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April 10, 2012
Contact: Kevin Coburn, Director of Communications

GMC Hosts World-Renowned Population Expert

POULTNEY-- As of March, 2012, the world human population is estimated to be just over 7 billion by the United Nations. This figure is expected to reach between 8 and 10.5 billion between the years 2040 and 2050. Social scientists increasingly find strong connections between rising world population and poverty, social dislocation, disease, and rapidly diminishing resources.

William Ryerson, one of the nation's most thoughtful voices on population growth, will be on the Green Mountain College campus to discuss these connections in a free public presentation April 26 in Ackley Theater at 4:30 p.m. The title of his talk is "A Proven Strategy: Using Entertainment Media to Achieve a Sustainable Population."

Ryerson, founder and president of the Population Media Center (PMC) based in Shelburne, Vt., is the College's annual sophomore speaker. The event is co-sponsored by the Vermont Chapter of Sigma Xi.

PMC's mission is to bring about stabilization of human population at a level that can be sustained by the world's natural resources through education programs. Specifically, PMC has pioneered the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. PMC uses a special type of serialized melodrama for changing behavior on such issues as family planning, elevation of women's status and protection of children.

Ryerson has a 40-year history of working in the field of reproductive health. He received a B.A. in biology from Amherst College and a master of philosophy in biology from Yale, with specialization in ecology and evolution. Before founding Population Media Center, he served as director of the Population Institute's Youth and Student Division, development director of Planned Parenthood Southeastern Pennsylvania, associate director of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and executive vice president of Population Communications International. In 2006, he was awarded the Nafis Sadik Prize for Courage from the Rotarian Action Group on Population and Development.

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