When googling the biggest threats to the environment, you will find issues such as pollution, climate change, carbon emissions, oil refineries, species extinction, soil degradation, and deforestation.
Two main factors are exacerbating all of the threats listed above: overpopulation on the one hand, and increased growth and consumerism on the other. We need to acknowledge both issues to fully address climate change. Consent can help us resolve one.
During this pandemic and social revolutions, survivors of sexual assault around the world, specifically in developing nations, have spoken up and told their stories for educational purposes: making people understand what abuse is and how consent is always required to proceed in any intimate act.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the world had approximately a population of 1.6 billion people. Due to several factors, including the exponential increase of globalization, today, the world’s human population is 7.8 billion.
Even though in just one century the world has experienced more than ten genocides, two world wars, 123 civil wars, aids, COVID 19, the war on drugs, terrorism, and femicides, we are still living in a world that has multiplied its population by seven times in just 100 years.
There is a clear correlation between the growth rate of population and carbon emissions.
“Global emissions increased from 2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide in 1900 to over 36 billion tonnes 115 years later.”
Medical advancements have helped people live longer lives. Thus, generations last longer, fewer women die while giving birth, and fewer children die during their developing years thanks to the invention and easy access to vaccines.
The Sexual Liberation movement made women more inclined to explore their sexuality. Intimacy has become an inclusive activity for both genders, but the patriarchy has made women oversexualized for their looks and beauty. The interpretation of this sexual revolution is that women are now open to having sexual relations whenever, so consent is not required since it is implicit for men because of what the woman was wearing, how she was acting, or the way she looked at the man.
But consent isn’t an attitude or a physical feature, consent is a verbal affirmation that allows the sexual partner to proceed in the intimate act.
The lack of consent has made more women become impregnated and forced to continue their pregnancy, thus, increasing the population growth to a faster rate.
Overpopulation causes an excessive demand for products of capitalism that are essential for survival. These necessity goods have made the industry produce more massive amounts of supply, thus, higher carbon emissions, plastics, and overall pollution.
The colonialist issue of this controversial supply and demand model regarding overpopulation is how underdeveloped and developing nations have the highest population growth rate. In contrast, the developed countries are the ones with more top pollution channels.
This harsh truth of privilege depicts how the lack of knowledge regarding consent is the issue behind underdeveloped and developing nations’ overpopulation.
Women fall into an abusive cycle with conservative laws that prohibit abortion with no proper sexual education regarding conversations of what consent is.
Child marriages, teen pregnancies, and overall unwanted pregnancies are more than just violations of human rights.
If societies keep protecting the lives of abusers without holding them accountable or prioritizing an unborn fetus over the life of a woman, we will continue to have more unwanted lives on Earth. Besides the psychological trauma of victims of sexual assault, their unwanted children will come into a world where products’ supply will continue to increase, creating more pollution and higher carbon emissions with more socioeconomic pressures. The planet will also feel the stress behind this: the temperature levels will reach a point where we can’t go back, sickening the Earth.
Consent is a fundamental value that has to be part of sexual education.
Consent will make romantic relationships healthy.
Consent will reduce traumatic experiences.
Consent will bring loved and wanted children with happy childhoods.
Learning and practicing consent will hopefully reduce the growing rate of a population that the planet can’t afford to keep raising.