Wildlife in decline: the impact of human population growth and consumption

In a short film about wildlife loss, Nastaran Rahnama takes a broad approach, investigating food sold in the UK, its production far away, and the links to population growth and declining large mammals.

By Nastaran Rahnama

In my lifetime including living in Iran, England, and traveling, I noticed that the natural world and the sound of wildlife is decreasing. More traffic, and more social pressure, made me think about why we humans are so trapped in our social programming, working against ourselves and nature around us. As a child, I never wanted to procreate seeing how invasive humanity is, I wanted to be independent, professional, and help others. I did not have any access to reproductive rights in Iran and unfortunately, I had to face so many obstacles and threats when I was younger. I am now 46 and I feel I achieved my childhood dreams, and I did not procreate despite being surrounded by a society where most people have children by default.

I dedicated my time and money into making a “Space to Live” film to share the solutions in the story of my personal journey. I wanted to inspire others to be in the place where I feel more people deserve to be and for a more positive impact on society and the biosphere. I was hoping that I can make a difference and slow down the problem that the biosphere is facing because of growing human numbers and consumption by offering an alternative vision and bringing awareness about the problem which is hardly spoken of in society. I hope you enjoy watching my film.

Link to the film on YouTube


The Overpopulation Project also has a YouTube channel, access it here.

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13 thoughts on “Wildlife in decline: the impact of human population growth and consumption

  1. A truly magical film. An emotive subject which the masses choose to ignore, to the point where they are actually offended by the subject matter. Sorry if you allow yourself to be offended. This subject matter is so important, it’s so important to remind young people that they have a choice, they’re not just on this planet to breed. Enjoy the film, think about it, spread the word. The world/planet/environment need us (you, me, everybody) to think before we destroy it.

  2. I introduced the subject of population demographics to my late partner, Parvin Baharloo. She was from Iran and came to the us on a student visa when she was 24 yo. I was often told by the people who she was the most reason based person they knew. From early childhood on, critical thinking was fostered on this ‘special’ daughter with 4 brothers. She embraced the overpopulation issue completely and, as a teacher, brought the subject to her elementary school subjects and came up with a simple question, “What is more important, people or dirt? Of course 90% of the students got it wrong. I am sharing this video with some of her family who immigrated to Vancouver BC. Coming from an Iranian woman will make them pay attention. Thank you for this wonderful video. I am also writing a long scathing letter to the editors of “The Atlantic” magazine for their imbecilic publication of an article: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2023/07/local-government-power-nimby-denver/674164/ This video couldn’t be more timely as I will include a link in my letter.

    1. Dear Jack Pedigo, Thank you for sharing your wonderful story and your very nice comment. I am pleased you could include my film link in your letter to the editors of “The Atlantic” magazine. Thank you for sharing the film with others.

  3. Well, I include it in my LONG list of dishonest in today’s BIG 6 OWNED MEDIA that there is rarely mention (though they do headline a “not to worry” about population), that we’re in the midst of the largest species extinction since the die off of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

  4. For me, this video is a great way to re-introduce the basic facts most have either forgotten or don’t want to know of. Our local library is the crown jewel in the county and once, even the state. There is a new librarian, a younger male who once lived in Botswana who seems open to this dialog. I have discussed showing this video in the library, especially to a group of young people. In today’s world most kids and even many adults do not know where their food is coming from. Emotion often sells far more than reason and the video has plenty of both. I have a long scathing letter to the Atlantic and included a link to the video. It will be interesting to see if something positive happens.

    1. Thank you for sharing this in the library and discussing it broadly with a potential audience. I really appreciate that.

  5. This video has a mostly correct message but it comes across as a vanity project more than anything else.
    It’s not helpful to have the overpopulation message wrapped into a video of a person flying to the other side of the world to “see for herself” (at least the lesson is shared, but it’s not very sustainable – let’s imagine if we all did that), walking around wrapped in plastic, driving a nice car, buying food that is also wrapped in plastic, and suggesting a dog as an alternative to a child – dogs also eat imported food, hunt wildlife, need medicines, etc.
    Not to mention – if you knew the UK is overpopulated and overconsumes, why add yourself to it? I know this is harsh and there are valid reasons, but a bit more self-reflection would help. Otherwise, this comes across as an indulgent “I’m not actually sacrificing anything, I didn’t want to have children anyway, and took a nice holiday to prove to myself that I was right”.

    1. If I can manage to convince just 1 person on this planet to have just 1 less child then already the C02 emissions from the flight you criticize (and was not a holiday) have been saved. This is explained in the film by one of the experts using the research done by Lund University in Sweden, Having one fewer child can save 58.6 tonnes of CO2 per year, and each round trip transatlantic flight can save 1.6 tonnes. Most countries are in ecological overshoot including Iran (Iran overshoot day is on the 27th of June and England on the 19th of May this year), whether I would stay there or come to England I would still count as one with some level of footprint, which would still have contributed to overshoot, but at least, I have not multiplied myself while doing my best to make a difference. Green beans or England are just one example, this is not rocket science to understand.

      How else would someone realistically travel to Kenya than by Air to make a film to bring awareness?
      You cannot expect us all particularly those who have not contributed to the overpopulation or trying to bring awareness about overpopulation and consumption to change their behavior completely because people (maybe yourself) cannot stop breeding. The film does not reflect my actual lifestyle, so please don’t throw words out on what you don’t fully have information about, but whatever environmental action I am taking, although some of them are important, is insignificant compared to my choice of not having a child.

      1. No need to get so defensive. I do not have children either. And I understand green beans are an example, as you say it’s not “rocket science”, but so are the other consumption behaviours that in the documentary are shown unchallenged or even encouraged (e.g. the dog), and to me this sends a mixed message at best.
        I understand your point and I do not think it is without merit, but I mostly disagree with it. Overpopulation and consumption are, as they say, two sides of the same coin. So both need to be addressed simultaneously. If the behaviours shown in the movie, from flying to having a dog to driving, are to be seen as an exception and not the rule, this was not made clear in the voiceover, at all – if anything, the opposite.
        I say these things because I notice a widespread popular resistance to be “lectured to” about climate change and overconsumption by people who display consumptive lifestyles, whether that’s Leonardo Di Caprio, the British Royal family or some virtue-signalling European celebrity. People, since many of them don’t want to hear the message are looking for excuses, are hyper-sensitive to this. So I’ve become too: I think it actually harms the cause by setting bad examples and displaying hypocrisy.
        To check I wasn’t being too harsh, I described this documentary to a fellow environmentalist. “A woman worries about the impact of her food, so she takes a flight to Kenya…” He started laughing.
        Some climate scientists are starting a movement to stop flying, even if it’s for a climate conference, to be consistent with what they are preaching.
        If you have convinced people to have less children, I think that’s great. But there is SO much evidence by now of how dire the situation is, so much instruction about what we need to do… one more testimony might be helpful, sure, but it might also create confusion if the message isn’t the right one. And what’s still lacking is thorough, convincing, inspiring and most importantly well-rounded personal example.

  6. see no need for you misguided and in some point personal attack on Nastaran. I have known this lady for 15 years and can speak with some authority that this is certainly not a vanity project. Carbon footprint from owning a dog is far less than that of having a child, not sure a rescued pet Lurcher or Staffie needs a new mobile phone every time Apple release one, or nood driving to soccer practice, swimming club, the debate team meeting or indeed too and from school (when in many cases school is dog walk distance away too 🤣). I think if you realise that the folk simply offers that a family does not necessarily involve children, it can include a dog as an alternative. Perhaps the message missed is simply that there is an alternative to having children and that’s the message needs to come across, simply that. Probably to young people too rather than adults who are already breeding and indoctrinated to this. You’ve picked up on the easiest criticism, of the flight to Kenya, and Nastaran has brilliantly replied to it, it’s a small price to pay……and I always like to add that the plane would have made the two trips anyway, with her on board or not 🤣. There’s too much division between activists who ultimately want the same things, some words of encouragement would be more appropriate don’t you think?

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