The Green Party of California believes humans have a unique responsibility for stewardship of the Earth. No species, especially on the upper end of the food chain, can have unchecked exponential growth without depleting the Earth's carrying capacity - human population expands at the expense of other species.
Limiting the discussion to population numbers and birthrates diverts attention from overconsumption in the industrial world and historic patterns of exploitation of developing countries. Consumption-oriented life-styles that have evolved in the industrial world have resulted in a minority of people consuming a majority of resources. This is as significant of a threat to the Earth's carrying capacity, or possibly more significant, than high birth rates in low-consumption countries.
Current global demographics demonstrate that economic well-being promotes low birthrates. Any discussion of population must also be a discussion of women throughout the world. There is documented evidence that the economic and social status of women is a primary factor in birthrates: when women have control over their lives, birthrates decrease. Also, a major barrier to the improvement of women's reproductive health is a lack of shared responsibility between men and women in family planning. A combination of male attitudes and cultural traditions have resulted in most men being under-educated and uninvolved in the planning of their families.
Our global realities are that population is increasing while food production has levelled off; that when population increases faster than the economy grows, the disparity between rich and poor also increases; that higher human consumption rates and populations increase the pressure on the environment in every ecological problem area. In California, the population is projected to double in 30 years, which means we will have to double food, schools, housing, electricity generation and jobs to maintain current life-styles and consumption levels. However, we cannot double our water supplies, farmland, forests or waste disposal capacity. [see the section on Ecology and Earth Stewardship]
For humanity to live in balance with nature, the Green Party advocates the following:
Those living in the industrialized world must end the habits of waste and overconsumption that place as much stress on the environment as does population growth in developing nations.
The Green Party will act to remove the political and economic barriers that prevent women around the world from having all the resources necessary to become skilled family planners.
Funds must be allocated for expanded scientific research into safer and more effective birth control techniques and devices. We demand better-than-adequate health care for women and children - especially prenatal care. [see the Women's Rights and Youth Rightsplanks]
In the U.S., there must be access to free birth control devices, information, counseling and clinics to all who desire them. We call for implementation of family planning education for both genders in all levels of the state school system.
We must promote new traditions and images of men becoming fully involved in all aspects of the family planning process.