Taking care of environment everyone#8217;s responsibility

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Friday is World Population Day. The world’s population is currently 6.7 billion people, and our numbers are likely to grow to between 7.8 and 10.8 billion by 2050 according to demographers at the United Nations.

As an environmentalist, parent and global citizen concerned about the future of the planet, I find these numbers alarming.

But the good news is that we know how to encourage slower population growth. We can do it through positive and cost-effective programs like providing educational opportunities for girls, expanding economic opportunities for women, and expanding access to comprehensive reproductive health and family planning services to the millions of women and couples around the world who already demand these services.

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But our policymakers aren’t responding to the urgency of this situation.

On June 26, the Bush Administration announced that, for the seventh straight year, it would withhold funding for the United Nations Population Fund. Given the important work that this agency does to slow global population growth and save women’s lives, this announcement is appalling.

World Population Day reminds us that individuals have a basic human right to determine freely and responsibly the number and timing of their children. When people can plan their families, they can plan their lives. They can plan to beat poverty. They can plan on healthier mothers, healthier children, and a healthier planet.

We have a responsibility to current and future generations to ensure that all people have the family planning information and services that many of us take for granted.

Robert Sexton

South Point