World Population Day

World Population Day

Date: July 11, 2020

For World Population Day, we’re looking at the effects of population growth on climate change.

Today, the global population is about 7.8 billion people [2]. This number is increasing by 80 million people each year [1] and is predicted to reach 10.9 billion by 2100 [5].

The problem? More people means more need for housing, food, energy, and land. This results in increased CO2 emissions. Because of this, some people want to have fewer children in order to limit their carbon footprint [10].

But we want to live in a world where everyone is free to have the number of children which is right for them, without having to think about the planet. So how can we get there?

Our main focus should be on policy changes and innovation so that the impact of each person on the environment is lower in the future than it is today [11]. Businesses and governments need to work together to promote sustainable farming practices and energy production, decreasing the amount of CO2 released per person [9]. We as individuals can also play our part by switching to lower impact, plant-based diets, and using renewable energy [8].

We also have another problem to solve: 24% of all women who want to practice family planning do not have access to the contraceptives they need [12]. Providing access to contraception, particularly in the developing world, empowers women to choose if and when they have children, giving them more control over their lives and bodies [13].

If humans continue to pollute as much as they do today, population growth could have catastrophic impacts on the planet. But population growth does not have to be a climate issue. We just have to make sure that everyone is able to live a carbon-free life, with the ability to control if and when they have children.

References:

  1. Population Matters, 2020
  2. Worldometer, 2020
  3. Murtaugh and Schlax, 2009
  4. Van der Werf et al., 2009
  5. UN, 2019
  6. IPCC, 2018
  7. Wynes and Nicholas, 2017
  8. World Resources Institute, 2020
  9. Harvard Business Review, 2016
  10. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20190920-the-couples-reconsidering-kids-because-of-climate-change
  11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0959378014001095?via%3Dihub
  12. https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/popfacts/PopFacts_2019-3.pdf
  13. https://drawdown.org/solutions/health-and-education