By the end of this month, the U.N. Population Fund projects that the global population will have hit 7 billion. In my lifetime, the population has increased by an unbelievable 2 billion people, and it appears that this growth will not be slowing down anytime soon. According to U.N. projections, it will reach 8 billion by 2025. The vast majority of the population increase has been and will continue to be in the world’s most developing, poverty stricken, and resource-scarce areas of the world. This an important moment in human history, and we will see how governments and world leaders react and how they choose to deal with this information.
What Does This Mean?
There are many implications to the population growth. Overpopulation has been shown to directly lead to a degeneration of our environment through pollution and depletion of resources; moreover, it has secondary effects like the global warming phenomenon. It is one of the main — if not the primary — reason for conflict among humans, as countries and groups struggle for ever-decreasing resources in an effort to maintain the well-being of their populations. And as populations increase and we are forced to use more and more of the world’s land for growing crops and housing animals, we are creating the perfect environment for an epidemic of monumental proportions.
My personal thoughts on this matter are abundant. As a major worrier, this is one of those things that I stay awake at night thinking about, considering what this will mean for my own and my fellow humans’ future. I attribute the majority of our planet’s issues to the increasing global population. Our earth is just not capable of dealing with this many people, of feeding us, giving us water, and maintaining a healthy environment for all of us to live in.
Then there is the question of having my own children, something that, as a married person, I get asked quite frequently. I also think about it myself, having arrived at an age where my friends and family are either starting to think about having babies or have already had them. I’ve never really had a strong desire to have kids, though I do recognize that that could change any minute. However, it is very difficult for me to imagine making a conscious decision to have kids, knowing that a) I wouldn’t be able to ensure that they would have a healthy environment to grow up in, b) I would be adding to an already overpopulated world (or at least not doing my part to prevent it), and c) there are so many children who are already here who will not get what they need to survive and thrive.
Something To Think About
While this is one of those subjects that, I have noticed, few seem to want to discuss, I believe that it is one of those “big ones” that we seriously need to get together on to figure out/start doing something about.
Here are some ideas that I can think of off the top of my head:
- Support community health and family-planning initiatives in your own region because although your area may not be experiencing overpopulation, ever little bit helps.
- Put pressure on your government to amp up international aid to developing regions of the world for these same causes.
- Contribute to NGOs and other groups who tackle these issues on a day-to-day basis in some of the most critical parts of the world.
According to the executive director of the U.N. Population Fund, there are 215 million women who desperately need family planning options and have no access to them; if they were able to it could be a game changer for the whole world.
When thinking of what we are capable of doing collectively as humans, it really shouldn’t be all that difficult.