It is critical that we address global population in relation to its environmental impact. As someone who studies public health through a gender lens, and also has a passion for reproductive rights, I believe it is vital that birth control and women’s rights are included in the discussion surrounding the global population. I think that access to reproductive health resources, including contraception, family planning tools, and safe and legal abortions are not only a human right that should be guaranteed for women and girls, but also are a method through which the current population trend can be impacted.
When women are not provided with the reproductive healthcare that they deserve, the end result may be expanded families that contribute to overpopulation. If more women around the world gained access to reproductive goods and services, such as abortions and birth control, and were thoroughly educated about their own reproductive health, it is my conviction that there would be far fewer unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. Empowering women to make decisions about their own health and lives will create stronger families, communities, and societies in general, and in turn will eventually change population trends. Overall, providing reproductive health resources to women and girls is a win-win situation: women will have more options to choose how and when to have children and will maintain their bodily autonomy, and the global population will become more balanced and therefore place less of a burden on our planet’s ecological budget. With all the difficult and sometimes disturbing conversations about population, it is easy to forget that this issue touches real people on a daily basis, and that it is possible to find creative solutions that will help both humans and the environment. These solutions emphasize the value of discussing the issue of population since ultimately, we will all benefit from them, especially women and girls who are currently underserved.
– Brynn McGlinchey