CLOVERLEY LAWRENCE 

SOUTH AFRICA

'I am the youngest of 6 girls and was raised in a culture that favoured a male heir. Growing up in Apartheid South Africa, access to opportunities was limited, while being part of a large family meant resources were even scarcer. I understood early on how one’s quality of life could be improved in smaller families.

The present planetary burden is caused not only by too many people, but excessive consumption driven by a capitalist economy. A slowdown in population growth is already apparent with declining fertility rates. This is largely because women and girls are getting better access to education and autonomy over their bodies and choices. But we have a long way to go.

While a high human population strains the Earth resources, it isn’t populous poorer countries that have contributed most to planetary degradation or the highest carbon emissions, but the rich minority driven by greed and supported by economic structures that favour the wealthy. Here is where real effort for education and reform is needed to restore environmental balances and bridge the inequality divide.'