It took the world thousands of years to reach a population of one billion, but it was only a matter of centuries before that number increased sevenfold. With great influx in population comes great increase in global issues. Since July 11, 1989, The United Nations Development Programme has called attention to the issues on climate change, poverty, sexual & reproductive health, and gender equality.
Scientists believe that humans contribute greatly to climate change, but they also assert that they have the potential to act as its main solution. A rising population results in massive consumption of natural resources, resulting in unprecedented shifts in the environment. With the certainty of future population growth, we must combat climate change not only by reevaluating what we consume, but how we consume. Investing in universal public infrastructure and services will improve efficiencies in transportation and housing, two big areas of consumption. Additionally, making smarter, more sustainable urban areas will further stymie climate change.
Lower population equals less poverty. Where population growth moves faster than economic development, there is bound to be poverty. The population of the world’s poorest countries are expected to double and even triple in population over the next century. Unfortunately, economic development cannot keep up with these increases, meaning many residents of these countries will fall by through the cracks. It is a vicious cycle, but improved health care and sexual education is a viable way out.
Sexual and reproductive health are key to further improvement. For sexual and reproductive health to improve, education and contraceptives must be accessible in areas of high poverty. The United Nations Population Fund is currently working with governments, other UN based organizations, external orgs, and civil society to guarantee universal access to sexual and reproductive health care.
As the population increases, it’s vital that women have the same rights and opportunities as men do. In many developing countries, women are far more illiterate than men and women are also far more underrepresented in government. To address this, the United Nations Population Fund has supported legislation in over 40 countries responding to the needs of adolescent girls, women refugees, and women who are the heads of their household.
In honor of World Population Day, let us promote universal awareness of the cause and effects of overpopulation. While the future may be daunting, the United Nations has a framework for resolving overpopulation and the dangers that come with it. Working together to provide a safe and sustainable future for posterity is essential for managing and resolving issues related to population.
Sharon Schweitzer, J.D., is a cross-cultural trainer, modern manners expert, and the founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE centre, she serves as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. She is the resident etiquette expert on two popular lifestyle shows: ABC Tampa Bay’s Morning Blend and CBS Austin’s We Are Austin. She is regularly quoted by BBC Capital, Investor’s Business Daily, Fortune, and the National Business Journals. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business, Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, now in its third printing, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2015. She’s a winner of the British Airways International Trade Award at the 2016 Greater Austin Business Awards.