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Santa Barbara, U.S.A. — July 11 is World Population Day, an annual observance to educate the public about the problems of overpopulation and continuing population growth. It grew out of the public interest in Five Billion Day in 1987 when the global population reached five billion people. A quarter century later, world population now exceeds 7 billion and is growing by 80 million per year.
“This dire situation underscores the need to provide safe and effective family planning to the hundreds of millions of men and women who lack it. Families must have the ability to determine the number and spacing of their children,” said Marilyn DeYoung, Chairman of the Board of Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS).
CAPS is a nonprofit organization founded in 1986 that focuses specifically on preserving California’s future through the stabilization of the state’s human population. CAPS also works more broadly to educate about the overall impacts of overpopulation and the environmental impacts of “too many people” throughout the world. In recent years since nearly all of California’s runaway population growth has come from immigration, CAPS has focused on this issue by sponsoring public and media awareness campaigns, working with lawmakers to promote more responsible policies, maintaining a growing network of member-activists, and conducting vital research about how to create a sustainable state.
A major report from Britain’s Royal Society last year noted that the population must be stabilized rapidly to avoid “a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills.” While world population has soared 40 percent since the first World Population Day, the United States has grown almost as rapidly, increasing 30 percent, from 242 million in 1987 to almost 314 million today.
“Continuing growth of the human population is the most serious environmental problem for our planet and for our nation. The consequences of that growth are all around us—loss of open space, air and water pollution, and never-ending sprawl. Habitat loss due to population growth is by far the greatest threat to wildlife. We must tackle this paramount issue,” stated DeYoung, who served on the President’s Commission on Population Growth and the American Future in 1970.