'Plan in Place - plan life, plan families, plan resources for a healthy planet'
World Population Day falls on July 11, 2008, also the 19th anniversary of the initiatives that began with a purpose, to check the world from bursting at its seams.
As the world grew by leaps and bounds, so did its problems. The macro and micro level issues were mostly related to hunger, poverty, strife, and war that effectively boiled down to economics - of too many people and inadequate resource. Translating it into numbers, the world population is a staggering 6,708,700,100 and growing, forecasted to reach 9 billion by 2042.
According to The World Health Organization, only one-third of the world is well fed, another one-third is under-fed and one-third is starving.
"The hungry world cannot be fed until and unless the growth of its resources and the growth of its POPULATION come into balance. Each man and woman-and each nation --must make decisions of conscience and policy in the face of this great problem".
- Lyndon B. Johnson 1908-1973, Thirty-sixth President of the USA
This year, The World Population Day focuses on 'planning' as the 'mother of all basics'. It recognizes that life without a plan could be disastrous to the family, community and nation. Have a Plan - plan life, plan families, plan for healthier mothers and healthier children, and plan the use of resources, for a healthier nation and a healthy planet. The day aims to build awareness on a gamut of development issues pertaining to human rights and dignity, gender equality, maternal health and poverty alleviation.
Cutting population down to size - key culprits
- 60% of the world's population resides in Asia.
- 17% of the world's population resides in India.
- 20% of the world's population resides in the People's Republic of China.
- 12 % of the world's population resides in Africa.
- 11% of the world's population resides in Europe.
- 8% of the world's population resides in North America.
- 5.3% of the world's population resides in South America.
POPULATION, when unchecked, increases in a geometrical ratio.
-Thomas Robert Malthus(1766-1834, British Economist)
... Also contributing to rising statistics.
- The World Bank says, 982 million people from developing nations sustain on a paltry $1 a day or even less.
- One in twelve people worldwide is malnourished.
- More than 500 million people from the Asian, African and Latin American countries live in abject poverty.
- 15 million children die of hunger.
- Starvation death occurs every 3.6 seconds.
Time to Pop a Plan
Plan to beat poverty. Plan to gain equality. Plan to beat maternal death.
This is not a treatise on the glory of women, but a hard reality of the vicious cycle of repercussions befalling the world due to one single cause - gender inequality. On careful thought and analysis, realization dawns that the reason behind the alarming maternal deaths, unplanned pregnancies, lack of education, poverty and hunger boils down to women disempowerment. So, the crux of the 'issue' on world population day lies in improving the status of women.
Heart of the matter
Millions of women do not have access to reproductive health services and that endangers their lives and the health of their children. Assuring better reproductive health services will improve the quality of life for women and children and this in turn should translate into immense gains.
Control of population begins by empowering women to make those significant choices, of spacing births with effective contraception, planning the size of families, improving maternal health, and raising healthier children. Educating women, creating awareness of the immense gains of smaller and healthier families and empowering them to do so, is undoubtedly the most significant action plan to be adopted on World Population Day.
Gore Vidal, American Novelist and Critic sounded a wake up call way back in 1925. He was critiqued for his severe use of words, but they echo the wake up call, nevertheless.
"Think of the earth as a living organism that is being attacked by billions of bacteria whose numbers double every forty years. Either the host dies, or the virus dies, or both die."
Food for thought and action indeed! Let's be quick to take the cues - Act Fast, Act Now, Save the Earth and do yourself the greatest favor!