For Immediate Release, July 11, 2011
Contact: Randy Serraglio, (520) 784-1504
World Population Day Marks Global Population's March Toward 7 Billion
Event Highlights Need to Stabilize Human Population Growth, Save Biodiversity
TUCSON, Ariz.— Today marks the 23rd annual World Population Day, instituted by the United Nations to highlight the impacts of population growth on people and the environment. Governments, universities and public-interest groups the world over will hold educational forums and other events to stress the need to stabilize human numbers, projected to reach 7 billion this fall and 10 billion to 15 billion by 2100.
“When the United Nations instituted World Population Day in the late 1980s, there were already 5 billion people on our planet,” said Randy Serraglio with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Now, as we approach 7 billion and counting, it’s clear that we’re rapidly exceeding the Earth’s capacity to sustain life as we’ve known it.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is the leading environmental group calling attention to the connection between unsustainable population growth and the loss of plant and animal species around the globe. To mark World Population Day, the Center has launched a public service ad on a 520-square-foot television screen in the heart of New York City’s Times Square (see the ad at ExtinctionCrisis.org).
Over the past two decades, scientists have determined that human impacts on the planet are so pervasive that we’re entering a new epoch dubbed the “Anthropocene.” Human impacts are triggering the sixth mass extinction event in the Earth’s history.
“Dramatic evidence that the current pace of human population growth is not sustainable is all around us,” said Serraglio. “From the global disaster befalling our oceans and the runaway buildup of greenhouse gases to accelerating extinctions and the loss of biodiversity, we continue to ignore the underlying cause at our peril.”
World Population Day is a chance to discuss solutions to the problem, such as universal access to birth control and family planning and a worldwide campaign to empower women and provide them with needed resources to control their reproductive futures.
“It’s no secret that women with enhanced educational, economic and political opportunities choose to have fewer children,” said Serraglio. “Sadly, more than 200 million women around the world who want access to birth control and family planning services still can’t get them.”
According to recent census figures, the U.S. population has now topped 300 million and may be headed for 450 million in coming decades.
“Our unique American combination of rapid population growth and extremely high levels of consumption place us squarely at the center of the problem,” said Serraglio. “World Population Day is an excellent opportunity to talk about where our country is headed and what it means for our future on this planet.”