Our Vision … Our Mission … Our Team

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.

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.”

Our Mission

GAIA Initiative for Earth-Human Balance is a non-profit education charity established to encourage and support projects of existing organizations working on various population and sustainability issues. The measure of our organization’s mission can be found in the impact of grant-funded projects of our past, current, and future grantee organizations.

In 2018 GAIA began by formulating what would be its core population issues: education, public policy, media, and direct service/family planning. In the intervening years to the present, various of these core issues have evolved and taken shape based upon the projects funded by our GAIA Idea-Grants, as illustrated by this selection of our grantee’s projects:

THE OVERPOPULATION PROJECT (TOP) site (https://overpopulation-project.com/) This blog-site was created by academics with expertise in demography, ecology, and ethics. The site sponsors research, publishes science-based discourse on population and sustainability, and provides links to scientific articles and other content: Population and Biodiversity Loss; Population and Environment; Population and Climate Change; Family Planning and Environment; Population Ethics  and Religion; Overpopulation. Specific GAIA-funded projects: Support for the operational activity, for research, writing, and technical support of the internet blog; Research on cultural topics that impact popular attitudes and behaviors on family planning and use of modern contraceptives (specific ongoing series on “Religion, Religiosity, Fertility, and Contraception in Sub-Saharan Africa.“)

POPULATION MATTERS (https://populationmatters.org/) is a UK-based charity with a global focus on population and its effects on environmental sustainability. It considers population growth as a major contributor to environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, resource depletion, and climate change. Specific GAIA-funded project: In 2020 a feasibility study was initiated to explore whether there might be a viable role for a virtual economics institute to promote academic and public policy dialog concerning present and future policies – with special concern for the adaptive social responses to stabilizing and reducing national populations in both Global South and Global North nations.

POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC) (https://www.populationmedia.org/)  is a US-based nonprofit with international operations with a global interest in population stabilization, women’s empowerment, and a sustainable environment. PMC uses the entertainment format of TV/radio/internet dramas to inform public opinion and to shape attitudes of young adults about personal reproductive health choices. Specific GAIA-funded projects: Since 2021 a series of projects have been funded to provide continuing support for existing media programming for young adults and also to explore expansion to new media markets in developing Global South nations. 

FAMILY PLANNING SERVICE PROVIDERS IN GLOBAL SOUTH NATIONS: Most GAIA grants in 2021 supported organizations providing education on family planning in nations of sub-Saharan Africa (Uganda, Tanzania, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Niger, Zambia) and South Asia (Bangladesh). Specific GAIA-funded projects: Several different organizations with operations in sub-Saharan Africa received grants for a variety of projects on alternate approaches to education about family planning services, including: Training and support of family planning health workers in Uganda; Method assessments for providing reproductive health education to young adults in urban Tanzania; Participatory art to convey family planning concepts to members of Masai living in rural areas; Effectiveness assessment of alternate approaches to prenatal and antenatal patient education in Niger.

Our Team

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.

Dan Carrigan, President, with members of the Board, sets policy guidelines for the Grants Review process. Mr Carrigan enjoyed a fifty-year career of leadership in public policy in varied areas: family planning, health care allocation, parents and children family transitions, and end-of-life stage planning.

Zee Berl, Director of Operations, coordinates the administrative activities and the review of grant applications. Ms Berl’s career in conservation was focused on water quality in rivers and streams in the United States; she has served in leadership positions on corporate boards in education and rivers conservation.

We are appreciative of the valuable support and advice received from our academic policy advisors. Rosemarie Tong is Director Emerita of the Ethics Center at University of North Carolina Charlotte and serves as Chair of the Grants Review Committee. Our paid staff consists of project-based college students and contract administrative assistants.

GAIA’s Idea-Grants: 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. 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.

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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.

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