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Some Basic Ideas Around The Speak Out

December 17th, 2015

The Global Population Speak Out is a global community of activists, scholars, professionals — not to mention just regular everyday people — all wanting, willing, and able to earnestly contribute to a more sustainable future for people and planet. We are concerned with many aspects of the sustainability crisis, as the book Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot (OVER) so achingly documents for us.

However, as you might have guessed by our name, this community often specializes in talking about human population issues as they relate to pressing issues like biodiversity loss, greenhouse gas emissions, human rights, and human health. Below, for your consideration and feedback, Speak Out organizers sketch out some notions related to the ideas of universal access to contraception and family planning information and services and how, as the global community finds success in advancing these causes, they will have a welcome systemic impact on global demography and the prospects of a sustainable living scenario between human-kind and our mother, Earth:

  • All adults everywhere deserve the option of gaining unrestricted access to modern contraception and family planning information and services.
  • Legitimate efforts to ensure unrestricted access to, and educate about the voluntary use of contraception and family planning information and services can accurately be defined as human-rights enhancing initiatives — deserving the full support of all laypeople, policy-makers, elected leaders, and global human-rights and social-justice activists.
  • Achieving universal, unrestricted access to contraception and family planning information and services not only strengthens human-rights – but such access also reliably creates conditions where smaller family size decisions become more common and unintended and unwanted pregnancies less common. Thousands, millions, and billions of such decisions and outcomes create, in the aggregate, positive systemic effects on global fertility (lowering it), human population dynamics (stopping growth and starting gradual declines), and the human footprint on the planet (helping to minimize it).
  • Each new and existing individual human being adds to the resource needs and demands that the Earth is expected to satisfy (i.e. sufficient food and shelter to support healthy human development). As access to contraception and family planning information and services become more widespread, they reliably work to slow down population growth and, as such, avoid further incremental pressure on the Earth. This dynamic is to be welcomed and promoted in an era of climate change, ecosystem deterioration, and mass extinctions.
  • Meanwhile, total resource extraction, production, and consumption need 1) overall reductions, and 2) a restructuring within the scaled down totals to contribute to social justice imperatives. For example, a minority of the human population is consuming egregiously beyond their minimum needs, while billions struggle to survive on a bare minimum – and thousands die on a daily basis because they cannot satisfy their minimum requirements. The socio-economic relationships which allow this to happen are failures and condemnable.
  • Global population stabilization and subsequent declines will be a pleasing, positive, and relatively near-term (e.g. 35 years) result of fully meeting the human rights of all peoples in terms of ensuring universal, unrestricted access to contraception and family planning information and services, educating girls and elevating the status of women by working against a whole host of oppressive cultural practices such as gender-based violence, rape, genital mutilation, prostitution, slavery, and child marriage. This will require robust and sustained financing and strong, unyielding political will.
  • Meaningful changes to current population trajectories will not occur without a concerted effort by citizens insisting on global response to the unmet need for contraception and family planning information and services and insisting that the full portfolio of human rights and health be realized for all people.

Global Population Speak Out

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