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Sustainable Society:  A society that balances the environment, other life forms, and human interactions over an indefinite time period.







Proposal for a National Optimum Population Commission



Proposal for a National Optimum Population Commission (NOPC)*


This national commission, to be chaired by the Vice President, would analyze and debate the question, "What is our optimum population?" After a 2 to 3 year information-gathering period, the commission would summarize the input and then design a package of non-coercive educational, legislative, and public policy initiatives to place the USA on the path, during a long transitional time of 100-125 years, to achieving an optimum, sustainable population.


Commission members, chosen by the Vice President, would receive input from:

All the federal cabinet members
Business, environmental, and religious organizations
Selected Ph.D. candidates focusing their research on how "optimum population" relates to their respective fields of inquiry
Psychologists, demographers, and others deemed crucial to the process

Overall emphasis should be placed upon assessment of the nation's climate, geography, renewable resource base, cultural preferences and other factors crucial to the achievement of long-term sustainability.


Most present-day human populations have tended to maximize rather than optimize. They are artificially supported by unsustainable or nonrenewable resources and technologies. We must move the population-pressure debate beyond denial and into the open light of public discourse. We must frame this discussion in new terms, understanding that "slowing growth" or "stabilizing" represent only transitional phases on the path to seeking an optimum, sustainable population. The key question must be How many people can we support in perpetuity under the most favorable circumstances with the highest quality of life?

Historically we have thought we should do whatever we could do, with little regard for long-term consequences. We must now consider making profound changes specially in the U.S.-in our lifestyle and in the ways we "do business with" the planetary resources that support us. By integrating the political, social, environmental and psychological effects of population pressure, this commission would involve us in a process to determine what is essential for our collective well-being.

By focusing on the search for optimum, NOPC would not be computing a "magic number" to be coercively applied, but rather determining the criteria for judging sustainability that is most likely to insure long-term success.


Now! Write the Vice President urging establishment of a National Optimum Population Commission. Future generations will thank you. Mail to: M. Boyd Wilcox, 1070 SE Denman Avenue, Corvallis, OR 97333.

*Formerly National Optimum Population Effort (HOPE)


Vice President's Request Letter


Vice President Richard Cheney
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. Vice President,

Most of the major issues this nation is struggling to address-health care, jobs, natural-resource management, inner city conflicts, economic progress, alienation, loss of personal freedoms, the dilution of democracy, national unity and security, and overall quality of life including multiple issues of scale and complexity-are heavily impacted by population pressure. We ask that you begin to reverse this nation's denial toward the issue of population pressure, and move expeditiously to establish a National Optimum Population Commission (NOPC).

We appreciate this administration's willingness to deal with difficult and complex issues and we realize the NOPC process will not be easy. But it will be far more difficult if we allow our population future to be decided by default, which is our present course. Furthermore, the expertise developed through engaging a NOPC would be a most valuable tool for helping any nation or bioregion to determine its optimum, sustainable population. This could truly be a worldwide precedent for promoting sustainability.

Please initiate a National Optimum Population Commission. We would appreciate a reply to this request.

Hopefully and sincerely yours,



Organization (if applicable)
City, State, Zip

NOPC Sample Local Resolution 95-08
Sample State Senate Resolution
Sample City Resolution 95-17

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