Verda Vivo’s guest post: condoms are the answer
Verda Vivo, Daryl’s blog, reflects her passion for environmental issues, climate change, conservation, pollution, recycling, organics and “going green”.
I recently asked her if she would be interested in writing for this humble blog. To both my pleasure and honor, she agreed.
Here is Daryl’s post :
Three decades ago, experts said that the ever-growing human population would lead to global disaster. Paul Erhlich’s best-selling work, The Population Bomb predicted disaster for humanity due to overpopulation and the “population explosion”.
Even though the world population increased to 6.7 billion in thirty years, advances in technology and agriculture, globalization and successful family planning has forestalled the detonation of this bomb.
With the recent rise in the cost of food and fuel, and our failure to control greenhouse gas emissions, along with predictions of a world population of 9 billion by 2040, it looks like we might run out of planet even with advances in technology.
One of the ways we can create a more sustainable planet is to limit our population. I’m not talking about state mandated controls but self-regulation. If a woman has control over the number and the spacing of her children, we are all better off.
One of the United Nations 2015 Millennium Goals is the unmet need for family planning – the gap between women’s stated desires to delay or avoid having children and their actual use of contraception.
In addition to sustainability issues and the pressure on world resources, this undermines related goals, such as reducing child mortality, hunger and malnutrition, and increasing primary education enrollment.
The unmet need is most pronounced in the poorest households in Latin American, the Caribbean and all households in sub-Saharan Africa. Unmet need for family planning is also especially high among young women, many of whom want to delay their pregnancies. Close spacing of births raises the risks to their life and health.
Once a woman has had the children she desires, not being able to use contraception results in unwanted pregnancies and births. This increases the risk of maternal death and makes it harder for families to afford schooling and health care for all their children.
According to the Population Reference Bureau:
Worldwide, women now average 2.6 children during their lifetimes, 3.2 in developing countries excluding China, and 4.7 in the least developed countries. Lifetime fertility is highest in sub-Saharan Africa at 5.4 children per woman. In the developed countries, women average 1.6 children. The United States, with an average of 2.1 children, is an exception to this low-fertility pattern in the world’s wealthier countries.
So, while there are successes in family planning, not all women have access to contraception so they can plan for and space their babies. Theoretically, access to contraception is either free or at nominal cost to those who are indigent in developing countries.
So the stumbling blocks are either bureaucracies who are unable to deliver to rural populations or politics such as Bush’s “gag rule” which limits any U.S. funding to any organization that provides abortion counseling or services.
Limited access to contraception forces women into either having children they cannot feed or having an abortion, neither of which is desirable.
- Optimum Population Trust
- Population Reference Bureau: 2008 World Population Data Sheet
- Time: What Condoms Have to Do With Climate Change
- The marathon’s not over
- Wikipedia: The Population Bomb