World Population Day
by Patty Brown, THB Population Committee Chair

The United Nations’ (UN) World Population Day is annually observed on July 11 to reaffirm the human right to plan for a family. It encourages activities and information to help make this right a reality worldwide. It aims to increase people’s awareness on various population issues such as the importance of family planning, gender equality, poverty, hunger, maternal and child health, and the environment.

The Sierra Club, population/, envisions a world where every person has a good quality of life, access to education, basic and reproductive health care, economic and social opportunities, and women participating on an equal basis. Since 1900, the human population has grown from 1.7 billion to about 6.8 billion. This rapid growth threatens the natural environment that is essential for human survival. UN projections are that population will stabilize at 9 billion plus in 2050.

While population pressures cause environmental harm, Western consumerism adds disproportionately to the problem.To reduce stress on the Earth’s resources and environment, population growth must be slowed and must be accompanied by a reduction in the consumption of resources. Mounting scientific evidence shows that, with the current population, natural systems are already approaching the breaking point—or have already moved beyond it.

The Sierra Club advocates non-coercive, culturally sensitive policies that will help lower birth rates, stabilize global population, and make smaller population a realistic possibility. Evidence shows the success of a three-part program that includes the following:

  •  a range of voluntary family planning services and information
  •  basic health care for all
  •  education, social and economic opportunity and empowerment, especially for women

Given the grave implications of population growth, the Sierra Club urges greater effort to explain how population pressure is affecting the environment and stronger support for these three-part programs that most effectively encourages smaller families. The situation is urgent and deserves far more attention than it is getting. There is no time to lose.

The Population And Consumption Committee of the Thomas Hart Benton group meets the third Tuesday each month at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church, 4501 Walnut, KCMO. To help in our efforts contact Patty Brown at or 816 737-2804.