Maropeng brings World Population issues to the fore

  • July 01, 2012

In recognition of World Population Day, celebrated on 11 July, Maropeng is reaching out to South African citizens to address the issues of overpopulation and its effect on the planet.

Inadequate fresh water, depleting natural resources, deforestation, loss of ecosystems, global warming and elevated crime are just some of the byproducts of worldwide overpopulation, a phenomenon which demands more and more attention each year.

“World Population Day, an initiative first established in 1989 by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme, offers us an opportunity to focus on these urgent population issues,” says Magel Van De Venter Education Marketing Executive of Maropeng. According to the United Nations Population Fund, the event is observed in different ways around the world, and is also each year given a different theme by certain organisations.

“Maropeng is actively raising awareness about population issues in our educational resource packs, where we deal with a wide variety of problems and their resulting effect on the earth, while giving educators the tools necessary to explore this topic and engage in debate with learners,” says Van De Venter.

One vital issue is the importance of saving water. As the national population grows, the availability of fresh water is slowly decreasing, and the resultant need to use water sparingly has become a hot topic. According to media reports, it is predicted that South Africa would hit a water crisis by 2020, where water demand would outstrip supply.

“We face the same issue with food supply – an ironic sentiment considering that advances in farming have been blamed for overpopulation,” she adds. In 2007 it was estimated that if everyone on Earth lived a European lifestyle, the world’s population would need more than two-and-a-half planets’ worth of resources just to support itself.

Meanwhile, every year hundreds of millions of people suffer from hunger and malnutrition, with millions dying because of it. Of these deaths, more than 6-million are children under the age of five.

Maropeng’s resource pack shows learners how food and global sustainability relate to one another. The pack also provides interesting statistics, showing how local demographics have changed over the years – some directly related to population issues, and others not. “Through learning we become enlightened and I encourage schools to consider bringing their learners to Maropeng for a life changing experience,” says Van De Venter.

“We need to all realise the impact that overpopulation is having. The next generation needs to make changes if the planet is going to endure. Through our resource pack and displays at Maropeng we hope to influence our visitors and in a small way begin the cycle of change,” she concludes. 


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