Population day brings awareness

By Branda Mitchell

July 11 is annual World Population Day, and this year’s focus is to bring attention to the correlation between population, resources and the affects it has on the planet.

To create national attention for the issue, the Center for Biological Diversity is distributing 40,000 condoms for all 50 states with assistance from local volunteers. The condoms feature six endangered species and information about how human population growth impacts the species.

In addition to the condom campaign, the center promotes universal access to birth control and family planning.


“This project was the brainchild of a staff who sat around a conference table trying to think, ‘How could we get people to talk about such a critical problem?’” Taralynn Reynolds, Population and Sustainability Organizer for the Center said. “Someone suggested, ‘Why not use condoms?’”

Human population growth has increased species extinctions by more than 1000 times the natural rate, according to a study published by the Center for Biological Diversity.

“The findings of this study are alarming to say the least,” Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity said in his press release. “But it also shows we can make a difference if we choose to and should be a clarion call to take action to protect more habitat for species besides our own and to check our own population growth and consumption.”

The purpose of the day of awareness is to bring attention to the problems that come along with increasing population. In the local area, the day emphasizes the family planning resources residents have and how human actions affect other species.

The closest distributor to Carbondale working with the center is in Vienna.

The condom campaign brings to light the issues of reproductive health and access to resources in the area. A representative from Planned Parenthood said the closest resource they have to Carbondale is in Belleville, more than 70 miles away.

Local resources include hospitals and regular physicians, with few places specializing in reproductive health.


Pregnancy Matters, an organization opened in Carbondale in 1980, provides free pregnancy testing, ultrasounds and other services to assist women. Since opening, the organization has expanded to other towns in southern Illinois. The organizations Carbondale location is one of the only providers of these types of services in the community.

For low-income women and teens in the area that are not able to afford reproductive health care, the Illinois Department of Human Services offers Title X Family Planning, a resource for free or low cost options.

Pregnancy Matters and the SIU Health Center did not return calls at the time of publication.

Branda Mitchell can be reached at [email protected]