Home WorldAfrica The World Population will Exceed 8 Billion, Caring for the Disadvantaged and the Earth Resources is the Priority

The World Population will Exceed 8 Billion, Caring for the Disadvantaged and the Earth Resources is the Priority

by Amélie Poulain

According to the “World Population Prospects 2022” released by the United Nations, the total global population will cross the threshold of 8 billion on November 15. Therefore, Natalia Kanem, CEO of the UN Population Fund, reminded every country to pay more attention to disadvantaged groups and not to use robust population control strategies to reduce population pressure.

As the world’s population hits 8 billion, we need to pay greater attention to the most affected groups, such as women and children.
(Photo via pexels.com)

Taipei, TAIWAN (Merxwire) – The United Nations revealed in the World Population Prospects 2022 released in July that the world population is expected to exceed the 8 billion mark this year. The latest speculation shows that the threshold of 8 billion will be crossed on November 15. Therefore, Natalia Kanem, CEO of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), reminds countries around the world that they should pay more attention to socially disadvantaged groups and regional marginal groups, and not implement strong population control strategies.

Compared with the 1960s, when the population growth rate was faster, the population growth rate gradually slowed down. Since 2019, the annual population growth rate has been less than 1%. The United Nations and most demographers agree that by 2050, more than half of the population increase will come from Africa. At the same time, the world population will peak before 2100, and then start to decline. About one-third of the population will be concentrated on the African continent at that time.

Therefore, the UN calls not to be overly alarmed and don’t take implementation of population control policies, but instead to focus on the welfare and education of groups that are more affected by population growth, such as women and children. Giving the assistance and economic counseling needed by groups in disadvantaged areas. We shouldn’t use sterilization policies to deprive women’s reproductive rights, but it can be done by promoting knowledge of family planning and proper birth control. Give people more autonomy over fertility.

An increase in the total population will inevitably bring certain pressures on the environment, such as a greater gap between the rich and the poor, increased carbon emissions that affect long-term climate change, food problems in overpopulated areas, and displaced migrants. So some women started an anti-fertility movement, the so-called BirthStrike. Research figures show that just one less child in developed countries can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 58.6 tons for one year, equivalent to 24 times less than buying a car. Therefore, many women in developing countries have responded to this movement.

To reduce pressures on the environment, some women started an anti-fertility movement named BirthStrike.
(Photo via unsplash.com)

But are these environmental degradation problems entirely caused by population growth? According to a 2019 study by Jennifer Sciubba, associate professor of international studies at Rhodes College, Tennessee, USA, for more than 1,000 regions in 22 European countries between 1990 and 2006, population growth levels were compared with urban land-use patterns and variability in carbon dioxide emissions over the same period. , the population increase in Western Europe does have a certain degree of impact on the environment, but for Eastern Europe, it is not the main factor affecting environmental changes.

Many studies support that the main cause of environmental degradation is not the increase in population, but rather depends on the degree of development and waste of natural environment and resources, as well as the serious situation of excessive consumption. Research from the United States in 2021 confirms that population growth and the consumption of non-renewable energy sources are simultaneously causing environmental degradation. A study confirms that nearly four decades of economic growth and exploitation of natural resources in China have contributed to the continued rise in carbon dioxide emissions. So perhaps considering both people and the environment is a more complete solution.

In World Population Prospects 2022, it is estimated that by 2050, the world population may exceed the 10 billion mark. At that time, each woman will give birth to 2.1 children on average, which is lower than the birth replacement level. The number of people representing each generation will be just enough for the next generation to replace. However, led by India, eight countries including Nigeria, Ethiopia, and the Philippines will account for more than half of the population increase. The implications behind these numbers are more concerning, with India’s population expected to overtake China next year as the world’s most populous country.

It is foreseeable that the problems of aging population and labor shortage in developed countries will become more serious, and even affect the speed of economic growth. Relatively, more social resources need to be allocated in health insurance, social welfare, long-term care system and pension planning. Countries or regions with high fertility rates will face difficult problems such as food shortages, lack of time to take care of children, increased living burdens and insufficient social resources. Therefore, reducing the over-exploitation of the environment and waste of resources and focusing on the above social issues are the most important issues at present.

Guaranteeing women’s right to education will have the opportunity to change the high fertility rates in countries such as Nigeria, Ethiopia, and India. (Photo via unsplash.com)

Faced with the pressure of a population that is about to exceed 8 billion, all countries in the world should move towards a low-carbon economy, formulate development strategies that take into account both people and the earth, and protect land and resources. At the same time, we should guarantee the right to education of disadvantaged women around the world, so that they can have physical autonomy and a better concept of fertility and birth control. Improve sanitation so that women and young children can raise, educate and grow in a safe environment. As for countries and regions with low fertility rates, subsidy policies can be formulated to reward the birth of children and to maintain a young labor force with social progress.

Andrew Mason, professor emeritus of the Department of Economics at the University of Hawaii, mentioned the open-door policy of accepting new immigrants. Countries with low fertility rates, such as South Korea, Japan, and Singapore, encourage cultural acceptance of immigrants, add young labor into society, and stimulate the economy, but will not increase the pressure on the total population. Facing changes in the entire world environment with a more open attitude and policy, not limited to individual regional issues, may be able to overcome the future population crisis together.

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