Today in History: World Population Day

| July 11, 2019

World_Population_DaySloan Wayland and Jane Boorstein are two significant Teachers College members who come to mind when reflecting on the problem of our world’s population. Both ambassadors for social change who sought to make a deep difference through education, I met the former who quietly sought a home for his research collection in the field of population studies when he retired from Teachers College. I met the latter when our Library Director presented me with a copy of Learning Our Way Out, fresh off the press and in anticipation of a Gottesman Libraries book talk.

Sloan R. Wayland (1943-2008) was Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Education and retired Associate Dean at  Teachers College, Columbia University who wrote over 30 monographs and articles in the fields of rural sociology, community development, sociology of education, adult education, educational innovation, community studies, and population education. He consulted for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Ford Foundation, U.S. National Institute of Health, Rockefeller Foundation, International Planned Parenthood Federation, US. Agency for International Development, UNESCO and The Population Council. He advocated using education to slow population growth rates and improve people’s lives by planning the size of their families. Traveling throughout Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, he worked with many national school systems to incorporate “population education” into the curricula.

Jane Boorstein is a Teachers College alumni who developed and implemented a family planning project in rural Ethiopia with the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR). Under a USAID grant, she began working with Catholic agencies that were willing to discuss birth control and she also established the Partnership for Sustainable Families and Communities at Teachers College as a way to gain funding for her program in Ethiopia. Implemented in 15 villages and ultimately reaching about 90,000 people, Jane’s program Learning Our Way Out proved a highly successful program, and she dreamed of extending it to other countries, particularly in Asia.

July 11th is World Population Day, a day recognized by the United Nations to draw attention to the urgency of population issues that affect our planet. Human overpopulation is a pressing environmental concern that aggravates global warming, pollution, loss of habitats, the consumption of natural resources, starvation, malnutrition, the low status of women, and many other environmental and societal problems. It was inspired by the observance of Five Billion Day, July 11th, 1987, the day when the world’s population reached this level. The Earth’s census grew to seven billion on October 31st, 2011 and as of today measures up to 7.7 billion. The United Nations projects that we will reach eight billion by 2024, and nine billion by 2042, urging us to address the population crisis and its affect on humanity and the state of our planet.

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning.

Tips:  190711_SpecialSlide

Check out interesting archival resources in Pocketknowledge, the digital archive of Teachers College, Columbia University:

Images:

  • World Population Day, Washington University of Barbados, Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
  • Special Slide, Courtesy of EdLab Studios

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