Sometime at the end of this month, the seventh billion person on Earth will be born: that’s seven billions mouths to feed, seven billion throats to water, and seven billion bodies to keep warm. But the population continues to rise: experts believe the global human population could hit 10 billion by 2050. A UN meeting last month said that to meet the needs of the world’s women, the developing world needs a secure supply of contraceptives and voluntary family planning initiatives.
“As of 31 October, the world will have 7 billion people, of which 1.8 billion are young people, and 90 per cent of them live in developing countries. That implies that 1 billion young women are actively seeking the information and service we are talking about here,” UN Population Fund (UNFPA) executive director Babatunde Osotimehin said in opening remarks to the meeting.
According to the group, over 215 million women in developing countries that want to either avoid pregnancy or space-out pregnancies do not have access to modern contraceptives. Still by working with national efforts, the UNFA has helped contraceptive use expand exponentially in some poor countries, including Madagascar and Niger.
“UNFPA will work with you to provide them with education, opportunities and access to information and services including reproductive health commodities, so that each young girl will be a fire, a multiplier, and will add value to the world in which she belongs,” Osotimehin added. Studies have shown that education for women and access to contraceptives are key to tackling over-population.
Meanwhile, in the US the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has launched a campaign to hand out 100,000 free Endangered Species condoms. The prophylactics are meant to raise awareness about the connection between overpopulation and the extinction of species. Last year, the group handed out 350,000 condoms.
According to a press release by the organization, “[CBD] the only environmental group with a full-time campaign highlighting the connection between unsustainable human population growth and the ongoing extinction crisis for plants and animals around the world.” They say the condoms are meant to start a ‘lively conversation’ about a topic that is rarely discussed.
Scientists warn that the Earth is entering a mass extinction period with extinction levels jumping to 100 to 1,000 times the average rate over the past 500 million years. Unlike other mass extinction events, however, this one is due largely to the impact of one species: humans.
Many environmentalists believe over-population, combined with over-consumption, is at the root of many of the world’s environmental problems, from mass extinction to climate change to deforestation.
Nobel laureates: ‘we are transgressing planetary boundaries that have kept civilization safe for the past 10,000 years’
(05/23/2011) Last week the 3rd Nobel Laureates Symposium on Global Sustainability concluded with participants—including 17 past Nobel Prize winners and 40 other experts—crafting and signing the Stockholm Memorandum. The document calls for emergency actions to tackle human pressures on the Earth’s environment while ensuring a more equitable and just world.
Jane Goodall and David Attenborough: overpopulation must be addressed
(12/06/2010) In a recent interview with The Telegraph world famous primatologist and conservationist, Jane Goodall, and wildlife documentarian Sir David Attenborough agreed that overpopulation must be addressed to protect the global environment.
It’s not just size that matters: how population affects climate change
(11/11/2010) As the world’s population increases, a surge in the number of older adults and the movement of people from the countryside to crowded cities will significantly affect levels of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050, according to a sweeping study published in the 11 October issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. A significant but attainable slowing of the planet’s growing population could achieve up to 29 percent of the total decrease in emissions needed to stave off the harmful consequences of climate change by 2050, according to the study.