Mission Sustainability

MISSION SUSTAINABILITY: POPULATION V/S PLANET

Vision:

Human population growth is at the root of our most pressing environmental problems, yet it’s often left out of the conversation. We can fight to curb climate change, stop habitat loss and clean up pollution, but if we don’t address our unsustainable population, it’ll stay an uphill battle that we can’t win. The first step to solving a problem is getting people to talk about it.
Mobius Foundation is working to put the spotlight back on human population growth. For this, we have partnered with Zee Media to start conversations nationwide to explain connections between population growth and environmental sustainability.

THE GRAND LAUNCH: on channel WION, Saturday 20th Feb 2021 from 17:00 to 19:00 Hour
Hashtags: #MissionSustainabilityConclave #PopulationVsPlanet

Started with the Audio Visual which included the Honorable Prime Minister’s Message on Increasing Population: “Population Explosion can cause numerous new problems for us and our future generations, but there is a vigilant section of the public that is aware of this issue”

Dr Harsh Vardhan, Health Minister expressed his appreciation on launching this year-long awareness campaign. He further said that “population boom has been affecting the planet and the human race in many ways, people in developing countries like Indian feel the impact of environmental problems more acutely.”
The launch session was divided into three segments:

SPECIAL MESSAGE BY AMITABH KANTH, CEO, NITI AAYOG

The population explosion is a burning issue before every nation of the world. It is also a global problem, a social problem and an economic problem. There is a greater need for discussion and awareness on the population problem. The National Population Policy (NPP) finally came into force in 2000. The Policy states that the “immediate objective of the NPP 2000 is to address the unmet needs for contraception, healthcare infrastructure, and health personnel, and to provide integrated service delivery for basic reproductive and child healthcare”.
Universally, Family Planning is considered the smartest development investment. For India to realize its sustainable development goals and economic aspirations, it is important to ensure that people have informed access to contraception and quality family planning services.

SESSION 1: SUSTAINING THE BALANCE

Panellist:

Mr Rameshwar Prasad Gupta, Sec. Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change
Dr Madhavan Nair, Sec. Ministry of Earth Science India
Mr Pradip Burman, Chairman Mobius Foundation

Session Brief:

Overpopulation will become a problem when our lifestyle is such that we are exploiting the earth’s resources and our consumption pattern is increasing, and we are not recycling the resources. People should be urged to switch to a sustainable lifestyle. The urgency of the Paris Agreement should be emphasized and the message should be brought forwards that we are not doing enough for our next generation to survive.

First side chat with Mr Pradip Burman, chairman, mobius foundation

He mentioned that the Mobius Foundation is focusing on two main objectives EDUCATION and POPULATION STABILISATION and said that two solutions can be implemented right away RECYCLING and RENEWABLE ENERGY. If we can attain 100% of these two things, then our problem is solved.

SESSION 2: POPULATION STABILIZATION - THE ROAD MAP OF INDIA

Panellist:

Dr Ram Boojh, CEO, Mobius Foundation
Ms Poonam Muttreja, Executive Director of the Population Foundation of India (PFI)
Ms Shailaja Chandra, Former Secretary to the Government of India and Former Chief Secretary, Delhi
Mr Manu Gaur, President, Taxpayers Association of Bharat (TAXAB)

Session Brief:

The population should be seen in terms of TRF (Total Fertility Rate). Except for Bihar and Uttar Pradesh TFR is under control in the rest of the Indian states. We have a huge population dividend. We need to increase investments to provide quality family planning to women and men of reproductive age. However, the family planning budget which should have increased significantly got cut in the latest budget. Education and good health are imperative for the workforce of a young nation like India and women should also be empowered to understand their rights. Investing in human capital and family planning can increase the GDP by 13% and is the key to achieve population stabilization.

SESSION 3: EDUCATION AND EMPOWERMENT - KEY TO POPULATION STABILIZATION

Panellist:

Dr Ram Boojh, CEO Mobius Foundation
Kartikeya Vikram Sarabhai, Founder and director, CEE
Prof. Saroj Yadav Dean (Academic) NCERT
K.S. James, Director, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Session Brief:

The session focused on: ‘why there is a lack of education and awareness around population stabilisation’. Points in focus included:

  • Education leads to lower birth rates and slows population growth. This makes it easier for countries to develop. A more-educated workforce also makes poverty eradication and economic growth easier to achieve.
  • The literacy rate is directly proportional to the fertility rate.
  • Lack of formal education on matters related to population, like family planning, sexual education, reproductive behaviour, cultural and social values, contraception is missing from the educational structure.
  • This should not be a controversial subject, rather taken to the younger generation and young couples openly.

THE BIGGEST ENVIRONMENTAL CHALLENGE OF OUR TIMES

Teaser :- Take a sneak peak into our upcoming documentary on the impact of rising population on our planet.

Earth has a population of 7.8 billion people. An increase of 80 million people every year is adding to the burden on our resources and the planet. The global population is projected to cross 9 billion by 2050 and the Earth has limited natural resources. In other words, Earth’s carrying capacity can soon be exhausted.

The human species are putting a negative impact on other species. Unsustainable population growth with overconsumption of natural resources. Changes are visible via increasing cyclones and hurricanes. Recent example- the Uttarakhand glacier burst. Human activities are a major cause of rising global temperatures. All of this is causing a loss of biodiversity, a shortage of food and water. The uncontrolled population is exploiting natural resources. Thus, high consumption rates add to carbon emissions.

But the damages can be reversed. It is possible for us to slow down the effects of climate change but beyond the tipping point, impacts cannot be reversed. Stabilizing the population is a key step leading to controlled consumption of natural resources. Being water-wise and using public transportation can reduce carbon footprint. Improving schools infrastructure and its environment. A stabilized population can lead to improved health care services and economic opportunities as well.

PEOPLE, BIODIVERSITY AND NATURAL RESOURCES

Mobius Foundation is coming out with the focused documentary on “ PEOPLE , BIODIVERSITY AND NATURAL RESOURCES” as 2nd series under MISSION SUSTAINABILITY- POPULATION VS PLANET to put the spotlight on link between human population growth and Biodiversity Scientists predict that on our current trajectory of habitat loss and global warming, between one third and one half of all species will face extinction by the end of this century. Their disappearance will upend ecosystems and destabilize human civilization. To sustain the earth’s biodiversity, we’ll need new protections and better enforcement of the existing ones. We have about a decade to achieve urgent, transformative change. This documentary will focus on the current situation and also give a positive outlook and way forward to achieve the right ecological balance.

Watch the episode to get in-depth information:

POPULATION AND ENERGY CRISIS

Mobius Foundation is coming out with the focused documentary on “ POPULATION AND ENERGY CRISIS” as 3RD series on the occasion of ‘WORLD POPULATION DAY’ to Identify the causes and effects of the energy crisis, but also the solutions to bring it to an end and how you can contribute.

OVERVIEW:
Over the last two centuries, energy needs have skyrocketed dramatically, especially because of the transportation and industry sectors. However, fossil fuel are polluting and their reserves are limited. We know today that these resources are close to exhaustion and our societies are facing a major challenge: the energy crisis.

Unlike fossil fuels, some energy sources are totally renewable, and do not emit greenhouse gasses. These clean and sustainable alternative energy solutions include solar energy, hydropower, wind energy, geothermal energy and biomass energy. In order to prevent an energy crisis, it is also crucial that we consume less energy by improving and modernizing energy infrastructure such as smart grid solutions, and smart cities. It is also important that we replace old devices with energy efficient solutions, such as replacing traditional light bulbs with LEDs.

Watch the episode to get in-depth information and expert opinion on the current energy crisis and the role of population growth here:

EDUCATION & EMPOWERMENT- KEY TO POPULATION STABILIZATION

Mobius Foundation is coming out with the focused documentary on “EDUCATION & EMPOWERMENT- KEY TO POPULATION STABILIZATION” as 4th series to understand more about the state of overpopulation and family planning efforts in one of India’s most populous states ‘Uttar Pradesh’ and to find out what Mobius Foundation’s Project “Aakar” is doing on the ground. The project aiming to tackle the problem of overpopulation in India while keeping in line with the government’s plans to stabilize population, is also aiming to bust old myths, and change mindsets of young people. The work carried out by on-ground volunteers, ASHA workers and coordinators, involves promotion of modern contraceptives among couples, educating youngsters on reproductive health, and also family planning and its importance.

OVERVIEW:

For any society to develop, women need to play a central role. Their voices and participation is crucial in order to overcome patriarchal mindsets, and the road to development requires both men and women to get an education. The positive relationship between education and women’s empowerment can reduce child labour, child marriage, illiteracy and female feticides and other evil norms. Without education women will have less opportunities for making a change. Poverty, unemployment and inequality are problems that cannot be solved by man alone, and requires women’s participation in an active and equal way.

Also when it comes to women’s empowerment, the men’s participation in the training is also important, as they also need to be aware of decisions that their family will take, be on board with choosing to use birth control, to have children later in life, and choosing to have a smaller family. Having men participate in the learning can change their mindset, strengthen the family bond, and understand the bigger picture, empowering women to take decisions with them on board.

Watch the episode to get in-depth information and expert opinion on how education and environment impact population explosion:

RUNNING DRY: POPULATION AND WATER CRISIS" | MISSION SUSTAINABILITY: POPULATION VS PLANET

Mobius Foundation is releasing a detailed documentary on ‘RUNNING DRY: POPULATION AND WATER CRISIS’ as the 8th series to address the impending shortage of water crisis faced by India. It caters to the problems at the front as well as the changes we need to bring about.

OVERVIEW:

Water stands as the raw material for every function that takes place in our lives. The change in our lifestyles with the onset of overpopulation and climate change has stressed the water resources. Water covers nearly 70% of the Earth’s surface, but only 2.5% of it is freshwater, and less than 1% is suitable for human consumption. Today, one in every three people lacks access to safe drinking water.

As our society grows, the demand for freshwater is increasing at an exponential rate. There are even wars and local conflicts over water, and if not taken seriously might lead to global political conflict. The effects of depleting water resources had a major downfall during the pandemic. A UN report on SDG 6 stated that no positive outcome has been taking place with almost 44% of the global population facing water shortages at an alarming rate.

Rising human activity, combined with gravitating climate change, has affected natural resources, particularly water. Agriculture is a major driver of water pollution – pesticides and agricultural contaminants impair water quality. Most of these issues can only be solved if we shift our focus to instilling sustainable agriculture. Further effects of climate change and overpopulation result in drought and water scarcity, which has come to be known as the next pandemic. 20% of the world’s main water wells may run dry, potentially driving millions of people from accessing freshwater. Water conservation and disciplined use of water are the key steps to maintain our water resources from running dry. Statistically, the per capita availability of water has gone down from 5500 metre cube per person per year to 1400 metre cube per person per year in the last 60-70 years, pushing 50% of the Indian population with zero access to safe drinking water. Our large system of extracting groundwater does not replenish the water sources putting the depleting state into further doom. 

The Indian government initiative ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ of providing 100% tap water supply by 2024 has already achieved new grounds. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the mission had provided tap water supply to 55 million households improving their quality of life. Recycling and reusing water are the two ways we can reverse the state of our water sources. Reducing groundwater extraction and rejuvenating surface water bodies like ponds and rivers can reverse the impending shortages at the fore.

OUT OF BREATH: POPULATION AND AIR POLLUTION

Mobius Foundation is coming out with the focused documentary on “OUT OF BREATH: POPULATION and AIR POLLUTION” as 6th series to understand that a rapid increase in the human population, industrialisation, deforestation, economic growth, and vehicular emissions have been attributed as major drivers for the continuous deterioration of air quality.

OVERVIEW:
Air is important for the survival of all beings. We can survive days without food and water; however, without air we cannot survive for more than a few minutes. The quality of life we live depends a lot on the quality of the air we breathe in. However, access to clean air has become a global issue as air pollution is now considered to be one of the largest threats to environmental and human health. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that globally, around 7 million people die every year from indoor and outdoor air pollution. Almost 99 percent of the world’s population breathes air containing high levels of pollutants that exceed the WHO guidelines.

Increased industrialisation leads to environmental degradation in terms of industrial pollution. High emission levels of pollutants like smoke, fumes, and toxic gasses from industries not only degrade the air quality but are also causing severe damage to our ecology and health. The effects of air pollution on human health are serious. Diseases like asthma, lung cancer, pulmonary illnesses, and heart diseases can all be associated with air pollution and the poor air quality we inhale.

The latest global air quality guidelines from the World Health Organisation (WHO) aim to curb the prevailing air pollution globally and in turn save millions of lives. As per the WHO guidelines, 80 percent of deaths related to Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5) could be avoided, provided that all countries reduce their current air pollution levels to the levels mentioned in the guidelines. . Air pollution is a silent killer. But it can be curbed with a strong commitment and effective planning.

POPULATION, OVER-CONSUMPTION, AND WASTE

Mobius Foundation is coming out with the focused documentary in HINDI on “POPULATION, OVER-CONSUMPTION AND WASTE” as 7th series to understand more about the link between overpopulation and waste generation. The human population continues to grow globally and so does the generation of waste. A never-ending urge to fulfill our mechanized lifestyles has led to unsustainable consumption patterns resulting in generation of ginormous levels of waste across the globe. As per experts, around two billion tonnes of solid waste is generated annually worldwide, and considering the growing numbers of our population and the amount of overconsumption, it is estimated that the global waste generation could cross the three billion ton mark by the year 2050

OVERVIEW:

Ineffective waste management systems have become a global menace, causing harm to our planet in many ways… Contamination of oceans, regular occurrences of floods in cities due to clogging of drains, transmission of various diseases, an increase in respiratory diseases due to burning of waste, and adverse effects on economies, are amongst many detrimental effects of inefficient waste management systems worldwide. Our growing population is now questioning the carrying capacity of our planet… Earth is home to more than 7.9 billion people who are consuming more than the planet can provide… A single person added to our population is a new consumer adding to the demand for his/her existence… As per experts, currently we are using resources of 1.7 Earths. As our population continues to grow, the rate of consumption increases, resulting in pressure on existing natural resources, overconsumption, and waste generation.

WASTE WARRIORS | MISSION SUSTAINABILITY: POPULATION VS PLANET

Mobius Foundation is coming out with the focused documentary on ‘WASTE WARRIORS’ as the 9th series to understand the rapid generation of waste due to overconsumption, the solutions we need, and what has been done to tackle the crisis.

OVERVIEW:

Humanity is drowning in a waste tide as a result of overconsumption and a lack of solutions to this crisis. Many societies consume 30 times more per capita than other developed societies, necessitating a shift in lifestyle choices. We must do more with less to turn our environmental fortunes around. What has become better in our fight against waste mismanagement is the wide number of ‘waste warriors’ who have come up to save our environment from the garbage crisis. 

In countries like Japan, Singapore, and Sweden, waste management practices are solely determined by how society functions. Similarly, India’s management process is entirely dependent on its own circumstances. As a result, we see a diverse system in how waste is managed across India’s cities, and they have been leading the way. Indore generates over 1000 tonnes of waste per day, which is treated and processed at the newly opened BIO-CNG plant, which produces 17,000 kg of gas per day. Similarly, Bhopal processes 800 tonnes of waste per day. Muskan Jyoti Samiti, based in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, is one of the organisations spearheading rural India initiatives. Its Secretary, Shri Mewa Lal, developed a management model in 1994 to convert solid waste into recyclable and reusable resources. Composting is used to manage waste at the Nirvana Country Community in Gurgaon. They regard waste separation at the source as a resource. Gem Enviro Management, a one-stop-shop for waste management solutions in Delhi, is also helping. They collect 250,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year. GEM Enviro also aims to restore the dignity of over 3000 rag-pickers by referring to them as “eco-warriors” and properly compensating them. They eventually instill in the general public a sense of awareness about how it can benefit both nature and society. 

Every person on the planet is affected by the issue of solid waste management. With the pandemic, the global fight has become more difficult. It has resulted in a staggering 7200-tonne increase in medical waste. It has put enormous strain on the world’s waste management systems. However, recycling has come to the forefront once more.  Involving communities in the management process helps cities become cleaner. Hence, we don’t have time to waste, let’s take out the garbage.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT | MISSION SUSTAINABILITY: POPULATION VS PLANET

Mobius Foundation is coming up with a comprehensive documentary on ‘FOOD FOR THOUGHT’ as the 10th series to demonstrate the importance of the rising population, their demand for food, and the harm caused by agriculture. With more mouths to feed and a crisis of demands at hand, how can we get a grip on sustaining the planet?

OVERVIEW:

Food insecurity exists at the crossroads of two major issues: overpopulation, which is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050, and agriculture, which is the leading source of pollution. Ending hunger, achieving food security and nutrition, and launching sustainable agriculture are all collective steps that we must take.

Agriculture occupies half of the world’s habitable land. The major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions are modern agriculture, food production, and distribution. It accounts for 14% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Farming is the thirstiest user of freshwater supplies and a major polluter, emitting more greenhouse gases than all vehicles combined. A large population of people in developing countries bears the brunt of modern agriculture, resulting in extreme hunger. In the case of India, a country with only 35 crore people at the time of independence has quadrupled to 1.4 billion, with lands being urbanised and agricultural space shrinking. The only way to improve this is to increase productivity to feed everyone. Every year, approximately 1.3 million tonnes of food is lost or wasted, accounting for more than one-third of food produced. According to the UN’s Annual Food Wastage in India report, approximately 40% of food produced is wasted. While hunger is not a global problem, in theory, the lack of proper food distribution systems has resulted in widespread insecurity and extreme hunger.

The number of people suffering from hunger has gradually increased. Conflicts, climate change, and economic downturns are the primary causes of today’s hunger crisis. We can also see that these drivers are the root causes of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Ethiopia’s conflict-torn country, 83% of the population is food insecure. The climate crisis is a risk multiplier for conflict, as the scarcity of water resources increases and people are displaced due to climate extremes. Climate extremes displaced 30 million people in 2020, and by 2050, this figure is expected to rise to 216 million, or roughly seven times as many. We can reverse the current crisis by stabilising the population, increasing agricultural productivity, reducing pesticides and fertilisers, and introducing new green technology to increase yield. While stunting and malnutrition are the major issues in India, obesity is becoming increasingly prevalent.

As a result, one of the current challenges is to feed more people using the available farmlands. To achieve this, we must practise sustainable agriculture. Our actions for change should centre on sustainably producing food, instilling a healthy diet, and fortifying the economic, social, and environmental frontiers. The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation signed an agreement with the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh that demonstrates how agricultural and economic principles can be used to achieve year-round success in reducing food insecurity, pesticide-induced pollution, and waste generation. In our efforts to combat global hunger, we frequently overlook the producers of food – the farmers. They provide us with the food we require and, in the end, become the face of the world’s hunger and poverty. Alternative Green Energy Solutions, a Delhi-based organisation, is changing the problems of modern farming through the process of hydroponics, which is thought to be the future of farming. The municipal corporation of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu has implemented smart farming practices to promote sustainability and employability. They practise seaweed farming, which is regarded as the future food and fuel, with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reverse ocean acidification, and improve the marine environment. To meet people’s ever-increasing demands, we may need to consider insects as a food source. Locusts, a threat to nations such as Africa and India, are a contributing factor to food insecurity. A swarm of locusts can consume the equivalent of 35,000 million people’s food. A pilot project in Pakistan’s Ukhara district that collects locusts for use as chicken feed is the saving grace of the locust attack. This insect is also considered a delicacy by humans, as locusts are consumed in Kuwait. 

Humans have cut down forests to produce food when required. This can no longer be the case, and the country must consider new ways of producing food for its people while also drastically altering its farming practices. The world’s population must be stabilised, and governance and food systems must be rethought to meet current and future challenges.