As part of our series on Seven Billion People, RHRC asks two experts, Dr. Carmen Barroso, Director of International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region, and Carl Pope, former Executive Director and current Chairman of the Sierra Club, to explain the connections between environmental and population issues and how the movements can work together.
The ancient Mayans—and their indigenous descendants in Guatemala—saw the profound interconnectedness of human reproduction and stewardship of natural resources. Whether cultivating a field or bringing a new life into the world, traditional Mayans practiced respectful restraint. But those old ways are being destroyed, and new solutions are needed.
The population problem is all about me: white, middle-class, American me. Well-meaning people have told me that I’m “just the sort of person who should have kids.” Au contraire. I’m just the sort of person who should not have kids.
What are the facts on population, consumption, and reproductive health? Here they are “by the numbers,” including who is using what in terms of energy and climate change; environment; reproductive health, and the status of girls and women.
Black Swan events are proliferating for many reasons—notably climate change and the growing scale and interconnectedness of the human enterprise. World population doubled in the last half-century to just under seven billion people, so there are simply more people living in harm’s way, on geologic faults and along vulnerable coastlines. In effect, we have re-engineered the planet and ushered in a new era of radical instability. Advancing and securing women’s rights are a key aspect of the solution to these problems.