While reaching 8 billion doesn’t mean we are fated to keep adding a billion people to the population every decade—U.N. projections indicate population growth will level off later in this century—continued population growth is not without its challenges. Optimistic media takes on the 8 billion milestone tend to gloss over how continued growth could adversely affect people and the planet, including the climate and environment, food security, water, health, civil conflict, refugees, displacement and widening global inequity. For a more complete picture of how this might play out, it’s important keep six fundamental points in mind… Read More »

Global diplomats, researchers, and advocates are in Egypt today for the final stretch of the latest negotiations on the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change amid increasingly deadly and damaging impacts of the climate crisis. At the same time, a different set of diplomats, researchers, and advocates are gathering in Thailand for the International Conference on Family Planning, … Read More »

Global population is about to tick over the 8 billion mark in November, and reach 9 billion by 2050. And while the population is growing, so is food insecurity. About 2.3 billion people were moderately or severely food insecure last year—350 million more than in 2019.  Read More »

Often cast into the backwaters of U.S. foreign policy, sub-Saharan Africa now looms large as the Biden Administration grapples with a wide range of global challenges. President Biden will soon host the upcoming Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, that acknowledges the U.S. government must do much more in Africa in order to advance U.S. interests and global prosperity. Read More »

Global population is about to reach 8 billion, a mere 11 years after it reached 7 billion. The official Day of 8 Billion is observed by the UN November 15, though it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when we pass the actual milestone. With hashtags like #8billionstrong, the discourse around adding another billion people to the world’s population since 2011 seems heavy on positive spin. Some economists and pundits argue population growth (or “superabundance” as one new book frames it) is a good thing for the economy and innovation. UN Secretary General António Guterres called it “an occasion to celebrate diversity and advancement.” UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem said, “People are the solution, not the problem….A resilient world of 8 billion…offers infinite possibilities.” But it’s more complicated than that. Read More »

On Nov. 15, the world’s population is expected to pass 8 billion. Global population is growing by over 70 million per year, with 80 percent of that growth concentrated in the poorest countries least equipped to feed, educate or employ these additional people. This growth contributes to widespread poverty and environmental degradation. Slowing it would have widespread economic and environmental benefits. Read More »

Not only did the overturning of Roe make the U.S. an outlier by rolling back abortion rights, it has the potential to send reverberations around the world. Despite the huge movement to liberalize abortion rights around the world, the decision could embolden opponents worldwide to take action to roll back that progress. Anti-abortion activists may not be the only ones—governments and politicians abroad seeking to restrict abortion rights could also use the U.S. as justification to restrict access to abortion in their own countries. Read More »

July 11 is World Population Day—a day designated annually by the United Nations that should prompt us, in the words of the International Institute for Sustainable Development, to “focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues.”

Examining population trends helps describe where we’ve been and suggests where we’re headed. Yet these facts about human existence on our planet also offer insights into how we got here—including a window into places where inequities exist and rights have been denied. Read More »

Texas Governor Greg Abbott waded into problematic territory when he called gender-affirming care for transgender minors “mutilation” and “child abuse.” His remarks generated lots of coverage and controversy, as he presumably knew they would. The irresponsible and incorrect use of the term “mutilation” takes attention away from the actual, serious problem of mutilation and cutting in the United States today.  Read More »

In the last week alone, anti-abortion laws moved forward in four states. Arizona and Kentucky voted to approve a 15-week abortion ban. Idaho’s governor signed into law a bill that bans abortion after about six weeks of pregnancy. A near total ban on abortion began making its way through Oklahoma’s legislature. They’re all part of a larger juggernaut rolling back abortion rights that doesn’t seem to be impeded by the legal consensus that Roe v. Wade is settled law. Read More »