A Pivotal Moment: Population, Justice & the Environmental Challenge

I recently began reading the book titled; A Pivotal Moment, edited by Laurie Mazur. It was first published in 2010, so I am a little behind, however, it is possibly the most comprehensive book currently available that maps the complex connections between population growth and the environmental challenge that faces humanity. In this post I will give a brief review of what I have read thus far.

The introduction by Laurie Mazur lays out the challenges that lie ahead of us in the coming decades. She reminds us that our human population has undergone a rapid expansion in the past several decades and that close to half of the World’s population is under the age of 25. It is the choices that this generation, the largest generation ever to live, makes in the coming the years that will determine whether our population grows to anywhere between 8 billion and 11 billion by 2050.

She outlines the inequalities that exist between people on our planet and the consequences of poverty and gender inequality. She urges us to adopt an ethical approach to addressing the issues surrounding population growth and proposes a “population justice” framework for understanding and acting on these issues.

She finishes the chapter by painting a picture of a young boy labouring in a mine in Africa and a young girl in South Asia about to be married to a man more than twice her age. She then asks what choices do these two children have and what kind of future awaits them. It is this picture that stirs the compassion that is necessary to build a sustainable future for those who will inhabit it.

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