Thinking Small to Think Big

Unless you’ve managed to hide under a a rock for the last week (and if so, kudos to getting internet under your rock!), then you probably know that the world population hit 7 billion. That’s some terrifying stuff, if you ask me – and I adore kids! But I think everyone can agree that there are some serious issues with exponentially increasing population growth, both in terms of our ability to care for the needy, and in terms of the earth’s ultimate carrying capacity. At the end of the day, neither of these are unlimited – and if we want happy, healthy lives for the children who are being born, population growth is a serious concern. 
That said, population growth as an abstract concern will never, and should never, change the way we see living, breathing children. Every orphaned child, every child period, deserves to grow and thrive, and our mission and passion here at The Small Things continues to be to make that happen. 
Reziki – we will never stop 
missing you, little man. 
Still, there was a part of me that was worried about reconciling the two. I knew that the kids would always come first, that I would never be able to accept loss of an infant’s life as anything other than an absolute evil, no matter how bad population issues got. I worried that that made me a hypocrite – a label I would have accepted a million times before shifting my position.
Then I stumbled across Hans Rosling’s TED talks on population growth, and more importantly, this video in which he looks at the specific interactions between child mortality and family size. It’s a very quick video but amazingly intuitive – and he talks about Tanzania specifically, which I always love to see!
Hans Rosling Breaks Down the Impact of Child Mortality on Population Growth  – and a slightly different, 10 minute version here – “Child survival is the new green”
As someone studying development, I’ve understood for a while that poverty alleviation can help to counteract population growth, in that as median income goes up, average family size tends to go down. I originally understood this primarily in terms of education, especially for women – higher education tends to lead people to delay having children until later, and choose to have fewer. Still, it took this video for me to really understand the effects that reducing child mortality specifically has on population growth. And now that I think of it that way, I feel stupid for never recognizing it before – the hallmark of a great piece of educational media! 
The truth is, I would have cheered as that blue dot plunged on the child mortality index, even if average family size had been shooting up. I know this about myself – I recognize that my feeling for individuals will always trump abstract principles, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But what a blessing, to know that sometimes you don’t have to choose – that doing good on one axis can help create positive change on another. 
We all do the small things that we can, and the big picture will come together, with or without us seeing it. 
These smiles will never be anything but a blessing. 
Buying gifts for the holidays or donating to charity doesn’t have to be a zero-sum game, either – through our partnership with Elemental Threads, an amazing design-your-own handcrafted handbag company, you can enter code “TheSmallThings” at checkout and have 25% of your purchase donated to the Nkoaranga kids. Please also consider making a gift to The Small Things in honor of your loved one – they’ll receive a beautiful card letting them know that you were thinking of them. Thanks for reading and for caring about our kids!