MVP Sustainability Map
GDP Per Capita
David Stanley; License CC BY 2.0; Image https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Iranian_Family.jpg via Wikimedia Commons.
Photogir; License CC BY-SA 4.0; Image https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wheat_Farm_in_Behbahan%2C_Iran.jpg via Wikimedia Commons.
Iran has over four times as many citizens than its country’s renewable resources can sustain at current modest consumption levels. In November 2020 National Geographic reported that just a few decades ago, Iran boasted the greenest government in the Middle East. An expansive national park network protected species found almost nowhere else in the world. The nation’s rivers delivered potable water; air pollution was minimal. But now, the parks are being subsumed by development. The country’s waterways are withering away, in no small part because neither conservationists nor campaigners dare voice their concerns about the environment for fear of retribution.
Overpopulation was a very real threat in the 1980s when the average Iranian mother had six children. Through a concerted government effort at improving health and education, Iran was able to reduce its fertility rate to below replacement.
Ironically this success has concerned certain factions of the government that shrinking its population too far would be a national security threat, and the Guardian in January 2021 reported the Iranian leadership had recently announced that state clinics would no longer hand out contraceptives or offer vasectomies.