WOMEN AND GIRLS | POPULATION | CONSUMPTION | CHOICES AND SOLUTIONS
GirlPlanet.Earth provides a global platform for girls and women to openly discuss human population, hyper-consumption and climate change, and share stories and solutions.
For far too long, people haven't acknowledged a big elephant in the room. Or they've pointed fingers at 'population versus consumption' -- rather than naming them as two related, fundamental problems.
Without addressing both, it's just not possible to sustain human life, planetary health, or economic well-being.
Join us. Start the conversation, share solutions. Help solve some of our society’s biggest challenges. We welcome women and teenage girls to our global dialogue on Facebook, here.
We encourage men to share these conversations in your communities, and on your platforms. We appreciate your allyship.
These issues are crucial to our collective survival on the planet.
OUR GLOBAL VOICES
'Focusing only on the issue of population growth can disenfranchise women in the global south and further widen the gap between the north and south. Instead, let us encourage a discourse where we examine population growth and consumption patterns in tandem. Read on...
'I recently watched an archeology documentary about an ancient brothel on the east coast of England. The birth control method of the time was to give birth, and, in the process, kill the baby. A large pit of baby skeletons was the first clue. This information haunted me. Read on...
'I'm not sure population growth or even consumption are true reflections of the actual problem. We face a deeper struggle. Whether it is the climate crisis or a biodiversity one, any effective mitigation and adaptation will require us to tackle the injustices of the past and present. Read on....
'I am 73 years young, as engaged in matters that concern me as I was when I was 30, maybe even more. I never had kids. felt a societal tug to have kids especially in my 30's, but, truthfully I've seen mothers who are meant to be mothers and I didn't have that. Read on...
'The concept that we cannot have endless growth on a finite planet is not a complicated concept. It was something I could understand even as a child, and it is only when we seriously discuss this reality that progress can be made. Read on...
REEM A. ELOMARABI
'Rapid increases in population growth in Sudan led to desertification, land degradation, loss of biodiversity and habitat. Many states in Sudan face challenges such as lack of drinking water, electricity, education and unsuitable environments for living. I work at a wildlife research centre in Sudan on my PhD ... Read on...
'The impact we have on this planet, as collective humanity, is noticeable and profound. As a result we now experience feedbacks to our own health and well-being. Read on...
'When we educate girls and when we empower them and when we give them the quality education that they need, it actually helps us to tackle climate change because when girls are educated, they have fewer children. They're more economically independent. Read on...
PHOEBE BARNARD GLOBAL CITIZEN
‘I've had a fire in my belly for humanity to take charge of our destiny on this planet, and not give in to destruction, denialism, or despair. Since our 2019-2021 papers on a "World Scientists' Warning of a Climate Emergency," I'm working to implement solutions in the six areas we recommended to humanity (energy, pollutants, nature, food systems, population stabilization and economic reform). Read on...
'I first made the connection between population, women’s education and choice, and our natural world when the Audubon Society asked me to go to Washington DC to meet with my senators, Dick Durbin and a brand-new senator, Barack Obama. Read on...
'Before I carried my one beautiful child within me, roared him out into the world, and was undone by his constant need, the future beyond my lifetime seemed abstract. Now it’s as real to me as my own tired feet. Read on...
FLORENCE N. BLONDEL
'In my country, Uganda, like in most of Sub-Saharan Africa, pressures for young girls and women to be childbearers persist. An average woman has about five children. My mom had 10. It's mostly the only choice we are given growing up, finding a man, giving him many children, and doing whatever he wants. Read on...
CHIOMA I. OKAFOR
'In my culture, the number of children you have determines the level of respect given to you as a woman. But this is gradually changing. In the former days, a woman can give birth to 11 children and more, until 6 children became the minimum. Now most couples are content with 3 children. Read on...
'As human settlements spread out across some of the last vestiges of our natural world, habitats are being reduced and our living world is becoming smaller, more fragile Can you imagine for a moment, the onset of spring, but no swallows? A moonlit night, yet no owls, no foxes, calling out across the darkness? Read on...
'I have always believed that education is a powerful tool to empower women in sub-Saharan Africa, where it has been known to reduce early marriage and fertility, increase the likelihood of wage employment and improve autonomy in decision making. What I underestimated is the formidable force of social and cultural norms on the road to complete women empowerment. Read on...
'In my lifetime human population has more than doubled. In 1954, there were 2.7 billion people - soon we'll be 8 billion! Humans cause climate change, ocean acidification, and many species extinctions. We are making the planet unlivable for ourselves and other creatures. Read on...
'My mom had six children, five girls and one boy. In her own family there were only three siblings, two brothers and herself. When I was a teenager, I never thought of kids or getting married. My major concern was to finish school. Read on...
'Who run the world? Girls!'
'I'm the Communications Director for the international animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere and I work with the Fair Start movement advocating for the first and foremost human right: an ecosocial fair start in life. Read on...
'My country is blessed with natural resources, but the issue is sustainability in the wise use of our resources. Our government officials amass wealth for themselves instead of using resources wisely for the masses. Read on...
'From physically congested environments, sometimes surrounded with waste, filth and pollution, to greater insecurity for shared resources, mistrust, unhealthy competition - the list of impacts is long. As a privileged urban middle class Indian woman, I may not be an authority on the subject, but in my experience, I can trace the impact of population on almost all aspects of our lives. Read on...
'I have always been passionate about the environment, and it saddens me to see the unsustainable path that we are currently on. When discussing sustainability and climate change, overpopulation has always been at the centre of discussions, But we cannot address population growth without addressing overconsumption.
'I moved to the United States from México with my parents and seven siblings when I was 15 years old. It was the most amazing experience to notice all the opportunities available to me if I only worked hard enough to achieve them. Read on...
ISLAMIAT ABIDEMI RAJI
'My mom had eight girls, but my dad had 12 children, some of whom I have never met. Knowing that my mom gave birth to eight children not because she can fend for them, but because of the pressure to have a male child, is a big lesson for me with the overpopulation and Earth crises we have globally.
'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. Read on...
'Soy Rebeca Yamberla, tengo 43 años de edad y no tengo hijos, soy sola. Mis padres tuvieron 9 hijos, tres mujeres y seis hombres. Pero hoy, apenas tienen uno o dos hijos. En mi familia, mis cuñadas tienen cuatro hijos, y solo yo no tengo ni uno. Sigue leyendo ...
'Because my parents believed in me as a person, because they had faith in me and my vision for myself and the world I wanted to inhabit, I am now happily engaged in an ambitious career to protect half of Earth's land and halt the impending destruction of the biosphere. Read on...
'We already have two or three strikes against us when trying to compete professionally on the global stage - being women, being black and African. We can't also be the pregnant African postdocs needing extra attention and accommodation in a highly competitive environment.
'My parents had 5 children, of whom three had one child each and the other two none. My parents taught us to be frugal. They were farmers and we had to help with various tasks. This made us realise what it takes to put food on the table and clothes on our backs. We were taught the value of nature.
'The more people, the more consumption, but it's not that simple, is it? ... Things are changing rapidly and unlike the generation before us, now most of my friends, women and men, are choosing not to have children. There is a shift happening, conversations of overpopulation and overconsumption are being had. Read on...
LAURA O. AGHWANA
'People need training that recognizes the value of wisdom, wisdom that goes beyond what we learn from the walls of a conventional school. The wisdom we learn by paying attention to everything around us, nature and people, and learning to have deep respect for life, and nature, beyond just humans. Nature teaches us wisdom all the time, if we care to listen. Read on...
'I am a Legal Practitioner from southern Nigeria, Delta State... Being an Urhobo by tribe with a culture which recognizes having many children as an evidence of a man’s wealth and the 30th child in a polygamous family of about 8 wives and 47 children, left me with no choice but to be independent early on. I knew there were so many persons to cater for and I wouldn’t get the sufficient provision I needed. Read on...
MARIA ROSA MURMIS
ARGENTINA / CANADA
'I am profoundly saddened by the state of the Earth. I feel shame that greed and foolishness drive species extinction and ecosystem degradation.... My career, personal interests and sensitivity have brought me to the worldview that humanity, and planet Earth as a whole, have clearly stepped into an era of a massive collapse. Read on...
'I am an environmental and climate change advisor specialized in international cooperation and also a farmer transitioning to agroecology. I am very happy to have found a space to discuss the role of population in global sustainability and wellbeing for all... When I was studying in Toronto and later Berkeley, the concept of overpopulation became very controversial, even unspeakable. Yet it is hard to be concerned about the carrying capacity of the planet and not be aware that population has a role in it, as well as consumption, of course. Read on...
'I’ve just thrown the trash out. A large plastic bag filled with used nappies, baby napkins, food remains, and many other ‘necessary’ things of convenience. The bag I threw away fell on top of countless other plastic bags, carton boxes and old household appliances. And I felt like crying... This trash is so mixed; it’s never going to be recycled. Even if it were, this would be a drop in the ocean. It is going to be shipped to Indonesia or Turkey, and children my niece’s age are going to swim in our trash. Read on...
'As our population grows and higher demands of consumption are to be met, the lives of billions of animals are industrialized. Through factory farming, animals turn into merchandise. Humane living conditions are traded for the maximization of profits. Labels such as “free-range” barely carry any solid legal standard. This issue is one of the most difficult to face and to discuss. Many of us and our loved ones support this industry. No one wants to be faced with the truth of how their animal products were made, especially when consuming them is so normalized. Read on...
INDIA / CANADA
MEXICO / CANADA
'Current pronatalist structures around the world are mired in a type of population control that pressures, and often coerces women into procreating. Driven by patriarchal, religious, cultural, political, or economic ideologies, such pressures prevent women and couples from making liberated, informed, and responsible family size decisions, including how they define family. I feel an urgent need to pierce through overpopulation denial so that we can collectively begin to dismantle the power structures that are threatening all life on earth. Read on...
'I am originally from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico (Kumeyaay Land), now living in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada (Mississauga Land). I am the eldest sister in a family of two daughters. I was born and raised in a family of scientists, where research, curiosity, and science were the main pillars of the family. My mother, a scientist and expert in organic chemistry and education, gave me my first microscope when I was 4 years old and prepared slides to observe and learn about cells. Read on...
'It was a delightful experience growing up in semi-arid rural areas of the Eastern Cape near Tsomo, South Africa, with my three sisters. Between the 1970s and 1990s, we lived in less crowded and polluted environments as our parents were self-sufficient through farming, organic food production, sewing projects, and other income-generating activities in the absence of government subsidies. But child pregnancy was never as common as it is now. Read on...
'I used to think that education is a right for all in my country and that all kids go to school, since I grew up in a city where all girls my age attended school. Unfortunately, I discovered another reality when appointed as a teacher in a remote area (a small village in the Middle Atlas Mountains). I noticed that the majority of my students were boys and that the few girls attending were shy and hardly talked during my class. I asked myself: why there are only a few girls? I learned later that they drop out of Junior school and get married. Read on...
'Conflicts over vital resources combined with anthropogenic pressures will result in more dire human-caused disasters. But in conversations about overpopulation and how we are pushing our planet home to its limits, we must recognize different perspectives across cultures and acknowledge the many traditions which promote respectful and responsible use of our resources.
'I am childless by choice and know many women choosing the same who feel belittled. Let's celebrate both joys: children and child-free. In 1994, the UN held a global conference on population in Cairo. Students of my "frugality = freedom" book, Your Money or Your Life, joined me in a caper. Every city where Timothy Wirth, US's representative, held a public meeting, we took to the microphones saying: "Consumption is the population issue of the United States. A child born here, in its lifetime, will use many times the resources of a child born in Africa." Read on...
'Despite a worsening climate crisis, I never questioned if I would have children. Not having a child was a sacrifice I wasn’t willing to make – but how could I justify that decision as someone committed to addressing climate change? I found the answer when I became a big sister at the age of 20. I now have two brothers, ages 3 and 5, who do demand a lot – time, money, resources. But children aren’t only vacuums for resources – they can be raised into intentional and educated actors who are forces for change. I know my future child will be. Read on....
'As I learned more and more about our relationship with nature, I realized how challenging is to make significant sacrifices that actually heal the planet. At the same time, I was lucky to have a mother that never pushed me to have children (unlike many families here in Peru). It is a hard decision because there is a lot of social pressure on women, so much that I even had doubts. However, another thing changed my life: I became a teacher of environmental sciences, and when this happened, I realized that you can have a special bond with many kids, and have a meaningful impact on their lives without being a mother. Read on....
'As founder and Chief Executive Officer of Women in Nature Conservation Organization (WINCO), my core career goal is to raise future passionate and resilient female conservationists in a career line fondly referred to 'the men's world'. Personally, I have scaled through tough career hurdles in my twenty-two years of impactful conservation work in Nigeria. Read on...
'I don't like [the pressure] that people put on me, on women — that you've failed yourself as a female because you haven't procreated. I don't think it's fair. You may not have a child come out of your vagina, but that doesn't mean you aren't mothering - dogs, friends, friends' children.' Read on....
'We’ve been doing the same thing to the earth that we do to women. We just take and take and expect it to keep producing. And it’s exhausted. It can’t produce. We’re getting handed a piece-of-shit planet, and I refuse to hand that down to my child. Until I feel like my kid would live on an earth with fish in the water, I’m not bringing in another person to deal with that.' Read on...
TRACEE ELLIS ROSS
'The husband and the babies are the expectation of what's supposed to happen at a certain point, and people fall back on, 'Well, that's the point of the human species, procreation.' And I'm, like, 'I think there are a lot of babies; isn't that part of what's going wrong, there's too many?' Some people could be working on the world being a better place, or just being happy.' Read on....
'Pengyu means sea turtle in some languages. I live on a small island “Liuqiu”, a sea turtle hotspot, which recently became a very popular busy tourist attraction. Why not create a place where people can share what they see underwater and talk about oceans? That’s why I opened the “Linger Bookstore” at Liuqiu. Read on...
'I have a passion for oceans, and I love swimming with whales and dolphins. I live in Taiwan, an island where various whales and dolphins periodically travel by. As a marine ecology photographer, I followed them in the waters of Tonga, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Japan, and other places. A series of my Humpback whale photos won the Honorable Mention and the Art Book Award of the International Photography Awards (IPA). Read on...
'Last night we started drilling to find water for people in the Sahel region of my home country, Togo. It was hard and long, but successful. I am having the most difficult experiences in my life and I think it will make me more strong to face life and adapt to every situation in life. Now I am ready to face the whole world. During the #covid19 pandemic I didn’t stay at home, because many people still need help and support. The most vulnerable people around the world still need us. Read on...
'I am a 76-year-old woman, born and schooled in Netherlands. In high school we were taught that the world was heading towards overpopulation, that resources were limited and we had to learn to recycle because our waste management of dumping, was using up valuable land, causing serious pollution of water, land and air. Not long after, Dutch cities started recycling. Read on...
NATASHA JASMIN DURY
FIJI/ UK/ UAE
FRANCE/ GERMANY/ USA
BARBARA WILLIAMS UNITED KINGDOM
'As a teenager, I took part in a UN-style 'International Roundtable Conference by Future Leaders' on climate change in the UAE with His Highness Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi, known around the world as the 'Green Sheikh.' Our island nation produces less than 1% of carbon emissions, yet we have rising sea levels, coastal erosion and intense hurricanes. Read on...
'As much as I enjoyed picturing myself doing research in exotic locations, I felt like I had to dedicate my career to fighting the horrifyingly rapid erosion of biodiversity at the hands of humanity. The best thing about working in the population field is that I get to combine my love for nature with my other big passion: the advancement of women’s rights. Read on...
'I have been working as an environmental activist in the UK for two and a half years. I specialise in lobbying the UK government to consider a paradigm shift to degrowth in recognition of global ecological overshoot and ecosystem collapse. My website is called Poems for Parliament. I have written a book to inspire out-of-the-box thinking, free to download here. Read on...
'It’s all about infrastructure. That word keeps coming up in my life. I live in upstate New York, USA where man-made industrialized infrastructure--especially transportation--is a huge deal. It can be very harsh. But, natural infrastructure is also a huge deal because we are located on the Hudson River, with dozens of tributaries, between the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains. Read on...
CATHERINE SARAH YOUNG PHILIPPINES / AUSTRALIA
AGNES WANGUI IRUNGU
'It was 1976. I was standing at the desk of Addis Ababa’s most luxurious hotel complaining to fellow UN colleagues that we were in a bubble, far from the realities of life. A distinguished man turned to me and asked, “Would you like to see reality?” I recognized the respected minister of a former European colony. “Yes,” I whispered. “Your name?” he asked. I gave him my nickname. “Tanya! Like Che Guevara’s love!” I trembled. “I’ll take you!” he added. Read on...
'As an artist, I believe that women contain in them universes of stories. I grew up in the Philippines, which has one of the highest rates of teen pregnancies in Asia. I saw how young women who went from having limited choices to even more limited ones. As I write this, the pandemic has brought upon more work upon women when it comes to childcare, housework, among other things, highlighting the inequalities we have already faced before COVID-19.. Read on...
'Fossil fuels have been dug limitlessly, energy has been consumed limitlessly, trees have been burned limitlessly, and the world’s population has grown limitlessly. In such a situation, climate change is unavoidable, that we have entered an era in which each one of us should live every single day being conscious about the health of this planet. What we as individuals do every day as a matter of course is not what “only we” do but also what billions of other people do every day. Read on...
'I would like to write my story about gender and climate change. Growing up in Kenya's rural highlands has given me a chance to closely observe the climate change that has gradually come into place. In rural Kenya, women are involved in agricultural activities but mostly do not have the rights to own land, so they cannot make the maximum out of it. Read on...
GABRIELA FLEURY (they)
BRAZIL/ UNITED STATES
U.A.E. / FIJI / SPAIN
'Human populations and wildlife have always lived alongside each other, but current times have made the complex landscape of human-wildlife interactions even more complex. I do research in Sub-Saharan Africa to examine how to mitigate conflict from wildlife and people living in closer and closer proximity to each other. Read on...
When Phoebe asked me to join Girl Planet Earth Voices, at first I was reluctant, since I thought I don’t have one major success story on how I fought overconsumption or how I saved nature and our planet. Then, it occurred to me that indeed, neither I, nor we, do not have to do it all by ourselves. Read on...
As a journalist from Fiji Islands, a nation most affected by climate change, I like talking about climate change. The more you find out how global warming impacts smaller nations, the more aware and cautious you will become about wastage in your day to day lives. I have been through numerous cyclones in Fiji and lost every piece of belonging during the many hurricanes. Believe me, it is not a situation you want to be in. Read on...
'Peng Hu Islands, composed of 90 islands and islets in Taiwan, is my hometown. I grew up by the sea. Stone fish weirs are obstructions built in tidal areas, and are one of the remaining methods of traditional fishing in the world, and despite population sprawl, many old stone weirs remain. Read on...