OPINION

Sustainability key in managing world population

In case you missed it, yesterday, was World Population Day—a day aimed at drawing the world’s attention to the urgency and importance of population issues.

This year’s theme, ‘Family planning is a human right’, coincides with the 50th anniversary of the 1968 International Conference on Human Rights, where family planning was initially affirmed to be a human right globally.

Basically, the Teheran Proclamation stated the rights of parents in determining the number and spacing of their children. Further, it gave women and girls the power to determine the nature, regularity and magnitude of their pregnancies.

Consequently, WPD this year reiterates the nine standards necessary in upholding the right to family planning (services). These include non-discrimination, availability, accessibility, acceptability, good quality, informed decision-making, privacy and confidentiality, participation and accountability.

Still, it looks like family planning has a long way to go before it becomes an effective tool for population control. According to the most recent (July 2018) estimates by the UN, we are 7.6 billion people in the world. The global population is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100. 

In Kenya we have already hit the 50 million mark and counting. By 2030 we will have reached 66 million, and 95 million by 2050. Currently, we are the 29th most populous nation in the world.

The unbridled growth of the world’s population is scary. At this rate, we will outgrow the basics necessary to sustain life on earth.

The net effect will be total destruction of natural resources, leading to global warming and climate change. Already, increasing natural catastrophes attest to the foregoing as we exploit the earth’s resources beyond her capacity to replenish what we take away.

The world needs a new creed that will, in addition to reducing the rate of population growth, also demand more responsibility to the rich nations to reduce conspicuous consumption. Ironically, developing nations bear the brunt of massive population growth as nearly all their resources are consumed by developed nations, who are experiencing stagnant or reduced population growth.

Of course, women need to be given the freedom to choose how and when they want to carry their pregnancies. But let us not manipulate them to shun their God-given reproduction responsibilities, and own will to have the number of children they can sustain.

* * * * *

The 12 boys of a juvenile Thailand football team and their coach have given a new meaning to the saying that men live in caves! In a latter day miracle, all the lads were this week rescued by an international team of expert cave divers, after a nine-day ordeal in a Thai country side.

It was an unprecedented rescue mission that offers a few lessons that Kenyans need to learn in disaster management: First is the need for meticulous planning. Thai authorities came up with different options and executed the best option. Every move they made was calculated, which is why the world is awed by the safe rescue operation.

Secondly, and most importantly, human life is priceless. Contrary to the casual way we handle human lives, the Thais gave the rescue effort full attention, and invested all necessary resources, both material and non-material, to save lives.

Thirdly, and notwithstanding our national mantra of ‘all will be well’ in the face of any crisis, faith without work is useless. True, God is always able, but His promise is based on the strength and intelligence that He gives us to successfully confront seemingly insurmountable challenges.

And, Hollywood should compensate all people involved in the mission when they shoot the potentially blockbuster movie from this experience!

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