It was another memorable year working with our incredible network of members, supporters, and activists to end rapid population growth! Through our education and advocacy programs, we’ve amplified the links between population growth and environmental challenges, raised awareness about the importance of universal, affordable access to family planning options, and educated activists on the urgency of stabilizing global population. Read on to find our 2021 highlights, recapped below.

Population Education

PopEd in WI, 2019

 

Population Education (PopEd) achieves a crucial part of our mission by educating the next generation of leaders and activists to think more critically about population dynamics and impacts. This year our PopEd team facilitated 620 workshops and led 130 AP Summer Institutes! In total, nearly 12,000 workshop participants tuned in from 45 states, DC, and Puerto Rico. In addition to informative and engaging webinars, PopEd offered a Summer and Fall graduate course for middle and high school teachers and hosted the annual  World of 7 Billion student video contest.

World of 7 Billion Student Video Contest

The World of 7 Billion student video contest marked a memorable milestone in 2021. Initially run as a one-time event during the 2010-2011 school year, the contest has now run for 10 years! The contest challenges students to make connections between rapid population growth and today’s global challenges in a creative way. The 2020-2021 contest received 2,274 video submissions from an estimated 3,018 students, who created videos exploring population trends in relation to advancing environmental justice, reimagining industrial systems, and strengthening global health. We announced the 2020-2021 winners in May, and some students made press appearances, including with NBC-4 Los Angeles and Chesapeake Bay Weekly. For the 2021-2022 contest, we’re challenging students to focus on population issues related to urbanization, ocean health, and food and agriculture.

Learn more about the World of 7 Billion contest here!

Bi-Annual Report

PopEd conducts a biannual evaluation of our teacher training workshops to assess our effectiveness and improve future workshops. In this report, we evaluated the effectiveness of PopEd’s 2019 in-person workshops and 2020 virtual workshops. Overall, PopEd’s webinars received high marks: Among experienced educators, 98% rated in-person workshop materials as Excellent or Good, and 97% rated online workshop materials as Excellent or Good.

While we will always work to make our programs stronger, we are thrilled that 95% of teachers determined our PopEd activities effectively engaged their students while increasing students’ awareness of population issues.

More highlights from the biannual evaluation are available here. 

Field and Advocacy

McSally Lobby Meeting Attendees

 

Our sister organization, Population Connection Action Fund, energized, educated, and organized hundreds of advocates all year long. Through Capitol Hill Days, the Summer of HER program, Twitter rallies, and more, activists across the country stood together to protect reproductive rights and to expand access to family planning options for people everywhere.

Capitol Hill Days

Our signature advocacy event Capitol Hill Days, hosted over 200 people from around the country to learn how to advocate effectively for reproductive rights around the world. The conference included speaking engagements from 15 experts in the fields of reproductive health, population, and climate resiliency.

 

Jan Schakowsky meeting with our activists for CHD 2021
Rep. Jan Schakowsky meeting with our activists for CHD 2021

 

To wrap up the three-day event, participants attended 91 virtual meetings with their representatives to advocate for the permanent repeal of the Global Gag Rule and for greater U.S. funding for international family planning programs. An additional 400 advocates flooded congressional offices with 1,200 emails, phone calls, and social media posts to cap off the weekend.

Read a complete recap of Capital Hill Days here!

Summer of HER

We hosted 25 activists in the Summer of HER program, developing their grassroots organizing skills and teaching new techniques to inspire others to fight for reproductive health and rights for everyone worldwide. Along with skills to become a better activist, our fellows also heard from frontline voices about their experiences of the harmful impacts of the Global Gag Rule.

Activists meet with Rep. Kirkpatrick and staffer at our CHD 2021 event.
Activists meet with Rep. Kirkpatrick

The eight-week program included weekly sessions and workshops with leaders in the reproductive health and rights community along with a coalition-wide “Week of Action to End the Global Gag Rule.” Fellows mobilized to circulate petitions and contact their members of Congress via email, phone calls, and social media.

The Summer of HER culminated in the HER Summit, which took place at the end of July. Speakers included 2021 UN Champion of the Earth Laureate for Science and Innovation Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka and Dr. Michelle Dubón, the Medical Director of WINGS Guatemala. While Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka highlighted the population, health, and environment approach she uses in her work with mountain gorillas, Dr. Dubón shared her experience providing reproductive health care services for rural and Indigenous women in Guatemala.

Read a complete recap of Summer of HER here!

Virtual Events

 

With our members’ health and well-being in mind, Membership Relations carried on hosting Virtual Events to engage our incredible supporters in working towards global population stabilization. Throughout the year, we hosted 21 virtual events, including film screenings, a Trivia Night, and Book Club meetings. Although we couldn’t gather in person, we engaged with over 1,500 members and supporters!

Earth Day Passport Series

It was another wonderful year of online activities to celebrate Earth Day! During the month of April, we hosted our Passport Series, where we invited participants to take a journey with us and learn more about family planning services and the empowerment of women and girls in regions around the world. More than 240 individuals tuned in for one or more of the events!

Our presentations included speakers from organizations working in Nepal, West Africa, and Guatemala. During their presentations, speakers shared their experiences working to advance girls’ education and reproductive rights in their communities.

To close out events we hosted a film screening and discussion of the documentary 2040 to reflect on our own hopes for the planet in the coming decades.

Find recordings of the presentations, along with speaker bios and presentation synopses here!

Page Turners Book Club

At the beginning of 2021, we were thrilled to begin hosting our “Page Turners” Book Club! We were eager to have a platform to connect with our members and supporters on the latest publications that discuss population dynamics, sustainable development, and environmental issues. Throughout the year we hosted five meetings to discuss books such as Paul Morland’s The Human Tide, Elizabeth Kolbert’s Under a White Sky, and Michael E. Mann’s The New Climate War.

In total, we garnered RSVPs from 163 members and supporters, 76 of whom tuned in for one or more of the meetings. It has been an honor to be a part of meaningful conversations and engaging dialogue with our network of supporters!

 

More information on our Book Club is available here!

Speaker Series

Throughout the year, Membership Relations hosted virtual speaking engagements to keep members connected with our mission and informed about the latest developments in population trends and reproductive rights.

Running from June to September, we jam-packed our Summer Series with speakers from World Wildlife Fund and Project Drawdown for World Population Day. Speakers highlighted how they incorporate the population, health, and environment (PHE) approach in their organizations’ global programs.

For our Fall Speaker Series, we connected with professors from the University of Calabar and the University of Michigan to discuss their research in the fields of ecological stability, sustainable development, and climate justice. In total, we hosted 9 speaking engagements with 12 different speakers from organizations around the world.

Find recordings of the presentations, along with speaker bios and presentation synopses here!

More Highlights:

Population Studies for Higher Education

Launched only last year, this program has already reached an impressive audience of young college students and university professors. Run by our Senior Analyst Hannah Evans, the program illuminates the links between population growth, reproductive health, social justice, and environmental sustainability. Major activities include virtual presentations, recommended readings, and downloadable slide decks for use in higher education. Throughout the year, Hannah virtually presented to 38 college classes, helping prepare young people to work toward rights-based population interventions as solutions for environmental challenges.

Learn more about the program or browse our academic resources here!
Corporate Emissions Culpability, RGB

Media Appearances

Frustrated with the lack of discussion on rapid population growth in mainstream media? So were we! This year we expanded our efforts to contact media outlets with information and resources that highlight the connections between population trends, global health, and environmental well-being. During the summer and fall, CEO and President John Seager appeared on a number of radio stations to share his insights on falling fertility rates and slower population growth in the United States. In addition, major media outlets including The New York Times, The Hill, and The Washington Post published several of our Letters-to-The-Editor and Op-Eds.

Find John’s radio Interviews and a full list of published staff op-ed/LTEs here.

International Partnerships

To raise awareness on the interconnections of rapid population growth and environmental health, and to protect access to family planning services, we’ve partnered with on-the-ground organizations whose mission and programs closely align with our own.

This year we were proud to continue supporting these community-based organizations and to spotlight their work. Such speakers included the 2021 UN Champion of the Earth Laureate for Science and Innovation Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, who is the CEO and Founder of Conservation Through Public Health in Uganda. In addition, we hosted the Executive Director Dr. Rodrigo Barillas and Medical Director Dr. Michelle Dubon of WINGS Guatemala.

Learn more about our International Partnerships here!
Woman (right) holds an IUD at a WINGS mobile clinic. IUDs are LARCs—Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives—offered by WINGS. Photo Credit: WINGS Guatemala