an Optimum, Sustainable Population for Vermont?” makes this estimate based on 16 different indicators.

Better(not bigger)VT is the only Vermont environmental organization that has adopted a comprehensive set of very detailed position statements that would actually lead to a sustainable future and a healthy environment if supported and implemented. We are very specific, clear and transparent about what needs to be done to re-establish a healthy and sustainable environment.

Better(not bigger)VT is the first Vermont environmental organization to state that we need to change the GDP indicator to some other indicator such as the Gross National Happiness Index (May, 2009) and the first to adopt a detailed policy statement supporting this type of index (June, 2011).

Better(not bigger)VT is the first organization to apply “whole systems thinking” to its work. See in the Reports section the report, “A Look at Vermont Population Growth and the Food Supply, Through a Systems Lens.”

Better(not bigger)VT is unique in the environmental movement in having a volunteer executive director and a person who is unusually dedicated to the environment. For more information about him see his bio under the executive director.

Better(not bigger)VT is the first Vermont environmental organization to offer the people of Vermont the opportunity to take a Living More Sustainably Pledge (August, 2011).

Better(not bigger)VT is probably the most democratic, transparent, un-conflicted, independently thinking, and economically-just of all state environmental organizations. Check out our bylaws in the Better(not bigger)VT Organization section. We say "probably" because most environmental organizations do not put their bylaws on their web site and this statement is difficult to evaluate.

Finally, Better(not bigger)VT is the only environmental organization which says up front that its main goal is to put itself out of business! It would love nothing better than to know that the world, the U.S. and Vermont are moving in the direction of a sustainable population because the public has come to realize that we cannot go on living in an unsustainable manner if we are to fulfill our responsibility to future generations.

If you think or know that any of these statements are inaccurate please contact Betternot We want to be accurate in what we say!

What Others Are Saying About Overpopulation and Overconsumption

Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader.
    There is no human circumstance more tragic than the persisting existence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily available. Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is practical and necessary. Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess.
    What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions who are its victims.

Eben Fodor, author of Better Not Bigger
    Smart Growth is a pro-growth movement, as the name implies. It is ultimately about accommodating and facilitating more growth. It does not include any strategies for slowing or limiting growth and does not envision or contemplate an end to growth. While sprawling development is viewed as undesirable, non-sprawling development is viewed as beneficial and desirable.

Jane Goodall, primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace.
    It's our population growth that underlies just about every single one of the problems that we've inflicted on the planet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, 14th leader of Tibetan Buddhists.
    One of the great challenges today is the population explosion. Unless we are able to tackle this issue effectively we will be confronted with the problem of the natural resources being inadequate for all the human beings on this earth.
    So now the question ... the population of the human being... So the only number... happy life...meaningful life. Too many population... miserable life and always bullying one another, exploiting one another... there's no use.

Pope Paul VI.
    There is no denying that the accelerated rate of population growth brings many added difficulties to the problems of development where the size of the population grows more rapidly than the quantity of available resources to such a degree that things seem to have reached an impasse.

Martha Campbell, School of Public Health, UC Berkeley
     Given the benefits of family planning to women, to their children, and to preserving the environment for tomorrow's children, we hope to see the day very soon when the silence on population can be ended and this subject will be addressed openly and with the compassion it deserves.

Dr. Eliya Zulu, African Institute for Development Policy
     I think we are now at the junction where big decisions need to be made about ensuring that there is good equilibrium between, you know, people and the planet, that there is a good coexistence, you know, between the natural resources that the planet provides, which are finite, and the people and other species that are living on the planet.

Melinda Gates, The Bill Gates Foundation
     Because in region after region, again and again, parents have wanted to have smaller families. ...Given the option, they will have fewer children. The question is: will we invest in helping all women get what they want now? Or, are we going to condemn them to some century-long struggle...?

John D. Rockefeller, III, Chairman, Commission on Population and the American Future, 1972.
    We have looked for, and have not found, any convincing economic argument for continued population growth. The health of our economy does not depend upon it, nor does the vitality of business, nor the welfare of the average person.

Ronald Reagan, U.S. President.
    Our country and state have a special obligation to work toward the stabilization of our own population so as to credibly lead other parts of the world towards population stabilization.

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