By Joe Guzzardi
July 7, 2011
On July 11, World Population Day will be recognized. The annual event evolved out of Five Billion Day which was initiated in 1987. That year on or about July 11 the global population reached 5 billion. The United Nations projects that this year, less than a decade later, the world population will reach seven billion on October 31.
Global population has soared nearly 40 percent since the first World Population Day with the United States playing a leading role in growth. The current U.S. population is approaching 312 million, up 30 percent from 242 million in 1987.
The United Nations notes that overpopulation has created painful contradictions. The world produces enough food for everyone but more than a billion still go hungry. Medical science has the knowledge to cure disease yet it continues to spread. Our rich natural environment is subjected to daily assaults, most of them generated by efforts to provide for increasing population.
In an effort to raise awareness, the United Nations has launched its “Seven Billion Actions” campaign that calls on each of the world’s residents to assume his share of responsibility for curbing population growth. Included among the key actions are ensuring that every child is wanted and that each birth leads to smaller and therefore stronger families. Lower fertility will alleviate pressure on urban sprawl and free up scarce resources to better care for the planet’s aging and infirm.
Critical to the success of United Nations’ mission is the role of young people who are called upon to use social media and the Internet as vehicles for sharing constructive ideas and positive action plans.
As an example of what people working together can accomplish, in 1986 a group of concerned citizens formed Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) to bring attention to the consequences of unchecked growth. No state has been more adversely impacted by increased population than California. Historically, California has accepted high levels of nationwide in-migration as well as millions of legal and illegal immigrants who have, on average, higher fertility rates than native-born Americans.
Since its founding, CAPS has worked to protect the environment and to improve the quality of life by promoting replacement-level fertility and replacement-level immigration in order to achieve a stable population.
Addressing the United Nations’ prediction of seven billion people Marilyn De Young, CAPS’ Chairman of the Board and a former member of the President’s Commission on Population Growth and the American Future, said: “This ominous projection underscores the urgent need to provide safe and effective family planning to the hundreds of millions of men and women who lack it. Families must have the ability to exercise their human rights to determine the number and spacing of their children.”
De Young stated that continuing human population growth is “the most serious environmental problem for our planet and for our nation” and linked the loss of open space, air and water pollution and never ending sprawl as the gravest results of too many people.
For those who have never considered overpopulation’s grave implications, consider that there is no social problem whose resolution would not be simplified if the world had fewer people. Become involved today to make tomorrow better for everyone.
Joe Guzzardi has written editorial columns—mostly about immigration and related social issues – since 1986. He is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) and his columns have frequently been syndicated in various U.S. newspapers and websites. Contact him at [email protected].