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World Population Day Global Petition

Jul 10, 2015

SOUTH BURLINGTON, VT — Global Population Speak Out (Speak Out), an international environmental activist network, is petitioning Pope Francis to end the Holy Catholic Church’s opposition to the use of modern contraceptives. The launch of Speak Out’s petition coincides with World Population Day, July 11th, 2015 and responds to Pope Francis’ environmental papal encyclical, “Praise Be to You” (June 18, 2015).

Speak Out notes that Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical called much needed attention to climate change and strongly asserted that we all have an ethical responsibility to care for the Earth. However, Speak Out asserts that the Pope “struck out” on the global population issue. For example, Pope Francis wrote that “To blame population growth instead of extreme and selective consumerism on the part of some, is one way of refusing to face the issues.”

While Speak Out welcomes the Pope’s concern about consumerism and its impact on the environment — and strongly applauds his call to action on climate change — the refusal of His Holiness to address the impacts that population size and growth are having on the planet is a tragic oversight. If we are, indeed, stewards of what the Pope calls, “our Sister, Mother Earth,” then humanity has a responsibility to help prevent unintended pregnancies, and the best means of doing that is to ensure that every woman has information about, and unrestricted access to, modern methods of contraception.

In response to his Papal oversight, Speak Out plans to send Pope Francis a copy of Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (OVER). Along with the book Speak Out will send a list of names of people who have signed the public appeal for the Church to end its religious prohibition on the use of contraceptives. Speak Out invites people from around the world to join in sending these important messages to the Vatican.

The text of the Global Population Speak Out’s World Population Day inspired petition reads as follows:

“Your Holiness, we applaud you for your concern about consumerism and your commitment to fighting climate change and caring for the poor, but we implore the Catholic Church to reconsider its opposition to the use of modern contraceptives.

“With 7.3 billion people on the planet and another 2.4 billion anticipated by 2050, our Sister, Mother Earth is, as you so eloquently put it, ‘burdened and laid waste’ and ‘groans with travail.’ Inspired by World Population Day 2015, we hereby present you with Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot — a photographic testimony to the tragic impact that the growth in human numbers and consumption is having on the Earth and all the creatures that call it home.

“Curbs on consumption alone will not save and restore Mother Earth; if we are, as you put it, to ‘reverse the harm we have inflicted’ on her, the Holy Catholic Church must reverse its stance on the use of contraceptives. We must give every woman in the world the ability to determine the number and spacing of her pregnancies. Join with us in preserving and protecting Mother Earth.”

Persons interested in the petition are encouraged to visit the Global Population Speak Out website at https://populationspeakout.org/

At the website, visitors can also read an online version of the provocative new environmental book being sent to Pope Francis: Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (OVER). OVER, which featured over 200 heart-wrenching images, has become an international media sensation. The powerful book brings stark attention to the growing crises posed by overdevelopment and human population size and growth.

Advanced copies of the large format coffee-table photo-thriller were released in February, 2015 and the book was commercially launched in March, 2015. Since that time, media outlets in 41 countries have produced over 230 unique articles about OVER, most of them featuring photographs directly from the book. The combined total circulations of these media outlets are over 1 billion people.


Global Population Speak Out (Speak Out) unites world-class scientists, academicians, opinion-leaders – and thousands of lay environmentalists and concerned citizens – to help bring international attention to the crises posed by overdevelopment and human population size and growth. Speak Out is jointly administered by Population Media Center and Population Institute. www.populationspeakout.org