The decade, from the start of 2021 to the end of 2030, will be a defining one for those people alive today and depending on what reductions we make in terms of fossil fuels, many generations into the future. We have 3652 days if you count from the 1st of January and the two leap years of 2024 and 2028. To some that may sound like a lot of days and to others no time at all. It would be difficult enough if we managed to stabilise the human population but we are far from doing that. Much of the reason for current increases in our total number are the lack of women’s rights, the inequality between women and men and the lack of access to contraception, family planning, abortion and not forgetting the issue of child brides and child mothers.
How big a problem is it? Possibly it’s as big as burning fossil fuels. Many included myself see it as one of the larger human elephants in the room. In the 366 days of 2020 the world’s head count increased by let’s call it 80,000,000 despite the extra deaths due to the pandemic. So in 2020 an extra 10 Switzerlands were created, https://www.worldometers.info/demographics/world-demographics/. So in general, even though the fertility rate is falling and we assume that the pandemic will pass we can apply the same number of additional people being born for this the crucial decade in human history. It’s an uphill struggle to meet the Sustainable Development Goals as it is but at the rate humans are reproducing we would create another 100 Switzerlands by the end of 2030, 800,000,000 people. Now you could argue it would be less but even if it was 600,000,000 extra people they would still need food, water, shelter, education, energy, in some form, infrastructure, jobs, medicine, household goods etc. Not all within the next 10 years but it is easy to see how unsustainable it is since we cannot provide these things for the current 7,800,000,000 humans. It should be noted as a generalisation that countries where women do not have rights such as access to abortion are also those from which migration in search of work for example are the highest, https://www.statista.com/chart/13680/the-legal-status-of-abortion-worldwide/?utm_source=Statista+Global&utm_campaign=ec3b7da732-All_InfographTicker_daily_COM_AM_KW49_2020_Th_COPY&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_afecd219f5-ec3b7da732-310309078. Therefore women’s rights and inequality are one of the largest human elephants in the room. What happens in what remains of the 3652 days of this decade will come back to haunt the human race for a long time in the future. It is time to change because we are too many, we take too much.