As part of my studies in the Asia Pacific Leadership Program in Honolulu, we have to come up with questions surrounding what we deem to be important regional core issues (RCI). The following piece was produced in late September in relation to my RCI question: “Is education the key to lowering high birth rates in developing countries and reducing global population problems?”
During our Discussion Group last week about Risk, it was interesting to see where global population growth will mostly come from over the next 39 years – developing countries (see graph below, taken from the Understanding Risk reading, Page 20).
The stress this growth will put on the planet, its creatures, environments and our ability to produce and distribute adequate food and water for these people will no doubt be one of humanity’s greatest challenges.
Populations in developed countries between now and 2050 pretty much stays steady. These countries have much more advanced and accessible education systems whose students typically go on to have few children, typically about two per couple according to most global studies. It’s logical to then suggest that education is the most effective tool to lowering high birth rates in developing countries and reducing global population problems.
While many organizations, governments and NGOs spend millions of dollars each year on food, water management, environmental and other programs in developing countries, these bodies should focus all their energies on educating the struggling masses far and wide. Educate them at basic and universally deserved levels: primary and secondary. As they learn math, language, social studies and basic sciences, it will empower them to think about other issues, grapple with them and contextualize larger issues such as population growth and the stress it puts on the planet and more importantly their communities.
Population growth and the basic stress its growth places on the planet and everyone’s accessibility to food and water is paramount to our survival as a species. Radically redefining how all Earth’s citizens understand this issue is our duty and the most effective tool to do so is by providing basic education to all as quickly as possible. Our future literally depends on it.