On November 15, 2022 humanity’s population eclipses 8 billion people. This is a moment to stop, reflect, and take action. We have more than 8 billion opportunities to address the most pressing, fundamental threats to global sustainability where it matters most — in human hearts and minds — as we inspire entire communities to recognize the social and environmental power of prioritizing health, education, and equity for all.
In a word: inequity. Each day, human population reaches a new all-time high, driven by numerous inequities, including misinformation, lack of education, and low status of women and girls.
The denial of basic human rights drives population growth. All people, especially women and girls, need education, the ability to earn an income, and the ability to choose when or if they have children to have agency over the direction of their life.
Fifty percent of pregnancies around the world are unplanned and 25% are unwanted. This is driven by misinformation, lack of autonomy, and poverty. Again, steeped in inequity, this is neither healthy nor sustainable. But it is solvable.
The drive to control women’s lives and bodies, pronatalism for more male children, rape and gender-based violence, and child marriage are just some of the scourges that must be eliminated if population growth is to stop.
Population will not change quickly, even if all human rights could be recognized immediately. This doesn’t mean that our work today is any less important. We can improve lives immediately — and shift long term population trajectories to contribute to global sustainability.
Global population is a single component of two larger, much more complex problems: the negative repercussions from social inequity and the overexploitation of the Earth — known as ecological overshoot — where the Earth cannot regenerate the natural resources used each year.
Earth’s population grows by 7,636 people every hour.
UNESCO estimates 130 million girls between the ages of 6 and 17 are out of school.
The world has seen an average 68% drop in mammal, bird, fish, reptile, and amphibian populations since 1970.
Use of contraception among women of reproductive age in the United States is 65%, but in sub-Saharan Africa it is only 30%.