Current global population: 6,963,329,878 and rising.
There are also currently a myriad of projected population estimates. These predictions range from 9 to 12 billion people by 2050. You can read all about the UN’s projections here.
When talking about population growth, there is a consensus that the fastest, most effective strategies to slow the impending population growth is control of the birth rate. Developing countries are notorious for high birth rates- with an average of 5 children or greater, while more developed countries range from 1-3. So how do we reduce our current growth rate and prevent global shortages of food and resources?
As one of my favorite authors Dr. Sharon Moalem would say:
“In a word?”
It really is a win-win-win situation. When populations become more educated (especially women), both in academia and in pregnancy prevention, the growth rate decreases. Women who are in school have less children, and can support their children better. Win number one. As an effect of population decline, more resources are available to more people. Smaller family size means more opportunity for everyone, and less food insecurity. Win number two. And, as if we needed more reasons to support education, these smaller families will be able to contribute more fully and efficiently to society, causing what is known as a demographic bonus (which you can read about here). More educated, well-fed children will one day enter the workforce and truly make a difference. Win number three.
Earlier this week I talked about some mission opportunities I got to be a part of in the townships surrounding Johannesburg, South Africa this summer.
One in particular comes to my mind every day, and has a special place in my heart: Come Back Mission. I could spend hours talking about it, but let’s focus on what this has to do with education and sustainability. Come Back is educating an entire community of people in Heavenly Valley, Eldorado Park. They have HIV/AIDS seminars, drug prevention and intervention, technology classes so that people can become prospective job applicants, and so much more. They are teaching women how to sew and run a business, and they run a preschool out of a storage container. Their main objective is called the Nomsa Women’s Empowerment project. Come Back is doing some incredible things: I even got to meet and pray with Trisha, Heavenly Valley’s very FIRST high school graduate; she is setting a precedent for her community.
And, most recently of all, Come Back Mission has bought a farm over an hour away from the Heavenly Valley community. Their goal is to remove women from their current situation, where education is hard to come by and men often leave families of 6 or 7 children to fend for themselves, and take them (and their children) to live, work, and learn on the farm. Talk about empowerment.
This is just one of many real life stories about how organizations are making an impact on communities, and making our world more sustainable.
P.S. Just this week, the Heavenly Valley Preschool got a makeover– and they are looking to expand. Exciting news! You can see the progress here!