Global Community Earth Government
Politics and Justice without borders
Global Dialogue 2007
Global Dialogue 2007: building global communities for all life
theme Theme of Global Dialogue 2007: building global communities for all life
Building global communities for all life Global Dialogue 2007: building global communities for all life

As a species we no longer need to procreate by the millions so quit making children Peoples, for God sake give it a rest

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Perhaps the most important step towards achieving societal sustainability this century is to control our population growth. World overpopulation is now at the turning point and requires from each and every one of us of agreeing about the statement of rights and belonging to the Global Community, the human family.




Comprehensive population policies are an essential element in a global development strategy that combines access to reproductive health services, education and economic opportunities, improved energy and natural resource technologies, and to healthyer models of consumption and the good life.


1.0        Overview of the problem
1.1        Societal sustainability
1.2        Agriculture and population increase
1.3        Our overpopulated planet
1.4        Overpopulation and natural resources

2.0       Growth and measurement of world population
2.1       Data and terminology
2.2       Measurement of world population
2.3       Developing nations with low total fertility rate
2.4       Developing nations with high total fertility rate
2.5       Policies to decrease world population

3.0       Global Community overall picture
4.0       Overpopulation as social issue
5.0       Impacts of the overpopulation
6.0       Population control

7.0       Action at the Global Community level
7.1       Impacts of family planning and health services
7.2       Reproductive health services
7.3       Unintended pregnancies
7.4       Abortion policies
7.5       Nutritional anemia in pregnancy
7.6       Care in pregnancy and childbirth
7.7       HIV/AIDS
7.8       Risk of death in childbearing
7.9       Improving reproductive health
7.10       Biodiversity
7.11       Forests
7.12       Education
7.13       Population and hope

8.0       Birth Control
8.1       History of birth control
8.2       Traditional birth control methods:
8.3       Modern birth control methods:
8.4       Religious and cultural attitudes to birth control

9.0       Action at the local community level
10.0       Action concerning fisheries
11.0       Action concerning forests
12.0       Action concerning agricultural land and food production
13.0       Action concerning world hunger
14.0       Action concerning natural resources
15.0       Action concerning water
16.0       Carrying capacity
17.0       Overview of results from this report
18.0       Conclusion
19.0       Recommendations











1.1       Overview of the problem

1.1        Societal sustainability
1.2        Agriculture and population increase
1.3        Our overpopulated planet
1.4        Overpopulation and natural resources

1.1       Societal sustainability


Perhaps the most important step towards achieving societal sustainability this century is to control our population growth. World overpopulation is now at the turning point and requires from each and every one of us of agreeing about the statement of rights and belonging to the Global Community, the human family.

We are not asking here a woman to have only one child like is done in China. No! First of all it does not work in China. The Chinese population is still increasing. We are asking here to give a woman the choice, the freedom to say no I dont want children, or yes I want to raise a family, and to make that socially acceptable. For this to work, women must also be given equal rights to men in every way. The Chinese family policy does not work because women were not given the freedom to choose for themselves and the equal rights to men. Women are 'persons' just like men. Those men and women who choose to raise a family will be given all the help society can give them.

The effect of such change in behavior will imply a true acceptance of belonging to the global community and that humanity must step forward as a responsible body for the good of all. The heart, mind and human spirit of the Global Community will want to be in the forefront of positive actions and human activities to ensure our survival.

This is not new. In many parts of the world a man is no longer seen as the 'head of the family', the 'provider'. Both men and women have taken that role depending of circumstances and social factors. Women are no longer seen as subservient persons and breeding machines. Women are seen as equal to men. Women's rights protect the equality between a man and a woman.

The Global Community has long recognized that greater equality between men and women is an essential element of slowing down world population growth. It was observed that fertility rates were falling everywhere women were allowed to determine when and whether they will have children. Gender inequality also impacts on resource use and the prospects for sustainability and biodiversity protection. Training and education along with their greater sense of nature ans shelter protection give women the tools they need to make resource use more equitable and efficient within communities and to mobilize against environmental and health hazards.

The Global Community is dedicated to give women:

a)     equal rights
b)     access to and control of natural resources and land
c)     stronger voices in decisions about sustainable resource use
d)     education on impacts of consumerism and sustainable consumption
e)     access to modern methods of contraception and reproductive health services

1.2       Agriculture and population increase

In general, populations of all lifeforms grow exponentially that is by a steady proportion of whatever was there before. When there is no practical limit on resource then populations usually grow maximally and the only limit is that of the reproductive capacity of the female animal. About 10,000 years ago, human beings were obliged to commit themselves more or less fully to agriculture and the human population was 5 to 10 million. By the time of Christ, after only 8,000 years of large-scale agriculture, the human population was 100 to 300 million. After this time, the exponential growth of the population entered its rapid phase. The billion mark was passed by 1800 A.D. By year 2000, the human population exceeded 6 billion. Thus agriculture allowed a thousand-fold increase in numbers over a period of 10,000 years.

In practical sense, agriculture cannot feed a human population that has grown beyond the capacity limit. We must ask ourselves whether we can stop the growth by means that are voluntary and benign, or whether the eventual environmental restraint will be out of our hands. At some questionable time in our future we will find that our soil will no longer have the nutrients it needs to produce quality food. For some time we may counter this problem by fresh weathering of rock. Not for long! The loss of lifeforms on Earth will be permanent.

Obviously something has to be done! The Global Community proposes a tight global policy, benignly implemented, or it will be very nasty indeed. In practice, a human population of 10 to 12 billion would be too uncomfortably high and would add a high strain on world resources. What kind of world population would be reasonable? What goal should we aim at? A population should be small enough to be sustainable indefinitely and still allow plenty of leeway for ourselves and other lifeforms. It should also be large enough to allow the formation of healthy civilizations. We propose a world population of 500 million. The policy to apply is for every family to have only one or two children. It would take a thousand years to reach our goal of a population of 500 million.

1.3       Our overpopulated planet


Comprehensive population policies are an essential element in a world development strategy that combines access to reproductive health services, to education and economic opportunities, to improved energy and natural resource technologies, and to healthyer models of consumption and the good life.


The Global Community has researched and developed policies to reduce human population to 500 millions. We have to regulate world population by means that are voluntary and benign and we have to take along with us a fair proportion of other lifeforms. Proper Earth management will certainly be a necessary tool to achieve our goal. A sound governance of the Earth is needed for the long term survival of our species. This is 'la raison d'etre' of the Global Community. The Global Community has proposed the creation of global ministries to manage Earth and humanity's global problems. If not there will be a collapse of humanity and of the environment. From now on every global decision we make will have tremendous consequences on our future. All men and women are responsible and accountable for the future of humanity. We have what it takes to decrease the rate of growth of world population and make it a negative rate of growth. Let us do that for the survival of our species and all life on Earth.

If men and women throughout the world had equal rights that would go a long way into decreasing world population. This is true for Western women. Western men and women get married not so much to procreate but to enjoy the companionship of the 'other', and sometimes the 'other' is a person of the same sex.

Even more important is for everyone to accept as a way of life the Criteria of the Global Community Citizenship. You will be required to take oath. The Criteria includes the necessity of a man and a woman to be equal persons. Before you make your decision we are asking you to read very carefully the Criteria, make sure you understand every part of it, and then make the oath of belonging to the Global Community.

You do not need to let go the citizenship you already have. No! You can still be a citizen of any nation on Earth. The nation you belong to can be called 'a global community'. It should now be your global community. But you are a better human being as you belong also to the Global Community, and you have now higher values to live a life, to sustain yourself and all life on the planet, and you have become a person with a heart, a mind and Soul of the same as that of the Global Community.

In practice, if our proposal was accepted then the world population would eventually fall. We would make all efforts to minimize infant mortality. We need to ensure that the women of the world who have shown an interest in the proposal of family planning would have access to all the help needed to achieve their goal. Contraception for men is also desirable.

The Global Community needs to develop a more exciting synergy between sustainable development, consumption and family well-being. New concepts (the human family, human responsibilities, human security, citizenship education) and old concepts (quality of life, well-being, justice and standard of living) have been combined in conjunction with a comparative analysis of the alternative approaches to the GDP as a way to bring together a collection of viewpoints to understand a family perspective in sustainable consumption and development.

World overpopulation at the turning point requires each and every one of us to take a stand on rights and on being a part of to the Global Community.

The Global Community proposes a world population of 500 million. It would take a thousand years to reach our goal of a population of 500 million. To achieve our goal will require from each and every one of us a stand on the rights and on belonging to the Global Community, the human family. If our population was to decrease as projected here then what other major global problems would be managed automatically?

Overpopulation is the cause of several major global problems such as:

*     lack of resources
*     poverty
*     wars
*     climate change
*     damage to the global life-support systems
*     a lesser quality of life
*     threat to security
*     lack of good quality soils for agriculture
*     polluted air, water and land
*     overcrowed cities
*     weapons and war products and equipment able to spark global wars
*     widespread drug, human and Earth rights abuse, more old and new diseases out of control

There are many related aspects of the global life-support systems that is affected by an overpopulated planet:

*     global warming
*     Ozone layer
*     wastes of all kind including nuclear and release of radiation
*     climate change
*     species of the fauna and flora becoming extinct
*     losses of forest cover and of biological diversity
*     the capacity for photosynthesis
*     the water cycle
*     food production systems
*     genetic resources
*     chemicals produced for human use and not found in nature and, eventually, reaching the environment with impacts on Earth's waters, soils, air, and ecology

This 21st century is very crucial for humanity as it will determine our survival or not for the next million year. The Global Community is proposing to the world a way to achieve our survival. The policies described in this article are by no means the only ones and we do need the global community to send suggestions and recommendations.

Earth has existed for the past 4.5 billion years. Life on Earth has existed for almost 4 billion years. Human activities are influencing the climate to change in many ways. We have transformed entire landscapes. Although our influence is huge our control is minimal. Having initiated the breakdown of the Ozone layer and having set the global warming of the planet in motion it will be hard to reverse these events. History shows that the beneficence of the planet cannot be taken for granted. It has always been hospitable to life of a kind, but not always of our kind. The kind of conditions that suit us are very narrow and our influence is far greater than our control. We are creating global conditions that are threatening all life on Earth. Our manipulations of the Earth atmosphere may generate conditions that could be suitable to only to bacteria in marshes. It is an enormous mistake to take our present good fortune as a given.

Humanity has to regulate its population by means that are voluntary and benign and has to take along with a fair proportion of other lifeforms. Proper Earth management will certainly be a necessary tool to achieve our goal. If not there will be a collapse of humanity and of the environment. From now on every global decision we do will have tremendous consequences on our future.

In general, populations of all lifeforms grow exponentially that is by a steady proportion of whatever was there before. When there is no practical limit on resource then populations usually grow maximally and the only limit is that of the reproductive capacity of the female animal. About 10,000 years ago, human beings were obliged to commit themselves more or less fully to agriculture and the human population was 5 to 10 million. By the time of Christ, after only 8,000 years of large-scale agriculture, the human population was 100 to 300 million. After this time, the exponential growth of the population entered its rapid phase. The billion mark was passed by 1800 A.D. By year 2000, the human population exceeded 6 billion. Thus agriculture allowed a thousand-fold increase in numbers over a period of 10,000 years.

In practical sense, agriculture cannot feed a human population that has grown beyond the capacity limit. We must ask ourselves whether we can stop the growth by means that are voluntary and benign, or whether the eventual environmental restraint will be out of our hands. At some questionable time in our future we will find that our soil will no longer have the nutrients it needs to produce quality food. For some time we may counter this problem by fresh weathering of rock. Not for long! The loss of lifeforms on Earth will be permanent.

Obviously something has to be done! ECO proposes a tight global policy, benignly implemented, or it will be very nasty indeed. In practice, a human population of 10 to 12 billion would be too uncomfortably high and would add a high strain on world resources. What kind of world population would be reasonable? What goal should we aim at? A population should be small enough to be sustainable indefinitely and still allow plenty of leeway for ourselves and other lifeforms. It should also be large enough to allow the formation of healthy civilizations.

The Global Community proposes a world population of 500 million. The policy to apply is for every family to have only one or two children. It would take a thousand years to reach our goal of a population of 500 million.

Some religious people will argue that to reduce human reproduction is to prevent the birth of possible babies, to deny life for the glory of God, and that more babies means more glory. We understand this view as we have discussed the sanctity of all life during Global 2000 and Global Dialogue 2002. Proceedings are on our website. Read section 'Evolution, Creation and now, Guiding Souls'. God loves diversity in Nature and in Souls. Let us discuss those legitimate concerns.

A short while ago God said:


1. Thou shall be One with humanity and thou shall have a higher purpose, and that is to propagate Life throughout the Universe. I shall provide you with means to travel the galaxies.

2. Thou shall have another higher purpose, and that is to manage Earth responsibly.

It was necessary for our species to reach today's population of 6.157 billions in order to leap to our next stage of evolution that will bring us closer to God and propel humanity to fulfill the Divine Plan.

What is the Divine Plan for humanity?

The Divine Plan is the greatest hope for humanity and is now being revealed. God could not have created a universe with billions of galaxies, each one with billions of stars such as our Sun, unless He had a plan for Life, especially for an advanced species such as ours.

We have the responsibility of managing Earth. Everyone shares responsibility for the present and future well-being of life within the Global Community. When there is a need to find a solution to a problem or a concern, a sound solution would be to choose a measure or conduct an action, if possible, which causes reversible damage as oppose to a measure or an action causing an irreversible loss.

Life exists on millions of other planets in the universe, and our species got to be who we are today through the evolutionary process. Other lifeforms in the universe may have evolved to be at least as advanced as our species. Their Souls may even be more complicated than ours. They may have merged a trillion times more than our Souls. They may have evolved as well.

The Divine Plan for humanity is:

a) for everyone to manage Earth responsibly, and
b) about to reach the stars and spread Life throughout the universe and thus help other Souls to evolve and serve God in the best possible ways.

The higher purpose of humanity is to serve God by propagating Life throughout the universe. Humanity will evolve spiritually to fulfill God's Plan. Soon God will show us the way to reach the galaxies.

Our proposal of a world population of 500 million does not in any way contradict God's Plan for humanity. On the contrary, it reinforces the Will of God for the diversity of Life throoughout the universe. By accomplishing our higher purpose we will be able to propagate trillions of liferforms and much more over the universe. Beside, with such a small population, there is no doubt that our species would last at least a million years. That is

0.5 x billion x 1 million = 0.5 x 10 15 person-years


But if we let our population rise to about 20 billion then we may not survive more that 1,000 years or so. That is

20 billion x 1,000 thousand = 2 x 10 13 person-years

In order words, if we exercise restraint the total number of human beings who will be on the planet could be at least 25 times greater than it would be if we allowed the population to increase to 20 billion. Who, then, are those who deny life for the glory of God?

In practice, if our proposal of one or two children was accepted then the population would eventually fall. We would make all efforts to minimize infant mortality. We need to ensure that the women of the world who have shown an interest in the proposal of family planning would have access to all the help needed to achieve their goal. Contraception for men is also desirable.

If that is still possible, what are those other lifeforms we should take along with us?

The creatures we are most directly aware, the grand survivors of the overkill by the human species over the past several million years, are bears, beavers, elephants, mooses, lions, rhinos, wolves, tigers, camels, kangaroos, deer, camels, antelope, cheetahs, coyotes, koalas, and others you may want to add. None of them has a chance to survive in the wild, unless we take their cause seriously. Even then it will be difficult to keep them with us for a long future. The Scale of Human and Earth Rights was designed to protect the ecosystem of the Earth and that certainly includes do what we can to take along with us as many God's creatures as possible. The Scale of Human and Earth Rights takes first into account all reasonable needs of the human species. On top of the scale are the protection of the global life-support systems without which no life could survive on the planet. Then the primordial human rights are those basic human rights that have kept us going throughout the evolutionary stages of life on Earth.

Beside the global warming, the human activity that affects Earth most is that of food production. We need to form a global ministry dealing only about agriculture and the protection of our soils. All nations will be part of the ministry. We have to design systems of food production that meet our own needs, and also leave room for these other lifeforms we want to take along with us. Western agriculture is designed in the end to maximize profit. As a primordial human right, the prime concern of the human species is to feed people. Therefore we have to do things differently. We will have to produce less livestock as we effectively double the population we need to feed: ourselves, plus the livestock that is supposed to be feeding us. We also have to apportion the land surface of the whole world more efficiently, using some for highhly intensive food production (which makes use of less land), some for extensive agriculture (combining food production with wildlife conservation) and designing some specifically as wilderness areas with global corridors between them. Hopefully this will help natives of British Columbia, Canada, to settle their land claims in their favor as they are the only people in Canada who can help protecting wildlife, at least for now. There should be a definite and specific clause in any agreement with the natives that it is what they will do with the land and not turn it into a huge industrial site as would the white man do.

Global warming is certainly affecting the survival of these other lifeforms we want to take along with us over the next million years. Climate change has always been a major factor throughout the entire evolutionary stages of life on Earth and will continue to be so in the future. We will have to make sacrifices not only for our own survival but also for all life on Earth. Changes now are far too rapid for these other lifeforms to adapt. They will have to tolerate us more to survive.

Obviously our survival on Earth and that of these other lifeforms are dependent on our behavior and attitude to the world. This point was largely discussed during Global 2000 and Global Dialogue 2002. The Global Community has researched and developed sound solutions to humanity's problems and recommendations are made available on our website. Our new ideas are part of life natural selection process and will be passed on from generation to generation. The human gene pool is changing naturally worldwide. We ourselves are in a position to change our species and create a new one depending of natural circumstances. Because the human population is now so large, mutations are accumulating more rapidly than ever before over the entire evolutionary stages of our species. This do not necessary means we are evolving to become smarter people. That is an unlikely option. It means we are adapting to new circumstances. Evolution will be active most likely in circumstances occurring after an ecological crash or a world war involving nuclear weapons. Such catastrophic events might eliminate all life as we know it on Earth. But we cannot predict which particular lifeforms are liable to evolve and be dominant species. Our brain may be turned off by an evolutionary step for survival, to adapt to the new circumstances. That is if we survive as a species after such huge ecological change. But then we dont really know of what life is capable of...! What life has created so far on Earth may be a small sample of what it is capable of in the future.

Whatever happen in this 3rd Millennium will depend of us and to what extent we are willing to make a difference to manage Earth wisely. Will our actions be geared to survive a decade, a hundred years, a thousand years, or a million years? If our actions were geared to survive a million years, the chances are that we would learn to master great things including harnessing the sun flare energy, interstellar travels, genetic engineering, and reajusting the planetary position of another planet in our system to initiate a new life on its surface. Is it no worth to make sacrifices now?

A sound governance of the Earth is needed for the long term survival of our species. This is 'la raison d'etre' of the Global Community. The Global Community has proposed the creation of global ministries to manage Earth and humanity's global problems. The higher purpose of humanity is to serve God by propagating Life throughout the universe. So dont we have an obligation to do whatever we can to protect life on Earth?
The problem and solution to the world overpopulation were included in the Global Community Earth policies to reduce human population to 500 millions. So there is a human solution. The Global Community propose a world population of 500 million. The policy to apply is for every family to have only one or two children. It would take a thousand years to reach our goal of a population of 500 million. We would make all efforts to minimize infant mortality. We need to ensure that the women of the world who have shown an interest in the proposal of family planning would have access to all the help needed to achieve their goal. Contraception for men is also desirable.

Today most major global problems stemmed from our overcrowded planet. Human activities of an overpopulation create major global problems. Global warming is certainly an obvious example of such global problem caused by an overpopulation of the planet. Conflicts over freshwater usage are on the rise. It is only a matter of time before a global war over water becomes a reality. We seem to rely on technology to resolve all these problems. But you cant. They are major problems and each one of them take time to resolve. When all global problems are thrown at you at the same time there is no way humanity can survive the 21st century. Even today too many nations have a nuclear arsenal that can easily destroyed and be the cause for the destruction of all life on Earth. Doubling the world population would make the world situation a thousand fold worst than it is now.

More healthy civilizations could coexist together in peace if the global population was 500 million. The factors that could reduce world's population are:

*     promoting one or two child per family
*     increase income
*     improve literacy
*     insure protection of new born children
*     educate men and women to family planning and let them be equal partners in all aspects of life
*     make men and women use of inexpensive contraceptives with easy access to them
*     promote a more healthy and rewarding lifestyle with just one child per family
*     expanding women's opportunities
*     access to high-quality reproductive health services

Most major global problems would disappear with a world population of 500 million. Today the urban population is increasing at the rate of 60 million a year requiring the resources necessary for the equivalent of an additional six megacities every year; there are already 19 megacities in the world.

It is imperative that action be taken to control the overpopulation and human activities so that planetary security is not endangered. The current world's population is 6.2 billion and is expected to grow to 9.3 billion by 2050. Nearly 98% of this growth will be in the poorer countries. At that time, there will be more older people than children, and the number of people who 60 or older is expected to reach 2 billion, putting stress on retirement and health care systems worldwide.

About half the world lives in cities on 2% of the land, consuming about 75% of the resources and producing roughly the same percentage of the pollution. In one generation, 3 billion city dwellers will grow to 5 billion while, at the same time, natural resources to support this growth are shrinking. Biodiversity feeds directly 40% of the economy of the developing countries, yet this natural resource is rapidly being destroyed.

About one out of every children under five years old in the developing countries is malnourished. Sufficient nutrition, shelter, water, and sanitation will have to reach people in slums, or the world will see more migrations, disease and conflicts. Medical and social advances have allowed to increase significantly life expectancy. Older people will be require to continue work few more years to help the younger generation.

1.4       Overpopulation and natural resources

Despite humanity's success in feeding a growing world population, the natural resources on which life depends-fresh water, cropland, fisheries and forests-are increasingly depleted or strained. One hopeful sign for the new millennium is that population growth is slowing at a much faster rate than was previously predicted. While slowing, however, significant growth continues, meaning that more people will be sharing such finite resources as fresh water and cropland.

Having reached 6.3 billion in 2003, human population continues to grow. UN population projections for the year 2050 range from 7.9 billion to 10.9 billion, suggesting the extent to which we can influence our future. More people and higher incomes worldwide are multiplying humanity 's impact on the environment and on natural resources essential to life. Based on these trends, it is clear that the 21st century will witness even greater pressures on natural resources. Current demographic trends offer hope, however. Over the past 40 years the average number of children born to each woman has fallen from five to less than three. Young people increasingly want to wait to have children and to have smaller families. Policymakers have a choice. They can do nothing, or they can help ensure that in the 21st century the world 's population peaks with fewer than 8 billion people, simply by committing the financial resources to meet the needs of couples who want to have smaller families, later in life.

Because of the high per capita consumption of resources in industrialized nations, we have the world's worst population problem! People think of the population problem as being a problem only of "those people" in the undeveloped countries, but this serves only to draw attention away from the difficulties of dealing with our own problems. It is easier to tell a neighbor not to cut forests or create global warming than it is for us not to cut forests and create global warming. With regard to other countries, we can offer family planning assistance on request, but in those countries we have no jurisdiction or direct responsibility. Within our own country we have complete jurisdiction and responsibility, yet we fail to act to help solve our own problem. What the industrialized world can do to help other countries stop their population growth is to set an example and stop our own population growth.

It is difficult to achieve zero growth of population and even more difficult to reverse the trend to a negative growth in population. An examination of the simple numbers makes the difficulty clear. In particular, population growth has "momentum" which means that if one makes a sudden change in the fertility rate in a society, the full effect of the change will not be realized until every person has died who was living when the change was made. Thus it takes approximately 70 years to see the full effect of a change in the fertility rate.

There are many encouraging signs from communities around the industrialized world that indicate a growing awareness of the local problems of continued unrestrained growth of populations, because population growth in our communities never pays for itself. Taxes and utility costs must escalate in order to pay for the growth. In addition, growth brings increased levels of congestion, frustration, and air pollution.

In recent years, several industrialized nations have seen taxpayer revolts in the form of ballot questions that were adopted to limit the allowed tax increases. These revolts were not in decaying rust-belt nations; the revolts have been in the nations that claimed to be the most prosperous because they had the largest rates of population growth. These limits on taxes were felt to be necessary to stop the tax increases that were required to pay for the growth. Unfortunately the growth has managed to continue, while the schools and other public agencies have suffered from the shortage of funds. Communities can slow their population growth by removing the many visible and hidden public subsidies that support and encourage growth.

It clear that there will always be large opposition to programs of making population growth pay for itself. Those who profit from growth will use their considerable resources to convince the community that the community should pay the costs of growth. In our communities, making growth pay for itself could be a major tool to use in stopping the population growth.

The terms "growth management" and "smart growth" are used interchangeably to describe urban developments that are functionally and esthetically efficient and pleasing. Sometimes these planning processes are advocated by those who believe that we can't stop population growth, therefore we must accomodate it as best we can. Other times they are advocated by those who are actively advancing population growth. The claim is made that growth management and smart growth "will save the environment." They don't save the environment. Whether the growth is smart or dumb, the growth destroys the environment. "Growth management" is a favorite term used by planners and politicians.  With planning, smart growth will destroy the environment, but it will do it in a sensitive way.  It's like buying a ticket on the Titanic.  You can be smart and go first class, or you can be dumb and go steerage.  In both cases, the result is the same.  But given the choice, most people would go first class.

It is frequently said that we can reduce congestion and air pollution by building high-speed super highways.  This can be proven false by noting that if this were true, the air would be the cleanest, and there would be no global warming. The falacy arises because of the fact that the construction of the new highways generates new traffic, not previously present, to fill the new highways to capacity.

As populations of nearby cities grow, the call is made for "regional solutions" to the many problems created by growth.  This has two negative effects:

1 )  Regional planning dilutes democracy.  A citizen participating in public affairs has five times the impact in his / her city of 20,000 as he / she would have in a region of 100,000 people.
2 )  The regional "solutions" are usually designed to accomodate past and predicted growth and hence they foster and encourage more growth rather than limiting it.  Regional "solutions" enlarge the problems rather than solving them. One concludes that regional solutions to problems already caused by growth will work only if the growth is stopped.

What happens to the idea of the dignity of the human species if this population growth continues at its present rate? It will be completely destroyed. Democracy cannot survive overpopulation.  Human dignity cannot survive overpopulation.  Convenience and decency cannot survive overpopulation.  As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears.  It doesn't matter if someone dies, the more people there are, the less one person matters.

Because of world overpopulation and our never satisfied consumer societies natural resources are being depleted at an alarming rate.

Despite humanity’s success in feeding a growing world population, the natural resources on which human life depends – fresh water, cropland, fisheries and forests among them – are increasingly depleted or strained. One hopeful sign for the new millennium is that population growth is slowing significantly. Current population projections suggest the possibility that world population could peak earlier and at a lower level than indicated by the projections of the past. Such an outcome, however, will require that family planning and related services be available to all who seek them, that more girls attend school and remain there longer, and that more women have the same economic opportunities men enjoy. We know that making family planning and related reproductive health services increasingly available to those who seek them is one of the world's success stories. The challenge in the new century is to make such services available to all who want them.

2.0      Growth and measurement of world population

The global population is growing at 1.3% per year. This means that for every 100 people we now have a net gain of 1.3 persons.

2.1       Data and terminology
2.2       Measurement of world population
2.3       Developing nations with low total fertility rate
2.4       Developing nations with high total fertility rate
2.5       Policies to decrease world population

2.1      Data and terminology

Demography relies on the use of large amounts of data, including census returns and records of births, marriages and deaths. The earliest modern census was carried out in Great Britain in 1801. See also Demographic statistics.

In many countries, particularly in the third world, reliable demographic data are still difficult to obtain. For example, during the 1980s the population of Nigeria was widely estimated to be around 110 million, before it was established to be as little as 89 million (without adjustment for undercounting) in a census carried out in 1991.

Important concepts in demography include:

  • The crude birth rate, the annual number of live births per thousand people.

  • The general fertility rate, the annual number of live births per 1000 women of childbearing age (often taken to be from 15 to 49 years old, but sometimes from 15 to 44).

  • age-specific fertility rates, the annual number of live births per 1000 women in particular age groups (usually age 15-19, 20-24 etc.)

  • The crude death rate, the annual number of deaths per 1000 people.

  • The infant mortality rate, the annual number of deaths of children less than 1 year old per thousand live births.

  • The expectation of life (or Life expectancy), the number of years which an individual at a given age can expect to live at present mortality levels.

  • The total fertility rate, the number of live births per woman completing her reproductive life, if her childbearing at each age reflected current age-specific fertility rates.

  • The gross reproduction rate, the number of daughters who would be born to a woman completing her reproductive life at current age-specific fertility rates.

  • The net reproduction rate is the number of daughters who would be born to a woman according to current age-specific fertility and mortality rates.

Note that the crude death rate as defined above and applied to a whole population can give a misleading impression. For example, the number of deaths per 1000 people can be higher for developed nations than in less-developed countries, despite standards of health being better in developed countries. This is because developed countries have relatively more older people, who are more likely to die in a given year, so that the overall mortality rate can be higher even if the mortality rate at any given age is lower. A more complete picture of mortality is given by a life table which summarises mortality separately at each age. A life table is necessary to give a good estimate of life expectancy.

2.2      Measurement of world population

* The World Population Clock found at: http://opr.princeton.edu/popclock/. This clock is synchronized with the World Population Clock at the U.S. Census Bureau.
U.S. Census Bureau. According to the International Programs Center, U.S. Bureau of the Census, the total population of the World, projected to 9/28/03 at 17:26:34 GMT (9/28/03 at 1:26:34 PM EDT) is 6,320,479,946
* The United Nations, whose population estimates differ somewhat from the U.S. Census Bureau, celebrated the "Day of 6 Billion" on October 12, 1999.


It was estimated that the population of the world in year 2050 will be 9,084,495,405.
Nations experiencing decreases in Total Fertility Rate (TFR) are nations that are very different from each other racially, religiously, and politically, implying that the drive to stabilize populations is a global movement. It is being realized that more people now means less of everything else now and for generations to come, and that more people simply cause additional strain on already-strained resources. In fact, decreasing fertility is an important part of an economic development strategy.

2.3      Developing nations with low TFR (Mexico, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, China)

In some regions of the world where the TFR is low there are large numbers of old people and fewer young persons. This has been of increasing concern to the governments of many of these nations, including the Zero Population Growth nations. Because these rates are at (or below) Replacement Level Fertility (RLF), populations in these nations have either stopped growing (in the case of many of the European nations) or will soon, after passing through the lag introduced by their age structures. These regions of the world are not expected to contribute significantly, if at all, to future population growth.

2.4      Developing nations with high TFR (Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, all nations of sub-Saharan Africa)

Many of the nations with high and relatively unchanging TFR's have several features in common:

  • They are still largely agricultural
  • There is much social inequity and poverty
  • Women are held in very low status and poorly educated (for example, in sub-Saharan Africa, 49% of women between the ages of 20 and 24 years are illiterate (for women older than 25 year, the illiteracy rate is 75%!)


People in such nations often do not understand that more children in their families and societies is actually an impediment to progress, feeling instead that many children constitute an advantage. Finally, some of these regions still have a large unmet demand for contraception, and relatively high rates of infant and child mortality.

2.5      Policies to decrease world population

  • delay reproduction until later in life

    Delaying reproduction is important in influencing population growth rates. Over a period of 60 years, if people delay reproduction until they are 30 years old, you would have only two generations, while if you do not delay reproduction you would have three generations (one generation every 20 years).
  • spread your children farther apart

  • to have fewer children overall

  • government commitment to decreasing population growth

    Create policies that help decreasing the number of children being born. Policies such as income tax deductions for dependent children and maternity and paternity leaves are essentially pronatalist and should be eliminated.
  • programs that are locally designed and that include information on family planning and access to contraceptives

  • educational programs that emphasize the connection between family planning and social good

  • How can the policy be enforced? Partially through ready availability of contraceptives, of course. In addition, the government has to create a system of incentives that encourages those who have no children and those who very few children.

    3.0      Global Community overall picture

    The inmense majority of human population in the Earth : 6,080,671,215 inhabitants(July 2000 est.).

    As of 2003, there is a permanent human presence in space, specifically the three-man crew of the International Space Station.

    The northernmost settlement in the world is Alert, Ellesmere Island, Canada.

    Age structure:

    • 0-14 years: 1,818,803,078 (29.92%)
      • male: 932,832,913 (15.35%)
      • female: 885,970,165 (14.57%)
    • 15-64 years: 3,840,881,326 (63.19%)
      • male: 1,942,402,264 (31.95%)
      • female: 1,898,479,062 (31.23%)
    • 65 years and over: 419,090,130 (6.89%)
      • male: 184,072,470 (3.03%)
      • female: 235,017,660 (3.87%) (2000 est.)
    Populationgrowth rate: 1.3% (2000 est.)

    Birthrate: 22 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

    Death rate: 9 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

    Sex ratio:

    • at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    • under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
    • 15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
    • 65 years and over: 0.78 male(s)/female
    • total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2000 est.)
    Infantmortality rate: 54 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

    Life expectancy at birth:

    • total population: 64 years
    • male: 62 years
    • female: 65 years (2000 est.)
    Total fertility rate: 2.8 children born/woman (2000 est.)

    Motivation, rather than differential access to modern contraception is a major determinant of fertility.  Individuals frequently respond to scarcity by having fewer children, and to perceived improved economic opportunity by having more children. Economic development does not cause family size to shrink; rather, at every point where serious economic opportunity beckons, family size preferences expand.

    A)  Foreign aid conveys to the recipients the perception of improving economic wellbeing, which is followed by an increase in the fertility of the recipients of the aid.

    B)  Migrations from regions of low economic opportunity to places of higher economic opportunity result in an increase in the fertility of the migrants that persists for a generation or two.

    Future historians may see the 20th century as a demographic anomaly – seven decades of accelerating population growth, unlike any previously experienced, followed by three of subsiding growth as use of contraception spread around the world.There is no certainty about future trends, however. And barring catastrophe, human population will continue expanding for decades to come. The planet’s water and land resources will provide less amply for each person, and environmental problems will become more challenging to resolve. At what level and in what decade population growth halts, and what kind of societies will witness this peak, will depend very much on how seriously governments and other social institutions take the commitments agreed to at the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo in 1994.

    In Cairo, the governments of the world agreed on a set of policies that could lead to a stabilized world population but which also make sense on other grounds. The relatively inexpensive strategies endorsed at this meeting are worth supporting regardless of population’s role in environmental or human well-being. The strategies are grounded not in demographic objectives but in fostering the development of each person’s capacity to make major life decisions for herself or himself, decisions such as how long to stay in school or when to have a child. In Cairo, the governments of 179 nations agreed that an estimated $17 billion annually by the year 2000 (rising to $21.7 billion by 2015) would be required to assure universal access to basic reproductive health services within 20 years. Five years later, in 1999, the same governments reiterated the importance of reaching these financial goals. Unfortunately, except for a handful of donor- and developing-country governments, most have failed to provide their share of this total. In the United States, ideological divisions within Congress have resulted in this country falling far short of its needed contribution. Unless such trends reverse, reproductive health services will remain unavailable to many of the world’s poorest people. And the projected declines in fertility and population growth that many experts point to as the likely future simply will not occur.

    4.0      Overpopulation as a social issue

    The density of population has an impact on a broad range of social and economic issues, such as land prices and housing costs. For example, relatively densely populated countries such as Japan have higher land prices than less densely populated countries such as Australia, and even in that country, land prices have doubled and redoubled as the population has increased. It is sometimes argued that reducing the populations of some areas, such as large cities, would have positive benefits for these reasons.

    The world’s human population currently numbers about 6.1 billion people, and the figure grows by nearly 90 million people each year, or around 240,000 each day. This annual addition to population is greater than ever before in history prior to the 1980s. It stems in large part from the unprecedented size of current population. The growth rate itself has actually declined since 1970, from about 2 percent to about 1.5 percent today. However, because this rate is applied to a much larger population than in 1970—when world population stood at 3.7 billion people—the added yearly increments are larger. If the population growth rate is not reduced further, world population will double by the year 2040. This growing global population affects the welfare of communities and ecosystems around the world.

    It took all of human history up to the early 1800s for world population to reach 1 billion people, and until 1960 to reach 3 billion. Today, the world gains 1 billion people every 11 years.

    In our lifetimes, humanity has become a force on the planet that rivals nature. The reasons for this are complex and linked to changes not only in human population but in technology, consumption patterns, unequal distribution of wealth and the choices made by people, businesses and governments. Research on these issues is far from complete. At some point, however, the cumulative weight of the evidence argues for prudent efforts that will contribute to a stable world population within at least the lifetimes or our children. The need is not to control population growth. Governments cannot control childbearing and attempts to do so have sometimes led to coercive approaches to reproduction that violate human rights. The need is rather to expand the power individuals have over their own lives, especially by enabling them to choose how many children to have and when to have them.

    Population is a complex issue, closely tied to a wide range of other issues such as:

    • Reproductive Health
    • Policy
    • Environment
    • Gender and Society
    • International Advocacy
    • Economics and Governance
    The rate of world population growth is beginning to decline, but the total number of people could still double or even triple from today’s 6.3 billion before stabilizing a century or more from now. Women in most countries are still having more than the two-child average consistent with a stable population size. Moreover, so many young people are now entering or moving through their childbearing years that even a two-child average would still boost population size for a few decades until the momentum of past growth subsides. Yet there is reason for optimism. The combination of access to family planning and other reproductive health services, education for girls and economic opportunity for women could lower birthrates enough to stabilize world population well before a doubling of today’s total.



    5.0      Impacts of the overpopulation

    Having reached 6 billion in 1999, human population continues to grow by more than 75 million people annually. According to the United Nations Population Fund’s projections, world population could grow to between 7.9 billion and 10.9 billion by 2050— a range that suggests broad possibilities for influencing population growth.

    Clearly the environmental challenges facing humanity in the 21st century and beyond would be less difficult in a world with slower population growth or none at all. Population is a critical variable influencing the availability of each of the natural resources considered here. And access to family planning services is a critical variable influencing population. Use of family planning contributes powerfully to lower fertility, later childbearing, and slower population growth. Yet policymakers, environmentalists and the general public remain largely unaware of the growing interest of young people throughout the world in delaying pregnancies and planning their families. In greater proportions than ever, girls want to go to school and to college, and women want to find fulfilling and well-paid employment. Helping people in every country to obtain the information and services they need to put these ambitions into effect is all that can be done, and all that needs to be done, to end world population growth in the new century.

    Comprehensive population policies are an essential element in a world development strategy that combines access to reproductive health services, to education and economic opportunities, to improved energy and natural resource technologies, and to healthyer models of consumption and the "good life." Together these can bring humanity into enduring balance with the environment and the natural resources upon which we will always depend.

    More people and higher incomes worldwide are multiplying humanity's impacts on the environment and on the natural resources that are essential to life.

    Today more than 1.1 billion people live in the areas richest in species diversity and the most threatened by human activities. While these areas comprise about 12 percent of the planet's land surface, they hold nearly 20 percent of its human population. The population in these biodiversity hotspots is growing at a collective rate of 1.8 percent annually, compared to the world's population's annual growth rate of 1.3 percent.

    The planet's major renewable natural resources — its fresh water, fisheries and forests — are already strained. Our atmosphere has been dramatically altered. Based on these trends, it is clear that the 21st century will witness even greater pressures on natural resources.

    Current demographic trends offer hope, however. Over the past 40 years the average number of children born to each woman has fallen from five to less than three. Young people increasingly want to wait to have children and to have smaller families. Policymakers have a choice. They can do nothing, or they can help ensure that in the 21st century the world's population peaks with fewer than 8 billion people, simply by committing the financial resources to meet the needs of couples who want to have smaller families and delay childbearing.

    6.0      Population control

    Population control is the practice of curtailing population increase, usually by reducing the birth rate. The practice has sometimes been voluntary, as a response to poverty, or out of religious ideology, but in some times and places it has been government-mandated. This is generally done to try to prevent a believed threat of Malthusian catastrophe, or overpopulation in general.

    Given the nature of human reproductive biology, controlling the birth rate generally implies one of the following practices:

    • sexual abstinence
    • contraception
    • sterilization
    • abortion
    • infanticide

    An important example of mandated population control is China's one child policy, in which having more than one child is made extremely unattractive. This has led to allegations that practices like infanticide, forced abortions and forced sterilization are used as a result of the policy.

    7.0      Action at the Global Community level

    The policies that contribute to the slowing of population growth are tested and cost-effective. Improving access to a range of high-quality contraceptive services remains a central strategy for closing the gap between reproductive intentions and outcomes. Lack of such access is a primary reason that today nearly two out of every five pregnancies are unintended, and that more than 150 million women do not want to become pregnant but are not using any form of contraception. Similarly, making sure that all girls and boys everywhere complete secondary school not only improves human development and health outcomes, but also discourages early and frequent pregnancy and thus contributes powerfully to slower population growth. The same is true of improving opportunities for women to find paying jobs or start their own businesses.

    International agreements provide benchmarks for performance in these areas. In particular, governments should support and fund the social investments called for by the Programme of Action of the ICPD, which both focus on women’s well-being and promise to contribute to slower population growth and the conservation of critical natural resources. When projecting future changes in environmental conditions, environmental and policy analysts should take into account scenarios suggested by the full range of population projections published by the United Nations Population Division and others, rather than merely those based on middle projections. Both governments and non-governmental organizations should consider integrated, global community-based approaches that improve both natural-resource conservation and access to reproductive health services.

    7.1       Impacts of family planning and health services
    7.2       Reproductive health services
    7.3       Unintended pregnancies
    7.4       Abortion policies
    7.5       Nutritional anemia in pregnancy
    7.6       Care in pregnancy and childbirth
    7.7       HIV/AIDS
    7.8       Risk of death in childbearing
    7.9       Improving reproductive health
    7.10       Biodiversity
    7.11       Forests
    7.12       Education
    7.13       Population and hope

    7.1      Impacts of family planning and health services

    Family planning and reproductive health services can affect the lives of women, men, and children. There are vast disparities in sexual and reproductive health and risks between rich and poor countries of the world. The past century witnessed dramatic improvements in what we now call “reproductive health,” especially in the more developed countries. There, near-universal access to high quality care in pregnancy and childbirth, to life-saving drugs and safe surgical procedures—including safe abortion—coupled with high levels of contraceptive use and low fertility, all contribute to good reproductive health overall.

    The situation is quite different in the developing world. In the year 2000, fully 98 percent of the 3.43 million adult deaths from causes related to poor reproductive health occurred in the developing world. In developed countries, a woman has only a 1 in 2,125 risk of dying in pregnancy or childbirth over the course of her lifetime. That risk is 33 times higher, at 1 in 65, for women in developing countries.

    7.2      Reproductive health services

    Sexual activity and childbearing early in life carry significant risks for young people all around the world. Teen mothers face twice the risk of dying from childbirth than do women in their twenties, and their children are more vulnerable to health risks as well. Every year, almost half of all new HIV infections and at least one-third of all new sexually transmitted infections occur to people younger than 25.

    7.3      Unintended pregnancies

    Every year nearly 80 million unintended pregnancies occur worldwide. More than half of these pregnancies end in abortion. An estimated 150 million women in developing countries say they would prefer to plan their families but are not using contraception, and another 350 million women lack access to effective family planning methods.

    Reproductive health services can help. Voluntary family planning and other reproductive health services can help couples avert high-risk pregnancies, prevent unwanted childbearing and abortion, and avoid diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, that can lead to death, disability, and infertility.

    7.4      Abortion policies

    Worldwide, more than one-fifth of all pregnancies—nearly 46 million—are terminated each year. An estimated 36 million procedures take place in the developing world and 10 million in the developed world. Twenty million of these abortions are carried out under illegal and often
    unsafe conditions. Women who want to terminate a pregnancy tend to ignore the legal status of abortion. Many women are willing to risk unsafe abortions. In the poorest countries, women face a much higher risk of death from unsafe abortion. In Africa, one in every 150
    abortions leads to death compared to one in every 85,000 procedures in the developed world.

    Restrictive abortion policies mainly affect the poor who rely on the public sector for all their
    health needs; women who have the means can usually obtain abortions from the private sector.

    7.5      Nutritional anemia in pregnancy

    Iron-deficiency anemia is the most prevalent micronutrient deficiency in the world today. It is especially common in women of reproductive age and particularly during pregnancy. The prevalence of anemia varies greatly among and within countries and is often related to poverty.

    By some estimates, levels among pregnant women reach 70 percent in South Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa outside of South Africa, levels exceed 40 percent. Yet anemia can easily be treated with oral iron supplements.

    7.6      Care in pregnancy and childbirth

    Approximately one-quarter of pregnant women develop complications. More than one pregnancy in 350 is fatal. Adequate care during pregnancy and especially at labor and delivery are the most cost-effective interventions for improving maternal and newborn health, according to the World Bank. Yet in the developing world some 45 million women do not receive prenatal care and 60 million births take place in the absence of skilled attendants.

    7.7      HIV/AIDS

    AIDS is one of the leading killers of our time. In 2000, 4.7 million adults around the world became infected with the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) and another 2.5 million died of AIDS. Over 95 percent of these deaths and new infections occurred in the developing world. Sub-Saharan Africa is the epicenter of the pandemic, with more than 70 percent of all new infections and 80 percent of deaths in 2000.

    AIDS kills people at the height of their reproductive and productive years. Dying young often leaves women enough time to bear children, but not enough to raise them. Where the epidemic is well advanced, it adversely affects the well-being of families and precarious economies.

    Where HIV infection rates are the highest in the world, condom use is lowest. With growing numbers of infections among women due to the increase in heterosexual transmission of HIV, the need for female-controlled methods has taken on greater urgency.

    7.8      Risk of death in childbearing

    Every pregnancy entails risk, especially where health care is poor. Each year, more than 500,000 women worldwide die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes, almost all of them in the developing world.

    Most maternal deaths could be prevented with inexpensive measures. The World Bank and World
    Health Organization estimate it would cost just US $3.00 per capita per year to provide standard mother and baby care for women in low-income countries.

    Reproductive Health

    Over the past three decades, the world has made substantial progress towards improving reproductive health and slowing population growth, but many challenges remain:

    • Maternal and child deaths in developing countries are unacceptably high. Every minute of every day, a woman dies in pregnancy or childbirth and some 20 children die of largely preventable causes. And many more women are left ill or disabled by complications in pregnancy and delivery.

    • A mother's health affects the health of her children. Women who are in poor health or poorly nourished are more likely to give birth to unhealthy babies, and often cannot provide adequate care, diminishing the chances their children will survive and thrive. The reduction in women's productivity also places an economic burden on their families, communities and societies.

    • The death of a mother is devastating for her family. Studies in Bangladesh show that when a mother dies after giving birth her newborn baby has much lower chances of surviving until its first birthday. Children who survive a mother's death are less likely to receive adequate nourishment and health care. Older girls in families where the mother has died often drop out of school to care for younger siblings and do household chores.

    • Gender inequities, sexual coercion, and violence by intimate partners undermine women's sexual and reproductive autonomy and jeopardize their health and well-being. Women who lack sexual autonomy often are powerless to refuse unwanted sex or to use conception and thus are at greater risk of unwanted pregnancies, STI's, and HIV. The reproductive health field is attempting respond to the need to address the conditions of people's sexual lives by sensitizing and training health workers, developing referral, and developing negotiating skills in both women and men. At the community level, efforts to bring about more equitable gender relations are ever more common.

    • Pregnancies to very young mothers also carry increased risk for both mother and baby. Children born to mothers under age 18 have a greater chance of dying before age five, compared with births to mothers aged 20 to 34. Teenage girls who are not physically mature are at greater risk of obstructed labor and complications during delivery. They are less likely to obtain prenatal care and to have the means to safeguard the health of their infants.

    • Adolescent girls are also more likely to undergo unsafe abortions than older women. Even where abortion is legal, access may be difficult for unmarried girls. In many countries the number of abortions to adolescents is growing and unsafe abortion is a leading cause of death among teenage girls.

    • AIDS kills people at the height of their reproductive and productive years, with devastating consequences for families, communities, and national economies. In sub-Saharan Africa, where HIV infection rates are the highest in the world, condom use is lowest, at 1 percent among married couples. With growing numbers of infections among women due to the increase in heterosexual transmission of HIV, women account for 55 percent of all infected people in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Comprehensive reproductive health services, especially care in pregnancy and childbirth and for sexually transmitted infections, are key to preventing disability and death and improving women's health. Better access to emergency care during childbirth and safe abortion services would also contribute significantly to lower maternal death rates. Family planning diminishes risks associated with frequent childbearing and helps reduce reliance on abortion.


    In the face of the AIDS pandemic and the spread of other STIs, efforts to educate the public and promote condom use are critical. The threat of HIV/AIDS has also heightened the need for programs that help women and men-and especially young people-strengthen their communications and negotiating skills.

     

    An important obstacle to couple negotiation of contraceptive use and protection from STDs including HIV is that most women have unequal access to resources and decision-making. Yet women are more vulnerable to the consequences of unplanned pregnancies and often HIV/STI's. For these reasons, countering the prevailing gender stereotypes that increase risky behaviors and decrease couple communication is a key strategy for promoting good reproductive health.

    Ultimately, good sexual and reproductive health benefits everyone. Its consequences extend from the family to the entire planet.

    7.9      Improving reproductive health

    Financing Population Programs: The Role of Donor Countries

    Many developing countries lack the funds to provide universal access to good quality reproductive health care. Most women and couples, therefore, rely for their reproductive health services on government programs funded through international population assistance. Declining and irregular contributions form donor nations to the United Nations Population Fund, however, threaten continuation of these crucial services. Concurrently, the last few decades have seen an enormous increase in the use of such services and rising demand could easily drain the dwindling resources the world provides. Increased financial support from donor countries remains essential to improving reproductive health and slowing population growth.

    Global Disparities in Reproductive Health

    The risks associated with sexual activity and childbearing vary tremendously from country to country, reflecting differences in public health policies, income levels, and social and cultural practices affecting sexual relationships and access to healthcare. In developed countries, one woman in 2,100 dies during pregnancy or childbirth over the course of her lifetime. The situation is quite different in the developing world where a woman's risk of death from maternal causes is 1 in 60, fully 35 times that of her developed country counterpart. More than a quarter of pregnant women in developing countries still receive no prenatal care and nearly half give birth with no help from skilled health personnel.

    Status of Women

    Improving the social and economic status of women, which greatly affect and are affected by poor reproductive health, is a vital concern. Increasing a woman's educational level and control over financial resources can improve her status within the household, thereby increasing not only her role in decision-making, knowledge about health and services available to her, and access to food and other resources that contribute to good health.

    Ultimately, good sexual and reproductive health benefits everyone and its consequences extend from the family to the entire planet.

    The vast disparities in reproductive health worldwide and the greater vulnerability of the poor to reproductive risk point to several steps all governments can take, with the support of other sectors, to improve the health of women and their families:

    • Give women more life choices. The low social and economic status of women and girls sets the stage for poor reproductive health

    • Invest in reproductive health care

    • Encourage delays in the onset of sexual activity and first births

    • Help couples prevent and manage unwanted childbearing

    • Ensure universal access to maternal health care

    • Support new reproductive health technologies

    • Increase efforts to address the HIV pandemic

    • Involve communities in evaluating and implementing programs

    • Develop partnerships with the private sector, policymakers and aid donors to broaden support for reproductive health


    • Measure Progress

    More and more young people on every continent want to start bearing children later in life and to have smaller families than at any time in history. Likewise, in greater proportions than ever, women and girls in particular want to go to school and to college, and they want to find fulfilling and well-paid employment. Helping people in every country obtain the information and services they need to put these ambitions into effect is all that can be done, and all that needs to be done, to bring world population growth to a stable landing in the new century.


    7.10      Biodiversity

    Recent studies conclude that the underlying causes of biodiversity loss include population growth, migration to ecologically sensitive areas, poverty and inequity, policies that promote unsustainable resource consumption, and a lack of environmental awareness. Growth in demand for food and housing, each rooted in population growth, has contributed greatly to the loss of biodiversity. Both conversion of species-rich forests and wetlands to cropland and the increasing intensity of fertilizer and pesticide use are major factors in the extinction of species, and they are direct responses to increases in food demand.

    More than 1.1 billion people now live in the world's 25 biodiversity-rich hotspots. The hotspots are home to around 20 percent of the world's population, although the original boundaries of these regions enclose only about 12 percent of the planet's land surface.

    7.11      Forests

    The forest-to-people ratio-a simple division of a country's forest cover by its population -helps quantify the number of people living with low levels of forest resources both now and in the future. Many are vulnerable to scarcities of key forest products such as timber and paper and risk the collapse of vital forest services such as control of erosion and flooding in populated areas. In some countries the forest-to-people ratio declines even though forests expand, simply because their populations grow more rapidly than their forests.

    7.12      Education and Economic Development

    The well-being of the world's natural resources is closely linked to the health and well-being of women. Investing in education for girls helps them to contribute to their national economies-and to postpone childbearing until they are ready for a family. Providing credit and other economic opportunities for women creates alternatives to early and frequent childbearing. Finally, better access to quality reproductive health services directly benefits women and their families. These approaches increase human capacity, providing the greatest long-term return to societies, individuals and the environment. Moreover, they are likely to lead to an early peak in world population in the coming century-quite possibly at levels that can co-exist with forests that teem with human and non-human life for centuries to come.

    7.13      Population and Hope

    Clearly the environmental challenges humanity faces in the 21st century and beyond would be less difficult in a world with slower population growth or none at all. Population is a critical variable influencing the availability of each of the natural resources considered here. Access to family planning contributes powerfully to lower fertility, later childbearing, and slower population growth. Yet policymakers, environmentalists and the general public remain largely unaware of the growing interest of young people throughout the world in delaying pregnancies and planning their families. In greater proportions than ever, girls want to go to school and to college, and women want to find fulfilling and well-paid employment. Helping people in every country to obtain the information and services they need to put these ambitions into effect is a critical step towards ending world population growth in this century.

    Comprehensive population policies are an essential element in a world development strategy that combines access to reproductive health services, to education and economic opportunity, to improved energy and natural resource technologies, and to saner models of consumption and the "good life." Together these can bring humanity into enduring balance with the environment and the natural resources upon which we will always depend.


    Birth Control

    8.1       History of birth control
    8.2       Traditional birth control methods:
    8.3       Modern birth control methods:
    8.4       Religious and cultural attitudes to birth control

    8.1       History of birth control

    Birth control is any method, technique, practice, device, or drug which is used to reduce the probability of pregnancy or to end an unwanted pregnancy. The term family planning is sometimes also used, especially when referring to the thoughtful and premeditated selection of a birth control technique.

    When pregnancy is not desired, either at least one of the participants must be sterile, sexual intercourse must be avoided, or contraception must be used prior to conception.

    Contraception (even vasectomy) is not always 100% effective. More generally, in sexual behavior contact of semen with the vagina should be avoided. For example, partners can restrict themselves to masturbation, oral sex, etc., but they should not forget to keep not only the penis but also the sperm away from the vagina. Abstinence is sometimes called the only 'sure' way to avoid pregnancy. If perfectly adhered to, it is. However, some who habitually rely on it as their primary protection may cease to abstain and thereby incur the risk of pregnancy.

    8.2       Traditional birth control methods:

    • celibacy, or sexual abstinence (these may be more properly called alternatives to birth control)
    • non-procreative sex, such as
      • sex without penetration ("outercourse")
      • anal sex or oral sex
    • coitus interruptus
    • the rhythm method

    8.3       Modern birth control methods:

    • Barrier methods
      • condom
      • female condom
      • diaphragm

    • Chemical methods
      • oral contraceptives ("The Pill")
      • Other chemical contraceptives (implants, male pill, depo-provera).
      • spermicides
      • morning-after pill

    • Other methods
      • herbal contraception
      • Intrauterine Device
      • Natural family planning
      • surgical sterilization, including vasectomy for men and tubal ligation for women
      • chemical or surgical abortion (not considered by some to be birth control, since pregnancy occurs)

    Condoms and herbal birthcontrol methods existed before the modern era. The herbal methods were of various effectiveness, and were available in China and Europe.

    8.4       Religious and cultural attitudes to birth control

    The official position of the Catholic Church regarding birth control is expressed very clearly in Pope Pius XI's encyclical entitled Casti Connubii. It was written in response to the Episcopalian approval of artificial means of contraception when used in cases of grave necessity.

    Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, ... in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, ... proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.

    In 1968 Pope Paul VI released a document called Humanae Vitae, which again forbade chemical and barrier methods but suggested natural methods such as the rhythm method or natural family planning might be considered in cases of necessity. The public response to this suggestion was immediate and overwhelming. There is dissent however. Some priests and theologians accept only abstinence as moral and there are also those who assert abstinence within a marriage can be immoral.

    Couples seeking marriage in the Catholic Church are required to undergo counseling by a Catholic priest. In the past priests led couples seeking to delay children to rhythm, today they are instructed to point new couples toward the more effective natural family planning.

    9.0       Action at the Local Community level

    Individuals, too, can help bring about a world that is more secure and more supportive of life, health and happiness. They can educate themselves on population dynamics, consumption patterns and the impact of these forces on natural resources and the environment. They can be socially, politically and culturally active to elevate the issues they care about. They can become more environmentally responsible in their purchasing decisions and their use of energy and natural resources. And individuals and couples can consider the impacts of their reproductive decisions on their communities and the world as a whole.

    What is needed is for government and the private sector to make reproductive health services available to all who seek them, to make sure that girls and boys can go to and stay in school, and to make economic opportunities as accessible to women as to men. Combined with improved energy and natural-resource technologies and saner models of consumption and the “good life,” these strategies can bring humanity into enduring balance with the environment and the natural resources that people will always need.

    10.0       Action concerning fisheries

    The world's ocean fisheries are already being fished to their maximum capacities or are in decline. Global fish production climbed modestly in 1997, the last year for which global data were available, almost entirely because the farming of fish expanded in the world's most populous country, China. While the number of fishermen continues to increase, the amount of fish each fisherman catches is falling steadily. The poor have long depended on fish for complete protein but population growth has caused this important food source to be out of their reach.

    The world 's ocean fisheries are already being fished to their maximum capacities or are in decline. Global fish production climbed modestly in 1997, the last year for which global data are available, almost entirely because the farming of fish expanded in the world 's most populous country, China. Most fisheries worldwide are fully exploited or in decline. While the number of individual fishers continues to increase, the amount of fish each one catches is falling steadily. The poor have long depended on fish for complete protein, but population growth is helping to push this important food source out of their reach.

    11.0       Action concerning forests

    Today about 1.8 billion people live in 36 countries with less than 0.1 hectare of forested land per capita, an indicator of critically low levels of forest cover. Based on the medium population projection and current deforestation trends, by 2025 the number of people living in forest-scarce countries could nearly double to 3 billion. Most of the world's original forests have been lost to the expansion of human activities. In many parts of the developing world, the future availability of forest resources for food, fuel and shelter looks quite discouraging. Future declines in the per capita availability of forests, especially in developing countries, are likely to pose major challenges for both conservation and human well-being.

    Why population growth matters to the future of forests

      In some countries, forests and other vegetation are being burned away at alarming rates to satisfy the growing demand for agricultural land.

    The world's forests provide goods and services essential to human and planetary well-being. But forests are disappearing faster today than ever before. Due both to deforestation and human population growth, the current ratio of forests to human beings is less thn half what it was in 1960. Yet we not only need more forests, we need forests more than ever before–to protect the world's remaining plant and animal life, to prevent flooding, to slow human-induced climate change, and to provide the paper on which education and communication still depend. More efficient consumption of forest products and eventual stabilization of human population–a prospect that appears more promising today as birthrates decline–will be needed to conserve the world's forests in the coming millennium.

    Half of the world's original forest cover is gone, a loss that reflects humanity's intensive use of land since the invention of farming. Of the forest that remains, less than one-fourth could be considered relatively undisturbed by human activity. The vast primeval forests of Europe and Asia survive today only as patchwork remnants of secondary growth, much of it vulnerable to logging, encroachment by development, pollution, fire and disease.

    Forests are currently expanding in much of the industrialized world, while shrinking in most of the developing world. In just the first five years of the 1990s, 65 million hectares of forest–an area the size of Afghanistan– were converted to other uses in developing countries. By contrast, the industrialized countries gained 9 million hectares of forested land, an area about the size of Hungary. The pattern of forest loss in developing countries today differs from past losses in Europe and elsewhere in two key respects: human populations are much larger than before, and the pace of deforestation is more rapid. In the last four decades, an area half the size of the United States has been cleared of tropical forests, while population in developing countries has doubled to 4.7 billion. Among the most encouraging trends for the future of forests is the fact that fertility and birthrates are now declining in developing countries, leading demographers to revise downward their projections of future population growth.

    A new measure of forest resource availability helps illustrate the increasing scarcity of forests in many countries. The forest-to-people ratio– a simple division of a country's forest cover by its population–helps quantify the number of people living with low levels of forest resources both now and in the future. Using a ratio of 0.1 hectare of forest cover per person (roughly a quarter acre) as a benchmark reveals that 1.7 billion people now live in 40 countries with critically low levels of forest cover. Many are vulnerable to scarcities of key forest products such as timber and paper and risk the collapse of vital forest services such as control of erosion and flooding in populated areas. In some countries the forest-to-people ratio declines even though forests expand, simply because their populations grow more rapidly than their forests. By 2025, based on United Nations data on deforestation and projected population growth, the number of people living in forest-scarce countries could nearly triple to 4.6 billion. Many are unlikely to have the options of wealthy countries to import or use substitutes for forest products and the environmental services forests provide.

    Population dynamics are among the primary underlying causes of forest decline. Poverty, corruption, inequitable access to land and wasteful consumption practices also influence the decisions of governments, corporations and individuals to cut and clear forests. The interaction of these forces is most evident in areas such as South Asia, Central America and sub-Saharan Africa, where poverty, rapid population growth and weak institutions contribute to forest loss and severe environmental degradation.

    The dominant force in forest loss is growth in the demand for farmland. Subsistence agriculture is the principal cause of forest loss in Africa, Asia and much of Latin America. Slash-and-burn farming and other traditional techniques were sustainable for centuries when population densities were lower. Today they are a major factor, along with the expansion of commercial farms and livestock grazing areas, in the permanent conversion of wooded land to agriculture. The need to increase food production is expected to accelerate the forest-to-farmland cycle, especially in countries where alternatives for meeting this demand are limited.

    A typical American uses 15 times as much lumber and paper as a resident of a developing country.

    Total wood consumption has tripled during the 20th century. Per capita consumption has changed little on a global basis–actually decreasing slightly–but consumption patterns vary widely between countries. A typical American uses 15 times as much lumber and paper as a resident of a developing country. Reducing wood consumption in the industrialized world is unlikely to stop forest loss in developing countries however, since most of the wood consumed comes from trees in the industrialized countries themselves. Nevertheless, the consumption model offered to the rest of the world threatens accelerated forest loss as both populations and economies grow in developing countries.

    Commercial logging of tropical forests has doubled since 1960, accounting for 5 million to 6 million hectares of forest loss each year, an area nearly the size of Sri Lanka. This is about one third the forest area lost each year in the developing world. Illegal logging causes a significant, though unquantified, amount of additional forest loss. Logging's biggest role in deforestation, however, is more indirect. Logging roads provide pathways deep into forests that farmers and other settlers then follow, permanently clearing the land for crops and pasture.

    Nearly 3 billion people depend on wood as their main source of energy. The production of fuelwood and charcoal accounts for over 90 percent of the wood harvested in Africa, 80 percent in Asia and 70 percent in Latin America. Population growth is closely linked to rising woodfuel demand. The effects of woodfuel scarcity are most severe in impoverished areas, where more modern fuels are inaccessible or unaffordable.

    Women and children are the victims of woodfuel scarcity. The search for fuel consumes the time, energy and health of women and their children. As local wood supplies grow scarce, women risk spinal column damage and uterine prolapse from carrying heavier loads over longer distances. Girls are often kept home from school to help their mothers gather wood, depriving them of educational opportunities. Where wood is unavailable, women cook with inefficient fuels such as animal dung or crop wastes, depriving livestock of fodder and soils of natural fertilizer. This endangers both the nutritional and respiratory health of women and their families.

    Forest scarcity threatens the use of paper for education, the activity most likely to improve health and economic well-being. 80 percent of the world's population lack access to enough affordable paper and reading materials to meet basic standards for literacy and communication. Reducing paper consumption could help ensure enough paper for all. These efforts are undermined, however, by broader inequalities in access to education and economic opportunity. Closing the "paper gap" between rich and poor nations ultimately depends on government action to increase spending on education, health and social services in developing countries. Future population growth and forest loss will largely determine whether and when this gap can be closed.

    Population policies based on human development and the Scale of Human and Earth Rights offer the greatest hope for the future of forests. This is not an argument for population "control" but for the social investments that allow couples to choose when to have children and how many to have. Programs linking conservation activities with family planning services show promise for achieving both the sustainable use of forests and greater acceptance of reproductive health services.

    Sustainable wood consumption is essential for the future of forests. Individuals and institutions alike should promote the ecologically sound and socially responsible use of forest products. Eco-labeling, or the environmental certification of wood products, could speed the adoption of more sustainable forestry practices. Consumer demand for green-certified paper and other wood products is an important complement to recycling and other efforts to reduce wood consumption.

    The well-being of the world's forests is closely linked to the health and well-being of women. Investing in education for girls helps them to contribute to their national economies–and to postpone childbearing until they are ready for a family. Providing credit and other economic opportunities for women creates alternatives to early and frequent childbearing. Finally, better access to quality reproductive health services directly benefits women and their families. These approaches increase human capacity, providing the greatest long-term return to societies, individuals and the environment. Moreover, they are likely to lead to an early peak in world population in the coming century–quite possibly at levels that can co-exist with forests that teem with human and non-human life for centuries to come.

    12.0       Action concerning agricultural land and food production

    The number of people living in countries where cultivated land is critically scarce is projected to increase to between 600 million and 986 million in 2025. Despite the Green Revolution and other technological advances, agriculture experts continue to debate how long crop yields will keep up with population growth. The food that feeds the future will be raised mostly on today's cropland. The soil on this land must remain fertile to keep food production secure. The minimum amount of land needed to supply a vegetarian diet for one person without any use of artificial chemical inputs or loss of soil and soil nutrients is .07 hectares, or slightly less than a quarter of an acre. An estimated 415 million people already live today in countries that have less than that per person. Easing world hunger could become unimaginably difficult if population growth resembles demographers' higher projections.

    13.0       Action concerning world hunger

    The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization defines adequate nourishment as consumption of at least 2,100 kilocalories (often called calories informally) per day. Countries are shaded to illustrate the proportion of the population which does not have access to enough food to satisfy this requirement.


    14.0       Action concerning natural resources

    Having reached nearly 6.1 billion in 2000, human population continues to grow. UN population projections for the year 2050 range from 7.9 billion to 10.9 billion, suggesting the extent to which we can influence our future. More people and higher incomes worldwide are multiplying humanity's impacts on the environment and on the natural resources that are essential to life. The planet's fresh water, fisheries, forests and atmosphere are already strained.

    Based on these trends, it is clear that the 21st century will witness even greater pressures on natural resources. Current demographic trends offer hope, however. Over the past 40 years the average number of children born to each woman has fallen from five to less than three. Young people increasingly want to wait to have children and to have smaller families. Policymakers have a choice. They can do nothing, or they can help ensure that in the 21st century the world's population peaks with fewer than 8 billion people, simply by committing the financial resources to meet the needs of couples who want to have smaller families, later in life.

    The future of the relationship between people and critical natural resources has begun to appear more hopeful than it has for some time. Human population growth is slowing down. While slowing, however, significant growth continues, meaning that more people will be sharing such finite resources as freshwater and cropland. And in some regions – notably in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia – large families and early pregnancies provide strong momentum for population growth that could continue for generations to come. But the braking of this growth has been significant enough that many analysts of natural resources are more optimistic about their future availability than they were in the early 1990s.

    15.0       Action concerning water

    As populations grow and demands on resources increase, an aspect of the problem that is often overlooked is the fact that there are major fluctuations in the ability of the environment to satisfy our needs. In the case of municipal water, if we build new subdivisions sufficient to consume the limiting maximum output of our of our municipal water supply in wet years, then in dry years we will be seriously short. When one is living at the limit of a renewable resource, small fluctuations in the annual yield of the resource can cause major dislocations. Prudence dictates that one should plan to consume no more water annually than the water supply can deliver during the dryest years. This problem is even more critical with world food supplies, which are very dependent on the vagaries of global weather patterns.

    By the year 2025, between 2.6 billion and 3.1 billion people could be living in either water-scarce or water-stressed conditions, depending on future rates of population growth. This is compared to 434 million people living in these circumstances in the year 2000. While 25 countries currently experience either water stress or scarcity, between 36 and 40 countries are projected to face similar conditions by 2025. Water shortage is likely to grow especially acute in the Middle East and in much of Africa. Currently, 600 million people face water scarcity.Depending on future rates of population growth, between 2.7 billion and 3.2 billion people may be living in either water-scarce or water-stressed conditions by 2025. For tens of millions of people in the Middle East and in much of Africa today, the lack of available fresh water is a chronic concern that is growing more acute and more widespread.

    The problem is worse than it often appears on the ground, because much of the fresh water now used in water-scarce regions comes from deep aquifers that are not being refreshed by the natural water cycle. In most of the countries where water shortage is severe and worsening, high rates of population growth exacerbate the declining availability of renewable fresh water. While 25 countries currently experience either water stress or scarcity, 39 to 41 countries are projected to face similar conditions by 2025.

    434 million people face either water stress or scarcity. Depending on future rates of population growth, between 2.6 billion and 3.1 billion people may be living in either water-scarce or water-stressed conditions by 2025. For tens of millions of people in the Middle East and in much of Africa today, the lack of available fresh water is a chronic concern that is growing more acute and more widespread. The problem is worse than it often appears on the ground, because much of the fresh water now used in water-scarce regions comes from deep aquifers that are not being refreshed by the natural water cycle. In most of the countries where water shortage is severe and worsening, high rates of population growth exacerbate the declining availability of renewable fresh water. While 25 countries currently experience either water stress or scarcity, between 36 and 40 countries are projected to face similar conditions by 2025.

    16.0       Carrying capacity

    In biology, the carrying capacity of an environment for a particular species is a measure of the steady-state density that the species can have for a particular habitat to support sustainably. When populations exceed the carrying capacity, famine and disease tend to reduce the size the population.

    Humans are the only species known to possess the ability to increase their carrying capacity.

    Overpopulation is a condition in which some population can, under certain circumstances, grow so large or dense that it exceeds the biological carrying capacity of its containing natural ecological system and thus will naturally reduce in numbers throughfamine, and lack of essential resources.

    In the case of humans, or theoretically, any other specie that is able to extend its carrying capacity through agricultural and technological means, it means harnessing a natural system to sustainably support it with or without causing environmental damage, and the continuous ability to do so. Overpopulation is regarded by many as a critical issue concerning the growth, and future size of the earth's population.

    17.0       Overview of results from this report

    There is a growing awareness that the unrestrained growth of populations should pay for itself. Taxes and utility costs must escalate in order to pay for the growth. In addition, growth brings increased levels of congestion, frustration, and air pollution. In recent years, several industrialized nations have seen taxpayer revolts in the form of ballot questions that were adopted to limit the allowed tax increases. The revolts have been in the nations that claimed to be the most prosperous because they had the largest rates of population growth. These limits on taxes were felt to be necessary to stop the tax increases that were required to pay for the growth. Unfortunately the growth has managed to continue, while the schools and other public agencies have suffered from the shortage of funds. Communities can slow their population growth by removing the many visible and hidden public subsidies that support and encourage growth.

    It clear that there will always be large opposition to programs of making population growth pay for itself. Those who profit from growth will use their considerable resources to convince the community that the community should pay the costs of growth. In our communities, making growth pay for itself could be a major tool to use in stopping the population growth.

    Nations experiencing decreases in Total Fertility Rate (TFR) are nations that are very different from each other racially, religiously, and politically, implying that the drive to stabilize populations is a global movement. It is being realized that more people now means less of everything else now and for generations to come, and that more people simply cause additional strain on already-strained resources. In fact, decreasing fertility is an important part of an economic development strategy.

    What happens to the idea of the dignity of the human species if this population growth continues at its present rate? It will be completely destroyed. Democracy cannot survive overpopulation.  Human dignity cannot survive overpopulation.  Convenience and decency cannot survive overpopulation.  As you put more and more people onto the world, the value of life not only declines, it disappears.  It doesn't matter if someone dies, the more people there are, the less one person matters.


    Having reached 6.3 billion in 2003, human population continues to grow. It was estimated that the population of the world in year 2050 will be 9,084,495,405. UN population projections for the year 2050 range from 7.9 billion to 10.9 billion, suggesting the extent to which we can influence our future. More people and higher incomes worldwide are multiplying humanity 's impact on the environment and on natural resources essential to life. Based on these trends, it is clear that the 21st century will witness even greater pressures on natural resources. Current demographic trends offer hope, however. Over the past 40 years the average number of children born to each woman has fallen from five to less than three. Young people increasingly want to wait to have children and to have smaller families. Policymakers have a choice. They can do nothing, or they can help ensure that in the 21st century the world 's population peaks with fewer than 8 billion people, simply by committing the financial resources to meet the needs of couples who want to have smaller families, later in life.

    In some regions of the world where the TFR is low there are large numbers of old people and fewer young persons. This has been of increasing concern to the governments of many of these nations, including the Zero Population Growth nations. Because these rates are at (or below) Replacement Level Fertility (RLF), populations in these nations have either stopped growing (in the case of many of the European nations) or will soon, after passing through the lag introduced by their age structures. These regions of the world are not expected to contribute significantly, if at all, to future population growth.

    Many of the nations with high and relatively unchanging TFR's have several features in common:

    • they are still largely agricultural,
    • there is much social inequity and poverty, and
    • women are held in very low status and poorly educated (for example, in sub-Saharan Africa, 49% of women between the ages of 20 and 24 years are illiterate (for women older than 25 year, the illiteracy rate is 75%!)

    People in such nations often do not understand that more children in their families and societies is actually an impediment to progress, feeling instead that many children constitute an advantage. Finally, some of these regions still have a large unmet demand for contraception, and relatively high rates of infant and child mortality.

    Clearly the environmental challenges facing humanity in the 21st century and beyond would be less difficult in a world with slower population growth or none at all. Population is a critical variable influencing the availability of each of the natural resources considered here. And access to family planning services is a critical variable influencing population. Use of family planning contributes powerfully to lower fertility, later childbearing, and slower population growth. Yet policymakers, environmentalists and the general public remain largely unaware of the growing interest of young people throughout the world in delaying pregnancies and planning their families. In greater proportions than ever, girls want to go to school and to college, and women want to find fulfilling and well-paid employment. Helping people in every country to obtain the information and services they need to put these ambitions into effect is all that can be done, and all that needs to be done, to end world population growth in the new century.


    Reproductive health services can help. Voluntary family planning and other reproductive health services can help couples avert high-risk pregnancies, prevent unwanted childbearing and abortion, and avoid diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, that can lead to death, disability, and infertility.

    Comprehensive reproductive health services, especially care in pregnancy and childbirth and for sexually transmitted infections, are key to preventing disability and death and improving women's health. Better access to emergency care during childbirth and safe abortion services would also contribute significantly to lower maternal death rates. Family planning diminishes risks associated with frequent childbearing and helps reduce reliance on abortion.

    An important obstacle to couple negotiation of contraceptive use and protection from STDs including HIV is that most women have unequal access to resources and decision-making. Yet women are more vulnerable to the consequences of unplanned pregnancies and often HIV/STI's. For these reasons, countering the prevailing gender stereotypes that increase risky behaviors and decrease couple communication is a key strategy for promoting good reproductive health.

    Individuals, too, can help bring about a world that is more secure and more supportive of life, health and happiness. They can educate themselves on population dynamics, consumption patterns and the impact of these forces on natural resources and the environment. They can be socially, politically and culturally active to elevate the issues they care about. They can become more environmentally responsible in their purchasing decisions and their use of energy and natural resources. And individuals and couples can consider the impacts of their reproductive decisions on their communities and the world as a whole.

    The world's forests provide goods and services essential to human and planetary well-being. But forests are disappearing faster today than ever before. Due both to deforestation and human population growth, the current ratio of forests to human beings is less than half what it was in 1960. Yet we not only need more forests, we need forests more than ever before–to protect the world's remaining plant and animal life, to prevent flooding, to slow human-induced climate change, and to provide the paper on which education and communication still depend. More efficient consumption of forest products and eventual stabilization of human population–a prospect that appears more promising today as birthrates decline–will be needed to conserve the world's forests in the coming millennium.

    Population dynamics are among the primary underlying causes of forest decline. Poverty, corruption, inequitable access to land and wasteful consumption practices also influence the decisions of governments, corporations and individuals to cut and clear forests. The interaction of these forces is most evident in areas such as South Asia, Central America and sub-Saharan Africa, where poverty, rapid population growth and weak institutions contribute to forest loss and severe environmental degradation.

    The dominant force in forest loss is growth in the demand for farmland. Subsistence agriculture is the principal cause of forest loss in Africa, Asia and much of Latin America. Slash-and-burn farming and other traditional techniques were sustainable for centuries when population densities were lower. Today they are a major factor, along with the expansion of commercial farms and livestock grazing areas, in the permanent conversion of wooded land to agriculture. The need to increase food production is expected to accelerate the forest-to-farmland cycle, especially in countries where alternatives for meeting this demand are limited.

    A typical American uses 15 times as much lumber and paper as a resident of a developing country. Reducing wood consumption in the industrialized world is unlikely to stop forest loss in developing countries however, since most of the wood consumed comes from trees in the industrialized countries themselves. Nevertheless, the consumption model offered to the rest of the world threatens accelerated forest loss as both populations and economies grow in developing countries.

    Population policies based on human development and the Scale of Human and Earth Rights offer the greatest hope for the future of forests. This is not an argument for population "control" but for the social investments that allow couples to choose when to have children and how many to have. Programs linking conservation activities with family planning services show promise for achieving both the sustainable use of forests and greater acceptance of reproductive health services.

    Sustainable wood consumption is essential for the future of forests. Individuals and institutions alike should promote the ecologically sound and socially responsible use of forest products. Eco-labeling, or the environmental certification of wood products, could speed the adoption of more sustainable forestry practices. Consumer demand for green-certified paper and other wood products is an important complement to recycling and other efforts to reduce wood consumption.

    18.0       Conclusion

    The rate of world population growth is beginning to decline, but the total number of people could still double or even triple from today’s 6.3 billion before stabilizing a century or more from now. Women in most countries are still having more than the two-child average consistent with a stable population size. Moreover, so many young people are now entering or moving through their childbearing years that even a two-child average would still boost population size for a few decades until the momentum of past growth subsides. Yet there is reason for optimism. The combination of access to family planning and other reproductive health services, education for girls and economic opportunity for women could lower birthrates enough to stabilize world population well before a doubling of today’s total.

    Motivation, rather than differential access to modern contraception is a major determinant of fertility.  Individuals frequently respond to scarcity by having fewer children, and to perceived improved economic opportunity by having more children. Economic development does not cause family size to shrink; rather, at every point where serious economic opportunity beckons, family size preferences expand.

    A)  Foreign aid conveys to the recipients the perception of improving economic wellbeing, which is followed by an increase in the fertility of the recipients of the aid.

    B)  Migrations from regions of low economic opportunity to places of higher economic opportunity result in an increase in the fertility of the migrants that persists for a generation or two.

    The need is not to control population growth. Governments cannot control childbearing and attempts to do so have sometimes led to coercive approaches to reproduction that violate human rights. The need is rather to expand the power individuals have over their own lives, especially by enabling them to choose how many children to have and when to have them.

    The well-being of the world's forests is closely linked to the health and well-being of women. Investing in education for girls helps them to contribute to their national economies–and to postpone childbearing until they are ready for a family. Providing credit and other economic opportunities for women creates alternatives to early and frequent childbearing. Finally, better access to quality reproductive health services directly benefits women and their families. These approaches increase human capacity, providing the greatest long-term return to societies, individuals and the environment. Moreover, they are likely to lead to an early peak in world population in the coming century–quite possibly at levels that can co-exist with forests that teem with human and non-human life for centuries to come.

    19.0       Recommendations


    Comprehensive population policies are an essential element in a world development strategy that combines access to reproductive health services, to education and economic opportunities, to improved energy and natural resource technologies, and to healthyer models of consumption and the "good life."

    Policies to decrease world population:
  • delay reproduction until later in life
    Delaying reproduction is important in influencing population growth rates. Over a period of 60 years, if people delay reproduction until they are 30 years old, you would have only two generations, while if you do not delay reproduction you would have three generations (one generation every 20 years).
  • spread your children farther apart
  • to have fewer children overall
  • government commitment to decreasing population growth
    Create policies that help decreasing the number of children being born. Policies such as income tax deductions for dependent children and maternity and paternity leaves are essentially pronatalist and should be eliminated.
  • programs that are locally designed and that include information on family planning and access to contraceptives
  • educational programs that emphasize the connection between family planning and social good
  • The vast disparities in reproductive health worldwide and the greater vulnerability of the poor to reproductive risk point to several steps all governments can take, with the support of other sectors, to improve the health of women and their families:

    • Give women more life choices. The low social and economic status of women and girls sets the stage for poor reproductive health

    • Invest in reproductive health care

    • Encourage delays in the onset of sexual activity and first births

    • Help couples prevent and manage unwanted childbearing

    • Ensure universal access to maternal health care

    • Support new reproductive health technologies

    • Increase efforts to address the HIV pandemic

    • Involve communities in evaluating and implementing programs

    • Develop partnerships with the private sector, policymakers and aid donors to broaden support for reproductive health


    • Measure Progress

    More and more young people on every continent want to start bearing children later in life and to have smaller families than at any time in history. Likewise, in greater proportions than ever, women and girls in particular want to go to school and to college, and they want to find fulfilling and well-paid employment. Helping people in every country obtain the information and services they need to put these ambitions into effect is all that can be done, and all that needs to be done, to bring world population growth to a stable landing in the new century.





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