I Helped Put World Population Over 3 Billion. How About You? Plus Powerful Video of Women, Families and Climate Change

I Helped Put World Population Over 3 Billion. How About You? Plus Powerful Video of Women, Families and Climate Change

Population Action International asks “What’s Your Number?”

Climate Progress hasn’t focused on population, for reasons explained here: “Consumption dwarfs population as main global warming threat.”  But now that it seems that population growth trends are not stabilizing as quickly as had been widely projected just a few years ago, we’ve been covering it a little more.

Population Action International has this clever calculator to draw attention to the issue.  And here’s an excellent video they put together last month, “Weathering Change:  Stories about climate and family from women around the world,” which “takes us to Ethiopia, Nepal and Peru to hear the stories of four women as they struggle to care for their families, while enduring crop failures and water scarcity”:


It’s too easy to think about climate change in abstract terms.  It’s hurting real people now, and we’ve only warmed some 1.5°F globally in the last half century.  We are on track to warm more than 5 times that on our current emissions path (business as usual).

“A woman’s life is hard, and climate change is making it harder,” says Aregash Ayele, an Ethiopian woman featured in the film. Aregash is 32 years old and lives with her six children in a small farming community in the Gedeo Zone of Ethiopia.

“Because of changing rainfall patterns, crop yields are suffering, and the family doesn’t have enough food for everybody. My father used to get 500 to 600 kilos per harvest, but now we can barely get 100. Even though the land is green, it’s not fruitful. It has never been like this.”

As a result, Aregash’s husband is forced to work other land hours away from home. Aregash is left to manage the house, look after the children, and farm the existing land on her own. “The only way we can raise our kids is from the land. If the land fails to produce, there isn’t enough to feed them,” she says….

Women and Climate Change

Aregash’s story is not unusual. Women living in poverty bear a disproportionate burden of climate change consequences. In many countries, disparities resulting from women’s roles within family and community structures are aggravated by the effects of climate change. Unequal access to education, economic opportunities, land ownership, and health care can undermine women’s well-being and the prospects for a better future for their children and communities.

The time to act is now on both emissions mitigation and misery mitigation (aka “adaptation”).

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