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Two Crises, One Solution Description

#GETREEL runs from September 12 – October 24, 2017. Each week features important elements to PMC’s work to empower women and girls. If a specific theme speaks to you or those in your network, please use it at any point during the campaign.

Week Five: Two Crises, One Solution
(October 10 – 17, 2017)


Video: Two Crises, One Solution (Coming Soon!)

 

Bullet Summary:

  • One of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous quotes was, Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere… Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
  • Today, the human rights and social status of women and girls are unjustly impinged around the world – creating unsustainable environmental impacts that are also unjust to other species and civilization itself.
  • Humans – now approaching 8 billion in total population — are large, environmentally impactful, mammalian bipedal-primates. We place a very heavy burden on the planet — and all the other species who try and live here too. (The International Union for Conservation of Nature has identified 38 percent of the world’s known species as threatened with extinction.)
  • Population Media Center uses a highly effective behavior change strategy – entertainment-education – to fight oppressive social norms such as low status of women and girls, gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, forced prostitution, and child marriage.
  • By weakening and eliminating these scourges — along with expanding access to family planning information and services — global population will stabilize and start a gradual decline sooner rather than later. This is a win, first and foremost for women and girls – but also for other species and the global environment.

 

Two Crises, One Solution:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly,” said the great Martin Luther King Jr.

Today this poignant insight rings truer than ever, especially when it comes to the human rights of women and girls around the world. Despite some advances over the last few decades, women and girls around the world still suffer from serious prejudice and social discrimination: denial of basic human health services, exclusion from primary education, low or non-existent political standing, and even low-status within the family structure. The negative repercussions of such discrimination and prejudice are profound, as women and girls are impeded from developing their full capabilities and their freedom of choice. As Dr. King so wisely intimated, these injustices reverberate mightily throughout the whole world.

Of the many terrible symptoms of disempowered women and girls, an especially troublesome one relates to reproductive self-determination and family size decisions. When women and girls have low social status – in some situations they are considered mere property – family sizes are often controlled by husbands or in-laws. Unsurprisingly, family size then ends up being larger than if women could truly decide for themselves how many children to have and when. Add in fear-inducing rumors, myths, and social taboos against the use contraception in many parts of the world and the resulting injustice is not surprising: rapid global population growth.

Human beings, a single species among millions on the tree of life, add over 220,000 individuals to our already enormous global population of 7.5+ billion – every day. When you are talking about almost 8 billion large, environmentally impactful, mammalian bipedal-primates you are talking about a very heavy burden on the planet — and all the other species who live here too.

It’s estimated that every hour three more species become extinct. The rapid extinction rates that are occurring today are estimated to be between 1,000 and 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate.  Every day there are fresh reports about the senseless slaughter of elephants, rhinos, lions, tigers, and others. Some of their population decline is attributable to poachers seeking to harvest ivory or other body parts, but much of the dramatic decline has been caused by an ever-increasing loss of habitat.

Humans are clearing land for housing, agriculture, and other needs, thereby destroying the habitats of species. Losing this biological diversity leads to instability of ecological systems. Scientists have determined humans have triggered the “Sixth Mass Extinction,” the greatest extinction since the dinosaurs were extinguished 65 million years ago. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has identified 38 percent of the world’s known species as threatened with extinction. Meanwhile, human induced climate-change and ocean acidification, driven by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions (driven largely by economic and population growth) threaten not only other species, but humanity itself.

Population Media Center uses our unique form of entertainment-education to work against oppressive social norms such as low status of women and girls, gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, forced prostitution, and child marriage. We tackle these issues because they are obvious injustices perpetrated against women and girls.

Yet, when we remember that “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere…,” we also know that these injustices significantly contribute to unsustainable human fertility and rapid population growth: because they rob women of social power, self-determination, and true choice in how many children to have and when.

By weakening and eliminating these scourges — along with expanding access to family planning information and services — global population will stabilize and start a gradual decline sooner rather than later. No doubt the natural world will applaud this, as will the individuals around the world benefiting from strengthened human health and rights.


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