The population issue is fraught with moral positions, confusion, and unexpected connections. We cannot talk about population growth without also discussing decline; or immigration, without climate and business; or contraception, without faith and medical technology. It is the mother of cross-cutting issues – at the intersection of economics, environment, gender roles, culture, politics, and religion. The population question is about the possibility and necessity of balancing the needs of nature and human civilization – and whether we can hope to or should have any say over the process.
The issue is global. Overpopulation of one region will seek release in an under-populated region. Stronger economies will be a magnet for those from weaker economies. Local carbon emissions will increase temperatures and change global weather patterns, disrupting food supplies and sowing insecurity. Diseases that begin in crowded slums can travel the world. Aging populations could lead to long-term economic depression, decreasing our ability to address the great problems we face such as environmental degradation.
For a question so big, it's awfully difficult to talk about. After all, at the root of the population issue is sex, our most taboo subject. Through the Population Gateway, the Pulitzer Center aims to bring nuance to the conversation in a series of multimedia reports from across the globe. Join us as we explore this critically important, but under-told story.
National Geographic and PBS NewsHour join us in reporting on population issues throughout the year.
The Population Gateway is supported in part by the Wallace Global Fund.