Human population growth and overconsumption are at the root of our most pressing environmental issues, including the species extinction crisis, habitat loss and climate change. To save wildlife and wild places, we use creative media and public outreach to raise awareness about runaway human population growth and unsustainable consumption — and their close link to the endangerment of other species.
There are more than 7 billion people on the planet, and we're adding 227,000 more every day. The toll on wildlife is impossible to miss: Species are disappearing 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the natural rate. It's clear that these issues need to be addressed before it's too late.
ABOUT OUR POPULATION AND SUSTAINABILITY WORK
The Center has been working to address the connection between rampant human population growth and the extinction crisis since 2009. Our innovative outreach and public-pressure campaigns — like our award-winning Endangered Species Condoms project — focus on common-sense solutions, including the empowerment of women and girls, the education of all people, universal access to birth control, sustainable consumer choices, and a societal commitment to giving all species a chance to live and thrive.
In 2013 we expanded our population program to encompass overconsumption and sustainability, too — since these issues are intricately tied to the impact of human population on endangered species and the health of our planet. The expanded program will continue using a combination of creative media, advocacy, outreach, and the expansion of our nationwide network of population and sustainability activists to keep these critical issues in the spotlight.
Our Population and Sustainability Program has:
- Distributed nearly half a million Endangered Species Condoms across all 50 U.S. states.
- Commissioned a groundbreaking poll showing that most Americans believe human population growth is a significant factor in the disappearance of wildlife.
- Generated momentous media attention on the often ignored issue of human population in top outlets, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post.
+ WHY DO WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT POPULATION AND SUSTAINABILITY?
The world’s human population doubled from 1 to 2 billion between 1800 and 1930, and then doubled again by 1975. At the end of October 2011, it surpassed 7 billion. Now, every day we add 227,000 more people to the planet. This staggering increase, and the massive consumption it drives, are overwhelming our planet’s finite resources. As the world’s population grows, so do its demands for water, land, trees and fossil fuels — all of which come at a steep price for already endangered plants and animals. And as our global economy continues to demand more growth, unsustainable industries — like raising livestock for meat — spread around the world, gobbling up land and water and leaving in their wake greenhouse gases and habitat destruction.
We’ve already witnessed the devastating effects of human population growth on biodiversity: Species abundant in North America just two centuries ago — from the woodland bison of West Virginia and Arizona’s Merriam’s elk to the Rocky Mountain grasshopper, passenger pigeon and Puerto Rico’s Culebra parrot — have been wiped out by growing human numbers.
Most biologists agree that we’re in the midst of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event; species are disappearing at the fastest rate since dinosaurs roamed the planet. This time, though, it isn’t because of geologic or cosmic forces — it’s because of our unsustainable human population growth and overconsumption.
We can reduce our own population and consumption to an ecologically sustainable level in ways that promote human rights; decrease poverty and overcrowding; raise our standard of living; and allow plants, animals and ecosystems to thrive. Please join the Center’s campaign now by signing up for this program’s free monthly e-newsletter.