"To help solve environmental and social problems by including population size in discussions of those problems.
We work to remove the obstacles that keep population from being seriously and rationally discussed in public discourse,
and to empower people to determine, reach and maintain the best population size for their regions and the planet."
HowMany.org works to raise public awareness by:
Exploring the links among population growth, environmental challenges (including
global warming, urban sprawl, water rights, species extinction, and energy consumption) and social issues (particularly women's rights and access to contraceptives).
Encouraging and facilitating popular discussion about how population and the
environment interact and about the complex links between population growth, poverty and inequality.
Channeling funding toward education and research about population, the environment and family planning.
Howmany.org advocates for:
Advancing understanding of the effects of population growth
Women's rights and gender equality
Improved reproductive health and access to contraceptives
Raising education and economic opportunities
Responsible levels of consumption
Natural resource and habitat conservation
Social and economic justice
Population growth is not an inexorable force of nature. By choosing now how many people our regions (and the Earth) should best support, we can choose our
own future.Those U.N. median projections of 10.4 billion by 2050 are not inevitable; we can and must aim for the low numbers of 8.0 billion. This is one instance where we'll have a better future on the low road.
Who we are:
Suzanne York, Senior Writer
Suzanne has a Masters in Public Policy from American University, and has reported on international human rights, globalization, and environmental issues for more than a decade. She spent eight years as research director with the International Forum on Globalization in San Francisco. She is also chair of the Sierra Club's Trade, Human Rights & Environment Team and writes a blog on environment and human rights issues in India. Suzanne's work here focuses on research and writing about population, human rights, and the environment. She enjoys hiking with her husband and two beagles.
Samantha Ethridge, Education Coordinator -
Samantha graduated from University of Vermont with a B.A. in Environmental Studies and a concentration on International/Community Development. Upon learning 200,000 people die each day from chronic hunger because of lack of opportunity, she was inspired to take action and began her work with FeelGood, a nonprofit which works with college students to end world hunger. Since then, she has directed her educational and professional efforts, including curriculum and program development, towards social change through educational initiatives. She is particularly interested in programs that connect students to global issues and equip them with skills to be leaders. She is very excited to be joining the HowMany.org team.
HowMany.org founder Searle Whitney graduated cum laude from Yale University and
holds a Ph.D. from Harvard University in psychology / linguistics. He has
lifelong interests in the environment and social justice. This project is motivated
by the realization that unless we take charge of our population size, all gains we
make in environmental and social issues will be overwhelmed by our growing
numbers. Bigger is not better. His other current
passions include oldtime music and gardens.
Mary Garvey is a freelance administrative specialist who has worked with
Howmany.org since it's inception. She is committed to the idea that
population awareness can lead to meaningful solutions to global problems.
BUALA, Solomon Islands – The peaceful Maringe coastal lagoon in the Solomon Islands’ remote Isabel province may not look like a place threatened by food insecurity. But declining marine resources and rapid population growth have galvanised local leaders into considering the emerging signs of climate change and taking action to protect fish and other marine life. [...]
KABUL, Afghanistan — Despite years of intensive effort by Afghan and international rights advocates, progress in obtaining justice for abused women in Afghanistan appeared to have stalled, according to a report released Sunday by the United Nations. The report, on the implementation of the 2009 Elimination of Violence Against Women law, found that although the [...]
The giant Delta water-diversion tunnels proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown need $1.2 billion more spent on planning and design before construction starts or is even assured. The additional planning costs, which come on top of $240 million already spent, first came to light at a board meeting of the Westlands Water District late last month. The Sacramento [...]
WASHINGTON — More than two dozen of the nation’s biggest corporations, including the five major oil companies, are planning their future growth on the expectation that the government will force them to pay a price for carbon pollution as a way to control global warming. The development is a striking departure from conservative orthodoxy and [...]
Nelson Mandela, who led the emancipation of South Africa from white minority rule and served as his country’s first black president, becoming an international emblem of dignity and forbearance, died Thursday. He was 95. The South African president, Jacob Zuma, announced Mr. Mandela’s death. Mr. Mandela had long declared he wanted a quiet exit, but [...]
The Earth is Full
June, 2011 - Thomas Friedman - The title says it all. Maybe now that Friedman has broken the ice,
a few others can also say that the Emperor (of endless, thoughless growth) has no clothes!
Ruling on Contraception Insurance
January 29, 2012 - Obama admin.
finalizes ruling that insurance companies cover contraception without a broad religious
exemption. Half of pregnancies in U.S. are unintended.
[New York Times]
Resisting Dickensian Gloom
by Tony Recsei. Forced high density policies don't reduce our carbon footprint or
energy use. This is a very well researched article summarizing many studies. It
was posted on a "smart growth" blog and many people have commented.
Smart Growth: The Worst Kind of Sprawl?
Studies find that urban construction is no better for the environment
than the suburban. People have pretty much the same
global footprint either way. Transportation is a small part of it, and is offset
by extra resources to build high rises.
Tikopia: Living within Limits Feb, 2011 -
The history of the Pacific island Tikopia shows that when humans are confronted with
obvious limits to
our resources, we are smart enough to constrain our population and enjoy
comfortable, prosperous lives.
Overpopulation at its worst?
In the Congo's capital, parents only feed their children every other day.
Demand U.S. contribute
to U.N. contraceptive program!
- Jan 10, 2012
Japan's economy stronger than USA's
This is usually obfuscated by using total GDP to measure growth, but per-capita GDP is stronger
- Jan 3, 2012
Conjectures on Human Growth Limits, Jan 2004 -
Ross McCluney's classic survey of ways to address the question of the best population size
for our Planet. Hint: it depends on how we want to live...
300 Years of Fossil Fuels in 300 Seconds, Jan 2011 -
Great(!) video on the history and effects of humanity's use of fossil fuels. As supplies
dwindle relative to our population, what will we do?
The Critics Deconstructed Intersting article about the attacks against population activists,
and the need for population awareness
U.N.Predicts 10.1 billion people by 2100 May -
This article corrects some common mis-perceptions about population. It is growing rapidly, but
can be slowed by easy access to contraception, better education for women, and
changing social norms.
Mother: Caring our Way out of the
Population Dilemma, Jan 2011 -
The film follows Beth, an American mother who comes from a Catholic family of 12 and has adopted
an African-born daughter as she
travels to Ethiopia where she meets Zinet, the oldest daughter of a desperately poor family
of 12. Zinet has found the courage to break free from thousand-year-old-cultural barriers,
and their encounter will change Beth forever.
The Moral Right to Set Limits, Dec -
It seems right for us each to protect the positive qualities
of our own region, the only place where we have even a modicum of
the political ability to do so. But there is always a nagging question
Opposition to Power Line at Fjord Runs Deep, Nov 11 -
A beautiful place. Why run a high-tension power line with 125
foot towers through the middle of it? Another toll of increasing population.
Nobody Ever Dies of Overpopulation, Garret Hardin
or do they? Much of the Pakistani land which
flooded in 2010 is floodplain which was marshland that was
only settled in the last 30 years...
The Last Taboo What unites the Vatican, lefties, conservatives,
environmentalists and scientists in a conspiracy of silence?
The Last Taboo
by Julia Whitty in the June 2010 issue of
Mother Jones: "Who's to Blame for the Population Crisis?"
Calling Planet Birth
Family size is the great unmentionable in the campaign for more environmentally friendly
Having 1 less child in the US would reduce carbon emissions 19 times more than
all the E.P.A.'s recommended actions combined. -
Drop in Birthrates in 2008 is Linked to Recession -Apr 2010
Population growth is not inevitable. When incentives favor postponing having children,
many people do.
Smart Growth? the smart alternative is No Growth
Although city planners are trained to call some patterns of growth 'smart',
in many areas the only truely smart alternative is No Growth
Parting the Waters - mid-East wars over Water Rights - March 31, 2010.
30 of the 37 Wars over Water in the past 60 years involve Israel and its neighbors.
Fewer people living in these desert regions would leave more water per person. This should
inform the population policies of all countries involved.
A Pivotal Moment: Population, Justice & The Environmental Challenge
Dec 23,2009 This new book compiled by Laurie Mazur discusses environmental issues as they affect
equality, justice and sustainability. Regarding the UN's low and high estimates for World
population in 2050 "if we take seriously the twin imperatives of sustainablilty and equity, it
becomes clear that it would be easier to provide a good life - at less environmental cost - for
8 rather than almost 11 billion people."