World Population DaY

Last Sunday, July 11, was World Population Day. This day was first recognized in 1987 to bring awareness to the importance of population issues. There are currently 7.8 billion people in the world, and the population is projected to continue growing until 2100.

Instead of looking at the issues surrounding the growing population, we can look at some opportunities.

With a growing population comes more motivation to protect the environment. Currently, Earth’s Overshoot Day is July 29, meaning by that day humanity has consumed “nature’s budget” for the year. As natural resources are being depleted at a faster rate than ever before, and our land and oceans are increasingly polluted, consuming less is critical.

The good news is, there are plenty of ways individuals can help make a collective impact. Use this ecological footprint calculator to estimate your own impact and discover ways to reduce your footprint, including:

  • Using public transportation, carpooling or riding a bike;
  • Eating locally grown food and consuming fewer animal-based products;
  • Adopting energy efficiency practices, like turning off lights when not in use or purchasing appliances with Energy Star labels; and
  • Recycling or composting instead of sending trash to the landfill.

By reducing your footprint, not only are you helping the environment and the future population, but your own and others’ health. For example, biking and walking reduce your chance for heart disease, diabetes and cancer. By choosing more locally produced non-processed foods, you’re consuming less saturated fat, sugar and salt, which reduces your risk of stroke, diabetes and many different cancers. And all of the strategies above help reduce air pollution and emissions, which means lower risk of respiratory disease and a healthier environment.

World Population Day reminds us that there are billions of people on Earth. By lowering your carbon footprint, you’re helping ensure there are resources for everyone, now and into the future. Check out this list of organizations that are working to solve population issues, and learn more about how population growth impacts our planet.

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