No. 7, May 13, 2011
In This Issue:
United Nations: 10 Billion People by End of Century
The United Nations released its revised population projections this month, and the news is not good. Global human population -- previously projected to peak at 9 billion in 2050 and then begin declining -- is now projected to hit 10 billion by 2100. Previous estimates of stabilizing and falling fertility rates have not panned out, largely due to overly optimistic hopes of contraceptive use and availability. Whatever the engine of continued growth may be, there is no doubt that 10 billion people on this planet will spell disaster for countless species of plants and animals already struggling to survive the current extinction crisis.
Unfortunately, the latest estimates from the U.N. come as no surprise. Funding for international family-planning programs has been flat for several years, and more than 200 million women around the world who want access to contraception still don't have it. The U.N. report makes it clear that stabilizing runaway human population growth will not happen by itself. It will take a renewed commitment and increased funding for reproductive health and family-planning programs, as we pointed out in last month's Pop X with a piece on the "Million for a Billion" campaign. Check it out, and sign the petition if you haven't already done so.
For more information on the U.N. report, visit the United Nations website and read a story in The New York Times.
New U.S. Maps Tell Startling Story
Speaking of staggering population growth, the U.S. Census Bureau is releasing reams of interesting data as it rolls out the latest census results. One item that caught our eye is an interactive map showing population change in the United States over the past century. It clearly depicts steady overall growth and a massive westward migration. Both trends spell trouble for our nation's plant and animal diversity, as natural spaces and pristine habitat succumb to the blade of development.
There are a lot of ways to tell the story of rapid population expansion in the United States, and these latest maps offer a startling visual representation of how it's unfolding. Check out what's happening where you live, and in the rest of the country, by clicking here. Then check out our overpopulation work.
David Attenborough Speaks Out on Population
This spring, renowned naturalist and wildlife advocate David Attenborough gave a major speech on the status of global conservation efforts to the Royal Society of Arts and Commerce in the United Kingdom. You've probably seen Attenborough -- or at least heard his voice -- narrating one of many nature documentaries in which he has appeared over the years.
Refreshingly, Attenborough placed powerful emphasis on the need to stabilize and address human population growth to save biodiversity: "We now realize that the disasters that continue increasingly to afflict the natural world have one element that connects them all -- the unprecedented increase in the number of human beings on the planet."
Attenborough called sustainable growth an "oxymoron" and chastised several bodies and reports for ignoring population in their conclusions on such problems as disappearing wildlife and climate change, despite the fact that it's "clearly one of the drivers that underlies all of them." He urged governments to develop population policies and make family-planning and reproductive-health services freely available to everyone. But most of all, he exhorted people to "break the taboo" and speak out on the issue of population publicly and privately, or none of these solutions will be implemented.
Hear, hear to Attenborough and to all of you for speaking out on this critical issue. Check out his inspiring speech, invite your networks to sign up for Pop X, and get informed about human overpopulation and the extinction crisis on the Center's website.
Until next month,
Overpopulation Campaign Coordinator
Center for Biological Diversity | P.O. Box 710, Tucson, AZ 85702-0710
This is an unmonitored email address, please do not reply. To sign up for condoms, click here. If you'd like more information on the Center's overpopulation campaign, visit our website. To make a donation, click here. Specific population-related questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please allow a few days for a response. To stop receiving Pop X, click here.
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Crowd photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/Pablo 2008-09.