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'If  our population numbers keep rising without a slowdown of our  consumption patterns, sustainability will soon become a myth. Conflicts  over vital resources combined with anthropogenic pressures will result  in more dire human-caused disasters. However, in conversations about  overpopulation and how we are pushing our planet home to its limits, we  must recognize different perspectives across cultures and acknowledge  the many traditions which promote respectful and responsible use of our  resources.

As  I look to the future, I see female friends and colleagues growing  increasingly concerned about both the ecological footprint of having  children and their capability to balance their careers and personal  lives. Women need more agency to make thoughtful and sustainable  decisions for future generations, but we also need the space to  contemplate the desire for children against growing population and  currently unsustainable resource consumption. How can we ensure that our  individual choices contribute to a healthier planet for all?'

Josheena Naggea is completing her PhD at Stanford University on human impact on ocean ecosystems.

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