There’s a new documentary out about the population problem: Mother: Caring for 7 Billion.  It lays out a provocative theory about this problem and how to solve it.

The documentary, Mother

Check out the trailer: Mother

The documentary’s educational premise revolves around the idea that “Overpopulation is merely a symptom of an even larger problem – a “domination system” that for most of human history has glorified the domination of man over nature, man over child and man over woman. To break this pattern, the film demonstrates that we must change our conquering mindset into a nurturing one. And the first step is to raise the status of women worldwide.”

This premise sure seems to advocate taking on the social organization that has dominated just about every global society for hundreds of years – patriarchy.  That is one tall order. However, efforts to try and raise the status of women globally is a way to begin to chink away at the patriarchal armor.

The theories of Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute and co-founder and chairman of the Gapminder Foundationparallel the idea of raising women’s status to deal with the world’s escalating population– he advocates that “only by raising the living standards of the poorest can we check population growth.”

And part of raising living standards is access to education.  As the documentary indicates, when women have more education, they have fewer children. In conjunction with education in general, other experts say that contraceptive education and access in poorer countries is they key to curbing the rapidly growing global population.

According to a recent United Nations report, the world’s population forecast is just above 9 billion by the year 2050. With numbers like this, I don’t see how anyone can believe there isn’t a population problem.

Hania Zlotnik, director of the U.N.’s population division, has indicated that to solve this problem, the world’s fastest-growing countries, and the wealthy Western nations that help to finance their development, “face a choice about whether to renew their emphasis on programs that encourage family planning” (I am sure StopAtTwo’s John Taves would advocate including the “stop at two” rule be part of these programs!).

Celia Dugger and Justin Gillis of the New York Times write that these programs were a major focus of development policy in the 1970s and 1980s, but they have since stagnated in many countries, because they have gotten “caught up in ideological battles over abortion, sex education and the role of women in society.”

Seems this new documentary is an effort to educate society that it’s high time to move past ideological battles and have the wherewith-all to begin to take on the even larger “domination problem.”

What do you think? Is this the strategy, and if so, is it globally possible to shift away from a “man domination” model?

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