On July 11, please think of our overcrowded earth. And how Investing in Young People can help us.
World Population Day has been celebrated every July 11 since 1989. On July 11, 1987, humanity surpassed the threshold of 5 billion people, and two years later the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program decided to set up an appointment for an annual reflection on demographic trends and development in an ever more crowded world with increasingly limited resources.
The theme of this year’s World Population Day is “Investing in Young People”.1
This map, from Wikipedia, shows population density in 2012 by country, per square kilometer. You can click on it to see it better. Notice that India is magenta (397 people per km2, compared to the density of the US, which is 34.) That’s why when you Google overpopulation and hit images you’ll get photos of India. (Singapore is much worse, with 7,301 people per square kilometer, but it is a small island with a population in 2013 of 5.4M as opposed to India’s 1.252B.)
The graph above is scary. Over 8 billion in 10 years! The world’s population on June 29, 2015 at 9:30 am was: 7,325,150,960. Was hard to catch the number on this website,
http://www.worldometers.info/world-population/, ’cause the clock was running too fast.
Those Young People
We ought to be putting more resources into the education of girls around the world. If girls are educated, the world’s population growth, which is now on a dead run, shall slow to a comfortable walk. There won’t be a food crisis, as there will be fewer mouths to feed, and those women shall be farming smarter. Educated women shall earn more money, so health care shall improve.
(If you wonder how they can get a job in a country with a high unemployment rate, help by getting into microfinance by donating to the Grameen Foundation2.)
Educating girls is a key factor in hastening the demographic transition to lower birth rates. In sub-Saharan Africa, women with no education have 6.7 births, on average. The figure falls to 5.8 for those with primary education and more than halves, to 3.9, for those with secondary education.3
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is putting more money into Africa than is the United States (not counting our military spending there). Last year they spent $50 million to fight the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, in addition to their other fundings. I tried to pin down other numbers, but only got world totals of how much spent on what.4
Our Work in Africa
We work with partners in Africa to make smart investments so that together we can achieve real and lasting impact for those with the greatest challenges… Our efforts cover nearly all of the foundation’s key program areas such as agriculture, family planning, financial services for the poor, HIV, malaria, polio, and vaccines delivery…
In June this year , the total amount given as grants to food and agriculture projects by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation surpassed the $3 billion mark. It marked quite a milestone. From nowhere on the agricultural scene less than a decade ago, the Gates Foundation has emerged as one of the world’s major donors to agricultural research and development.”5
Quite different than the US priorities. We seem to be working on what we can get out of the continent. (These numbers do not include CIA drone strikes against al Shabaab’s leadership in Somalia, the US Army providing equipment and intelligence to fight Boko Haram in Nigeria, US airstrikes targeting and likely killing an al-Qaida-linked militant leader in eastern Libya, and 120 American advisers in Uganda providing training, weapons and supplies — $100 million worth since 2011, just in Uganda. )
Connect and Empower Africa: $133.9 million to support key commitments and investments in Africa, including Power Africa ($76.7 million) to increase access to reliable, cleaner power for economic growth, as part of the Administration’s expanded $300 million annual commitment; Trade Investment Capacity Building, including Trade Africa and Investment Hubs ($47.2 million), of which $30 million supports the Administration’s $75 million commitment to align, focus, and expand current USG bilateral and regional trade programs in sub-Saharan Africa; and Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) ($10 million), which aims to bring young African leaders to the United States for six weeks of training and provide professional development activities for fellows once they return to the continent.6
Our country (including Bill and Melinda Gates) does not find educating girls a priority. (At least the Gates Foundation is funding family planning.) But here’s our real problem, as seen by the New Yorker magazine:
Scientists: Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans
MINNEAPOLIS (The Borowitz Report) – Scientists have discovered a powerful new strain of fact-resistant humans who are threatening the ability of Earth to sustain life, a sobering new study reports.
The research, conducted by the University of Minnesota, identifies a virulent strain of humans who are virtually immune to any form of verifiable knowledge, leaving scientists at a loss as to how to combat them.
“These humans appear to have all the faculties necessary to receive and process information,” Davis Logsdon, one of the scientists who contributed to the study, said. “And yet, somehow, they have developed defenses that, for all intents and purposes, have rendered those faculties totally inactive.”…7