February 14, 2023 | By:

Episode 104: Bill Ryerson On A Novel Approach To Population Education That Actually Works

Bill Ryerson

Bill Ryerson, Founder, Population Media Center


Bill Ryerson is Founder and President of Population Media Center (PMC), an organization that strives to improve the health and wellbeing of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies. He also serves as Chair of The Population Institute in Washington, DC, which works in partnership with Population Media Center.

PMC creates long-running serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience resulting in positive behavior change. The emphasis of the organization’s work is to educate people about the benefits of small families, encourage the use of effective family planning methods, elevate women’s status, prevent exploitation of children, promote avoidance of HIV infection, and promote environmentally sustainable behaviors.

Mr. Ryerson has a half-century history of working in the field of reproductive health, including three decades of experience adapting the Sabido methodology of social change communications to various cultural settings worldwide.

Ryerson received a B.A. in Biology (Magna Cum Laude) from Amherst College and an M.Phil. in Biology from Yale University (with specialization in Ecology and Evolution). He served as Director of the Population Institute’s Youth and Student Division, Development Director of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, Associate Director of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Executive Vice President of Population Communications International before founding Population Media Center in 1998.

  • Highlights from Bill’s November 2022 Newsweek article “Global Population Hits 8 Billion” (reprinted here)
  • Why dealing with consumption alone won’t solve current environmental crises
  • The real world effect of “edutainment” on family planning and other issues around the world
  • Examples and results of adapting the Sabido methodology of social change communications to various cultural settings worldwide
  • The results: you won’t believe how well it has worked! (But you have to listen to find out!)
Extra Credit

Find out more about Bills work at Population Media Center and The Population Institute

Intro music by Olexy

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Jeff Hoffman
1 year ago

Bill Ryerson is right to focus on human overpopulation, but his goal here is totally anthropocentric/human supremacist. Two billion people would still be far too many, and a western European lifestyle is still far too unnatural and destructive to the natural world. In his book Countdown, Alan Weisman advocates the same thing. Weisman admits that this would still cause extinctions, just not as many as we’re suffering now. We should not be OK with ANY anthropogenic extinctions, period, nor with a lifestyle that unnaturally and necessarily destroys or harms ecosystems, habitats, or native wildlife of any kind.

We didn’t get into this mess overnight, and we’re not getting out of it overnight either. We need to greatly lower our population and eventually return to living naturally as hunter-gatherers. These are long-term goals that can’t be fully accomplished for thousands and hundreds of years respectively, but advocating for inadequate goals is not the right thing to do.

1 year ago

One of the most important podcasts you have done, thank you.

1 year ago

this should be mandatory listening. mind-blowing information. sharing it with a US Rep who believes that ‘population control’ conversations are racist.

Kathryn Oakley
1 year ago

This (Ruetson podcast) was inspiring and hopeful, and makes such good sense. Think of the social changes in understanding of racism made by shows like “All in the Family,” or homophobia by “Modern Family.” People identify with characters!

Kathryn Oakley
1 year ago


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