Martha note: It's Civic Soapbox Friday!Center for Biological Diversity that started off by saying "The National Environmental Policy Act is America’s bedrock environmental law. It recognizes unsustainable population growth is a key factor in almost all the environmental problems we face. In the 40 years since it was passed, though," the e-mailed continued, "the US government has failed to address the population issues the law raises. Today, population pressures are greater than ever-and directly linked to biodiversity loss and species extinction-but the federal government is still doing little to address this critical problem."
The problem with population is that it grows exponentially. So the number of people on the planet has been growing even though the fertility rate has been dropping. In 1965, the world’s population was around three billion. It’s now close to seven billion. We are in danger of running out of necessary resources.
Hundreds of millions of women in developing countries lack any family planning services. This does not have to remain the case. A bill has been introduced into the House of Representatives that’s designed to address this issue. The Global Sexual and Reproductive Health Act of 2010 (HR5121) funds such initiatives as universal access to contraception, sexuality education, reproductive health care, education on gender equity and programs to reduce violence against women. So, if you are listening to this Civic Soapbox and asking if there’s anything you can do to prevent reaching a projected population of 9.1 billion by 2050, the answer is yes. You can get in touch with your representative and voice your support for the Global, Sexual, and Reproductive Health Act of 2010.
Giving more women choices in their lives will improve life for all of us. By slowing population growth we will save our resources and slow the loss of species by saving wildlife habitat. In the words of Lester Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute, meeting family planning needs may be the most urgent item on the global agenda, because the benefits are enormous and the costs are minimal.
-- Nancy Stratford lives in Charlottesville and works part-time at JMU.