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Focus on Women, Not Population, for Climate Justice

Humanity is projected to cross a major threshold tomorrow: We are now 8 billion people on planet Earth. Headlines will proclaim that all is lost, that there are simply too many of us (or too many of us in certain countries), and that we need fewer people. Such articles miss the mark.

We need to turn away from dramatic headlines about the number of people on the planet and instead focus on the actual issue driving the continued rise of humans on Earth—a lack of rights, for women and girls in particular. And, we need to focus on ensuring that the people who are here—specifically those living in high income countries and people with economic privilege in all countries—consume less.

Just as we are not going to solve the climate crisis without fully and equitably addressing the three pillars of mitigation, adaptation, and loss and damage, we also are not going to eradicate poverty or sustain humanity without advancing rights around three pillars for women everywhere: Bodily autonomy, education, and gender equality.

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