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The Fate of the World Is in Your Hands…and Your Pants

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By , 17, Staff Writer Originally Published: July 17, 2007 Revised: August 28, 2012

What do recycling and safe sex have to do with each other? They both can save the world.

Since 1892, the Sierra Club has worked to raise awareness about the importance of protecting our natural resources. Now, through their global population and environment program’s campus outreach campaign, The Fate of the World Is in Your Hands and in Your Pants, they are educating the world about how comprehensive sex education can protect the environment.

Why is the Sierra Club so concerned about comprehensive sex ed? I talked with Sierra Club members, Ty Dawson, 21, of Athens, OH, and Mollie Pickens, 22, of Philadelphia, to get the lowdown.

Sex, Etc.: What are the dangers of overpopulation?

Mollie: You hear the word “unsustainable” thrown around a lot. It usually refers to logging, as in “we are logging our forests at an unsustainable rate.” Put simply, if the world population continues to grow at a high rate and if we continue to consume resources the way we do, the earth will not be able to sustain us.

Sex, Etc.: How can comprehensive sex education help manage overpopulation?

Ty: Our country is the third largest country in the world and has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy of all industrialized nations. The federal government funds abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, which are not proven to work in preventing pregnancy. Meanwhile, our federal government does not provide any funding for comprehensive sexuality education programs.

Mollie: When I first began working with The Fate of the World Is in Your Hands and in Your Pants campaign, I saw the link between comprehensive sex education and the environment as purely a practical one. Sex education equals lower unintended teenage pregnancy rates, equals lower global population, equals less pressure on our natural resources, and therefore a healthier environment.

I realized the connection is deeper than that. It is about the right of women, men and young people—both here and abroad—to have access to reproductive health services and family planning. It is also about the right of every person, both now and in future generations, to have access to clean water and air, and to be able to enjoy a healthy planet.

Sex, Etc.: When did environmental issues first interest you, and how did you get involved in the Sierra Club?

Ty: I have always had compassion for the natural world. I have been a member of the Sierra Club since my early teens, but I never got seriously involved with activism until about a year ago when I saw firsthand the injustice performed by the coal industry.

Mollie: From a young age my parents taught me to value and take care of the natural world and the other animals that we share Earth with. In high school, I began working on projects, such as raising money through selling lottery tickets to help save the rainforest. I learned more about organizations, such as the Sierra Club, which work toward the same goals that I cared so much about.

Sex, Etc.: How can teens like you get involved for the fight against overpopulation?

Ty: There are tons of ways for teens to get involved with the fight for a healthier and more sustainable future, including advocating for comprehensive sex education in their state and working to get universities and/or local and state governments to purchase clean and renewable.

Sierra Club’s Fate of the World campaign wants students to be empowered to advocate for solutions. There is an annual national training in Washington D.C. and bi-annual statewide youth summits for student leaders, providing them with activist tools and leadership training.

Mollie: And this year, the Global Population and Environment Program will introduce its Green-Sex Web site, to further engage students on how access to sexual health information and services—specifically comprehensive sex education—is connected to global conservation.. When accessing the Web site, students can take a “Certified Green Sex Pledge” and commit to take action to promote a healthy future for all young people and the environment.

For more information on the Sierra Club’s Global Population and Environment Programs, click here.

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