The GAIA Initiative for Earth–Human Balance is a non-profit company that focuses on the present and future impacts of human population on global warming/climate change.
The startling rise in planetary human population over the last 100 years is reflected in our collective carbon footprint. From 2 billion humans in 1920 to nearly 8 billion humans in 2020 – plus each year 82 million additional humans. We have created an unsustainable imbalance – our cumulative human needs now exceed the carrying capacity of our planet.
The GAIA Initiative is one small part of the worldwide effort to bring human population into better balance with our planet’s capacity to support humans and all the other diverse forms of life.
The developing region of the Global South There are special concerns about threats to family well-being caused by extreme population growth, lack of family planning services, deficits in women’s autonomy, and cultural attitudes favoring large families even with pervasive poverty.
Parents in extreme poverty families of the Global South are faced with the terrible dilemma – again and again – as each additional unplanned pregnancy drives large poor families further into desperate circumstances. Unable to feed, clothe, and educate the children already in their large family, each new infant confronts terrible prospects: a likelihood of hunger, malnutrition, no health care, and little or no education. Most women will – when given the option – choose to have fewer children who are healthier, more educated, with brighter future prospects in life.
GAIA’s Idea-Grants: For an understanding of the entire Grant Life Cycle – from first application through the grant award and then the final completion of your project with your report on the lessons learned – see Grant Life Cycle.
GAIA Initiative awards 32 grants each year to organizations with innovative approaches for education, public policy, media, and family planning services on population-related projects. Grant awards are from $5,000 to not greater than $10,000 USD. Each Idea-Grant is intended – even though at a modest scale – to focus on population issues that contribute toward the long-term goal of creating better earth-human balance.
Topics for Idea-Grants: The population issues which are most crucial in a particular location are influenced by the economic developmental stage of the region. The Grant RFPs for each Spring and Fall funding cycle include topic priorities for the Global North region and the Global South region. The separate priority topics for each region are summarized below:
- Priorities for the Global South region: The developing nations in the Global South are characterized by: low per capita income; deficits in children’s education, family planning services, high birth rates; widespread absence of autonomy for women to choose when to have children; and cultural attitudes that encourage large family size/numbers of kids even where poverty is pervasive. There is very low per capita carbon output and very high population growth rates – some nations doubling population in less than 20 years. See linked webpage Global South Grant Priorities.
- Priorities for the Global North region: The developed economies in the Global North – with their very high greenhouse gas emissions – are the atmospheric driver of global warming/climate change. They are characterized by: higher per capita income and high consumption lifestyles; universal children’s K-12 education; widespread access to family planning services; low national birth rates; women having autonomy to choose how many and when to have children; and cultural attitudes that generally favor smaller family size. Global North nations have very low population growth – most with below replacement level birth rates. See linked webpage Global North Grant Priorities.
Our Team of Corporate Leadership, Staff, and Volunteers: The corporate organization of the GAIA Initiative is supported by a talented group of mostly retired professionals with deep commitment to the importance of public policy and concern for the impact of human population on global warming/climate change. We receive valuable support from our academic policy advisors led by Rosemarie Tong PhD, Director Emerita of the Ethics Center at University of North Carolina Charlotte. Our leadership team is described in the linked webpage Our Mission and Team
President Dan Carrigan – with members of the Board – sets policy guidelines for the GAIA Grants Review program.
Operations Director Zee Berl – coordinates the administrative activities and the review of grant applications.
Our Vision: GAIA Initiative envisions a new paradigm – an evolving worldview where humans recognize and respect their symbiotic relationship with the earth’s biosphere life forms and ecosphere systems; and where over time, human cultures and societies embrace the goal of restoring and maintaining a sustainable equilibrium of “earth-human balance.”
We welcome your questions, suggestions, critical observations … and your words of support for our initiative to begin the long road to bring human population into balance with our planet earth.