What Does Earth Day Have to do with Beforeplay?

The environment is just one more reason to just talk about birth control and pregnancy. Earth Day, April 22, is a time to think about your footprint on this earth and our collective responsibility to the wellbeing of the planet now, and for future generations. We all know that having kids will have a major impact on our lives, but have you ever thought about how choosing to have children might impact the planet? We’ve talked about what having a baby means for you and your partner in terms of your work life, personal budgets, your health, your baby’s health and so much more. Today is also a good day to think about another aspect – what having a baby (or two or three) means for the livability of our planet.

Let’s take a couple steps back and take a look at some interesting statistics.

  • It took 200,000 years for the world population to reach 1 billion in 1800.
  • Then, just 123 years later, there were 2 billion people on earth. That was 1923.
  • Thirty-three years after that Earth was home to another 1 billion people. That’s 3 billion total in 1960.
  • By 1974 the world population was 4 billion. This means the earth’s population quadrupled in size in a short 174 years!
  • Thirteen years later, the next billion was added and the next billion after that was added in just 12 – so we’re up to 6 billion people in 1999, a year you might actually remember.
  • In 2011, we hit 7 billion and the world’s population is still growing.

So we’ve established that there are a whole lot of us sharing the earth and that recently, a whole lot more of us came to be. Of the 7 billion people who currently call earth home, there is fierce competition for resources. And we mean fierce!

Did you know that about 870 million don’t have enough to eat? Hunger is a huge problem for all kinds of reasons, including overfishing of oceans and, drought and other climate changes that make it difficult to grow enough healthy food to meet the needs of the growing population. In the United States, farmland is being taken over to build houses while other countries are cutting down forests trying to make more farmland. Our growing population needs more energy (like oil, coal and gas) for transportation, making stuff, and heating, cooling and lighting our homes and powering technology; and using all that energy changes our atmosphere (and not in a good way). In addition, clean drinking water has become a scarce resource. There is a limited amount of fresh water and the need for it is growing. All over the world, time and space is needed to replenish these resources and stabilize these most basic needs.

On average, a person living in the United States uses more of nearly everything than others around the world – energy, food, water and other natural resources – so each of our impacts is greater than almost any other person’s worldwide .

Bringing this back to Beforeplay.org, all of these issues are another reason that planning for pregnancy and spacing births is so important. Almost half the pregnancies in Colorado happen by accident; and that makes for a lot of unplanned use of energy, food and water.

We all can do our part to help make sure that more pregnancies happen on purpose. As you decide for yourself if, when and how many children to you want, give some thought not just to your health and the health of your family, but the health of the earth.

Just Talk About It on Earth Day (and other days too) – it’s worth the conversation.