November 16, 2016
As seen in:
The Jackson Sun
Contrary to the hopes of those who care about an environmentally sustainable future for humanity and the biosphere, world population growth is actually speeding up, not slowing down.
According to the respected Population Reference Bureau, approximately 90 million people have been added to the planet’s population since last year, at the average rate of 246,000 more humans (net, or births minus deaths) every single day.
This compares to an annual rate of increase of 81 million a decade ago. There are now 7.4 billion people on Planet Earth, and demographers expect the world’s population to continue increasing to the end of this century and beyond, that is, if the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse don’t intervene first.
This accelerating population growth is extremely bad news for a planet already suffering from climate change, fossil fuel depletion, deforestation, suffocating air pollution and sickening water pollution in developing countries, widespread extinctions of wildlife, collapsing fisheries, loss of arable soils and good farmland, worsening water shortages, urban congestion and sprawl, failing states, civil unrest, war, terrorism, extremist ideologies and mass migration on an unprecedented scale.
In view of this dire demographic situation, a welcome, timely and hopeful event is scheduled for Nov. 18, 2016: World Vasectomy Day. An annual event started in 2012, this year it will be held in Kenya, but hundreds of men from dozens of countries all across the world will participate and subject themselves (or a wee bit of themselves) to the scalpel.
As the organizers’ website explains, World Vasectomy Day will be a live-streamed, full-day male-oriented family planning event. It aims to inspire men “to stand up for their children, their wives and our future.”
Worldwide, almost a thousand doctors in some 40 countries will be performing vasectomies on Nov. 18. In Kenya alone, an estimated 25 to 50 men are volunteering to have the procedure. Their vasectomies will be conducted by an experienced team of Kenyan medical specialists and international experts. The event will take place at the Kenya National Theatre in Nairobi. It will include panel discussions with recognized leaders in the field as well as conversations with men, vasectomy providers and activists from all around the world. Poetry, music, and a health fair geared towards men will also accompany the event.
The founders of World Vasectomy Day are Americans Jonathan Stack (a documentary filmmaker) and Doug Stein, M.D. (a urologist), along with Australian film producer Simon Nasht. These three converted an inspired idea into a global phenomenon.
I myself underwent a vasectomy after my second child. As a committed environmentalist, it was a decision in keeping with my beliefs not to overburden the planet.
At a time when a myopic backlash to family planning has gathered force around the world – just as unsustainable population growth is once again speeding up – World Vasectomy Day should be publicized and celebrated. Those husbands and fathers who opt for this elective procedure show not only that they care about their own families, but about the well-being and sustainability of their countries and indeed, Mother Earth.
Leon Kolankiewicz is an environmental scientist and planner, and advisory board member for Californians for Population Stabilization. This column is distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. The opinions expressed are his own.