This UNFPA report looks at population trends around the world and argues that the right investments in people can produce positive outcomes, even as the world's population passes seven billion.
How did we become so many? How large a number can our Earth sustain?
These are important questions, but perhaps not the right ones for our times. When we look only at the big number, we risk being overwhelmed and losing sight of new opportunities to make life better for everyone in the future.
So instead of asking questions like, "Are we too many?" we should instead be asking, "What can I do to make our world better?" or, "What can we do to transform our growing cities into forces for sustainability?" We should also ask ourselves what each of us can do to empower the elderly so they can play a more active role in their communities. What can we do to unleash the creativity and potential of the largest youth cohort humanity has ever seen? And what can we do to remove barriers to equality between women and men so that everyone has the full power to make their own decisions and realize their full potential?