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Why you should care that we use more than our share of the Earth's resources--and what you can do about it

Richard Grossman, MD, MPH, Department of OB-GYN, University of Colorado School of Medicine, 375 East Park Avenue, Suite 3C, Durango, CO 81301, 970-884-7148, richard@population-matters.org

Everyone uses land for housing, food production and disposal of waste—including land for forests to fix CO2 from fossil fuels. The area of land that an individual uses (directly or indirectly) is called his “ecological footprint”. Adding up the ecological footprints of all of the world’s 6.4 billion citizens suggests that humans are already using the planet’s resources faster than they can be regenerated. It is like overspending on a credit card and leaving the debt for our children and grandchildren to repay. This profligate use of resources causes environmental degradation. There are many steps that each of us can take to slow the growth of the human population and to decrease our consumption. For instance, members of the PFPRH Section advance family planning. We can also make a difference in our personal lives by reducing consumption. Other suggestions are: PROMOTE EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTIVE PILLS: This very safe method has the potential to prevent half of the unplanned pregnancies in the USA. PURCHASE ALTERNATIVE ENERGY: Although it costs a bit more, electricity from wind power does not pollute and is available in all parts of the USA.


Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Population, Environment

Related Web page: www.ecofoot.net

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Population, Reproductive Health and the Environment: Implementing, and Evaluating Effective Integrated Programs

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA