The number “7 billion” is everywhere right now as the United Nation estimates that the world’s population hit 7 billion people on October 31st 2011. To gauge my friends’ reactions to this milestone, I asked, “Do you worry about the upcoming overpopulation issue after the world hits 7 billion people?” Sadly, most of the answers I receive are “I don’t really think about it.” or “Isn’t that a problem existing only in developing countries?” with a sense of indifference in their tone. So, why should a college student – or really anyone – care?
As I seek to answer this question, I reflect back on a conversation I had two years ago with an Indian boy while traveling in New Delhi. The boy, approximately 7 years old at the time, enthusiastically approached me and attempted to convince me to buy Taj Mahal postcards. “Why is he not in school?” was the first question that popped into my mind. The answer: he had four other older siblings and his family could not afford to keep him in school and needed him to be earning money to provide them with enough food for their survival.
A population of 7 billion people imposes a burden on the planet to provide enough resources for everyone—including access to housing, food, sanitation, and clean water— and I have witnessed firsthand the desperation that can result in a world of unchecked population growth.
As a young woman at the age of 21, I am well aware of the importance of a woman’s (my) reproductive rights to determine when to have her first pregnancy and the number of children she desires for the family as a means to slow the rapidly growing population.
The greater sustainability of the planet and human beings can only be achieved with the balanced effort from both sides, regardless of the rich or the poor, and it is my hope that after reading my blog post, my friends will realize why they should care about population growth and the dire problems that will ensue in a world of 7 billion.
- What Does Seven Billion Mean for Women?
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- HERvotes: Reject the Disenfranchisement of the Working Class
- Why Mississippi’s ‘Personhood’ Measure Is a Threat to Women Everywhere
- Race, Class, and Rights in Mississippi: How A Reproductive Justice Campaign Can Save the Pill and Save the Vote