Biodiversity. Family planning. What’s the link?

Published on July 11th, 2018

More than 26,000 of the world’s species are now threatened, according to the latest assessment of the natural world from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Over the last year, six more species have been declared extinct, and another 1700 species are listed as critically endangered, possibly extinct.
Why? Too many people using too much stuff. While the poaching of charismatic megafauna like rhinos and tigers justifiably draws condemnation and outrage, the Guardian notes, “[T]he biggest threats to nature are from habitat loss…. Conversion of forests to croplands and wetlands to shrimp farms has fed a human population that has more than doubled since the 1960s….”
Habitat depletion—not poaching, not climate change—is the main driver of extinction.
It is something to keep in mind today, World Population Day, as we draw attention to the problems created by overpopulation. The theme for this year’s event is “Family Planning is a Human Right.” Fifty years ago, the International Conference on Human Rights stated, “Parents have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children,” but we have fallen far short of that aspiration. Across the globe, millions of women are denied access to contraception and information on family planning.
Those who value biodiversity and those who value human rights have a common goal—ensuring universal access to family planning services.

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