Every day we add 227,000 more people to the planet — and the UN predicts that the human population will surpass 11 billion by the end of the century. As the world’s population grows, so do its demands for water, land, trees and fossil fuels — all of which come at a steep price for already endangered plants and animals.
There is good news — in the 21st century, solutions to the population challenges are many. They are progressive. They strengthen human rights and improve human health. They are things we should be doing anyway. And they contribute toward solving some of today’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.
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Following are some possible solutions to human overpopulation:
1. Empower women
Studies show that women with access to reproductive health services find it easier to break out of poverty, while those who work are more likely to use birth control. The United Nations Population Fund aims to tackle both issues at once, running microcredit projects to turn young women into advocates for reproductive health.
2. Promote family planning
Simply educating men and women about contraception can have a big impact. When Iran introduced a national family planning programme in 1989, its fertility rate fell from 5.6 births per woman to 2.6 in a decade. A similar effort in Rwanda saw a threefold increase in contraception usage in just five years.
3. Make education entertaining
The US-based Population Media Center gets creative to reach women. Its radio soap operas, which feature culturally specific stories about reproductive issues, have been heard by as many as 500 million people in 50 countries. In Ethiopia, 63 per cent of women seeking reproductive health services reported tuning in.
These are some of the common ways to curb overpopulation.