Our brains are more apt to deal with obvious and immediate threats, like a nation’s military standing ready for invasion, than potentially more dangerous threats like the transmission of infectious diseases. One example of this is how we miss the clear role of poor family planning-driven population growth in the spread of diseases.
This is true whether in the case of measles, the yearly flu epidemic, or others cases like the Zika virus and Ebola. As we become a more crowded planet – with 11 billion of us projected by the end of the century, the risk of disease outbreaks intensifies. “Increased population densities and unhealthy living conditions in urban slums can ease the transmission of infections,” as Population Action International stated.
Add to that, the connectedness of our world which allows for a near-instant global spread of infectious diseases. As author and professor, Lewis Dartnell from the University of Westminster warned, “…the modern world of densely-packed cities and intercontinental airplanes provide the perfect conditions for new diseases to spread to huge numbers of people before any sort of effective quarantine could be implemented. Even if perhaps only 20% of the global population became sick at the same time, enough vital services and infrastructure could grind to a halt that our whole technological, deeply-interlinked, civilisation could collapse.”
Here’s a challenge: Scan the dozens of news stories each day about the new measles epidemic and look for any reporters who connect the issue to crowding or need for family planning. It’s as if there is no connection between the growth of population and spread of disease.
Ignoring the role of crowding in the things that happen around you is threat to you, your kids, and your future. Family planning defines the world around us. We can do better. Start at the source. Learn more here.