CAPS Asks College Students What Role Overpopulation Plays in Challenges Ahead as Planet Surpasses 7 Billion People

Published on January 11th, 2012

— Earth to Add 80 Million People This Year; the U.S., 2.8 million; California, 500,000 —

LOS ANGELES, Dec. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Global population surged past the 7 billion mark about a month ago, garnering a fair share of media coverage and discussion. CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) wants to ensure the discussion continues and that future leaders understand the role overpopulation plays in challenges for the state and country now and in the future.

"There is no problem that is made better by overpopulation," says Marilyn Brant Chandler DeYoung, CAPS chairman of the board. "Think of any of the vast number of challenges facing the state, the country and the world – from lack of jobs, food security, poor air quality, environmental degradation, failing infrastructure, loss of biodiversity to urban sprawl – and none of those are made better by adding more people to the mix."

CAPS is working to take the discussion to college students throughout California by engaging them through the California Population Awareness Awards program, a statewide college competition. With the CAPA Awards, CAPS hopes to build awareness among students of the state’s rapid population growth and the sources and implications of continuing growth.

"Rapid population growth has affected virtually every aspect of life in California," says Ben Zuckerman, UCLA professor of physics and astronomy. "As such, students have so many areas to research and explore for the CAPA Awards competition. The impact of too many people on the state’s environment is manifested in congestion and painful traffic jams, overcrowded schools and colleges, stressed water resources, unemployment and loss of natural habitat for wildlife," added Zuckerman, who also serves as board vice president for CAPS.

California’s population – now at some 39 million – has nearly doubled in just about 40 years, with projections showing a population of potentially 60 million by 2050. California is now more densely populated than the continent of Europe. Given the growth track the state is on, in a few decades California will be more densely populated than China.

"This unchecked growth has significant consequences to the state’s long-term sustainability," says Stuart Hurlbert, emeritus professor of biology at San Diego State University and board secretary for CAPS. "Policy decisions we do – or don’t – make related to growth now will define California for years to come, and our students, who will be our leaders to come, need to understand that to create a sustainable society the population side of the equation can’t be ignored."

CAPA Awards competition categories include video, radio, writing and social media, with available prizes totaling $12,500. The top award is $5,000 in the video category. The first 100 qualified entries will be entered in a random drawing for one of three available iPad 2s. Entries should address the causes of overpopulation in California and its effects on the environment, wildlife and quality of human life and the future benefits that a sustainable population would bring.

The college competition is open to all students enrolled at least half-time in a university or college (state or private), a community college, or a trade or career-based school located in California who are at least 18 years of age by the time of the competition submissions deadline. Submission deadline is January 31, 2012. Complete information for awards submission is at http://www.capaawards.com.

About CAPS CAPS (http://www.capsweb.org) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1986 that works to preserve California’s future through the stabilization of our state’s human population. Since nearly all of California’s runaway population growth now comes from immigration, CAPS focuses largely on this issue. The organization sponsors public and media awareness campaigns, works with lawmakers to promote more responsible policies, conducts research and has a growing network of member-activists who are concerned about the impacts of overpopulation.

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