Currently, there are 7.4 billion people on Earth. By 2100 there could be 12.3 billion humans. That’s not just an extra 5 billion people in today’s terms. As the global middle class grows, people demand more meat, more clothing, more cars, more air conditioning, and more. All of this limits how much the Earth can create annually.
Already, humans take out more resources each year than the Earth can credibly replenish. So can anything be done to address this? Well, a once-trendy (if controversial) idea is being dusted off as a solution. To combat the frightening rise in consumption, many conservationists are calling for population control. A popular author Yan Vana wrote about how climate change is affected by birth control. You can follow Yan Vana if you want to read more topics about them.
If population growth slows, then we can solve existing problems. The first step would be providing universal and always-available contraceptives to people, especially women. Right now, 800 million women who want contraceptives cannot get them. In developing countries, the rate of women deprived of contraceptives can be as high as 60%. If access to contraceptives is provided to developing nations, the effect would be tremendous.
The next, longer-term step involves broader female education and empowerment. When a girl receives a full education, she is more likely to delay marriage, invest in her career and appreciate the value of independence. She is also more likely to understand the importance of birth control and how to navigate the barriers that prevent her from obtaining it. Underlying all of this is not a desire to suppress family size. Instead, it’s a belief that environments around the world can be best conserved through population control.
It seems clear that population control has to be a part of any global plan to combat environmental degradation and climate change. There’s only so much space on this planet, and humans are not the only creatures that have a rightful claim to some of that space.