The San Francisco Chronicle
January 15, 2013
Rapid population growth on a planet already suffering from human induced climate change, species extinctions and ocean acidification is not helpful. In a new environmental book, Life on The Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation, Bill Ryerson, founder of the non-profit organization Population Media Center, explains how population growth can be slowed using human-rights enhancing, progressive strategies of entertainment-education.
Founder and President of Population Media Center, Bill Ryerson, is a featured author in a new book, Life on The Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation (University of Georgia, 2012).
The book, an edited anthology, aspires to reignite a robust discussion of population issues among environmentalists, environmental studies scholars, policymakers, and the general public. Some of the leading voices in the American environmental movement restate the case that population growth is a major force behind many of our most serious ecological problems, including global climate change, habitat loss and species extinctions, air and water pollution, and food and water scarcity.
Ryerson’s chapter is titled “How Do We Solve the Population Problem?” It explains that the major barriers to contraceptive use around the world include traditional desires for large families, religious opposition and unwarranted fear of health side-effects. This conclusion contrasts with the more common idea that contraceptive use remains low in developing countries primarily due to supply chain constraints.
“Of course, high-quality supply chains for contraceptives are crucial, but Demographic and Health Surveys carried out in numerous developing countries reveal that lack of access is infrequently cited as a reason for non-use of contraception,” says Ryerson. “Rather, the major obstacles are cultural and informational barriers.”
Currently, global population is expanding by an estimated 231,000 people per day — the net result of approximately 385,000 births minus 154,000 deaths. In turn, this results in over 84 million additional people on Earth per year. This annual population growth is equal to the total current population sizes of France, Libya, Singapore, Rwanda and Qatar.
“Such rapid population growth on a planet already suffering from human induced climate change, species extinctions and ocean acidification is not helpful. Global population stabilization should be a priority for international sustainable development programs and initiatives,” says Ryerson.
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