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World ENVIRONMENT Day: What are SDGs and How Do We Work with Them? 

Jun 05, 2024

Our Earth, Our Legacy 

With the world’s population exceeding 8 billion, the call for a sustainable, flourishing planet for all grows louder. World Environment Day reminds us of the urgent need for sustainable solutions that benefit both people and the planet.

Understanding Ecological Overshoot 

Globally, more than 66 million people are added every year, which translates to over 183,000 people daily, more than 7,636 people per hour, and 127 people every minute. While PMC does not prescribe an ideal world population number, we recognize the mathematical certainty that the planet and its resources cannot support continual population growth. 

Population Media Center (PMC) recognizes that the population challenge is just one piece of a larger puzzle: humanity’s overexploitation of Earth’s resources, known as ecological overshoot.

This overshoot manifests in numerous ways, from climate change and species extinctions to ocean acidification and other environmental health indicators. Our concerns about population size and growth are rooted in our commitment to the long-term well-being of humanity, the health and integrity of Earth’s ecosystems, and the rights of other species to live freely and prosperously. 

If humans were ethereal beings with no impact on natural systems, population size wouldn’t be a concern. However, each of the 8 billion people on the planet requires sufficient land, water, shelter, food, and energy for a decent life. This demand puts immense pressure on the planet’s resources, leading to the symptoms of ecological overshoot we see today. 

What Are SDGs? 

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a set of 17 global goals adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all by 2030. They address a range of interconnected global challenges, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice. 

How Does PMC Use SDGs? 

Our commitment is also aligned with the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which calls for meeting the unmet needs in good quality family planning services and contraception. We support increasing awareness among men of their responsibility in family planning and contraceptive methods and their use. Additionally, we endorse Family Planning 2030’s vision for voluntary modern contraceptive use achieved through individuals’ informed choice and agency and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) motion emphasizing the importance of removing barriers to rights-based voluntary family planning for nature conservation. 

What Do We Do?

We create a more equitable, flourishing world for all people and ecosystems.

Promote Women’s Rights

Provide education, jobs, and reproductive choice to enable self-determination and global sustainability.

Copper IUD

Increase Agency to Use Contraception

Make it so where you live doesn’t impact your ability to control your fertility and determine your own future.

Promote Sustainability

Provide information to help humans thrive in balance with nature and end the overexploitation of the environment.

Our show Pambazuko (“New Dawn”) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo inspired hundreds of thousands of Congolese listeners to make more equitable and sustainable choices for themselves and their communities. Partially funded by the Jane Goodall Institute, Pambazuko addressed local conservation efforts and increased the use of family planning and post-natal health services. Through the power of storytelling, Pambazuko moved listeners closer to a more equitable world. 

We also launched our latest whitepaper, which shines a spotlight on the incredible resilience of women in Zambia in the face of climate change. While women are often portrayed as helpless victims in mainstream media, the reality couldn’t be further from the truth. In Zambia, climate change profoundly affects daily life, from access to water and food to education and healthcare. Long periods of drought, followed by heavy rains and floods, exacerbate existing challenges, disproportionately affecting women and girls. Yet, amidst these adversities, women emerge as powerful agents of change in their communities. 

Additionally, we invite you to download a new book, Storytelling to Accelerate Climate Solutions, featuring co-authored chapters by our very own Dr. Amy Henderson Riley and other colleagues in the space, to gain greater insight into how entertainment-education and storytelling are important parts of the solution, allowing us to achieve global sustainability.

As we commemorate World Environment Day, let us remember that creating a sustainable future requires collective action and a deep commitment to improving the lives of women and girls worldwide. By working together towards the SDGs, we can create a world where all people and ecosystems thrive. At PMC, we believe that the realization of women’s and girls’ rights is pivotal to achieving this goal and ensuring a sustainable future for generations to come. 

Let’s make every day a step towards a more equitable and sustainable world.