Institute for Population Studies  |   Berkeley, CA  |   (510) 848-9061  |   outreach@howmany.org
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Population Awareness Campaign

How Many People Can the Earth Sustain?

HowMany.org - Online Resource Center

The Howmany.org website contains articles, references and links exploring the fundamental issues regarding population growth and the impact of overpopulation on people, other species and the planet. This information is critical to raising public awareness that population growth is a choice – not inevitable – and that wise policy and personal choices can help us reduce consumption and stabilize population growth. Only then will it be easier to deal with water shortages, energy shortages, hunger, species extinction and the many problems exacerbated by runaway global population growth.

Blog - 7 Billion: Sustainability, Justice & the Environment

Populationgrowth.org is our blog about the latest news and issues that relate to the role population growth plays in everything from economic activity to politics and family planning; from social and environmental pressures to historic world events. HowMany.org Senior Writer Suzanne York contributes weekly and so can you!

Social Media & Social Revolution

Whether we speak of America's “Occupy” or the“Arab Spring” movement, our ability to spread important information in seconds to targeted audiences has changed the landscape for social movements everywhere, including the human impact movement. We're now able to engage at the moment of importance and mobilize more easily around common goals and conversations. In social media as in life, responsible consumption and personal action are key, so please join us at: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Care2, and WiserEarth

News & Research

Weaving the Web of Awareness

HowMany.org News Directory

Our latest web resource designed to aid journalists, students, scientists and the general public in researching and understanding the connections between current news items and human impact. This deep archive unearths the topic of population in mainstream media coverage of social and environmental issues, including water and energy shortages, joblessness and economic decline, species extinction, natural disasters and climate change, among others.

HowMany.org Directory of Resources & Links

An extensive listing of population web links including other organizations, publications, statistical sources and even population clocks!

Outreach & Advocacy

Putting Population in the Conversation

Educational Speaker Series

This educational event series brings together environmentalists, social activists, civic leaders, academics, journalists and community members to engage in monthly discussions on national and global issues related to population. Events are free to the public and feature an array of topics, including ecological economics and carbon footprint, environmental justice, water shortages and loss of biodiversity, and reproductive rights and women's health. These engaging and informative events are often held in conjunction with like-minded organizations, and feature knowledgeable, well-known keynote speakers, from demographers to scientists to nonprofit leaders. Sometimes the evening begins with a screening of the latest documentary film at the intersection of the population-economy-environment connection, followed by a panel discussion of experts in the field.

“Media Matters” Initiative

Most news stories about environmental problems, wars and social problems do not mention the swelling human population size that precipitates these issues. As such, we pay considerable attention to our media friends and reach out whenever possible to encourage them to acknowledge the “elephant in the room” in their coverage of mainstream issues.

Population “Feet on the Ground”

Our staff and volunteers take great pride in hitting the streets at local fairs and festivals in promotion of the organization and its work. Senior staff also take speaking engagements to help inform local groups and organizations of the importance of keeping population in the conversation. In an effort to influence leading thinkers and decision-makers, staff works to identify and participate in relevant local, state, national and international conferences and panel discussions, such as the Population Association of America's annual meeting, Rio+20 Earth Summit and Aspen Ideas Festival.

“Webvocacy” Project

Our websites and social media pages provide opportunities to influence policy, particularly at the national level, by connecting users to petitions for better environmental legislation and advocating for campaigns such as “Million for a Billion” which seeks to ensure funding for universal access to reproductive health care.

Grassroots Action & Regional Activity

Connecting Communities for Better Living

Local Stewardship Stories

While the real estate development industry desires rapid population growth in our communities, most citizens do not because of the obvious social and environmental pressures seen each day, from increased traffic congestion and poor air quality, to increased competition for scarce jobs and wages.

We at HowMany.org have written about communities that have been overwhelmed by rapid development. They have seen the consequences and taken effective steps to preserve the positive things about their cities and towns, finding effective ways to slow the growth.

Protecting Livable Communities

We believe citizens have a fundamental right and responsibility to ask local councils and developers to make communities better not bigger. Population growth is not an inexorable force of nature, and residential development – though perhaps once an inexorable force of economic growth – has been exposed by the Great Recession and implicated by our warming climate as socially and environmentally unsustainable.

Combating the belief that "building is necessary because population growth is inevitable" is a key component in the fight against population growth and environmental damage.

In support of progressive communities everywhere, we are developing an online resource to help people learn how to stop unwanted building in their local region. This not only helps maintain livable countrysides and towns, but if enough communities engage, we also positively impact many of the regional and worldwide problems associated with population growth.

Stay tuned for our upcoming website to help connect activists working to prevent growth for the sake of growth and the resulting loss of farms, forests and habitat.

Population - Youth Education

The Next Generation

Schools Outreach

When people everywhere understand the link between the size of the human population and the many forms of environmental degradation facing our planet, we will be much more effective at dealing with these environmental problems and the social conflicts that accompany them. With almost half of the global population under the age of 25, it is younger generations who face long-term consequences and determine the course of our world's growing population. Both abroad and in the U.S., a surprising number of young people lack the information or access required to make thoughtful choices regarding reproduction.

Despite recent decreases in teen pregnancies, the U.S. still has some of the highest rates of teen pregnancy, childbirth, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases of all industrialized nations. It is critical to reach this demographic, which is entering peak reproductive years, and help them understand the impact of their choices on a global scale. Presentations and activities encourage conscious decision-making among students – both as citizens shaping public policy, and as individuals regarding family planning, consumption and the environment.

We are currently available to give free interactive presentations to high school students in the SF Bay Area. If you are a high school teacher or student, and you are interested in finding out more, please email education@howmany.org or call 510-684-8407.

Population Education Program

We also support the Population Education Program run by Population Connection, which trains over 400 volunteer teachers trainers annually in effective ways to present population concepts to students.



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Classic News & Articles    [old Archive]

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! [original] [comments]

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] [archive]

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. Facinating reading. [article] [archive]

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. [article] [archive]

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. [article] [archive]

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 [article] [comment]

Japan's economy stronger than USA's This is usually obfuscated by using total GDP to measure growth, but per-capita GDP is stronger in Japan. - Jan 3, 2012 [article] [comment]

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... [archive]

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? [short video]

The Critics Deconstructed Intersting article about the attacks against population activists, and the need for population awareness [article]

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. [article] [archive]

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. [trailer] [archive]

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 about that... [article]

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. [article] [archive]

Top 50 Birth Control Blogs. Sept 2010. Grouped by Educational, Methods, Population Issues, Reproductive Rights, Religious, Ethnic & Local issues. [article] [archive]

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... [article] [archive]

How many People can live on Planet Earth Sept, 2010
Sir David Attenborough asks this question in this fascinating video (YouTube).

The Last Taboo What unites the Vatican, lefties, conservatives, environmentalists and scientists in a conspiracy of silence? Read The Last Taboo by Julia Whitty in the June 2010 issue of Mother Jones: "Who's to Blame for the Population Crisis?"

Climate Change:
Calling Planet Birth

Family size is the great unmentionable in the campaign for more environmentally friendly lifestyles. Having 1 less child in the US would reduce carbon emissions 19 times more than all the E.P.A.'s recommended actions combined. - [article]

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. [article]

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 [article]

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. [article]

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." [Press Release]

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