Saturday, July 11, 2009

World Population Day 2009

Today, July 11th, 2009, marks the 20th celebration of World Population Day, an event designed to raise awareness about the impact our increasing global population has on us and our world. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) believes the world's population will reach 9.1 billion people in the next forty years. That's an increase of nearly 36%. It makes one wonder what the impact might be on poverty rates, world health, and our climate. [It is my understanding that this estimate of 9.1 billion is based on a decrease in the current birth rate in developing countries from 4 children per mother to 2. If that decrease does not happen, the population will be even greater.]

This year's theme focuses on an idea to help prevent such a tremendous population increase in our world: educating girls. If you watched the video above, you probably noted the staggering statistic:
Of 900 million illiterate adults in the world, 2/3rds are women

Investing now in the health and education of women around the world leads to a ripple effect that starts with a girl's family leading eventually to their community, their country, and our world. I love this quote from Ms. Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of UNFPA and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations:

"The world is paying a high price for not allowing women to live up to their full potential."

My question is what can we do about it, other than donate money to this, that, or the other fundraising organization? I would love to do something with my seventh graders this year to promote the education of girls around the world. But what? I'm thinking this would work well as a service learning project, but that is as far as I've gotten. Have you any ideas or suggestions?

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