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<font size=5>Population, Family Planning, <br>& Ecology News Digest<br>Archives May - August 2002</font> of WOA!! World Population Awareness

Population, Family Planning,
& Ecology News Digest
Archives May - August 2002
August 23, 2003

  • September 2002   Financial Gazette (Zimbabwe)   Zimbabwe; Eighteen Percent of Cash-strapped Parents Withdraw Children From Schools.   In the last two months, 18% of Zimbabwe's families have removed their children from school citing a shortage of cash for school fees because the little money they have is used to buy food. Zimbabwe this year received 71 000 tonnes of food and 335 000 tonnes of grain but 850,000 people are still in need of food assistance. 49% of the population are in need of food aid and the country is looking for an extra 486,000 tonnes between now and March. Zimbabwe and South Africa agreed to open the Beitbridge border for 24 hours partly to ease the transportation of food aid. Officials criticised SADC governments for failing to remove bureaucracy in the movement of humanitarian aid.     rw 004106
  • August 29, 2002   U.S. PIRG   USA: Annual Summer Smog Study Shows Persistent Public Health Threat in Nearly Every State: EPA Changes to Clean Air Regulations Would Exacerbate Already Dire Problem.   As the Bush administration eases up on regulations governing clean up of pollution from power plants and refineries, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S.PIRG) has released Danger in the Air, a study containing data from more than 1000 ozone monitors in 42 states and the District of Columbia, which "recorded more than 4600 instances during which Americans were exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution in 2001". Moreover, "partial 2002 data shows that the number of exceedances will triple or even quadruple in some states compared to 2001". "Ground-level ozone or ‘smog’ is a dangerous respiratory irritant" which, according to extensive research, is strongly linked to mortality from strokes as well as to the occurrence of millions of asthma attacks each year. In brief, the study found several things. In 2001, the concentration of ozone exceeded the current standard (0.08 parts per million [ppm] averaged over an 8-hr period) on 4,634 occasions in 42 states and Wash., D.C, and the number of exceedances in 2001 was 20% higher than it was in 2000. The smoggiest states were CA, PA and TX, but OH, MD, NJ, NC, WI, MI and VA were close behind. In general, the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states were smoggier in 2001 than in 2000. Preliminary 2002 ozone data from 20 states and Washington D.C. showed that the situation was getting worse. "The number of ozone exceedances ... in these 20 states combined" had doubled the number of ozone exceedances for all of 2000 and had risen by 60% over that recorded in these states for all of 2001. As of mid-August, 2002, IN, NC, IL and S.C. had already experienced 2.5 to 4 times the number of ozone exceedances which each of those states had experienced during all of 2001. In at least 12 other states, the number of ozone exceedances had risen significantly from the past two years. Rebecca Stanfield, co-author of the report, suggests that we begin intensifying our use of pollution control technologies. The report suggests "five policy solutions" to mitigate the problem. First, aggressive enforcement of the Clean Air Act’s New Source Review program by the states and US EPA. Second, the designation of areas which are not in compliance with ozone standards. Third, the reduction of emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and mercury from power plants. Fourth, adoption of federal emission standards for diesel engines used off-road in construction and farm equipment and for the development of new standards for diesel fuel. And fifth, adoption of mandates and incentives to develop and market vehicles using electric, fuel cell and hybrid cars.     st 003918
  • August 29, 2002   Los Angeles Times   U.S.: Sprawl Adds to Drought.   A report says that sprawl is worsening water supply problems. Development in Atlanta produces around 133 billion gallons of polluted runoff that would otherwise be filtered through the soil to recharge aquifers, streams and lakes. The report claims to show the magnitude of the problem and urges the Geological Survey to embark on a thorough study. Drought experts said that development exacerbated water shortages, but the extent was impossible to quantify. 40% of the country is suffering drought, especially the East Coast and Southwest. In arid regions, where much water comes from snowmelt, covering the ground with roads and buildings, decreases the reabsorption of rainwater which is important because ground water can seep into depleted bodies of water. The report said the problem can be mitigated if new road building is curtailed and open spaces--such as farms and forests--are preserved. They also urge the adoption of techniques to facilitate the absorption of storm water. The construction industry called the report a blatant effort by environmental groups to increase regulations on development as modern developments use sophisticated strategies to avoid the perils of runoff.     rw 003919
  • August 29, 2002   Toronto Globe and Mail/Common Dreams   Give Solar Energy $50-Billion Boost, Gorbachev Group Says.   Mikhail Gorbachev's group Green Cross urged the World Summit on Sustainable Development to set up a $50-billion fund to promote solar energy, The money to come from subsidies, tax breaks and loan guarantees paid to coal, oil, gas and nuclear energy. The Green Cross supports investment in photovoltaic cells, hydrogen, wind and geothermal energy. The goal is for 20% of the world's energy to come from renewable sources and to cut greenhouse-gas emissions from fossil fuels. The United States and Canada are under pressure to ratify the Kyoto protocol. Ottawa spends $12-million a year supporting renewable energy, big business and environmental organizations, are pushing for more. Canada produces 0.1% of its electricity from wind. If Canada could produce 10% from renewable sources that would deliver 13% of Canada's commitments under the Kyoto protocol. Canada has spent $6-billion on nuclear technology, $40.4 billion on oil, gas and coal. The Canadian government has written off $2.8-billion of loans and investments in the non-renewable sector and $2.4-billion in export charges on oil. The Institute for Sustainable Development, said these figures would be higher if they included the environmental costs of burning oil, gas and coal.     rw 003920
  • August 29, 2002   New York Times*   Lack of Basics Threatens World's Poor.   The United Nations says 1.1 billion people lack clean drinking water and 2.4 billion lack sanitation. More than 2.2 million people die each year from these causes, the number in India is staggering. Halving the number of people without clean water by 2015 will not be easy. Madagascar reported only 33% of their people had access to water. Uruguay said 35% had sanitation There is a need for the international transfer of technology, but John Hilary, adviser for Save the Children, warned against privatizing water supplies, that often put children at risk by raising rates.     rw 003940
  • August 29, 2002   Grist emagazine   Got Sun? Marketing the Revolution in Clean Energy.   Environmental writer Bill McKibben said "Renewable energy is no longer the stuff of noble visions and pipe dreams: It's available, inexpensive and increasingly normal." But, "The gap between what we could be doing and what we are doing has never been wider." Solar and wind industries have grown almost 40% a year in the last 4 years. But solar and wind together account for less than 1% of the U.S.'s electricity production. Renewable energy is still more expensive than traditional energy sources, but just as important -- most consumers are turned off by the "purist, hippy-dippy" marketing methods used to sell renewables. Amely Greeven, a marketing consultant currently working on campaigns for Nike, Gucci, and Yves Saint Laurent says "Like it or not, the face of 'green' needs a makeover." BP - British Petroleum (aka "Beyond Petroleum") - has changed this, launching a "high-profile, high-concept, mega-bucks clean energy campaign". BP, America's largest supplier of oil and natural gas, is also the world's third-largest solar producer. In the new ad campaign, hip, straight-shooting urbanites say something like "Oil is old news. It's time for a new era." Or - "Think about your children. They're breathing the air I'm breathing, that you're breathing, and it's bad. And down the line, they will suffer. ... You know, if you have alternatives, invest the money in alternatives. You'll still make money. It won't make you a Communist. It'll just make you a better human being." BP has pledged to grow its solar business to $1 billion by 2007 and has predicted that renewable energy sources, which are now only 0.5% of America's energy production, will reach 50% of world production by 2050. BP had committed in 1997 to reducing its own greenhouse emissions 25% below 1990 levels by 2010, but has already reached that goal. In response, other energy companies including Shell and ChevronTexaco have started public climate initiatives and investments in the solar, wind, and fuel cell industries. And in the last year, Shell has become one of the world's top solar producers. 003943
  • August 29, 2002   New York Times*   Women's Rights.   Women farmers are doomed to remain impoverished, and the developing world's food supply precarious, if women are not given title to their own farms. It is key to maintaining and expanding the world's food supply. In many indigenous societies, women have been in charge of the agricultural production while men worked as warriors or hunters or, in later years, migrated to cities in search of work. About 80% of indigenous women now work as farmers, said Vicky Cali-Corpuz, who represented the indigenous peoples of Asia at the World Summit. But cheap produce imports by wealthier nations compete heavily against the indigineous. Getting credit and loans for such farmland is virtually impossible. Without loans, cash crops are difficult to produce. In addition, bringing a water tap to a village could save women hours of daily walking to bring water home; using solar energy to cook food could save them from having to collect firewood. "Empowering women guarantees more of the desired results for children," said Remi Paris, a poverty reduction expert for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 003945
  • August 28, 2002   Push newsfeed   Australia: Putting a Foot Down on Population.   Some argue that Australia must dramatically increase its population numbers to expand the economy, maintain the tax base, and present a credible defence strategy. But Australia is the driest continent on earth, and ecologists such as Tim Flannery say that Australia's population should be less, around 8-12 million, not more. By looking at Australia's ecological footprint (EF), i.e. how much energy is used, how much food is consumed, how many resources are used in infrastructure (schools, roads, houses) and how many resources are being used to deal with all our waste, we can make a measurable determination of a sustainable population size. With 10 billion hectares of bio-productive land and 6 billion people in the world, that figures to 1.7 hectares of bio-productive land per person. Energy consumption is another component of EF. Australia is the third highest per capita energy consumer in the world, with the U.S. number one and Canada second. Australia’s per-capita footprint is 7.8 hectares. We in Australia should halve our energy consumption to halve our footprint. We could do this by either halving our population size or halving our rate of energy use. If we want to double our population to about 40 million we will have to consume one quarter of the energy we currently use (per person). This would mean drastically changing from households with two cars, two fridges and three TVs since our supplies of water, agricultural soil and fossil fuels will remain limited. Op-ed by Derek Eamus 003928
  • August 28, 2002   San Francisco Chronicle   Diaphragm Put to Test Against HIV; Gates Foundation Helps UCSF Researcher Evaluate Birth-control Device in Africa.   HIV infections in southern Africa could be reduced by at least 33% if women used diaphrams and male HIV infections could be reduced by at least 50% by the use of male circumcision - researchers hope to substantiate this using a grant of $28 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. UCSF researcher Nancy Padian's study will enroll 4,500 women in Zimbabwe and South Africa to test the simple latex diaphragm used for birth control. Many women in Zimbabwe cannot get their partners to wear condoms. Dr. Jay Levy of UCSF said "I felt certain that if you could block virus-infected cells from the cervix, you could reduce transmission dramatically." Padian called the cervix a "hot spot" of susceptibility to HIV infection. The diaphragm's protection of the cervix also blocks diseases such as syphilis, which causes lesions that serve as gateways into the bloodstream for HIV. Women will often be able to use the diaphram without their sexual partner's knowledge, providing "female-controlled" barrier to HIV. The diaphragm costs about $25. In addition, Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health will study male circumcision in Uganda, which can be performed for about $4.50. The male foreskin has up to six times the number of HIV-susceptible cells as the female cervix, studies have shown. Another part of the grant will go to the Eastern Virginia Medical School's Contraceptive Research and Development Program to test the effectiveness of microbicides that also would work as contraceptives. 003930
  • August 28, 2002   San Francisco Chronicle   Altered Fish in a Battle for Survival.   Two California bills imposing strict controls on genetically modified fish are opposed by the biotechnology, grocery, and agriculture industries. A consumer right-to-know bill requiring the labeling of unpackaged transgenic fish in retail stores, and a bill designed to keep live transgenic fish out of state waters are in front of the California legistlature. The U.S. National Research Council has issued a warning of the dangers posed by live transgenic fish to wild populations. The bills are supported by the Ocean Conservancy, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations and Defenders of Wildlife and Sierra Club. Opponents include the Biotechnology Industry Organization, California Chamber of Commerce, California Farm Bureau, Grocery Manufacturers of America, National Food Processors Association, California Retailers Association and other trade groups. 003932
  • August 28, 2002   London Guardian   Africa: Climate Foes Bury Hatchet.   In the first week of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, Greenpeace International and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, have agreed to join forces. The two groups believe that the threat of human-induced climate change requires strong efforts by all sectors in a common international framework. Green Cross, the environmental group headed by Mikhail Gorbachev, is urging delegates to set up a $50 billion fund to promote solar energy, out of government subsidies now given to coal, oil, gas, and nuclear energy companies. The U.S. is trying to keep human, environmental, and freedom of information rights out of the action plan to protect multinational companies from litigation that could undermine security measures imposed after Sept. 11.  rw 003944
  • August 27, 2002   ENN   Global Climate Change Threatens the Insurance Industry.   Losses from natural disasters have increased 15-fold since 1960. The insurance industry paid out $15 billion for Hurricane Andrew and seven companies went bankrupt. As the oceans warm, hurricanes are created in more places and travel farther. The world is projected to warm five degrees by 2050 and New York would be as prone to hurricanes as Miami. In 1997, after an unprecedented drought, a forest fire in Indonesia burned an area the size of South Korea. The consensus is that natural disasters will increase, in severity and frequency. The insurance industry is not prepared since U.S. law requires companies to base their rates on past events. The nonprofit ISO believes a storm of Andrew's magnitude would drive 36 percent of American insurance companies into bankruptcy and the average price of insurance would triple. If a mega-catastrophe hit the country buying property insurance would representing a threat to property values. Claims on federally offered insurance have grown 600 percent in the last three decades and the Bush Administration is attempting to deny insurance to people hit by floods more than twice in 10 years.     rw 003917
  • August 27, 2002   Christian Science Monitor   Developing World Wants Action, Not Talk, at Summit.   It has been a challenge to change attitudes about environmental protection in the developed world and improving the quality of life in the less developed world. But now the question is how to pay for these improvements. Rich and poor countries are divided over aid funding and free trade. What is needed is an action plan spelling out greater access to clean water, better sanitation, and support for sustainable energy, along with specific committments and investments towards that plan. Developing countries want more direct aid and lower trade barriers. They say rich nations subsidize their own farmers and business but threaten to cut off aid to developing countries that do not eliminate their own subsidies. Overseas development assistance has fallen from 0.33% in 1990 to 0.22% in 2000, while the UN's goal has been far above that at .7%. While the EU says it will to open its markets to 47 of the world's poorest countries, and the U.S. promises to increase aid by more than $5 billion over the next three years, these funding promises need to be made in writing. 003922
  • August 27, 2002   San Francisco Chronicle   U.S.: California: White House Accepts Water Ruling: More Could Flow to Central Valley Farmers, Less to Fish and Wildlife.   The Bush administration has made a series of decisions that threaten the environment - more logging in national forests to wildfire hazard, pushed for oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, supported weakening standards on arsenic in drinking water and resisted imposing a federal ban on oil drilling off the California coast. Now the administration supports a ruling by a federal court judge which may provide more water to Central Valley agriculture at the expense fish and wildlife in the San Francisco Bay/Sacramento River and San Joaquin River Delta system. The 1992 Central Valley Water Project Improvement Act, which provides 800,000 acre-feet of water annually for bay/Delta fisheries, was challenged by the Westlands Water District, a 600,000-acre irrigation district in the western San Joaquin Valley, which said the rules for environmental water releases was unfair. 003924
  • August 27, 2002   Wall Street Journal   New Abstinence-Based Sex-Education Program That Focuses on Health, Not Moral Issues.   Scott & White Hospital is offering a program called Worth the Wait that teaches students "there isn't such a thing as safe sex for a teenager," giving "genuine health reasons" why teenagers should not be sexually active. For example, a part of the material reveals sexually active teenage girls have a higher risk of cervical cancer resulting from human papillomavirus than do adult women. Middle school students and some high school students in 31 Texas school districts are receiving the course. Sexually active students are advised to "discuss with a health care professional," but homosexuality, masturbation, abortion, condoms, or contraception are not addressed. SEICUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council wants to "send a loud and clear message" to federal lawmakers that no additional money should be spent on "unproven and harmful abstinence-only-until marriage programs," and has recently announced its "No New Money" campaign to that end. SIECUS partners with Advocates for Youth and the Planned Parenthood Federation of America in this effort. President Bush has proposed spending an additional $135 million on abstinence-only education programs in fiscal year 2003, bring the total spent on abstinence-only to $500 million. 003948
  • August 27, 2002   The Boston Globe   A Pain of Labor That Never Ends; in Africa, Women Suffer Needlessly From the Complications of Childbirth.   Fistula is a childbirth complication that happens when babies are too large to pass through the pelvic area and labor is long, resulting in tears or cutting off the blood supply to the tissue in the mother's body, either between the bladder and vagina or between the rectum and vagina. This condition, if not corrected, leaves the young women in a condition of incontinence or constantly soiling themselves, social outcasts, abandoned by their husbands, and hounded by hungry hyenas that can smell their wounds. Two million women annually are affected- 50,000 to 100,000 new cases each year - usually those under age 16 - the "overwhelming majority" of whom are in Africa. Child marriage, early childbirth, scarcity of prenatal care; the stunting of a women's growth by poor nutrition, and "the low status of women," are the usual factors. Nigeria has 1 million victims. More than one third of Ethiopian girls marry before the age of 15. One in 16 women die in childbirth or of pregnancy-related complications in Africa. Fewer than 10% of pregnant Ethiopian women have a skilled health-care worker attending their labor. 150 years ago fistula was common in Europe and the United States. Two years ago the Ethiopian government increased the minimum age for marriage from 15 to 18. Of fistula victims receiving treatment for the condition, 90% were cured with the first surgery. 7% will need additional surgery. Three percent cannot be helped. In Ethiopia only about 1,500 of 8,000 fistula victims are repaired annually. 003949
  • August 27, 2002   Village Voice   A World Without Water.   During the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, thousands of anti-globalization activists and environmentalists will be trying to call attention to the dangers of privatizing the world's water supplies. Only 5% of the world population receives water from corporations and activists want to stop the process. In 1998 the World Bank predicted the global trade in water would generate up to $800 billion a year. Two years later, water companies, backed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) strong-armed the UN into defining water as a human need (sold for profit by private companies) instead of a human right (people are ensured equal access on a nonprofit basis). Private companies had a green light to lease, buy, or enter into agreement for existing water systems from which they profit by charging for water; some also provide sewage disposal, and implement water treatment plants. Many of these companies have guarantees written into their contracts, so profits cannot fall below a predetermined number and they can sell any surplus to the highest bidder. Two conglomerates, Vivendi Universal and Suez, based in France, have 70% of the world water market. Suez operates in 130 countries, Vivendi in more than 90. The UN identifies approximately six places where water is so scarce that human life may not be sustainable and conflict may arise over the dwindling resources. Water giants like Vivendi insist that for-profit companies are wealthy enough to invest in new technology and improvements to aging systems while poor governments are not. Activists like Barlow say that for-profit companies are not set up as sustainable enterprises or to conserve resources and there is no source to replace the water that modern humankind consumes. Desalination has proven expensive and leaves behind water mostly uninhabitable for marine life. According to the latest calculations, there are only 8.6 million cubic miles of fresh water left on earth, 2.6% of the 330 million cubic feet of total water. The UN predicts that two-thirds of the world's population will live in water-scarce regions by 2025. Much of the problem is due to river damming and the Green Revolution that replaced drought-resistant crops with water-guzzling varieties. Farmers were forced to forgo sustainable irrigation and deep wells became the norm, pulling groundwater out of water-scarce areas. Developers tried to solve the irrigation problem by building big dams. According to Sandra Postel of the Global Water Policy Project, there were 5000 large dams (more than 15 meters high) worldwide in 1950. There are now 45,000. The Ganges, Yellow River, Nile, and Colorado dry up before reaching the ocean, and water that would feed aquifers runs into the ocean without moisturizing forests and marshlands. The Ogallala Aquifer, which stretches from the Texas Panhandle to South Dakota is believed to have contained 4 trillion tons of pristine water. It is now mined by over 200,000 wells that pull out 13 million gallons per minute, 14 times faster than nature's replenishing rate. Each year since 1991 the aquifer's water table has dropped three feet. By some estimates, more than half its water is gone. The Department of Water Resources of California says that if more supplies aren't found by 2020, residents will face a shortfall nearly as great as the amount consumed today. "Water scarcity is a source of conflict in many places," says Barlow. "Almost every country in the Middle East is facing a water crisis." Israel has aggressively mined water, severely taxing water systems in Syria, Jordan and the Palestinian townships. Turkey has caused tension with plans to dam the Euphrates River, diverting much of its flow to Syria and Iraq. Bangladesh, is suffering because India has diverted and dammed so many of its water sources. In Africa, relations between Botswana and Namibia are strained by Namibian plans to construct a pipeline to divert water from the Okavango River. Ethiopia plans to take more water from the Nile, although Egypt is dependent on those waters for irrigation and power. As water tables fall in the North China Plain as well as in India's Punjab region, experts are bracing for a highly combustible imbalance between water supplies and human needs. The U.S., Canada, and the European Union want the UN to start adopting trade agreements similar to those put forth by the WTO. They're pressuring the UN to implement "voluntary partnerships" with private companies to take over government-run industries devoted to public health, clean air, and water. Representatives from the companies reassure officials that they can privatize and conserve at the same time. But several developing countries landed in WTO court for trade violations that were permitted under UN accords. Poorer nations want to know which entity has ultimate power, and they hope it's the UN. Unfortunately, says Barlow, the shadow summits probably won't have much impact on the WSSD outcome. The bigger goal, she says, is to derail the privatization trend at the World Water Forum scheduled for next March in Japan. Developed nations are taking from each other. The Bush administration is considering using the oil-pipeline infrastructure in the Northern Provinces to flow Canadian water to the American Midwest, which, under the North American Free Trade Agreement, is legitimate. Once Canada opens the taps, it can't turn them off again without violating NAFTA accords.     rw 003956
  • August 27, 2002   TASS (Russia)   Children's Death Rate in Russia to Decrease 20 Percent.   Russia's Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov announced the goal to decrease infant mortality by 6.5%, children's death rate by 20% and women's illnesses by 5% by 2003-2006. 003959
  • August 27, 2002   Associated Press   Malaysia Defends Immigration Laws.   Malaysia relatively wealthy compared to its poorer Southeast Asian neighbors, become a magnet for migrants. Illegal foreign workers have been subjected to whipping, crowded detention centers with little food or water, and large fines since an August 1 crackdown. Up to 600,000 illegal workers were in Malaysia before the laws were introduced. Another 300,000 fled Malaysia before the August deadline. Indonesia and the Philippines have objected to the mistreatment of their peoples. Three Filipino children died recently during deportation due to dehydration or overcrowding. One Phillipines senator, Ralph Recto, called the measures "ethnic cleansing." 003960
  • August 27, 2002   New York Times*   Iran Legislators Vote to Give Women Equality in Divorce.   Even though its passage by the hard-line Guardian Council is unlikely, the approval in Iran's reformist Parliament of a bill that would grant women an equal right to divorce is considered a big victory both for women and reformist politicians. The bill would replace the post 1979 revolution civil code which says "a man can divorce his wife whenever he wishes," with a more strict but equal criteria for permitting divorce: addiction, mental illness or violent behavior. Another bill that would have raised the legal marriage age for girls from 9 to 15 was blocked by the Guardian Council, which said it went against Islamic law. However, the Expediency Council, which resolves differences between Parliament and the Guardian Council, approved raising the minimum age to 13. Women in Parliament proposed that Iran join the U.N. Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), but dropped the idea when clerics in the religious city of Qum declared that the convention was against Islam. 003961
  • August 27, 2002   Vietnam News Briefs   Vietnam: Social & Cultural Issues: PM Calls for Lower Population Growth.   Vietnam's population is rising at 1.2%, or 1 million people, per year, with 113-122 million expected by 2050. The country's Committee for Population, Family and Children wants to decrease this rate to 1.16% by 2005. At the same time the goal is to reduce the number of malnourished children from 30% to 25% and also reduce the numbers of street and drug- addicted children. 77,000 people are living on the street and three million are handicapped. 003964
  • August 27, 2002   New York Times   Chinese Will Move Waters to Quench Thirst of Cities.   China intends to rechannel water from the Yangtze basin to the north, using three pathways of nearly 1,000 miles each. The official price tag of $58 billion, is more than twice that of the Three Gorges Dam. Some officials speak of delivering water to Beijing for the 2008 Olympics. The plan will uproot 370,000 people. This venture raises questions, including how to deliver clean water across a polluted landscape. Perhaps toughest of all is how to provide for those who will be moved. For many who live around the Danjiangkou Dam their travails parallel China's ambition to meet its water needs. Bitterness survives from earlier rounds of resettlements. Chinese officials are working feverishly on two routes to begin in the coming year. Northern cities have begun to raise water prices and reduce waste, to provide solutions. Provinces are fighting over how water will be shared, because some will require expensive cleansing. The demand has become urgent throughout the densely populated north-central area. Over-pumping of groundwater in some areas has caused sinking of land. Urban consumers take water from farmers, while planners warn of restrictions on industry. China's arid northwest, is being destroyed by drought and overuse. The western route would channel water from tributaries of the Yangtze to China's northwest. But taking water from Tibetan regions may stir political controversy, and pose engineering challenges and costs estimated at $36 million. The coastal route will require 13 pumping stations, and consume large amounts of electricity. It cuts across the world's most soiled river basins. The canal that is still in use, bustles with barges, its shores lined with primitive houseboats, home to hundreds of thousands of people. It also receives untreated sewage from towns and villages and the effluence of thousands of factories. "If you drink the water you get rashes and diarrhea". The cleanup plans include the closure of thousands of dirty factories, many owned by local governments and the building of sewage plants in each of 119 counties along the canal. The government has not said what is to become of the decrepit flotilla and the multitudes who live on or near the canal. Along the central route, pollution will not be a problem. But this plan calls for diverting water north by a new canal from the Han River. But the Danjiangkou dam and reservoir will have to be raised, displacing about 300,000 villagers. The reservoir will not hold enough water to feed the north and meet regional needs and will have to be replenished by a new canal to bring water at enormous expense from the Three Gorges Dam —reducing its electrical capacity by 6 percent or more. Villagers have heard nothing about relocation. The new moves may destroy forests and grasslands and will require bringing drinking water, electricity and roads to those moved in the 1970's.     rw 003967
  • August 27, 2002   Village Voice   California Water Shortage.   According to the California Department of Water Resources, if more supplies aren't found by 2020, residents will face a shortfall nearly as great as the amount consumed today. 003993
  • August 26, 2002   London Guardian/Common Dreams   Ecological Decline 'Far Worse' Than Official Estimates Leaked Paper - OECD's Grim Warning on Climate Change.   A leaked document prepared for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development from the UN, World Bank, World Trade Organization, and academic papers as a preliminary to the Johannesburg meeting on sustainable development showed a worse than unexpected ecological decline. Aid for environmental protection and social services has declined. Subsidies for industry and agriculture in wealthy countries are affecting development in poor countries. 80% of global finance went to rich countries in 2000, the African continent receiving less than 1%. Unrestricted market access would increase the incomes of more than 2 billion people in the most populated countries by 4% a year. If the EU, Canada, Japan and the US allowed migrants to make up 4% of their workforce, the returns to poor countries could be $160 billion to 200 billion a year. Extinction of species is now reaching 11% of birds, 18%-24% of mammals, 5% of fish, and 8% of plants. OECD reports nearly 50% of all fish stocks are fully exploited, 20% are overexploited· Only 2% of global fisheries is recovering. By 2025 15% of all forest species will be extinct. Over the next 18 years, global energy use will expand by more than 50%. "The non-renewable fossil fuel resource base is expected to meet demand to 2020," the report says. OECD countries subsidize the emission of global warming gases by $57 billion and reducing climate change emissions would have no effect on the global economy. 60% of the world's population lives in ecologically vulnerable areas, 3 million die each year due to air pollution and 5 million from unsafe water. Global water withdrawals will rise 31% by 2020, while being replenished at a rate of 0.1% to 0.5%.     rw 003890
  • August 26, 2002   London Guardian   Earth Summit: Issues Facing the UN's World Conference on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg.   The world summit on sustainable development in Johannesburg aims to reconcile development and growth with sustainability, in a world growing in population, with increasing demands for food, water, shelter, sanitation, energy, health services and economic security. To achieve this, developing countries must avoid damaging the environment as they expand industries. Richer countries must cut differences in wealth between the wealthiest and poorest nations. There is a strong presence from firms such as McDonald's, Rio Tinto, Nike, Nestle and British American Tobacco. The UN has identified five areas where results are essential, water, sanitation, energy, agricultural productivity, biodiversity, ecosystem management and health. Developing countries want more aid, more money to protect the environment, greater trade liberalisation. Delegates must address the fact that the world's water will run out in 30 years. Britain's environment minister wants to focus on sustainable energy for the developing world. The richer countries want liberalisation in other markets. Environmental groups accused the US delegation of obstructing attempts to impose new targets and timetables on relieving poverty and promoting development.     rw 003891
  • August 26, 2002   New York Times   The Environmentalists Are Wrong (by Bjorn Lomborg).   The developed world worries that human activity is defiling the earth and may end up killing itself. This is not supported by the evidence. Resources are more abundant, more food produced. Only 0.7% of species are expected to disappear in the next 50 years. Environmental pollution has been exaggerated and can be cured by accelerating growth. Despite evidence, the West focuses on sustainability. Carbon dioxide has increased global temperature, yet the debate aims at reducing emissions without regard to cost. The Kyoto treaty, aims for Europe to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2012. This will have less impact in industrialized nations than developing countries. The Kyoto Protocol will cost $150 to $350 billion annually and this cost for one year could provide every person with clean water. The focus should be on development, not sustainability. The developed world prioritizes the future at the expense of the present. The U.S. administration should focus on clean water, better sanitation and health care and the fight against poverty. If the United States is willing to commit the resources to ensure development, it could emerge as the savior.   [Note: this article is by one of the chief naysayers of population and the environment. Rebuttals submitted to WOA!! are always welcome -- in fact we even intend to develop a special Bjorn Lomborg page.]  rw 003906
  • August 26, 2002   Inland Planet   US Citizens Launch 34 Million Dollar Campaign for UN Population Fund.   Inland Planet, a West Coast outgrowth of the Planet Campaign, is asking folks to make a $1 dollar contribution to the UNFPA as a show of support for the UNFPA and as a protest of Bush Administration's decision to end U.S. funding for the UNFPA. People can send their $1 contribution (if check - payable to US Committee for UN Population Fund) to: 34 Million Friends Campaign US Committee for UN Population Fund 220 E. 42nd Street 28th Floor NY, NY 10017 003916
  • August 25, 2002   Sierra magazine   Freedom (from Oil) Option Package.   This two page brochure from the Sierra Club describes several ways to improve the fuel economy of vehicles, and suggets that consumers demand these technologies. They are, Continuously Variable Automatic Transmission, Variable-Valve-Control Engine, Integrated Starter-Benerator, and Fuel-Efficient Design. Also given are the addresses of the Web Sites that provide information on the technologies involved.     rw 003897
  • August 25, 2002   New York Times*   In Race to Tap the Euphrates, the Upper Hand Is Upstream.   The waters of the Euphrates River are in short supply, as Syria, Turkey, and Iraq battle for a share of the river. Similar struggles are taking place all over the world, from Texas to China, as water resources grow scarce and competition for them mushrooms. Less than 1% of the world's water supply is suitable for drinking or agriculture, and demand has increased six-fold over the last 70 years; meanwhile, the supply itself might be shrinking due to the erratic weather patterns caused by global warming. Researchers estimate that by 2015, at least 40% of the world's population will live in countries where it is difficult or impossible to satisfy basic water needs. According to the World Bank, dwindling water supplies will inhibit economic growth, and the U.N. and a Central Intelligence Agency advisory group predict that competition for water will lead to an increasing number of conflicts worldwide.     rw 003913
  • August 24, 2002   Time magazine   Time Magazine Green Century Poll.   Population growth leads all others as posing the greatest threat to the enviroment in a CNN/Time poll. Take a look and put in your vote. 003892
  • August 24, 2002   International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis   Population at Johannesburg.   The United Nations (UN) World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg should figure population as a key component of sustainable development. But the topic is absent even after four preparatory meetings. If we do not put the human population at the core of the sustainable-development agenda, our efforts to improve human well-being and preserve the quality of the environment will fail. This is one of the basic conclusions of the Global Science Panel on Population and Environment, an independent body of experts organized by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population and the United Nations. Two key policies are needed, investment in voluntary family planning and education of women, in order to reduce fertility. Details are available at www.iiasa.ac.at/gsp. Subjects covered are Population in Sustainable Development, a Demographically Diverse World, Population Matters to Development and Environment Research, Policy Must Account for Differential Vulnerability Within Populations, Empowerment Through Education and Reproductive Health Benefits, People and the Environment, Strengthening Interdisciplinary Training and Research.     rw 003895
  • August 24, 2002   The Economist;   Differing Demography of United States, Western Europe.   The United States is becoming younger, while Europe's population is aging. Between 1960 and 1985, the U.S. rate dropped to 1.8 births per woman. In the 1990s the rate rose to just below 2.1 births per woman - possibly because of "higher-than-average fertility" among immigrants and the U.S. "economic boom,". Europe's women average fewer than 1.4 births in their lifetime.     rw 003947
  • August 23, 2002   New York Times*   Amazon Forest Still Burning Despite the Good Intentions.   The Amazon basin accounts for more than half of the world's tropical forests. The assault on its resources continues, with Brazil in the lead. 10 years ago agreements were made aimed at protecting forests, oceans, the atmosphere and wildlife. Within three years, however, the deforestation rate in the Amazon, had doubled, to an area the size of Maryland. Since then, the government of Brazil has begun numerous initiatives aimed at curbing the cutting and burning of the forest. But the Brazilian jungle is disappearing at a rate of more than 6,000 square miles a year and will accelerate as the government moves ahead with a program aimed at improving the livelihoods of the people. Soybean production has begun to play a big role in the deforestation. China is the world's biggest importer of soy products and Brazil is rushing to meet that demand. No one knows exactly the quantity of greenhouse gases Brazil is already pumping into the atmosphere as a result of such efforts to tame its vast jungle. Uncontrolled logging is still practised in many areas.     rw 003888
  • August 23, 2002   New York Times*   U.S.: S.U.V. Haters Pitch a Curbside Battle.   A group concerned about global warming has begun distributing mass-traffic ticket look-alikes to S.U.V's. Two women let the air out of the tires of S.U.V.'s and were sentenced to 50 hours of community service. Some vicitims see activism as harassment. E-mail from victims called Earth on Empty members names such as tree-huggers, elitists, freedom-removers, losers, homosexuals, Democrats and filthy people. John, who runs the Earth on Empty Web site, says the group wants to stigmatize S.U.V. owners the way animal lovers stigmatize women who wear fur coats.     rw 003889
  • August 22, 2002   London Guardian   Cows Are Better Off Than Half the World: the Growing Chasm Between Rich and Poor is Threatening Global Security.   The average European cow receives US$ 2.20 (pounds 1.40) in subsidies a day while 2.8 billion people in the world live on less than US$ 2 a day. The richest 25 million Americans have an income equal to that of almost 2 billion people, while the assets of the world’s three richest men is greater than the combined income of the world’s least developed countries. Sierra Leone, at the bottom of the United Nations’ human development index has a per capita income of US$ 130 per year - less than the dollar-a-day level considered subsistence level. The average Sierre Leonian has a life expectancy of 37 while 30% of the children die before their fifth birthday. As television, now available to the poor, brings home the enormous income gap, the rich may have to lock themselves in gated enclaves to keep out the dispossessed and angry masses. The brightest from the developing world migrate to seek better opportunities elsewhere. With borders increasingly sealed against economic migrants, the trafficking of people has become more lucrative than drug smuggling. The goals of the UN millennium summit 2 years ago - halving global poverty over the next 15 years, eradicating hunger, reducing under-five mortality by two-thirds and getting every child of primary school age into a classroom - can be accomplished with 40-60 billion dollars over current aid spending - about a sixth of what the west currently spends on subsidising its farmers. 33 countries, most in Africa, totalling a quarter of the world’s population, are likely to miss half these targets. It make take 130 years to rid the world of hunger if living standards don't raise faster than the current snail's pace. Halving poverty in sub-Saharan Africa would require a per capita growth of 4% in the next 15 years. It can be done: in 1990 24% of the world's poor lived in poverty, compared to 20% today - due to rapid growth in east Asia. Compare Senegal to South Korea. Both countries had a GDP of US$ 230 in 1960. South Korea is now a hi-tech leader supplying components for America’s computer industry and sees a per capita GDP of $US 8,910. Senegal, on the other hand, has barely improved, with GPD now at US$ 260. Blighted by debt, conflict and unfavourable geography, Africa's future seems to be at a disadvantage compared to east Asia. In addition, while South Korea was allowed to protect its infant industries from being overwhelmed by more mature competitors, Africa is being required to open up its markets by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. 003832
  • August 22, 2002   The Guardian (London)   The Quest to Grow Without Grime: Providing Power to the Poor Without Destroying the Planet is This Century's Biggest Challenge.   Providing power without causing climate change is the biggest challenge and as conditions worsen the poor will suffer its worst impacts. Already the costs of natural disasters are escalating. Excess heat and uncertain rains, that aid insects such as mosquitoes, and lower crop yields, are spreading disease particularly in Africa. Deserts are spreading, through climate change, bad farming, overgrazing and forest destruction. Billions of gallons of water released from melting glaciers, plus the expansion of the oceans is causing a rise in sea level. But more than 2 billion people are cooking on wood, dung and charcoal, collecting heating fuel and destroying tree cover. Air pollution, from cooking fires, causes 1.8m deaths a year. The world's richest nations set a target in 1999 to give electricity to 1 billion people but this has been abandoned, due to lack of enthusiasm from the US. New technologies such as wind, wave and solar power would be harnessed, while inefficient coal and oil would be phased out. The US, which produces 25% of the world's greenhouse gases, will have to be persuaded to rejoin the process. Renewable sources of energy are being developed worldwide but fossil fuels still dominate. Last year, coal, oil and gas power stations produced 64.5% of the world's power, 19% came from hydro-power, nuclear power stations 16% and only half of 1% came from renewables, including geothermal power. Since 1663 - when carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can first be reliably measured, the amount of this greenhouse gas has been rising steadily. In 1663, there were 279 parts per million in the air and last year it rose to 370.9ppm. Wind power is the world's fastest growing energy industry and there are now enough wind generators to power 12 million European homes. Solar works well, though expensive, while wave power has potential. Europe is developing its renewables fast. Brazil, the central American states and Indonesia are championing a campaign in Johannesburg that would require all countries to fix the use of "new renewables" at 10% of their energy mix by 2010.     rw 003869
  • August 22, 2002   London Guardian   A Vision of Dystopia.   By mid-century nine billion people will be generating $140 trillion a year. That will reduce the 1.2 billion people living on less than a dollar a day, but can bring environmental catastrophe and lower living standards for everyone. Economic growth is vital for tackling poverty, reducing infant mortality and giving every child an education. Global coordination will be critical if gains in incomes, literacy rates and access to sanitation are not reversed by population growth. A World Bank report warns we could be confronted by dysfunctional cities, dwindling water supplies, inequality and conflict with even less land to feed us. The biosphere's capacity to absorb carbon dioxide has been compromised by the use of fossil fuels. Nearly 23% of all crop land, pasture, forest and woodland have been degraded, a fifth of tropical forests cleared. Developing countries should promote participation and democracy; rich countries be less selfish by increasing aid, debt relief, opening their markets and transfering technologies to prevent diseases, increase energy and bolster agriculture. Firms should focus on sustainability and profit while advancing environmental and social objectives. Four open questions are posed in the conclusion to the report. When is consumption overconsumption? What is the future of genetically modified products? How can the interests of patent holders be balanced against those of the users of products? What are the prospects for global migration?     rw 003870
  • August 22, 2002   Planet Ark/Reuters   Kenya, Tanzania to Sell Maize to Zambia .   After rejectin genetically modified maize, the Zambian government will buy maize from Kenya and Tanzania who have offered to supply natural maize to ease the problem the country is facing from the current shortage. Purchases from Kenya, which has a maize surplus, and Tanzania are expected to fill all of Zambia's current requirements. Zambia faces a deficit of 630,000 tonnes. Drought and floods in key growing areas has reduced Zambia's food production. Four million people in Zambia faced starvation. Last month Zambia would not accept GM maize until it determined whether it was safe for human consumption. 42,000 tonnes of GM maize destined for Zambia would be diverted to other southern African countries. Malawi, Mozambique and Lesotho unconditionally accept GM maize.     rw 003871
  • August 22, 2002   The Guardian (London)   Earth: the Shackles of Poverty: Too Little Schooling. Too Many Mouths to Feed: the Poor Are Trapped in a Viscious Circle: Population.   Ten years ago in Rio population growth was unmentionable, because of the Vatican's objections to birth control. By 2050, the population is expected to reach 9.3 billion with most born in the poorest countries of the world. More than half the world's population - 3.7 billion - live in Asia in some of the most overcrowded and primitive conditions. The key to population control is the education of women, and improvement in healthcare. A child born in an industrialised country will add more to consumption and pollution than 30 to 50 children in developing countries. The 49 least- developed countries will nearly triple in size in 50 years to 1.86 billion people, while the largest generation of young people in human history, 1.7 billion people aged between 10 and 24, is now at or reaching reproductive age. But discussion on controlling population growth will again be taboo in Johannesburg because of a coalition between the Vatican, Islamic states and Christian fundamentalists. The UN believes a huge effort is needed to prevent more and more people being born into poverty, and into worsening conditions where escape is more and more difficult.     rw 003883
  • August 21, 2002   BBC News   Cities to Drive World Economy.   The World Bank says the global economy could expand by 400% in the next 50 years, reaching $140,000 billion and that living standards "could be much higher" with world population stabilizing at 9-10 billion. [??!!] But for gains to be equally shared the gap between rich and poor will have to be tackled, as will the problems of urban slum dwellers and the rural poor living on "fragile lands". Current production and consumption patterns," are not sustainable said Nick Stern, the World Bank's chief economist. The gap between rich and poor countries has doubled in the past 40 years. The average income in the richest 20 countries is 37 times higher than the income in the poorest 20 countries. Switzerland has 7 million people and an economy worth $266 billion, while the whole of sub-Saharan Africa has 700 million and an economy of $316 billion. 1.2 billion people live in extreme poverty, on $1 per day. one quarter of people in developing countries (1.3 billion in all), including many of those in extreme poverty, live in zones with fragile ecosystems, including forests, arid regions, mountains and wetlands. Since the 1950s, 23% of all cropland, pastures, forest and woodland have been degraded, while every 10 years 5% of tropical forests disappear. Today 1 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water and by 2050, half the world's population may lack such access. 40% of the population in the Middle East, North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa live in areas that cannot sustain them. The bank has made a controversial proposal that water should be privatized, but poor people must be given prior property rights to water, with the choice of whether to use it for farming or to sell it. And governments must go beyond the market in deciding how much water must be kept back for environmental reasons, to maintain river levels. Hugh gains will be made, says the bank, if population growth shifts to low. While 2 billion will be added in the next 20 years, only 1 billion is expected to be added in the 30 years after that - as better educated women decide to have fewer children. By 2050, 65% of the world's population will live in cities, and in the developing world there will be 54 megacities - those containing more than 10 million people - compared with 15 now. Urbanisation has its advantages and disadvantages, increasing the "catchment area of markets and the returns to economic endeavour", and supporting risk-taking, innovation, and technology, but also lacking water access, sanitation, and electricity, and hosting shanty towns where people are poor and have no legal title to land. 837 million live in shanty towns or slums- 50% the urban residents in Africa, 33% of those in Asia, and 25% of those in Latin America and the Caribbean. The World Bank advocates better tools to measure the effects of the depletion of resources on the economy. Market failures must be addressed by governments. 003925
  • August 20, 2002   New York Times   Managing Planet Earth; Experts Scaling Back Their Estimates of World Population Growth.   [Note: the projected peaking of the world's population at 10 billion is not news. The estimate of 10 billion was announced early in the year 2000. This article is misleading in that regard.] Demographers have been stunned by a plunge in birth rates which was totally unexpected. Although they once predicted a peak in earth’s population of 12 billion by 2200, they now believe it may peak at 10 billion. The world’s current population of 6.2 billion is increasing by 77 million people per year, 97% of which is occurring in developing countries. In order of growth rate, the countries with the most rapidly growing populations are India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Indonesia. By 2050, "India will have 100 million more people than China", because of both its growth rate and its current large population base. The US now ranks seventh in growth, comparable to that of developing countries, 80 % of which comes from immigration. These observations contradict some previously held beliefs. One of these is that education and the increasing economic participation of women were preconditions for a drop in fertility rates. A second incorrect belief is that religion and culture would "thwart efforts to cut fertility". However, Italy’s rapidly shrinking family size and Islamic Iran’s success with family planning contradict this belief. Nevertheless, three trends which have been observed are continuing -- urbanization, the graying of societies (with some exceptions due to high mortality among young adults due to AIDS), and increasing stress on governments, societies and natural resources by rapidly growing populations. The latter situation is particularly acute in Asia, which "already has 56% of the world’s population living on 31% of its arable land, and more than 900 million people exist[ing] on less than $1 a day." It seems inevitable that Asia will experience "acute water scarcity, a significant loss of biodiversity and more urban pollution". In addition, "by 2020, ... Asia will be producing more carbon dioxide emissions than any other region." This web site contains a interactive graphic showing current predictions of world population growth by 2025.     st 003842
  • August 20, 2002   New York Times*   Managing Planet Earth; Forget Nature. Even Eden is Engineered.   Vladimir I. Vernadsky, a Soviet geochemist, wrote nearly 70 years ago that, through technology and sheer numbers, people were becoming a geological force, shaping the planet's future just as rivers and earthquakes had shaped its past. Fast-growing countries including China and Mexico are cutting air pollution, and the potential exists to spread the benefits of development to the poor majority without depleting resources. Population will increase 50% but the demand for food will double. Greenhouse gases have contributed to a warming climate and thousands of plant and animal species are likely to become extinct. People have altered more than one-third of the landscape. But if managed correctly 20% of the forest area could provide the world's needs for wood and pulp. Two-thirds of fish species are fully exploited. People use half the world's fresh water and water is a prime focus at Johannesburg. Humans have become the dominant driver of evolution. One challenge is to double agricultural production without using more land. Family size drops in urban areas because of access to health care, schools and other basic services. Energy is used more efficiently, and drinking and wastewater systems can be built easily. Some say that Western endless growth must cause environmental damage. But optimists say that cleaning the environment and reducing poverty are required because they are in humanity's self-interest. Hundreds of businesses have added sustainability managers to their executive roster. It may be that local communities lead the way in harmonizing people and the planet     rw 003843
  • August 20, 2002   Seattle Times   U.S.: Breathing Uneasier: 'Smog Days' on the Rise Nationally.   In 2001 there were 4,634 times when smog levels exceeded health standards. California leads the nation in dirty air, followed by Texas, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Ohio. Preliminary data suggests most places are getting more smog than last summer. High temperatures and drought have added to the smog problem. The Bush administration asked Congress to adopt a voluntary cap and emissions-trading system to address smog-causing emissions from power plants aimed at cleaner air while easing the cost. Environmentalists claim it will give loopholes to avoid clean-air requirements. The Edison Electric Institute, said that air quality has been improving since the Clean Air Act in 1970. The report is based on statistics from the E.P.A. which determines whether counties meet minimum pollution levels. The data show an increase in the number of times ozone levels exceeded federal health standards in the 20 states from New England to Texas.     rw 003955
  • August 19, 2002   KCRA web site   Contraception Information on the Web.   See what local news media can do towards sex and reproductive health education. 003833
  • August 19, 2002   forums.ibsys.com   Join the Discussion: the Growing "Child-free" Movement: Is It Necessary?.   A discussion group about being child-free. 003834
  • August 19, 2002   The Washington Post   China's One-Child Policy Now a Double Standard; Limits and Penalties Applied Unevenly.   Under China's one-child policy, women were fitted with IUDs after their first child, sterilized after their second. In Yushui province the punishment for an extra child is a fine. But education, contraceptive choice and fines are not universal. Elsewhere in China, birth quotas lead to abortions and sterilizations. Growing numbers enjoy freedom in deciding when and how many children to have, but others are constrained by family planning workers. The Bush administration withheld funds from the UNFPA because the agency's activities in China maintain coercive abortion. The European Union, boosted funding for UNFPA, saying it moved China to more humane family planning. In Yushui province, local officials used to pressure women to have abortions and evaluated family planning workers by the number of women sterilized. A project to limit births by expanding health services for women, provide more information about contraception and allow couples to make their own decisions was approved by Beijing. UNFPA provided funding and training to 32 rural counties, including Yushui, that eliminated birth permits and stopped promoting abortion. Four years later, population growth in Yushui has remained steady. Many Yushui residents said they have fewer children because of shrinking land holdings and rising school costs. They want to concentrate resources on one or two children, allowing them to perhaps go to college and escape life in the countryside. Nearly a quarter of China's people have eliminated birth permits and quotas over the past five years. Half the population lives in jurisdictions that allow women to choose which type of contraception to use. An team sent by Secretary of State Powell visited UNFPA counties and found no evidence of coercive abortions or sterilizations. The Bush administration noted that even in the UNFPA counties, the government fines couples who have unapproved children. The law describes the fines as "social compensation fees" to cover the cost to society of an additional child and those who have unapproved children should suffer disciplinary measures. In the 32 UNFPA counties, the fines as set by local regulations and are from one to eight times the annual local income. UNFPA hopes to persuade the government to review them. Chinese officials acknowledged the fines are coercive, but said they are justified.     rw 003841
  • August 17, 2002   La Trobe University Release   Sex Education Website for 10-12 Year Olds .   "The Hormone Factory" is a new website for children aged 10 to 12 years explaining sexual and reproductive development and the physical, emotional and social changes associated with puberty. The Australian national curriculum and standards framework for heatlh and physical education was used as a basis. The Bertarelli Foundation funded the website. 003124
  • August 16, 2002   UNFPA Press Release   UNFPA Rejects False Allegations About Its Work in Afghanistan.   Now the Population Research Institute (PRI) is claiming that the United Nations is funding "abortion campaigns" among Afghan refugees. Stirling Scruggs, Director of UNFPA's Information and External Relations Division says that "This disinformation puts the lives of women, United Nations staff and international relief workers in danger. ... UNFPA is providing life-saving services, which are urgently needed because one in 17 Afghan women dies during childbirth. ... No United Nations agency has provided funding for abortion or forced sterilization in Afghan refugee camps or anywhere else." The UNFPA has just opened a mobile hospital in Kabul to offer emergency obstetric care while a damaged maternity hospital is being rehabilitated with UNFPA support. UNFPA will continue to provide medical supplies, safe motherhood services, family planning and midwifery training. PRI has engaged in a stated ongoing campaign to "drive the final nail in the coffin" of UNFPA. None of their allegations have ever been supported. PRI has also accused UNFPA of being a partner in "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo, throwing food aid off airplanes to make room for abortion supplies, supporting forced sterilization in China and Peru, and promoting genocide in Afghan refugee camps. In Peru, UNFPA helped form a commission to stop coercive family planning practices. In China, three separate fact-finding missions, including one by the United States State Department, found no evidence of any wrongdoing by UNFPA. 003805
  • August 15, 2002   Associated Press   Birth Rates Rise in Poor Countries.   Carl Haub, in the 2002 World Population Data Sheet from the Population Reference Bureau, said "The relationship between poverty and fertility is hardly a surprise... But it is taking on added importance with the increasing cost of maintaining national family planning programs in a time of world economic slowdown." In poor nations women average four or more children, compared with one or two in industrialized countries. Poor nations must train more health workers and increase purchase of contraceptives to achieve lower birth rates and improve infrastructures so their economies can grow. From now to 2050, richer countries will increase by only 52 million people, but less developed countries will jump from 5.018 billion to 7.873 billion. Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Niger, Palestinian territory, Uganda and Yemen are projected to have the largest population increases while Botswana, Bulgaria, Estonia, Japan, Russia, South Africa and Ukraine will see the largest population losses (In Botswana, 38.8% of adults are infected with AIDS). While AIDS has resulted in some population decline in some African countries, the Africa continues to lead the world in projected growth. 003795
  • August 14, 2002   Journal of the American Medical Association   U.S.: Contraceptive Law Seen as Detrimental to Girls.   In 1998, Congress considered legislation that would have required parental notification or a court order for minors to obtain contraceptives by prescription from federally funded clinics, and 10 U.S. states have considered similar laws. In a survey of 950 girls, the majority who said they stop using sexual health care services if a law existed and they also said they would not stop having sex. Many also doubted they would switch to condoms or other nonprescription alternative contraceptives. 003790
  • August 13, 2002   Los Angeles Times   Kabul Schools Run Out of Room.   The numbers of street children in the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, have increased to 38,000. They sell small items, gather bits of paper or wood to sell as fuel, or clean people's cars. Some of them learn thievery. Approximately 1.5 million refuges from the Taliban have returned from Pakistan, Iran, and other countries; most are unable to return to their farms because of drought and because the Taliban destroyed the irrigation system and orchards to eliminate cover for its enemies. In Kabul the returnees suffer overcrowding, high costs and scarcities. Their children suffer loss of childhood and education - except the education of the streets where they learn violence and hatred. School enrollment in grades one through six has gone from 1.2 million to 2.6 million children, much of it due to the reregistration of girls, but most of it due to returnees. Some children are being turned away - there are so many and food and health assistance has a higher priority. One-third of promised emergency food aid, or $90 million, has not been paid, mostly from the European Union and Japan. 003782
  • August 13, 2002   The Journal (Montomery County, MD)   Montgomery Woman Labors to Scuttle 'Looney' Treaty.   [NOTE: To responde to this article, mail the editor at: http://www.jrnl.com/cfdocs/new/mc/writealetter.cfm.] Cecilia Royals, raising her eight children with her husband in Bethesda, is president of the small group called National Institute of Womanhood (NIW). NIW, working to ensure the 'dignity and respect' for women in our culture, is in opposition to militant feminist 'anti-family' organizations that denigrate normal women in favor of some anti-family, androgynous, Amazonian ideal - like the National Organization for Women. NIW is also against the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) which is before the U.S. Senate for ratification. NIW gives examples of 'discrimination' as defined by CEDAW committee: the failure by China to legalize prostitution, Belarus' reintroduction of such symbols as Mother's Day which the committee sees as encouraging women's traditional roles, Ireland's bringing religious faith into formation of public policy. The U.S. Department of Justice has labeled CEDAW as simply "bizarre."   [Note: for the text of the CEDAW treaty, go to http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/cedaw.htm. If you find anything on the website advocating the elimination of Mothers Day, Ireland's policies, or China's prostitution, please let me know - I've looked ... kgp] 003784
  • August 13, 2002   Agence France Presse   Earth Summit: the State of the Planet.   There are 6.1 billion in the world today, expected to grow to around 9.3 billion by 2050. ... 49 countries - the world's least-developed - will triple in population to 1.86 billion. Population will not start to fall until the latter part of the century, barring major wars, famines or other disasters. 2.8 billion live on less than two dollars a day, with 800 million being undernourished. Fifteen percent of the world's population own 80% of it's wealth. WWF International says resources are being used 20% faster than they can be replenished. Resource overuse may reach 220% by 2050. By 2050, the overuse of natural resources could be as much as 220%. A UN panel says that CO2 levels are at 370 ppm, 30% higher than in 1750, and could reach 500-1000 ppm by 2100. Many experts think the climate change has already become and that worst case predictions could lead to catastrophic impacts. 11,000 species face extinction due to habitat loss - 25% of mammals and reptiles, 20% of amphibians, 30% of fishes, and 12% of birds. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says that forests have shrunk by 2-4% since 1990, and the World Resources institute says that 40% of the remaining ancient forests will disappear in 10-20 years. 1.1 billion people lack acces to safe drinking water and 2.4 billion to improved sanitation, mainly in Africa and Asia. ... India, China, West Asia, the Middle East, the former Soviet Union and the western US have seen shrinkage of water tables and half of the rivers in the world are either depleted or polluted. An area biggger than the US and Mexico combined suffers degraded soil - through overuse or salt buildup due to poorly managed irrigation. A third of the planet's fish stocks are overfished - classified as depleted, overexploited, or recovering. North Sea cod and other species may now be commercially extinct due to trawler subsidies. 003785
  • August 13, 2002   Sierra Club Population News listserve   August 2002 Legislative Update.   House of Representatives and the Senate are on August recess until September 3. In the Senate there are various legislation affecting family planning that have been addressed but not acted upon. Here is a chance for activists to contact their legislators back home from the break about five important issues: 1) EPICC - Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act, which would require health insurance plans that cover prescription drugs to also provide coverage for prescription contraceptives; ... 2) CEDAW, the international "Bill of Rights" for women - on July 30th, the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed CEDAW, with a vote of 12-7 ... 3) Title X, Health and reproductive health for poor women; ... 4) funding for USAID for 2003, ... 5) revision of the Kemp-Kasten amendment which left a legislative loophole permitting President Bush from releasing the funding for UNFPA. The proposed amendment clarifies that "Kemp-Kasten" can ONLY be invoked by the President if an organization "DIRECTLY participates in the practice of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization." Click on the headline link above for the full alert with details on what an activist can do. 003786
  • August 13, 2002   Family Health International   Female Condom Research Summaries.   The female condom is offers protection from pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted infections (STI) including HIV/AIDS. It is a significant new alternative that women can use to better protect themselves. But: Is the device affordable? Will it be accepted beyond an initial novelty interest? FHI's Female Condom Information Dissemination Project provides scientific, objective, and unbiased information on programmatic implications of the female condom. 003787
  • August 12, 2002   Associated Press   Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Calls U.S. Decision to Cut Funding to U.N. Family Planning Agency "Insulting".   Puerto Rico Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oscar Arias, speaking at a peace conference, said that the lives of poor women were being put in jeopardy by president Bush's decision to withhold $34 million from the UNFPA. Bush decided to withhold the money after hearing accusations that the UNFPA supported Chinese coercive programs involving abortion. UNFPA denies the allegation and a U.S. government fact-finding mission found no evidence of its veracity. 003783
  • August 08, 2002   NPG   California: Housing Costs: No Easy Answers .   Annually California's population grows by 560,000 people while housing production falls 100,000 units short. In the coming 18 years, less than 60% of the new housing needed will be built. Every 8 months the equivalent of a city the size of Sacramento is added. 1 million residents will be added to the Bay Area by 2020. Suggested "smart growth" approaches are: building denser housing, building in already developed areas, laws that promote new housing and changing laws that are obstacles to it, and housing subsidies. This November California voters will be asked to approve a record $2.1 billion housing bond to pay for up to 27,000 new and refurbished affordable housing units annually for five years. In the Bay Area a regionwide traffic-relief ballot initiative would include incentives or mandates for more housing. Residents of neighborhoods designated for denser housing say the approach would ruin their quality of life and embolden cities to force landowners to sell their property for redevelopment. Smart growth can't ease the housing crunch to the extent supporters hope because of two economic obstacles: consumers' preference for single-family homes over apartments or condos, and a lack of sufficient profit for developers. The Bay Area Council has been quietly questioning how much land is truly feasible for "infill" housing. Just because an aging strip mall is zoned for housing doesn't mean developers will step up to build there. Costs often are prohibitive. California's voter-approved tax system, called Proposition 13, has had the unintended consequence of contributing to the housing shortage. Most of the of the property tax generated by new housing goes to the state for education and other programs, which means makes it difficult for cities to pay for services such as fire patrols or libraries. So cities shun housing and woo retail development which generates sales tax and requires fewer services than housing. Some recent legislation would provide incentives and disincentives for cities in planning their fair share of new housing. Each proposal for easing the housing shortage has its drawbacks, and the most controversial approach is to address California's anticipated population growth. One of the solutions that has some backing would be to to enforce laws against illegal immigration and limit legal immigration. But "immigration is linked at the high end and the low end to the economic engine of California and no one wants to turn it off," said Bruce Cain, director of UC-Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies.   [The article did not address tackling California's high birth rate of 2.4. There are and will be more births than immigrants in the years to come. And a large portion of those births are unintended.] 003125
  • August 08, 2002   Christian Science Monitor   The People Equation.   "We are inside a bottleneck of overpopulation and wasteful consumption," says Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson. In his book The Future of Life, he observes that our planet is now in a race between "forces that are destroying the living environment and those that can be harnessed to save it." The world's population grows by more than 75 million each year, with most of the increase in the least developed countries. Meanwhile, 1.1 billion people in less developed countries lack access to clean water. Some 95% of sewage is dumped into surface waters, contaminating the supply. In the world's poorest countries, 160,000 people migrate to towns and cities every day. Cities face health challenges from traffic congestion and people crammed too closely together lacking access to sanitation and health services. Natural disasters are intensified by the poorest people in the poorest countries being forced to occupy the most fragile land. Heads of states convened in Johannesburg, on Aug. 26 to assess progress since the 1992 Conference in Rio de Janeiro. There has been a strange silence on population issues that are at the very core of the coming deliberations. Without expanded efforts to stabilize population growth sustainable development cannot be achieved.     rw 003234
  • August 07, 2002   Sidney Morning Herald   Australia: Producing Fewer Children in a Crowded World May Well Be a Service, Not a Sin .   (opinion) The fertility hounds are at it again, trying to persuade, seduce, bully, bribe, or shame women into having more children, for the good of the country or to provide more souls for some god. But the world cannot sustain such high rates of fertility in the long run. Some demographers tend to forecast an irreversible downwards spiral leading to the depopulation of Australia, but unhealthy population decline tends to be self-correcting. This was evident at the end of World War II and also early last centry in NSW. Producing children is a natural function but it is not a duty (witness the huge number of sperm in any ejaculation). If producing children threatens the future of humanity, we need to learn how to live with fewer of them. 003122
  • August 06, 2002   Earth Policy Institute   Water Deficits Growing in Many Countries - Water Shortages May Cause Food Shortages.   Falling water tables are not highly visable. Often the wells are dry by the time the deficit is discoverd. In the last 50 years demand for water has tripled with the rapid worldwide spread of powerful diesel and electrically driven pumps. Aquifers replenish slowly and pumping faster than replenishment is unsustainable. The water we are consuming now belongs to future generations. Yemen's water table is falling by 2 meters a year and in some parts (in Sana, the capital) by 6 meters a year. World Bank official Christopher Ward says "the rural economy could disappear within a generation." After looking for water in deeper and deeper wells, the choice now is to look at coastal desalting plants, or to relocate the capital. In northern Iran's agriculturally rich Chenaran Plain the water table was falling by 2.8 meters a year in the late 1990s. In 2001 the aquifer dropped 8 meters after a three-year drought and the new wells being drilled for irrigation and to supply a nearby city. In Egypt, the Nile is reduced to a trickle upon entering the Mediterranean. Ethiopia and Sudan compete with Egypt over the waters from the Nile. The population of the area is projected to grow by 58% by 2025. In Mexico's state of Guanajuato, the water table is falling by 1.8-3.3 meters a year. Mexico's population of 104 million adds 2 million a year. China's North China Plain loses 37 billion tons of water a year, enough to produce 37 million tons of grain and feed 111 million Chinese. The needs of cities and industry often divert water from agricultural irrigation, leading to the importing of grain (a ton of grain = 1,000 tons of water). Iran and Egypt import 40% or more of their total consumption of grain. Morocco imports 50%. Algeria and Saudi Arabia - over 70%, Yemen - 80%, and Israel - 90%. Irrigation accounts for 70% of all water use, industry uses 20%, and residences use 10%. China's grain production has gone from 392 million tons in 1998, to below 350 million tons in 2000, 2001, and 2002, with the deficits drawing down the country's grain reserves. If China is forced to import grain, prices will rise dramatically as they did in 1972 when the Soviets, after a poor harvest, imported grain, driving prices of wheat from $1.90 per bushel to $4.89 in two years. Solutions are to stabilize aquifers and stabilize population. Subsidies that create artificially low prices for water must be removed while raising water prices to the point where they will reduce pumping to a sustainable level by forcing water usage effiency. Low-income urban consumers would have "lifeline rates" to provide for basic needs. Meters could be installed on pumps. Population growth can be slowed quickly by investing heavily in female literacy and family planning services. If this is not done, there may not be a humane solution to the emerging world water shortage. 003119
  • August 05, 2002   CRLP   Peru's Apology for Forced Sterilization Feared Part of a Strategy to Limit Family Planning Options.   An apology was issued for the forced sterilization of 200,000 indigenous women during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori. The apology was issued by Peru's Minister of Health following a report from Peru's Congress confirming the violations and recommending that sterilization be banned as a method of family planning. The Center for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP) is concerned that Peru's high-ranking right-wing officials, tied to ultra-conservative Catholic Church groups, may be up to limiting family planning options in Peru and using the violations of the Fujimori administration as an excuse. Luisa Cabal of CRLP said "Women deserve voluntary, comprehensive reproductive health services and the government of Peru has an obligation to ensure access to all methods of family planning." CRLP, the Latin American and Caribbean Committee for the Defense of Women's Rights (CLADEM), and the Flora Tristan Women's Center first documented various forms of violence against women being perpetrated in Peru's public health care facilities in 1996. "We call on the Toledo government to ensure justice for those women whose rights were violated while the Fujimori policies were in place and to ensure appropriate, unbiased reproductive health services, including voluntary sterilization for all Peruvian women," said CRLP's Kathy Hall Martinez. 003051
  • August 05, 2002   Nando Times   Company Won't Resume Norplant Sales.   Norplant, a device worn under the skin of the arm that releases contraceptive hormones for five years, and used by 100,000 women at one point, was pulled by Wyeth pharmaceutical two years ago amid concerns that some lots might not be effective. Now, even though tests have shown that the lots in question were working as intended, the pharmaceutical company has decided not to resume sales. A limited supply of some ingredients is the official reason, but some observers point to the lawsuits from women injured having Norplant removed or disturbed by side effects such as irregular spotting and bleeding, which experts explain by reporting doctors failed to explain side effects in advance. The product is still sold by another company in about 30 countries. The federal Department of Health and Human Services' latest survey on birth control methods ranked Norplant the most effective. Norplant was developed for the Population Council who has since developed and obtain FDA approval for a more comfortable successor product with only two rods called Jadelle. Never distributed in the U.S., Jadelle is sold or distributed by aid programs in four East African countries, Indonesia, Thailand and Finland. Wyeth may begin selling Jadelle in this country and has refined the insertion device to make it more comfortable. 003056
  • August 05, 2002   IRIN News Briefs (UN)   Afghanistan: Number of Malnourished Children Growing.   UNICEF estimates that one out of every two children in Afghanistan is moderately to severely malnourished. The economic situation is bad and people have no clinics or doctors in mountainous regions difficult to access. Many NGOs have had to leave the eastern region due to insecurity. Save the Childen says that one in every four Afghan children will die before their fifth birthday. Most women are ignorant of recognising health problems and are therefore unable to detect the condition in children until it shows physically. Feeding centres supported by WFP cannot do enough. 003062
  • August 01, 2002   Africa News Service   Uganda: Only 5 Million Women in Country Use Birth Control Methods.   Only 5.3 million (21.8%) women in Uganda who are in a sexual union use family planning methods. This figure is expected to rise to 8.5 million by 2015. The injection at 6.4% is the most common method followed by the pill at 3.2%. Measure Communication, part of Population Reference Bureau, conducted the study. Shortages of condoms and other contraceptives are increasing in less developed countries due to the combined effects of growing numbers of contraceptive users, the spread of HIV/AIDS, declining levels of donor funding, and weakness in logistics systems. Uganda's total fertility rate is 6.9 children per woman. 003054
  • August 2002   U.S. Newswire   New Report Warns U.S., Canada Face Tough Environmental Choices.   The USA and Canada's improvement to their environment has come at the expense of global effects. Each citizen consumes nine times more gasoline than any other person in the world. With 5% of the world's population, both countries account for 25.8% of emissions of carbon dioxide. The two countries have reduced by 71% the chemicals discharged into the Great Lakes. About 13% of their land area is set aside as protected areas. Over 70% of Canada's wetlands are protected. Sulphur dioxide emissions in the USA have declined 31% from 2000. Both countries reduced CFC consumption to nearly zero. However Canada and the U.S. face challenges before North America is on a sustainable development path. Soil and wetland losses outpace the gains, the region's aquifers are being depleted. Both countries need changes toward more fuel-efficient technologies, and to curb urban sprawl.     rw 003804
  • August 2002   Inter Press Service   WSSD: "Family Planning" Foes Keep Population Growth off Agenda.   The summit in Johannesburg contained no direct reference to population growth because the USA and some Latin American and Arab nations equate "family planning" with "abortion". The Bush government cut off funds to the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), accusing it of promoting abortion in China. UNFPA denied the charge. Slowing population growth is the hope for heading off ecological disaster. It took thousands of generations to arrive at the billionth human being, but just 170 years to add an additional five billion. The attacks on family planning aim to torpedo the work of the United Nations by crippling the UNFPA. The world population is growing by 77 million people yearly and future population growth will be dominated by six developing countries: India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Human beings are living beyond the earth's means. The earth is inhabited by 6.2 billion people and there will be at least another one billion and possibly two or three billion more before our human numbers level off. It is a race between destroying the environment and saving it.     rw 003886
  • July 31, 2002   Africa News Service   South Africa: Births Grow By Only 1.8 Percent; AIDS Blamed.   The number of new births in South Africa grew by only 1.8% since 2000. University of SA demographer Carel van Aardt explained that HIV/Aids in its later stages affects the biological capacity of a woman to have babies. In the second or third stages, a woman would start losing interest in sex, and later her attractiveness as a partner. In addition, with increased urbanization, more women enter the labour market, opting for either postponing children or settling for smaller families. By 2010 the country may see zero growth. The use of contraceptives was not common among the majority of the population. 003059
  • July 29, 2002   commondreams.org   Grim Reaping: the Industrialization of Agriculture is Killing the Land.   Industrialization of food production is destroying the health of the land and the rural communities that both sustain and are sustained by the land, says George Pyle, a director of the Prairie Writers Circle, a project of the Land Institute. Soil erosion is one result of industrialization of agriculture – 5.6 tons of topsoil per cultivated acre per year. With the soil is washed away "nitrogen fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals" which necessitate detoxification plants in cities and which produce "’dead zones’ in coastal waters". The remaining soil is of "ever-decreasing quality" necessitating increasingly greater amounts of chemicals. Salinization of the soil ensues as water evaporates leaving behind salts. All of these factors accelerate soil degradation; healthy soils require much organic material, which is destroyed by increasing salt concentrations and weed and pest killers. The author observes that "fewer people on farms is both cause and symptom of degraded land [which is] rapidly losing its ability to produce healthy food".     st 003029
  • July 28, 2002   San Francisco Chronicle   Russia on Brink of AIDS Explosion: Ignorance and Inaction Threaten Catastrophe.   Infection rates rarely seen outside sub-Saharan Africa could happen in Russia as a result of the fastest growing epidemic of HIV infection in the world reports the United Nations AIDS program. Unless current trends are curtailed, more than 5 million Russians could have HIV by 2007, said Vadim Pokrovsky, Russia's top AIDS researcher, and between 5 million and 10 million people may be dead from AIDS by 2015, according to estimates by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. $65 million is needed immediately for programs to prevent and treat HIV, but the government has devoted only $5 million to it. HIV started in 1987 through sex between gay men - an illegal and taboo practice. It spread through intravenous drug use. Now the practice of unsafe sex among heterosexuals is the fastest growing souce of infection. Even in 2002, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about the nation's overall health crisis but made no specific mention of HIV or AIDS, even thought the known infection rate has increased by more than 500% since 1997. Russia spends $45 per reported HIV case per year, compared with the $10,000 to $15,000 spent per HIV patient annually in the United States. Russia has a sense of pride about such things, having refused a $150 million loan from the World Bank for the prevention and treatment of HIV, AIDS and tuberculosis, a disease that kills 30,000 Russians a year. "Most people believe that the disease only affects the scum of the earth." The number of people who said they had no idea how they contracted the disease is also steadily growing - up to 43% in 2001. People continue to believe they are immune to the epidemic. 003058
  • July 24, 2002   Salon.com   A $34 Million "Political Payoff".   Colin Powell, who was forced to defend a decision contradicting his own staff's recommendation and everything he himself has ever said about the Population Fund wrote the following: "Regardless of the modest size of UNFPA's budget in China or any benefits its programs provide, UNFPA's support of, and involvement in, China's population-planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion." 002960
  • July 23, 2002   United Nations Population Fund   UNFPA Funding Cut: Statement by Thoraya A. Obaid.   "It is with deep regret that I confirm the loss of U.S. funding this year for the United Nations Population Fund. It is especially troubling since the fact-finding mission that was sent to China by the United States found quote: "no evidence that UNFPA has supported or participated in the management of a programme of coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization in China," as has been charged by critics." ... "In the past, the U.S. Administration chose to fund UNFPA with the condition that no U.S. funds were spent in China. We have honoured this stipulation by putting U.S. money into a separate account. We could have done the same this year, which would have allowed U.S. taxpayer dollars to provide life-saving services in the other 141 countries where we work." .... "We estimate that $34 million for reproductive health and family planning would be enough to prevent: * 2 million unwanted pregnancies * nearly 800,000 induced abortions * 4,700 maternal deaths * nearly 60,000 cases of serious maternal illness, and * over 77,000 infant and child deaths." .... "UNFPA does not support or promote abortion anywhere in the world. The services we promote reduce the incidence of abortion. Abortion rates are actually declining in the 32 counties in China where we operate." ... "Balanced population growth benefits the world and the goal of sustainable development so there are enough resources to meet the needs of current and future generations." 002955
  • July 22, 2002   New York Times*   UNFPA Money to Go to USAID Family Planning.   Secretary of State Colin L. Powell has decided that, instead of sending the $34 million to the United Nations Population Fund, the administration should send it to the United States Agency for International Development. Richard A. Boucher chief State Department spokesman said that "the U.N. Population Fund monies go to Chinese agencies that carry out coercive programs."   [While UNFPA works in over 140 countries around the world, USAID works in fewer than 70. International family planning funding would need to rise from its current level of $480 million a year (FY 2003) to over $675 million a year simply to return to 1995 levels as adjusted for inflation. Patrick Burns, National Audubon Society Population & Habitat Program] 002956
  • July 22, 2002   Population Action International   Bush Denies UNFPA Funding.   The Senate Appropriations Committee adopted a FY 2003 bill last week allowing $50 million for UNFPA and rewriting the Kemp-Kasten amendment to disqualify only those organizations that "directly participates" in coerced abortion or involuntary sterilization. 002957
  • July 22, 2002   Gulf News   Population of United Arab Emirates Climbs 7.4 Percent in 2001 .   The UAE (United Arab Emirates) is encouraging UAE nationals to have more children and at the same time foreign workers are migrating to the area. The country grew from 3.24 million to 3.48 million in one year. 67.6% of the population is male; 25% is under age 15. UAE's GDP grew by only 1.3% in 2001, lowering the per capita income 5.7%, according to the Planning Ministry estimates. Still the 2001 per capita income is one of the highest in the world and is expected to remain so since the UAE is expected to produce more oil. Abu Dhabi was the most populated emirate at 1.36 million, followed by Dubai with 1.02 million. Ajman had the highest growth rate at about 9.4%. Labor was mostly concentrated in the trade, construction, manufacturing and government services sectors. Consumption rose from around Dh112 billion ($30.5 billion) in 2000 to nearly Dh116.5 billion ($31.7 billion) in 2001. 002996
  • July 22, 2002   Population Council   Youth Survey Question Bank .   Development of the bank of questions suitable for use in youth surveys began in 1999, as both the Frontiers and Horizons Programs started work on operations research studies of reproductive health and HIV/AIDS programs for young people in developing countries. 002998
  • July 22, 2002   Seattle Times   Scientists Blame Deadly Africa Famine on Pollution From North America, Europe, Asia.   The severe drought and consequent starvation during the period between 1970-1985 in the Sahel region of Africa may have been caused by aerosols, tiny particles of pollution of sulfur dioxide generated by "factories and power plants ... in North America, Europe and Asia", according to a study released by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), an Australian government research agency. Leon Rotstayn, lead author of the study, believes their data suggest that these aerosols "alter the physics of cloud formation miles away and reduce rainfall in Africa" by 50%, a process call teleconnection. It is possible that the same process accounts for the current drought affecting parts of the US. These sulfur dioxide particles create "condensation nuclei for cloud formation" which "remain suspended in clouds rather than [condensing] into fewer larger droplets and falling as rain". They also reflect solar energy, cooling the surface of the North Atlantic, which reduces evaporation from the ocean and total cloud moisture. The researchers admit that their computer simulation does not completely explain the droughts, and other scientists have criticized their work on the grounds that the simulation is "too simple" and because the simulated pattern of global rainfall "does not match up with actual rainfall observed...around the world". Rotstayn’s group still believes that pollution may account in part for the "more recent, more intense drought". They note that when "the industrialized West reduced aerosol pollution" in the 1990s, ... rain returned to the Sahel".     st 003001
  • July 19, 2002   Times of India   India: Scientists Develop Female Contraceptive from Tobacco.   Researchers in New Delhi, collaborating with scientists from Germany, have manipulated tobacco leaves into producing an agent that makes ineffective a hormone that allows the fertilised egg to attach to the womb. The hormone is called human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG). While there is much more work to be done on the contraceptive, it sounds promising. The anti-HCG anti-body lives inside the woman's body for several days, which means a woman can take a shot of the contraceptive several days before starting a romantic vacation. Or, it can be used as an "emergency" contraceptive after unprotected sex within seven days of intercourse. The safety of the anti-HCG anti-body has already been established. 002929
  • July 19, 2002   Pittsburgh Post-Gazette   U.S. Women Begin Using Newly Approved Contraceptives Nuvaring, Ortho Evra .   NuvaRing and Ortho Evra, two new contraceptives that do not require daily attention, have been appoved by the FDA and have recently come to the market. NuvaRing is a flexible, two-inch ring that when inserted into the vagina delivers pregnancy-preventing hormones. Its insertion is as inserting a tampon. The ring is hardly noticable during sex, but it can be removed for up to three hours for sex, bathing, and douching. It is worn for 21 days, then removed during menstruation. Ortho Evra is a patch that is worn for one week at a time, for three weeks, delivering hormones to the bloodstream in the same way as the birth control pill. The patch is not worn for a week during menustration. The patch can be worn on the buttocks, upper arm, upper torso or abdomen, and the location can be changed from week to week to avoid skin irritation. Although intrauterine devices and the injectable contraceptive Depo Provera also do not require daily attention, both require a doctor's visit for insertion or injection. Many health plans have decided to cover the costs of the contraceptive patch, but haven't decided on the NuvaRing. A U.S. Committee will soon be considering the proposed Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act (EPICC), which would require insurance companies that cover prescription drugs to also cover the five most popular prescription contraceptives: birth control pills, Depo-Provera injections, IUDs, Norplant and diaphragms, but not the new contraceptive patch or vaginal ring. 002969
  • July 19, 2002   Korea Times   Gynecologists in Italy Stop Prescribing Oral Contraceptives to Minors Due to 'Unclear' Law .   Gynecologists in Italy are at risk for liability when prescribing oral contraceptives to girls under age 18 due to a "poorly worded" law. Doctors are allowed to give oral contraceptives to minors who visit clinics, but it is not clear if they may write prescriptions for the pills. Many doctors are prescribing anyway. "We prefer to avoid an unwanted pregnancy than avoiding judges," reported Dr. Luigi Cerzosimo, president of AGICO, the Italian gynecologists' association. 002973
  • July 19, 2002   Planet Ark   UK Study Finds Genes From GM Crops in Human Gut.   Bacteria that live in human intestines have been found to absorb DNA from transgenic crops, say scientists at the University of Newcastle. Volunteers ingesting a burger and milkshake containing genetically modified soy had their intestinal bacteria tested and found positive for trace levels of an herbicide-resistance gene from the soy. While the particular GM material tested was not thought to compromise human health, some GM crops contain antibiotic-resistant marker genes as well, which critics fear could compromise the human immune system. The organization Friends of the Earth expressed concern about the safety of GM food and called for its withdrawal from the market until further testing could be done.   [Note: as overpopulated farmers run out of room for crop rotation and begin experiencing soil degradation, they turn to technology to grow sufficient crops. Untested GM foods and misused pesticides are often used by farmers who have no other recourse when there is no other place left to move to.] 002981
  • July 18, 2002   The Washington Post   Senate Panel to Defy Bush, Vote on Women's Treaty .   CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, is a 23-year-old United Nations document that was signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1980 but has yet to be signed by the U.S. as a treaty. The Democratic Senate is preparing to consider its ratification even though the White House may not want it approved. Although at first the Bush administration said that the convention was "generally desirable and should be approved," the administration now feels its "vagueness" and "complexity" require a review by the Justice Department and has declined to send any ranking official to hearings on the treaty. Foreign Relations Committee chair Joseph R. Biden Jr. said "The committee needs to act soon if we want this Congress to vote on this treaty." The CEDAW convention affirms that women have equal "human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field," and has been ratified by 170 countries, which do not include the U.S., Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Sima Samar, formerly the minister of women's affairs in Afghanistan, in a letter to the committee said, "I cannot overstate to you how important it will be for me and other Afghan women if you do take this step. We will then be able to tell our countrymen that the United States, where women already have full legal rights, has just seen the need to ratify this treaty." On the other hand, the group Concerned Women for America and others said the treaty was a "dangerous, anti-family document" and "a thinly veiled cover for demanding abortion and decriminalizing prostitution." The foreign relations chairman, Sen. Jesse Helms, called it a "radical feminist" manifesto. A February 2001 Heritage Foundation report titled "How U.N. Conventions on Women's and Children's Rights Undermine Family, Religion and Sovereignty," said the United Nations used the convention to "push policy changes that would ultimately deconstruct the two-parent married family and counter traditional religious norms." The Family Research Council has urged anti-convention calls and letters along with the Traditional Values Coalition, made up of conservative Christian churches, which has demanded that Bush "continue to uphold the beliefs of the American people by publicly denouncing this proposition." 002966
  • July 18, 2002   Grist Magazine   Prawn But Not Forgotten.   In Mexico the number of shrimp producers nearly doubled between 1993 and 1998. Along the country's west coast, shrimp ponds have replaced cactus forests with more than 50,000 acres of brackish ponds where plump shrimp feed on fishmeal and, when harvested, are delivered to U.S. markets. In almost every country with a frost-free coastline, poor people with little other income have turned to shrimp farming. But the investment has been questionable both for the environment and the financial health of the investor: shrimp farms have destroyed millions of acres of coastal cactus and mangrove forests, and they've turned many of the world's pristine estuaries into shrimp toilets. Many shrimp farms have been shut down by disease outbreaks or other problems and earnings have been erratic. Fishermen are heavily impacted by the shrimp-farm waste that is often dumped directly into the ocean. A 1,000-acre farm might employ four people but sooner or later it might kill off enough fish to put 100 fishers out of work. The ejidos, or land collectives near Mexico's Sea of Cortez were created by the government in the early 1970s. Thousands of people came from mountain mining towns to live a promised stable farming life. But water was insufficient, so farming failed to provide a steady income. When given the opportunity, farmers turned to aquaculture. Now, with the setbacks of disease, low earnings, and other problems, the Mexican fish farms have become little more than money-laundering operations for drug dealers. Jason Clay of the World Wildlife Fund is helping to develop an international certification system for farmed shrimp, one that will include hard-and-fast rules about habitat protection, pollution control, and fair treatment of workers - supporting a kinder and gentler shrimp farming, and likely a more profitable one. Solutions include replanting mangroves, which seem to be a natural filter for farm waste, and otherwise cleaning discharged water and keeping a lid on disease outbreaks. 002967
  • July 18, 2002   UNFPA Dispatch   British Team Visits China -- Found the Same as the U.S. Team .   A British fact-finding team went to China in May to investigate charges made by the U.S.-based Population Research Institute that the UNFPA was using coercive family planning tactics. One of the team members, Edward Leigh, a Conservative Member of Parliament and a leading U.K. opponent of abortion, said "The Chinese Government agreed to remove [family planning] quotas and there is a clear desire to give women the choice. .... The UNFPA is trying to convince the Chinese Government against the one-child policy. The advantage of having the UNFPA in China is that they can act as a point of contact with the Government to promote international standards." Another member of the fact-finding team, Norman Lamb, a Liberal Member of Parliament said: "I also came to the conclusion that there was no evidence to implicate UNFPA in any coercive practice. In fact it was very much the opposite. I was amazed and encouraged by the number of people in key positions who are pushing policy in the right direction. It is vital for UNFPA to keep in there, supporting these reforms." Another member Christine McCafferty (Labor) reported: "We had the opportunity to ask [questions of] a number of people at random and the desire for small families appears quite embedded." 002984
  • July 17, 2002   Agence France Presse   Poverty, Naivety Make Tajik Women Easy Prey for Gulf Sex Trade .   Lured by the promise of good wages in domestic service, women in Tajikistan come to countries such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia or Turkey only to be forced into prostitution. They are usually poor ignorant women with a strict Islamic upbringing; many are mothers with children, many having been married as second, or even third, wives, ending up with children and no material support. 002948
  • July 16, 2002   Statesman News Service   India: Mishra Decries Stress on Contraceptives .   In Bengali, Health minister Dr Suryakanta Mishra said emphasis on contraceptives for family planning was "all wrong" and that is was more important to focus on infant mortality in order to bring the birth rate down. The state health and family welfare department is promoting day-after emergency pills to combat unwanted pregancies, up to 25% in Bengal. In addition to the day-after emergency pills, long life 380 A, and Copper T intrauterine devices are being promoted to bring down the fertility rate to 2.1 children per woman by 2007. The current fertility rate is 2.29 children per woman. 002947
  • July 16, 2002   Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.)   Immigration: Reforms Unleashed a Tidal Wave.   [Note: this article gives background on U.S. immigration. While some of us may not want immigration reduction, it is important to understand that there are serious environmental and sustainability reasons for wanting less immigration. They are much the same reasons for wanting fewer births.] ... In 1964 Congress had passed the Civil Rights Act guaranteeing protections for all Americans, regardless of race or ethnicity. Next came reform of the nation's race-based immigration laws that shut out most non-whites. Every country was allowed the same number of immigration slots, regardless of population or demand, plus a certain amount is allowed for family and employee-based immigration. In countries where the demand is high, people must wait for years for a chance to be in that country's annual immigration allotment. Large numbers of applicants from a handful of Asian and Latin American countries wait and wait, and then turn often to illegal immigration, with about 275,000 entering the country illegally each year. Also there are many exceptions to the immigration caps. Spouses, parents and minor children of U.S. citizens can come within a year or two of applying. Foreigners who come on student visas can often become permanent residents regardless of the cap. Tens of thousands of refugees and people seeking political asylum are also admitted. This year's cap is 70,000. 003838
  • July 15, 2002   Times of India   India: No Family Planning Programme for 9% Couples.   Nine percent of married couples in Gujarat would have chosen some form of family planning - either to space or limit children or for both - if they were available, according to the state health department's family planning programme. ORC-Macro, a Washington-based organisation, helped in conducting the survey. 43% of the population chose female sterilisation, the most common method of family planning, up from 38% in 1992. Of women who had two children, 80% would opt for contraception if both were sons, 64% if there was one son and 31% if neither were sons. 002930
  • July 14, 2002   New York Times   Bangladeshis Sipping Arsenic as Plan for Safe Water Stalls.   35 million of Bangladesh's 130 million people drink arsenic-tainted water in what the World Health Organization calls "largest mass poisoning of a population in history." The government, in an attempt to get people off of pond water, the breeding ground for lethal diseases, has been drilling wells. But the underground aquifers from which the wells draw water are contaminated with arsenic, which causes cancer. Due to a bureacratic snarl, most of the country's estimated 11 million wells have yet to be tested. Dr. Allan H. Smith, an epidemiologist at the University of California at Berkeley and an expert on arsenic said "It seems like nonsense to people, telling them the water is killing them when it looks so clean and nice." The poison in small doses is slow, taking 2 to 10 years or more to work its damage. Estimates of the number who will die from arsenic poisoning range from 1 to 3 million. Arsenic can be filtered from the water, but this requires some effort and training. Alternative safe water may be difficult to find. Bangladesh is the world's eighth most populous nation, occupying a region about the size of the state of Wisconsin. Other major sources of death are the child killers pneumonia and diarrhea, and tobacco-caused cancer, flooding and famine. 002936
  • July 12, 2002   The Sacramento Bee   A New Century of Growth Promises to Remake California Life.   At the dawn of World War II, after already absorbing people from the 1849 gold rush and the Dust Bowl migrations in 1940 and 1941, California easily held 7 million people. That population doubled by 1960 and doubled again by 2000. People came from other states, Asia, South America and Mexico. Today there are 35 million Californians in an area of 156,000 square miles. Every year 600,000 new residents must be accomodated, straining the infrastructure, such as putting another 8 million more vehicles by 2040 on already congested freeways, portable classrooms dominating school yards, and new housing tracts that many can't afford. Another 24 million people will be added by 2040 - equivalent to adding a new San Diego every year, and state officials say the population would reach 52 million people by 2030, and 58 million by 2040. While in the past, migrants and immigrants provided most of California'a growth, today and tomorrow, babies are the dominating growth factor. By 2040, nearly half of California's population will be housed in metropolitan Los Angeles' five counties - Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura, according to the California Department of Finance. 002862
  • July 12, 2002   Commondreams (Boston Globe)   Thinking Globally, Acting Locally : Global Warming Fight Builds Locally .   Cities, towns and grassroots groups in New England have decided to think globally and act locally to slow global warming. Although they realize "that their efforts to [cut] greenhouse gas [emissions] amount to tiny gestures against the vast scale of the problem", they feel they "are laying a foundation for political action that could ... build up to a national policy". The real problem according to activists is "that it is hard to sustain the public’s attention on [this] common and slow-acting threat" particularly in the face of the indifference of public policy makers. Thus, although rather symbolic, the resulting measures do serve to educate the public on the intimate connection between their life style choices and global warming. The measures are also experiments on what will work and which are most readily acceptable. The measures include requiring homeowners to plant new trees to replace those they cut down and having towns use hybrid cars instead of gasoline powered ones. "Clergy led interfaith prayer sessions to end global warming at all six New England State Houses last month." Last August, "a coalition of regional governors and Canadian premiers agreed ... to roll back greenhouse gas emissions in the Northeast to 1990 levels by 2010". Prodded by various action groups, "more than 20 communities in the region ... have become part of Cities for Climate Protection", in which each member community makes an inventory of "their total greenhouse gas emissions" forms a "detailed local action plan to reduce them". The organizers suggest that "what we’re doing is building momentum" and believe that " a lot of initiatives had to be demonstrated on the local level before they went [national]".     st 002863
  • July 12, 2002   Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report   Kaiser Family Foundation and Seventeen Magazine Release Latest Sexsmarts Survey on Teen Sexual Behavior .   In a survey of 503 teens ages 15 to 17, Kaiser Family Foundation and Seventeen Magazine found that only 11% of teens who have had sexual intercourse say that they discussed their sexual plans with their parents ahead of time, while 40% say their parents still do not know they have had sex. 28% told their parents about their experience afterward and 20% said that their parents found out about their sexual activity "some other way." On the subject "how to know when you are ready to have sex," 48% of all respondents and 56% of sexually active respondents said that they never talked with a parent about it. On sexually transmitted diseases the numbers were 50% and 54%. Contraception: 51% and 52%. HIV/AIDS: 44% and 48%. Condoms: 48% and 46%. 80% of all respondents thought that parents will disapprove or assume teens are already having sex if they discuss the subject with them. 84% have never talked with a health care provider about how to know when one is prepared to have sex. Half of sexually active teens were embarrassed or uncertain how to bring up the subject, or were afraid parents would find out - to the point of not talking at all to a health provider about contraception, HIV/AIDS, condoms or STDs. While most teens will talk to a sexual partner or a potential sexual partner about "what they feel comfortable doing sexually," only about 40% of those sexually active said that they have never discussed STDs or HIV/AIDS with a partner and 28% never discussed contraception with a partner. 002873
  • July 12, 2002   China Daily   China Talks About Sex .   "Women's positions have greatly improved in society, and old sexist ideas have been largely conquered," said Yang Fukui, executive vice-director of the China Family Planning Association (CFPA). Sex education programmes teach family planning, healthy child bearing and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. China has almost 1.3 billion people, with 70% in less-developed rural areas. China's growth rate has remained at about 1.25% in the 1990's. 002939
  • July 11, 2002   Gulf News Research Center   Population Grows at Steady Pace.   The theme for this year's World Population Day is "Action Against Poverty: empower, protect, educate" with focus on women. The implications of poverty are more bitter for women than men as poor females have less access to education, land ownership, credit and employment opportunities. The world's population is expected to be 9.3 billion in 2050, having increased by 58% in the 50 years, and expecting to rise another 52% in the next 50 years. Statistics show the population for the less developed regions in 2050 as 87% of the population, as women have more children in the less developed regions. The more developed countries are experiencing an ageing population. A wide gap exists in the child mortality rates between the more developed and less developed regions. Statistics then detail the population growth in the Arabian Gulf region, in particular Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia,the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar. The world uses 54% of available fresh water and will use 70% by 2025. By 2050 about 4.2 billion persons will not have access to the basic requirement for water of 50 litres per person per day. Desalinisation is limited because of the high costs. Population growth has surpassed the growth of world food production and the problem becomes complex if the population grows to the projected numbers and food production maintains the same rate. Population growth has led to large emissions of carbon dioxide and the impact on the environment is severe. Some believe that population growth is not as huge a problem as there are resources and methods to preserve earth's natural wealth.     rw 002906
  • July 11, 2002   Push newsfeed   Mexico Aims to Reduce Birth Rate, Raise Standard of Living.   Mexico wants to reduce it's birth rate to 2.1 children per family, which should make it easier for the government to meet the country’s health care, education, employment and housing needs, says Mixico's president Vicente Fox. Over the last 30 years Mexico’s population growth rate has fallen from 3.3% per year to 1.7% due to the drop in the birth rate from 7 to 2.3 children per family. Vincente wants to break "the vicious cycle of accelerated population growth," which also has a harmful effect on the environment and leads to increased poverty. Mexico’s population is projected to reach 106 million by 2006 and 130 million by 2050. 002915
  • July 11, 2002   Deccan Herald   India: Family Planning Programme Successes and Failures.   In 1951, India was the first country in the world to start an official family planning programme. But some of the countries in South East Asia such as Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand, which started their family planning programmes two decades after India did, have been more successful than India in reducing the birth rate. From 1901-11 to 1941-51 India was in the first stage of demographic transition - both the birth and death rates were high, and population growth rate was a little below 1%. From 1950 to 1988 India was in the 2nd stage of demographic transistion - the death rate fell rapidly, while the birth rate continued to be high or declined only slowly. The average annual population growth rate was 2% or even higher. This was true despite the increase in the use of family planning by couples from 10% to over 37% and despite considerable investment in family planning programs by the government. In contrast, South Korea's birth rate declined sharply from 43 per 1000 in 1960 to 16.5 in 1988. The first Area Project (India Population Project - I) was implemented during 1973-80 in the five (now seven) districts of Bangalore and six districts in Uttar Pradesh. The Area Projects have contributed immensely to the strengthening of the infrastructure of the health and family planning programmes. The birth rate has declined from 41.7 per thousand population during 1951-61 to 26.1 in 1999, the death rate from 25 to 8.7, the infant mortality rate from 146 to 70 and the child mortality (0-4 years) rate from 57.3 to 23. The expectation of life at birth has increased from 36.7 years in 1951 to 64.6 years in 2000. Under the family planning programme, millions of sterilisations have been conducted, IUDs inserted and condoms and oral pills distributed. In 1997-98, 45.5% of all couples were covered by effective family planning methods. Despite all of this effort and success, India's birth rate is not coming down to expectations. In the early 1960's officials started thinking in terms of "the objective of stabilising the growth of population over a reasonable period" and family planning targets were set for various states. The family planning targets have been discontinued from 1996-97 because of the tyranny created by them. But the demographic goals remain. In original demographic goal was to reduce the birth rate to 25 by 1973. But the goal was never met, and every time a demographic goal was set, it was either revised upwards or deferred to be achieved at a later date. The 'National Population Policy 2000' has set the demographic goal of reducing the total fertility rate from 3.6 in 1991 to replacement level (2.1) by 2010. It is hoped that this goal would be achieved by the due date. 003839
  • July 09, 2002   San Francisco Chronicle   Pesticides and Flawed Frogs: Researchers Reveal First Signs Linking Land Runoff to Deformities .   The deformities of wild frogs with missing or extra hind limbs - found in at least 43 states and five Canadian provinces - have been attributed in the past to a common parasite, the burrowing trematode worm. But now another link has been found between the deformities and widely used farm pesticides atrazine and malathion, which seem to make the frogs more vulnerable to the parasite by weakening their immune systems. The atrazine family of chemicals is among the world's most widely used weed killers. Malathion is commonly applied to control mosquitoes and even for killing head lice. What is happening to the frogs is possibly an early warning of health problems affecting humans. Studies showed "considerably higher rates of limb deformities where there was pesticide exposure, even at concentrations considered safe for drinking water by the Environmental Protection Agency. 002896
  • July 08, 2002   Yahoo News   Tap Africa's Traditional Healers for Safe Sex Help .   Many people in rural areas of Malawi turn to traditional healers when they are sick. In fact, Malawi recognizes this and provides traditional healers training on TB and encourages the healers to refer people who might have the disease to the medical system. A similar program might work with HIV and STDs, leading to gearlier referrals to clinics for treatment. 46% of patients reported having had sex even when they had symptoms of an STD, and 74% of them had not used condoms. 90% of the patients who had not used condoms lived in villages and had seen only a traditional healer before going to the clinic. 002889
  • July 08, 2002   The Nation (Nairobi)/All Africa News   Where AIDS Orphans See Prostitution As a Way Out for a Living .   In Rangwe, Nairobi, prostitution is seeing a meteoric rise. About 500 orphaned girls, having to fend for themselves, have become sex workers, abeting the spread of AIDS. While they earn only 12% of their total income from prostitution, for many of the girls who have lost both parents, extreme loneliness has made them vulnerable to risky sexual relations to fill the void. Girls try to please the older men to get better careers later in life. Pre-marital intercourse seems to be condoned in a culture where there are cultural practices such as wife inheritance, tero buru and chodo (Luo cultural rites). Other ways to boost the girls' income are being sought, such as a second-hand clothing business, a grain mill, a mini-super-market or a small cafeteria. 002892
  • July 08, 2002   Population Action International   Condoms Count: Meeting the Need in the Era of HIV/AIDS .   002893
  • July 08, 2002   Population Action International   Condoms Count in Spanish.   002894
  • July 07, 2002   Observer of London   The World's Ticking Timebomb Earth Will Expire by 2050.   If natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate, by 2050 Earth's population will need to colonize two planets the equivalent size of Earth, says the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in a new report Living Planet. Western society's high consumption levels were condemned in the report. In the last thirty years a third of the natural world has been destroyed by humans. Either consumption rates are dramatically and quickly lowered or the planet will no longer be able to sustain its growing population. Seas will have no fish; forests will destroyed, and suppliies of water will become meagre and polluted. Stocks of spawning cod have collapsed from 264,000 tonnes in 1970 to under 60,000 in 1995. Global forest cover has shrunk by about 12%, biodiversity in the ocean by a 33% and freshwater ecosystems by about 55%. In an examination of 350 kinds of mammals, birds, reptiles and fish, it was found that many species have more than halved their numbers. While attention should be focused on next month's Earth Summit in Johannesburg, Matthew Spencer, a spokesman for Greenpeace, said: 'There will have to be concessions from the richer nations to the poorer ones or there will be fireworks.' And US President George W. Bush will fail to attend. WWF found that the average US resident's consumption 'footprint' is 12.2 hectares per capita compared to Western Europe's 6.28 ha and Ethiopia's 2 ha and .5 ha for Burundi, the country that consumes least resources. Go to www.wwf.org to read the entire report. 002837
  • July 05, 2002   New York Times*   Modest Anti-AIDS Efforts Offer Huge Payoff.   "Simple, relatively inexpensive steps" could prevent between 29 to 46 million people from becoming infected with AIDS by 2010, according to studies reported in the 14th International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain. These include "improving the status of women, condom promotion and distribution, voluntary counseling and testing, and education programs for students and workers. Providing drugs to prevent mother to child transmission of HIV, aggressively identifying and treating sexually transmitted infections and providing clean needles to IV drug abusers would also reduce HIV infection rates. The costs of these programs, about $10 billion per year or $1,000 for each infection prevented, is considerably lower "than the cost of treating people once they become ill." Such measures would meet the goal "of reducing the number of infected young people by 25% by 2005 in the hardest-hit countries, and by 25% elsewhere by 2010", a goal set last year at a UN General Assembly special session on AIDS. The primary obstacles to full implementation of these goals include lack of funds, the difficulty reaching the people who need help particularly in rural areas and reaching the specific individuals who benefit from medical and educational interventions. Two of these reports can be seen at .     st 002831
  • July 03, 2002   New York Times*   In Poor Nations, a New Will to Fight AIDS.   Peter Piot, the executive director of UNAIDS, calls for markedly increased funding for the treatment and prevention of AIDS, the "deadliest epidemic in human history" which is now expected to kill 68 million people by 2020, over 5 times the death rate in the previous two decades. "In some of these nations, AIDS could kill half of today’s new mothers". Some countries, with good leadership and strong community education and prevention programs, have succeeded in reducing the disease prevalence. These include Uganda, Zambia, Cambodia and Brazil. More money is needed. Piot estimates that "by 2005, $10 billion will be needed annually to finance a basic response to HIV and AIDS in developing countries alone". This amounts to "an increase of 50% a year in funds [per year] directed at fighting AIDS". Affordable drugs are also needed. Despite a decrease in the cost of antiretroviral drugs, only 30,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa received them in 2001, during which 2.2 million people died of AIDS. [In contrast, only 700,000 of the 40 million HIV-infected people in the world received antiretrovials in 2001, 500,00 of whom lived in high-income countries in which fewer than 25,000 died of AIDS.] In 2002, $3 billion is available for treatment and prevention of AIDS, but to bring this up to $10 billion by 2005 will require "country-to-country assistance, [money from] foundation and business, increased government spending in developing countries and international debt relief". According to Dr. Piot, "if we do not tackle this disease", other goals set at the Millennium Summit in 2000 including "education, literacy, infant mortality and agricultural and economic progress" cannot be met.     st 002827
  • July 02, 2002   New York Times*   U.N. Forecasts Big Increase in AIDS Death Toll.   The first long range forecast by UNAIDS, released in advance of the 14th International AIDS Conference to open in Barcelona on 7 July, predicts that 65 million people will die by 2020, a threefold increase in the death toll since 1980. In sharp contrast to earlier expectations, this report predicts that the "epidemic is still in its early stages". It is now thought that areas thought previously to be relatively unaffected will show marked increases and that heavily affected areas in which the disease had been expected to plateau will show further increases. The "AIDS death toll by 2020 will rival the number of people killed in wars in the entire 20th century". These new predictions were made possible by improved methods for modeling epidemic patterns as well as new data on AIDS and patterns of sexual behavior from affected countries, according to Dr. Peter Piot, the director of the UNAIDS program. Because of the chronicity of the disease, social factors including mass migrations and economic upheavals play a large role in determining the number of people at risk. It is now thought that previous "five year projections underestimated the extent of the spread of HIV ... in Africa by" 30 – 50 %. Estimates of the percent of the population with HIV infections has been increased in Botswana to 39%, and in Zimbabwe and Swaziland, to 33%, compared to 25% in 1999. HIV transmission rate is up to 12% in Cameroon, up from 4.5-9% between 1988 to 1996. "The fastest growing epidemic is in Russia and Eastern Europe where HIV is now moving from injecting drug users into the wider population". The second most affected area is the Caribbean with infection rates of 4-6%. In China, where the disease previously was transmitted through IV drug abuse and blood transfusion, HIV is now spread predominantly through heterosexual sex. "Worldwide, 15 – 24 year olds account for half of all new infections". There has been a sharp rise in the number of children orphaned by AIDS. However, according to Dr. Piot, some countries including Zambia, Uganda, Poland and Cambodia, have successfully reduced the rate of AIDS spread. Essential components for success include "widespread HIV prevention [access to voluntary counseling and testing], leadership at the highest levels of government and access to care for people infected ... [with] AIDS". Nevertheless, Dr. Piot said, despite increased budgets among even the world’s poorest countries, "the funds still fall far short of the $9 billion needed annually to combat the epidemic" The full report can be seen at www.unaids.org.   [Some people may have the grim notion that AIDS will go a long way towards reducing the world's population. However, the 65 million expected to die by 2020 is offset by about 2 billion births - or more if the poverty resulting from AIDS prevents the lowering of fertility.]  st 002826
  • July 01, 2002   NRDC   When Hate Goes Green.   The article When Hate Goes Green in NRDC's July 2002 magazine claims that the immigration reform movement is using and abusing environmental issues. It says the immigration reform movement's environmental arguments are plausible, reasonable, and similar to those of mainstream environmental groups. But critics charge that the seeming concern for the environment is a sham. For example, FAIR's anti-sprawl campaign blamed "runaway population growth" for traffic congestion, overcrowded schools, and loss of farmland. But, depending on the audience, the regional field director for FAIR switches his message from protecting the environment to "connecting the dots" between illegal immigration and the terrorism of September 11. And, the article claims, one of FAIR's board is an 'ardent supporter of eugenics', Garrett Hardin. One wonders whether to believe this allegation, because then the article stoops to talking about Roy Beck's (Numbers USA) concern for the environment as if it were a phoney concern - no doubt a 'guilt by association' sort of logic, that lumps NumbersUSA, Immigration Reform (FAIR), Carrying Capacity Network, Population-Environment Balance, and all immigration reform organizations together in the same category as FAIR. It thus portrays all activists who think immigration should be reduced as racists. The article starts out with lengthy anecdote of a couple of bigoted people who go 'Mexican spotting,' as if this were typical of people who believe that the evils the Latino immigrants are visiting on their community are crimes against the environment. Then the story continues to come back to this couple and their interview as if this would prove that immigration reformists are all alike. Roy Beck of NumbersUSA is quoted - because of immigrants "we have had to...build twice as many sewage treatment plants, build twice as many roads and streets," but does not say what is wrong with what Beck says. Mitra Rastegar of Political Research Associates says "the whole 'population control' framework is designed to try and win over more politically moderate people -- to get those people who are not comfortable with blaming immigrants for changing American culture." Patrick Burns of the National Audubon Society, says that, although there are people in the immigration reform movement with "bedrock, unassailable environmental credentials," the movement is "an opportunistic fighter." "When unemployment was high the immigration reform movement tended to talk about immigration reform as a jobs issue. If sprawl becomes a concern, they pick that up as their topic." The article goes on to claim that population has little to do with sprawl, but mentions little about it's effect on water. It says that immigrants vote for the environment, but by its silence discredits the idea that population growth has little or nothing to do with impacting the environment. This article is noteworthy because it epitomizes the nature of the conflicts between those that want immigration reduction, those that want population stabilization but not racial conflict, and those that have blinders on about the impact of population and the environment. It shows how insensitivity is like shooting ones self in the foot when it comes to convincing the public about the root problem with the environment in any country, especially in the U.S. where high consumption and high population growth combine for a double whammy on the environment of not only for the U.S., but for the world - via global warming. 004051
  • July 2002   American Journal of Public Health   Assessment of a New Approach to Family Planning Services in Rural Pakistan .   After decades of failure, the managers of Pakistan's family planning program have designed a way of presenting modern contraceptives that is appropriate to the conditions of rural Pakistan. In 1993, the government of Pakistan started training literate married women to provide doorstep advice and contraceptive supplies in their own and neighboring communities. A study found that married women living within 5 km of two trained workers were mumuch more likely to be using a modern, reversible method of contraception than those with no neighboring family planning workers. 002817
  • June 31, 2002   The Washington Post   Welfare Reform Associated with Reduced Teen Birth Rate Among Girls at 'High-Risk' for Welfare Use .   According to the non-profit organization National Bureau of Economic Research, a study of the 1996 Welfare Reform Act shows that girls who are at "greatest risk" of becoming welfare beneficiaries showed a reduction of birth rates, with 28% of the girls from the 1979 group giving birth, compared to 19% of the 1997 group. Statistics from the National Longitudinal Surveys of Youth were used to compare birth rates of 17- and 19-year-old girls before and after passage of the welfare reform bill. They looked at factors such as living with a single, female head of household or having a mother with little education. The bill was due to expire this year, but a revision (extension) of the bill was passed by the House earlier this month and the bill now moves to the Senate for consideration. 002578
  • June 31, 2002   Dow Jones/AP/Houston Chronicle   FDA Grants Expedited Review Status to Non-incisional Tubal Ligation Alternative .   FDA has granted to Conceptus an expedited review status to Essure, a procedure in which a metal coil is placed into each fallopian tube using a flexible scope inserted through the cervix. The application would be reviewed in July rather than October, and if approved, Essure would be on the market in the United States in 2003. Conceptus CEO Steven Bacich, said the FDA stated that "Essure may offer a significant advantage in female sterilization." Essure is currently available in Europe, Canada, Australia and Singapore. 002579
  • June 29, 2002   Seattle Post-Intelligencer   Crisis in the Deep Blue.   In 1998, the US Commission on Ocean Policy was created in response to a joint statement of "1600 marine scientists, fishery biologists and oceanographers that the oceans are in serious trouble and that trouble is mostly traceable to human abuse." A wide diversity of witnesses for the commission agreed that the problems are fourfold: collapse of wild fisheries, "clear-cutting" of the ocean bottom by trawling, pollution and climate change. Numerous major fisheries, "from New England cod to Peruvian anchovies" have collapsed. "The global wild fish catch has fallen in all but two of the world’s 15 major marine fishing regions", although the full extent of the collapse has been masked by fivefold growth of aquaculture in the past 15 years and the movement down the food chain by fishers. Fish constitute the main source of protein for much of humanity. Second, "bottom trawling is analogous to clear-cutting ancient forests". "Both activities ... destroy complex, stable ecosystems." But bottom trawling is worse in that it’s generally invisible and it’s scope, "vastly greater" (trawling annually destroys "150 time [the] area" destroyed worldwide by clear-cutting). Third, humans pollute the oceans with pesticides and nutrient run-off. Both pesticides and industrial pollutants from farms empty into rivers and thence to the sea. "Sewage, oil, heavy meals, pharmaceuticals, artificial hormones also flow directly into the sea" from cities, where most of the world’s population is concentrated. Fourth, climate change has had profound effects on the ocean, having "already been tied to widespread death of coral reefs and more intense tropical hurricanes". Even worse effects are in the offing. Global warming could "shut down the North Atlantic Current" which will "render much of Europe uninhabitable". And it will cause the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which will "raise the all the world’s oceans 16 –20 feet". In the distant past, this has already occurred at average world temperatures lower than those predicted in this century. The commission suggested several solutions which are outlined in the original article.     st 002791
  • June 28, 2002   Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report   Senate Finance Committee Passes Amendment to Welfare Reform Bill Supporting 'Abstinence-First' Sex Ed Programs .   The welfare reform bill known as the Work, Opportunity and Responsibility for Kids Act of 2002, was passed by the Senate Finance Committee and now includes funding for both abstinence-only and "abstinence-first" sex education programs. $50 million will be provided each year for abstinence-only education programs, and $50 million for "abstinence-first" sex education programs. The 'abstinence-first' amendment, made by Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.), would encourage abstinence but could also teach children about contraception. Currently, every state except for California receives federal abstinence-only education funding provided through the 1996 welfare reform legislation. The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) President Tamara Kreinin remarked that teenagers want "medically accurate information and education" about sex, not abstinence-only programs that are "fear-based, biased and misrepresent the effectiveness of contraception and condoms." 002795
  • June 28, 2002   CCMC/Washington Post/Sierra Club/NWF   Urgent Action Needed on UNFPA US Funding.   An article ran over the weekend in the Washington Post warned that President Bush is heading towards a decision to cut UNFPA funding. Whether you are for or against abortion, it is easy to see the wrongness of Bush's decision. Family planning, which the UNFPA supports, helps eliminate abortions. Please take a few minutes to call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 during business hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Tell the operator that you urge the President to release funding for UNFPA - the UN Population Fund - as soon as possible. For more information on this issue, go to www.sierraclub.org/population/UNFPA/ For good background material, go the National Wildlife Foundation alert here 002824
  • June 27, 2002   commondreams   New Report Identifies Global Warming as a Leading Threat to America's Public Lands and Waters.   Bluewater Network reported last week in Scorched Earth: Global Climate Change Impacts on Public Lands and Waters that global warming threatens America’s "national parks, wildlife refuges, marine sanctuaries and forests" by enhancing droughts and wildfires, by generating smog, and by diminishing plant and wildlife diversity. The Network has also filed petitions with the Departments of Interior, Agriculture and Commerce calling for prompt action to "meet their legal and moral obligations" "to protect resources for future generations". Their conclusions were actively supported by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-Ca) and Congressman George Miller (D-Ca) and were praised by James McCarthy, Harvard Professor of Biological Oceanography and an IPCC member as well as by Paul Epstein, Asst. Director at Harvard Medical School and an author of the WHO/WMO/UNEP report on Climate Change and Human Health. According to the report, global warming has increased wildfires, will cause a 30-inch rise of sea level over the next century (submerging much of the Everglades and Florida Keys). It will cause the disappearance of glaciers from the Glacier National Part within 28 years, the loss of snow pack in Tahoe and the disappearance of tundra on ANWR’s entire North Slope by 2100. It could also destroy native forests in Yosemite, Alaska and Yellowstone by higher temperatures and pestilence, and could devastate fish in streams at Yosemite, in addition to destroying the majority of corals in the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary by 2030. Go to www.bluewaternetwork.org for the full report and petitions.   [Homework assignment: How does population growth in the U.S. affect global warming? Hint: the U.S. population growth rate is 1% a year and the population will double in 70 years at that rate.]  st 002790
  • June 27, 2002   The Metro; UK FPA Press Release   Contraceptive Services to Be Offered in UK Secondary Schools .   In a campaign to cut the teenage pregnancy rate by 15% within three years, the UK Department of Health plans to establish school-based health centres providing contraception and advice on sexual health. The program will be geared to meet teenagers needs and to cover a range of issues, such as relationships with family and friends, emotional problems and general health as well as sexual health. 002801
  • June 27, 2002   United Nations press release   Reproductive Health A Key Tool In Wider Battle Against Poverty, Secretary-General Says In Population Day Message .   Secretary-General Kofi Annan gave a message to the world commerating World Population Day, 11 July. The theme, Reducing Poverty -- Improving Reproductive Health, focuses on the role of family planning, safe motherhood and the prevention of HIV/AIDS in the global fight against the squalor and despair that plague so many members of the human family. Nations of the world committed to providing universal access to reproductive health services by the year of 2015, in a program aimed at empowering women, promoting gender equality, slowing and eventually stabilizing population growth, and fostering sustainable development. They did this at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994. Improved levels of schooling, higher survival rates of children, and better access to reproductive health services including voluntary family planning have helped advance those goals. Birth rates have dropped and population growth is slowing. A virutous circle is evolving: many couples decide to have smaller, healthier families and invest more in each child's future. With fewer dependents to support, economic growth is realized. However, there will still be a billion more people in the developing world by 2015. And the least developed countries are experiencing the most rapid growth with a tripling of population expected in the next 50 years from 658 million to 1.8 billion. These countries are least able to provide basic services and among the most severely challenged by hunger, HIV/AIDS, water scarcity and environmental degradation. 002818
  • June 25, 2002   Todd Daniel   Max Cleland - Candidate for Congress, Georgia .   When the right-wingers launched their initial attack against Max, one of the first things they mentioned was his support for teen access to contraceptives without parental consent. As the father of two young girls, I applaud the senator on his courageous stand. I believe that this right is essential to successfully combat teen pregnancy. 002779
  • June 25, 2002   Pat Waak for Congress campaign   Dr. Pat Walk for Congress .   Dr. Patricia Waak is a nationally recognized community health consultant who serves as an advisor to national organizations on community planning and health issues. Pat is currently a Senior Advisor to Audubon, where she works with faith-based communities on policy issues related to population growth, health and the environment. The election of Dr. Waak and just a few more House members like her can make all the difference. She would also provide urgently needed balance should Rep. Smith be elected to a twelfth term. To give: Pat Waak for Congress, PO Box 776, Fort Lupton, CO 80621 002780
  • June 24, 2002   AP/Ft. Worth Star-Telegram   National Parent Teacher Association Addresses Sex Education at Annual Meeting .   Attendees of the annual National Parent Teacher Association conference were told that a September 2000 Kaiser Foundation survey showed that 80% of parents want schools to teach students about safe sex as well as abstinence. While 97% gave abstinence education top priority, 85% also wanted students to learn more about condoms and other forms of birth control and wanted sex education to address sexually transmitted diseases. 002797
  • June 22, 2002   NPR/Kaiser Daily Health Report   The Effect of Sexual Content in Media on Teenagers .   The average American teenager watches over three hours of television daily, but researchers cannot say if children who watch more television are more likely to have sex, according to a study conducted by reporter Joseph Shapiro. In a recent Kaiser Foundation/U.S. News & World Report poll, 33% of teenagers surveyed said that they have spoken with their parents about sex after viewing a television program with sexual content, but 50% say they "rarely or never" speak to their parents about sex. 002799
  • June 22, 2002   World Health Organization   A Framework to Assist Countries in the Development and Strengthening of National and District Health Plans and Programs in Reproductive Health .   Reproductive health is a crucial aspect of general health and is central to human development. The World Health Assembly recognized the public health importance and social and economic consequences of reproductive health as early as 1965. It has regularly expanded on this understanding, urging Member States to strengthen their programmes for prevention and care in the various areas of reproductive health. 002993
  • June 21, 2002   Agence France Presse   Pro-life Groups Appeal to Bush on China Abortion Claims .   140 conservative, religious and anti-abortion groups, led by the Population Research Institute, urged President George W. Bush to uphold a decision to freeze $34 million in US financing to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Bush was asked to be "very careful" about reviewing the findings of a State Department team sent to probe the work of the UNFPA. "More than two dozen victims and witnesses said that coercion, only coercion and nothing but coercion, exists in this UNFPA county program in China." 002734
  • June 21, 2002   Bergen Record   New Jersey Assembly Passes Contraceptive Coverage Bill .   State-regulated health insurance plans would have to provide insurance coverage for birth control pills, hormone injections and implants under a bill passed by the New Jersey Assembly. Unfortunately, the bill includes a "conscience clause" that exempts faith-based organizations and agencies from offering birth control coverage if religious "teachings discourage the use of contraception." 002798
  • June 20, 2002   Associated Press   Study: Warming a Boon to Diseases: Climate Warming Will Allow Diseases to Move Into Areas Where They May Harm Humans.   A study reported in Science by Andrew Dobson and coworkers from Princeton University shows that climate warming is facilitating the spread of disease to both animals and humans. With global warming and milder winters, "pathogens [previously] restricted by seasonal temperatures can invade new areas and find new victims". Rising temperatures may already have contributed to the decimation of native birds in Hawaii at lower altitudes, the loss of coral reefs in many parts of the world, the outbreak of distemper among lions in Tanzania and the death of Monarch butterflies. Humans are not immune. Northeastern Africa has been ravaged in the past few years by epidemics of Rift Valley fever, and "malaria and yellow fever may become more common" in areas previously free of them. Rising temperatures permit over wintering of both pathogens and vectors which may not occur at lower temperatures and cause the spread of both vectors and pathogens to areas previously unaffected. There is some debate about these matters which is more fully explored at Science: Http://www.sciencemag.org and Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change: http://www.co2science.org/     st 002663
  • June 20, 2002   Vietnam News Briefs   Vietnam Records High Population Growth .   Population in Vietnam is growing by 1.2% and and is expected to reach 113-122 million by 2050, according to Tran Thi Trung Chien of the Population and Family Planning Committee. Half the population is under 20. Poor education, health, and low skills of the workforce will hamper national socio-economic development. Over 30% of Vietnam's children suffer from malnutrition. The goal by 2005 is to lower population growth to 1.16%, the number of malnourished children to 25%, and the rate of trained workers to 30%. 002732
  • June 20, 2002   Glamour Magazine   Be a Hero in 5 Minutes Or Less .   The reproductive health care and birth control provided by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is relied on by women in poor countries to prevent pregnancies and to prevent death in childbirth. Unfortunately, the $34 million promised by the U.S. to the UNFPA has been frozen by President Bush because he has been misinformed that the Fund supports forced abortions in China. "It's unconscionable that a program that saves women and children should have to fight for its funding," congresswomen Nita Lowey said. Call 202-456-1414 or e-mail president@whitehouse.gov to demand from President Bush that the funds be released. 002785
  • June 20, 2002   SIECUS   Abstinence-only Update .   In July the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Labor-HHS-Education bill which included funding of the abstinence-only-until-marriage programs covered by the Special Projects of Regional and National Significance (SPRANS) and the Adolescent Family Life Act (AFLA). No increase was made over last year's funding levels although the White House wanted another $33 million for the SPRANS program. In addition, Title X family plannning received a $20 million increase. The House will vote on their version of the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill sometime after the August recess. 002985
  • June 19, 2002   London Guardian   Disasters Waiting to Happen: the Social and Economic Costs of Global Warming Will Block All Progress in the Developing World.   Dramatic new data emerging on the impact of global warming suggest that disasters caused by climate change will cause "catastrophe for the [world’s] poor majority and political and economic insecurity for the rest". Although the mortality caused by disasters has been reduced by more than half over the past 30 years, the World Disasters Report says that the number injured or made homeless has risen from "740 million in the 1970s to more than 2 billion in the last decade." Over the same period, economic losses have risen from $131 bn to $629 bn and "the number of reported disasters rose from 1.110 to 2,742. The so-called "millennium development goals", to be formalized in Johannesburg this summer, include "doubling the proportion of people with access to drinking water by 2015, halving absolute poverty and improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers by 2020". But dealing with disasters will absorb all of the funds allocated for these efforts. Industrialized countries will also be severely affected. These disasters have left an estimated 25 million environmental refugees, double the 12 million political refugees. The large re-insurers project that the rising costs of disasters due to global warming "will overtake gross world product by 2065, effectively bankrupting the global economy" and "serious destabilization is likely well before that date". "Responsibility falls heavily on rich countries whose greenhouse gas emissions have largely created the problem ... to provide financial and technical support". A rise in sea level of one half to one meter, which may occur soon, would displace millions in Bangladesh, Nigeria, Egypt and Guyana and would totally submerge the Maldives, the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu. The global costs to poor countries to adapt to global warming have not been assessed. Short-term measures, such as evacuations in Bangladesh, have saved millions of lives. But the management of these disasters cannot be left up to the specialists – "a whole new way of thinking is necessary".     st 002660
  • June 19, 2002   Chicago Tribune   Women's Treaty Gets Burst of Energy in U.S. .   The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) has been blocked by Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.) in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 1995. However, with increased awareness of the abuses suffered by women under Taliban rule in Afghanistan, the U.S. took a step towards joining 169 other nations that have ratified it since 1979. The treaty, a "Bill of Rights" for women, defines what constitutes discrimination against women in such areas as education, employment, marriage and family relations, health care, reproductive health, politics, finance and law, putting forth "an international set of benchmarks or standards that countries should rise up to". The treaty has helped. For example, the number of young Pakistani girls going to school is almost double and triple the number a few years ago. Zambia has extended its Bill of Rights to cover sex discrimination. Colombian courts ruled in 1992 that the absence of legal recourse then available to female victims of domestic violence violated their human right to life and personal security. Sima Samar, minister of women's affairs in Afghanistan, called ratification of the treaty by the U.S. "an urgent first step" that would help to make sure that Afghanistan's new government guarantees "full human rights for women." 002720
  • June 19, 2002   Reuters Health   Oral Contraceptive Weight Gain 'Myth' Leads Some Women to Use Less Effective Birth Control Methods.   Women may rely on birth control methods that are not as effective because of the "myth" that oral contraceptives cause women to gain weight, say two birth control experts, Drs. Carolyn Westhoff, OB/GYN professor at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, and Laura Castleman, an OB/GYN and adjunct clinical professor at the University of Michigan. 5% of women experience an unintended pregnancy during the first year they use oral contraceptives, compared to 14% of women who use condoms. If the birth control methods are used "consistently and correctly," 0.1% of oral contraceptive users unintentionally become pregnant, compared to 3% of women who use condoms. The older style birth control pills used to cause water retention, which many women mistook for fat deposit, but otherwise the myth is not true. 002800
  • June 18, 2002   Sierra Club Population News listserve   Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act Up for a Federal Senate Committee Vote Tomorrow?.   The Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act (EPICC, S. 104) is scheduled to come before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) on Wednesday, June 19th. Each year, nearly half of the six million pregnancies in this country are unintended, and half of all unintended pregnancies end in abortion. By making contraceptives more affordable, improved insurance coverage of contraception could reduce these staggering rates. Contraception also improves the health of women and children by enabling women to plan and space their births. Click on the headline link to see what you can do. 002659
  • June 17, 2002   Population Council   The End of the Fertility Transition in the Developing World .   This study from the Population Council examines the "patterns and determinants of fertility in the developing world using UN estimates of the total fertility rates for 143 developing countries from 1950 and 2000" in order to discern "clues to future [world population] trends". The study reached three major conclusions. First, although fertility decline is rapid early in the transition, "once fertility drops below ... four births per woman, it significantly slows. Second, "developing countries will [attain] replacement fertility of 2.1 children per woman" only very slowly; it "will likely stall above 2.1 for periods of up to decades". And third, "The future course of fertility depends crucially on progress in human development and on family planning effort". In fact in order to reach replacement, a society on average needs to reach a life expectancy near 75 years in addition to a literacy rate near 95%.     st 002705
  • June 17, 2002   Obstetrics & Gynecology   Few Women Regret Sterilization Or Partner's Vasectomy .   The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) found that most women did not regret having a sterilization or their partner having a vasectomty. About 6-7% did have regrets - measured at a point 5 years after the procedure. The probability of the woman requesting that the vasectomy be reversed was about 2%. 002719
  • June 17, 2002   Patrick Burns/Salt Lake Tribune   Meanwhile in Iran .....   The government of Iran backs population control and provides free family planning. Ration coupons for the needy cover only three children per family. Iran has its own condom factory, the biggest in the Middle East and supplies 90% of Iran's needs. Birth control pills are in abundance in pharmacies. The clerics encourage young men to have vasectomies. Iran's family planning program is largely triggered by economics, but Iranian Vice President Massumeh Ebtekar has also noted that environment and ecology must become priorities. In addition to deforestation and desertification and overfishing, waste water runoff has threatened drinking water supplies, wetlands are being destroyed and oil and chemicals spill into the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea. Continued high population growth is likely to exacerbate these problems. Iran is slowing its population growth but it is expected to rise from 65 million to 100 million people by 2050.    004714
  • June 14, 2002   Salon.com   Population Research Institute: the Zealots Behind President Bush's U.N. Family Planning Sellout .   Population Research Institute (PRI), the organization behind the U.S. freeze of funds to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), is made up of a small band of antiabortion extremists according to New York Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney. Just last year President Bush asked for a $25 million appropriation for the UNFPA (also called the United Nations Fund for Population Activities). Secretary of State Colin Powell said, "We recognize that UNFPA does invaluable work through its programs in maternal and child health care, voluntary family planning, screening for reproductive tract cancers, breast-feeding promotion and HIV/AIDS prevention," and he succeeded in getting the amount allocated for UNFPA raised to $34 million. But in late January, New Jersey congressman Chris Smith, having heard testimony in October from PRI, wrote a letter to Bush saying that "the UNFPA clearly supports a program of coercive abortion and involuntary sterilization." So Bush balked at funding the $34 million to the UNFPA based on the PRI allegations. Now Bush is even threatening to veto a bill that would force him to release the funds. PRI, often proved wrong, says that the UNFPA money is used for coercive abortion and sterilization in China. It is the only organization that has ever made these allegations. PRI is founded and funded by Human Life International (HLI), an antiabortion organization founded by Benedictine priest Paul Marx, a notorious anti-Semite who wrote in 1993: "Today, certain members of this people whose ancient religion and culture managed to survive Auschwitz and Buchenwald are presiding over the greatest Holocaust in the history of the world. American Jews have been leaders in establishing and defending the efficient destruction of more than 30 million preborn children in this country." Steven Mosher, head of PRI, was removed from the anthropology program at Stanford University in 1983 for "seriously unethical conduct" that "endangered his research subjects," publishing pictures of Chinese women undergoing late-term abortions without concealing their faces, risking government retaliation against them. Mosher has become anti-China, writing "Hegemon: China's Plan to Dominate Asia and the World." An article on the PRI web site says that overpopulation is a myth, ... "the whole world's population could fit in the state of Texas ... and very comfortably indeed." Last year PRI claimed that UNFPA was distributing abortion kits to Afghan refugees - these turned out to be kits for safe birthing which included rubber sheets, soap and clean razor blades for cutting umbilical cords. A PRI undercover team went to China's Sihui county, one of the 32 counties where the UNFPA operates, and allegedly discovered that there are "age requirements for pregnancy; birth permit requirements; mandatory use of IUDs; mandatory sterilization; crippling fines for non-compliance; imprisonment for non-compliance; destruction of homes and property for non-compliance; forced abortion and forced sterilization." While this may be true in some instances, if the UNFPA was limited to countries with spotless human rights records it wouldn't have many places to operate. Although the UNFPA is prohibited by U.N. law from providing or funding abortion services, and even though no proof has been offered that the UNFPA is providing or funding abortions, Smith's letter urged Bush to exercise the 1985 Kemp-Kasten Amendment, which allows the President to withhold money from organizations which "supports or participates in the management of a program of coercive abortion or sterilization." Niek Biegman, a former Dutch ambassador to NATO and current NATO ambassador to Macedonia was sent by the U.N. to China after the PRI allegations last year. Biegman says, "The UNFPA is very much in the business of helping the Chinese government fulfill its obligation under the Cairo Plan of Action, which is entirely based on a voluntary approach to family planning." He says that with UNFPA's help, the Chinese tested this program in six counties, and then expanded to 32. "The UNFPA is expressly active in those cantons where [the Chinese] changed their policy to move away from coercion towards a voluntary policy and a choice of family planning methods." In April, a British delegation led by M.P. Edward Leigh, a Catholic member of the Conservative Party, went to China to investigate PRI's charges. Leigh found evidence that the "UNFPA is trying to persuade China away from the program of strict targets and assessments," and that there was no evidence that British or U.S. funds are being used for coercive family planning. The 2001 human rights report by the State Department says that the counties in China where UNFPA operates "have eliminated the system of overall countywide birth and population targets that tends to generate coercive enforcement." The UNFPA helps poor countries and refugee populations improve services for family planning and maternity health and helps curb the spread of HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases. Bush's freeze means a worldwide reduction in medical services. For example, in Kenya, where the UNFPA has been working with the Catholic Church to prevent teenagers from getting AIDS, an expansion of the program will probably have to be rejected. Financial constraints in donor countries has resulted in a $52 million funding shortfall for the UNFPA. It is estimated that this will result in 3 million unwanted pregnancies, 7,140 maternal deaths and 1,215,000 abortions. "A woman dies every minute from pregnancy-related causes," says UNFPA director of information Stirling Scruggs. "Seventy-five to 80 percent of those deaths could be prevented." 002657
  • June 14, 2002   Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report   Religious Organization Publishes 'Open Letter' Ad Calling for Religious Leaders to Support Comprehensive Sex Education .   Roll Call, Capitol Hill's daily newspaper, displayed a full-page ad where religious leaders are "called to join in the public discussion about the nature of sexuality education for the country's youth". The ad was published by the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice and Healing. "Scriptural and theological commitment to telling the truth calls for full and honest" sexuality education for youth, it said. Young people should learn about their sexuality, not from the entertainment media or their peers, but from their parents, faith communities, and school-based programs. The biological, psychological, cultural, ethical and spiritual dimensions of sexuality should be addressed. Abstinence-only sex education programs that are "based on incomplete information, fear and shame" lack integrity and "fail our young people," the Institute said. The ad calls for sex education that "respects and empowers" youth, "teaches that decisions about sexual behaviors should be based on moral and ethical values, as well as considerations of physical and emotional health" and "affirms the goodness of sexuality while acknowledging its risks and dangers." Representatives from the United Church of Christ, the Union of American Hebrew Congregations and the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice wrote the letter. 002685
  • June 13, 2002   Bangkok Post   Emergency Contraception Commonly Misused and Overused in Thailand .   Many Thai women may use Emergency Contraception (EC) as many as 3 times a week, although the recommended maximum is only two doses per month. EC in Thailand contains 50 times the amount of progesterone contained in an ordinary oral contraceptive. Headaches, fatigue, dizziness, nausea and vomiting are side effects, plus not using a condom can lead to HIV or other STD. In Thailand EC is called "a post-coital pill, a spermicide or a 'temporary contraceptive,'" while "emergency pill" might be a better name, signalling that the pill should be used only in an emergency. 002681
  • June 13, 2002   Earth Policy Institute/Grist Magazine   Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth.   Just as Copernicus fostered a revolution in thinking by challenging the view that the sun revolved around the Earth, we need a shift in thinking about the relationship between the Earth and the economy. The economy is in conflict with the Earth's natural systems, which is demonstrated by collapsing fisheries, shrinking forests, eroding soils, deteriorating rangelands, expanding deserts, increased carbon dioxide levels, falling water tables, rising temperatures, more destructive storms, melting glaciers, higher sea level, dying coral reefs, and disappearing species - all of which are taking a growing economic toll. At some point, this toll could overwhelm the worldwide forces of progress, leading to economic decline. We need an eco-economy, an environmentally sustainable economy that requires that the principles of ecology establish the framework for the formulation of economic policy. Ecologists and economists can work together to calculate the ecological costs of various economic activities, costs which can then be added to the price of a product or service in the form of a tax. In a process called 'tax shifting', these taxes on could be offset by a reduction in income taxes. 002682
  • June 12, 2002   Earth Policy Institute   Sales of Solar Cells Take Off.   "World solar cell production soared to 395 megawatts (MW)" in 2001, over one third more than in 2000. The total world solar cell or photovoltaic (PV) capacity is now greater than 1,840 MW and will increase greatly in the near future as production costs fall. Five producers in 2001 accounted for 64% of global output, with Japanese manufacturers accounting for 43% of the world total. Their success is attributable both to "a 50% cash subsidy for grid-connected residential systems" as well as government financial support for R and D, "demonstration programs, and market incentives". The US and the EU each have 24%-25% of the global market, but "government commitments to renewable energy are more robust in the EU than in the US". Germany’s PV industry, because of government subsidization of the purchase of home solar systems and guarantees on a price for energy returned to the grid, is expected to almost quadruple its current installed capacity of 113 MW to 438 MW by 2004. "The cost of electricity for solar cells remains higher than [electricity] from wind or coal-fired power plants for grid-connected customers, but...is falling fast due to economies of scale as rising demand drives industry expansion." The current price, "$3.50 per watt for crystalline cells, and $2 for thin-film wafers", has fallen since 1976 and is expected to fall more rapidly as demand increases. Solar-derived electricity can be used both on-grid and off-grid, as is all of India’s 18 MW and the "120-130 MW installed in 50-60 developing nations". "More than 1 million homes worldwide, mainly in villages in developing countries, now get their electricity from solar cells". Solar cells may be the cheapest electricity source for 1.7 billion people not connected to an electric grid. Micro-credit financing can reduce the cost of PV systems to that of candles or kerosene for lamps and, "after the loan is paid off...the family obtains free electricity for the remainder of the system’s life." There are many benefits to extending electricity to people in developing countries including greater educational opportunities, access to information and increased productivity after sunset. Health benefits include longer storage time of vaccines and improved home air quality. There are also ecological benefits – a 40-watt solar module can eliminate 106-kg of carbon emissions per year from a kerosene lamp. In an industrialized nation, the ecological benefits are substantial. "In the UK...putting modern PV technology on all suitable roofs would generate more electricity than the nation consumes in a year...and remov(e) almost 200 million tons of carbon dioxide annually from the atmosphere." In the US, integrating solar panels "into the design and construction of ... energy efficient ... houses "could eliminate the pollution "generated by the use of fossil fuels. In industrialized nations, policy measures to encourage the adoption of solar energy include the removing of subsidies on fossil fuels and guaranteeing a price for electricity generated by home-based solar panels and sold to the power grid (using "net metering laws"). In developing nations, microcredit financing can ensure the spread of solar technologies. Solar cell manufacturers sense enormous growth potential; "for the industry as a whole, output is expected to increase at 40-50% annually over the next few years".   The substantial growth already experienced by the solar industry worldwide, and the fact that developing nations represent an extremely large and effective market for photovoltaic technology, tends to undercut arguments that buying "green energy" will diminish economic growth rates.  st 002654
  • June 12, 2002   New Scientist   African Droughts "Triggered by Western Pollution".   Some of worst droughts the world has ever seen are being caused by power station and factory emissions in North America and Europe. Fossil fuels when burnt produce clouds of sulphur dioxide and soot, creating aerosols that affect cloud formation, altering the temperature of the Earth's surface and leading to dramatic shifts in regional weather patterns according to computer models by researchers in Australia and Canada: Leon Rotstayn of the CSIRO, Australia's national research agency, and Ulrike Lohmann of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In Africa, the Sahel region, which is South of the Sahara and includes parts of Ethiopia and Guinea, has seen precipitation fall by between 20% and 50% over past thirty to forty years. Between 1972 and 1975, and 1984 and 1985, up to a million people starved to death. "Clean air" laws in North America and Europe that reduced sulphur dioxide emissions in response to another environmental crisis, acid rain, may account for the lessening of severity of droughts in recent times. But clouds of black soot and sulphate are now being produced by rapidly industrialising India and China. 002655
  • June 12, 2002   The Guardian   The Sweatshop Generation: the Eradication of Child Labour Needs a More Sophisticated Approach Than Just Calling for Trade Boycotts Against Impoverished Countries .   Some 350 million or the world's children are engaged in some sort of work. Of children 5 to 17 - 246 million (1 in 6) are involved in the worst sort of child labour. Poverty, war, natural disaster, disease (especially HIV/Aids) are the causes. 106 million children are in an economic activity considered acceptable - a few hours a week in the family business, for example. 170 million are in hazardous work: construction, quarrying, mining, or in jobs exposing them to chemicals or other conditions likely to harm them because of the hours or their age. 111 million of theses are children under 15, whom the ILO says need to be taken out of such work immediately. Another 59 million are youths aged 15-17 who need greater protection in the workplace rather than removal from it. 8.4 million children are trapped in appalling kinds of labour: slavery, trafficking, debt bondage and other forms of forced labour, forced recruitment for armed conflict, prostitution, pornography, and other illicit activities. The vast majority of child laborers are engaged in domestic service that is hidden from view, or in farming and fishing (70% of child labour in developing countries is in these primary sectors). Only 5% are exported for labor. While there have been many boycotts to rescue children from stitching footballs or garments for hours on end, taking them from these working conditions before providing alternatives may aggravate their situation. For example, campaigns against child labour in Bangladesh and Pakistan have closed down underage sweatshops but some of the children simply ended up in even worse forms of labour. Working children contribute, on average, about 30% of the family income. Girls usually work in domestic service, prostitution, brick breaking and the garment industry. Taking them away from garment factories inevitably forces them into worse forms of labour. 002676
  • June 11, 2002   IPPF/WHR Update/Boletín   Youth and Technology .   New and exciting ways have been found to give sexual and reproductive health information and services to young people in Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Peru, says International Planned Parenthood Federation, Western Hemisphere Region, Inc. (IPPF/WHR). These include computer technologies such as cyber centres, Web sites, interactive multimedia CD-ROM programmes, email counselling services, and various chip-based technologies. These technologies were found to bring positive changes in knowledge and attitudes related to SRH and gender roles. 002723
  • June 10, 2002   AGI/Audubon/Patrick Burns   Components of U.S. Population Growth .   In 2000 the U.S. saw over 4 million births.1     49% of the pregnancies concluding in 1994 were unintended; 54% of these ended in abortion, leaving 26% of births that were unintended.2     Over two-thirds of all "unintended pregnancies" were actually "mistimed", meaning the pregnancy would have been wanted at another time.3   [How to tell if preventing "mistimed" pregnancies results in fewer pregnancies? I would assume it would.]  There were 2.40 million deaths in 2000.4    [1.60 million more births than deaths - far above replacement level.] Immigration added over 1 million people to the population (net) per year in the 1990s, and perhaps more than 1.3 million.5    About 650,000 of the births were to immigrant mothers.6      [Raising the self-esteem and educational level of poor young girls should result in a lower birth rate due to fewer "wanted" births and greater pregnancy prevention measures. Is it too difficult to try to attain the birth rate of Spain, Italy, or Japan at around 1.8?]   1. www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0884158.html      2. 1994 AGI www.agi-usa.org/pubs/journals/3002498.html      3. 1995 CDC www.cdc.gov/nchs/datawh/statab/pubd/2319_69.htm      4. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr49/nvsr49_12.pdf     5. 2000 U.S. INS notes www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/aboutins/statistics/IMM00yrbk/IMM2000text.pdf      6. 2001 CIS www.cis.org/articles/2001/sactestimony701.html ... the statistics were gathered by Patrick Burns of the National Audubon Society Population program. The comments are mine. 002526
  • June 10, 2002   Newsweek   Family Jewels .   With 3 million unintended pregnancies in the United States, more is needed to prevent them. Georgetown University's Institute for Reproductive Health publishing a study in the publication Contraception, featuring CycleBeads, a color-coded necklace that helps women track their fertile and infertile days. A rubber ring is advanced one bead a day. Day 1 is a red bead, followed by six browns (infertile days), 12 whites (fertile days), then more browns. This natural method may work well where women can't use or get access to the pill or other modern methods. The study's principal investigator, Victoria Jennings, suggests displaying it by the bed. "It really facilitates communication."   [Natural methods have been shown to be more successfuls with couples in their 30s or older, rather than with younger couples] 002625
  • June 10, 2002   Christian Science Monitor   Global Warming and Population.   Two letters to the editor underscore the critical relation between population growth and global warming. In the US, the anticipated doubling of US population during this century will overwhelm any gains from per capita reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The rate of world population growth ("a billion people...in the next 15 years") and the hunger of those in developing countries for some of the amenities of life in developed countries will do likewise.   (LTE by Patrick Burns of the Population and Habitat Program, National Audubon Society)  st 002642
  • June 10, 2002   IRIN (UN)   Pakistan: Focus on Violence Against Children .   Pakistani street children are exposed to sexual violence, but social workers are hampered: they cannot refer to male and female body parts by name or talk openly about sex or even openly discuss the sexual abuse of children. Aangan, an Islamabad-based NGO works with local schools and raises awareness of the issue by distributing pamphlets and drawing books to very young children. In many parts of Pakistan young boys are sold for sex work. Young boys who dance during marriage parties are often sodomised by their owners. The number of children who are either killed, raped or sodomised is on the rise because of weak laws, corruption and social attitudes. Muhammad Hassan Mangi, director of the government's National Commission for Child Welfare and Development, said the government was working on a comprehensive policy, which would cover child health, education, rights, abuse, trafficking and prostitution. "The society takes a child as a possession, not as an individual. This will take time to change," he said. 002649
  • June 10, 2002   EngenderHealth website   Contraceptive Sterilization: Global Issues and Trends .   Voluntary sterilization continues to be the most prevalent form of contraception worldwide. Male and female sterilization has grown substantially since 1980. This electronic book could use your review and summarization. If you would like to help, click on the red arrow and follow the instructions. 002650
  • June 10, 2002   Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical   Choosing a Birth Control Method .   An interactive program to help you choose the birth control method that's right for you. 002651
  • June 08, 2002   Population Action International   People in the Balance: Population and Natural Resources at the Turn of the Millennium .   Click on countries in the map or use the drop down menus below to browse new (updated 4/2002) data on individual countries or on population, forests, carbon dioxide, arable land, and fresh water around the world. 002634
  • June 07, 2002   National Wildlife Federation   National Wildlife Federation Population Link .   Why does an organization with the middle name "Wildlife" talk about population? More people, taking up more space, needing to use more natural resources, 002628
  • June 06, 2002   Inter Press Service   New Dangers from 'Safe' Gases Emissions of What Have Been Considered 'Safe' Gases Are Rising to Dangerous New Levels.   A new report suggests that substitutes for chlorinated fluorocarbons (CFCs), now being phased out by the Montreal Protocol of 1987 because they destroy the ozone layer, are 1300 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) as greenhouse gases. According to Chris Rose, author of the report published by the MultiSectoral Initiative on Potent Industrial Greenhouse Gases, "the Montreal Protocol is effectively at loggerheads with the Kyoto protocol on climate change." The Montreal protocol envisioned that CFCs were to be replaced by HCFCs, which "broke down at lower altitudes, causing less damage to the ozone layer, but [did] not eliminate" the damage which in turn would be replaced by HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) which lacked damaging chlorine. As a result, the use of these compounds, which are "very powerful greenhouse gases", is rapidly increasing, particularly in developing countries and in the U.S. and in some European countries. Rose has criticized "the UNEP and the fluorocarbon industry for portraying these HFCs as ‘benign’ or ‘environmentally friendly’ ". The report recommends that the UNEP "classify HFCs as transitional", not as replacements for CFCs or HCFCs, and that "governments should cap the production of each gas", stop building factories to make them, and "promote substitution technologies for all F-gases". The report supports the moves of Danish, Austrian and German models of phasing out HFCs and discourages the US model of HFC usage.  st 002564
  • June 05, 2002   Environmental Protection Agency   EPA's Climate Action Report 2002 .   Follow this link to the EPA report that acknowledges human-caused global warming and the seriousness of its impacts 002612
  • June 03, 2002   New York Times*   U.S. - Bush Administration Blames Humans for Global Warming.   A report saying U.S. greenhouse gas emissions will increase significantly over the next two decades, due for the most part to human activities, was acknowledged by President Bush. The report from the Environmental Protection Agency said that oil refining, power plants and automobile emissions are important causes of global warming. The administration predicted that total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions will increase by 43% in the twenty years starting with 2000, warned that average temperatures in the contiguous United States will rise 5 degrees to 9 degrees Fahrenheit during this century, forecast that sensitive ecosystems, such as Rocky Mountain meadows and coastal barrier islands, will likely disappear, that Southeastern U.S. forest regions could see "major species shifts," and foresaw the possibility of drought conditions and changing snowfall patterns in the West, Pacific Northwest and Alaska. In addition, the report said that the sea could rise 19 inches to threaten buildings, roads, and other infrastructure in coastal areas due to increased wind and flood damage. Cities like New York City and New Orleans would be threatened with Manhattan underwater to Wall Street and New Orleans needing a major dike-building effort to hold back the waters. However, the Bush administration still insists on mostly voluntary-only programs to reduce emissions, saying rigid national emission limits threaten economic growth. Its goal is to reduce emissions per unit of U.S. gross domestic product by 18% in 10 years. 002563
  • June 03, 2002   UNFPA   UNFPA-Supported Surveys Find Declining Fertility and Mortality in Nepal .   Nepal's 2001 National Census and its National Demographic Health Survey showed that there was a decline in fertility as well as mortality, but that the overall population total was still growing. Peoples' mobility from one place to another is also increasing [a sign of development that would likely have the effect of lowering fertility.] During the next 25 years, the adolescent and youth population of Nepal was projected to increase by 25%. The total fertility rate is down to 4.1 per woman, while the contraceptive prevalence rate has increased 39% and health services usage is increasing. The government is attempting to address gender and sustainable development issues with financial help from the UNFPA whose goal is to accelerate socio-economic development to improve the quality of life of the people, particularly by assisting it to plan and implement gender-sensitive population and reproductive health policies. 002590
  • June 03, 2002   American Association for the Advancement of Science   Atlas of Population and Environment .   This text provides an important analysis of the relationships between human population and the environment. Illustrating through text, maps, and diagrams how population factors such as rates of growth, density, movement, and resource consumption, along with the use of certain technologies, affect the world's ecosystems and natural resources both in the short and long term, the Atlas brings together a wealth of information from the most up-to-date sources. The Atlas draws on research and data from the World Resources Institute; the Center for International Earth Sciences Information Network; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; U.S. Geological Survey; and the UNEP-World Conservation Monitoring Centre. It is available both in book form and online. 002606
  • June 03, 2002   Planet Ark   Colombia’s Water Supply is Threatened .   The water supply in Colombia could be reduced by up to 40% within 50 years, says Carlos Castano, director of the country's Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environmental Studies. In the paramo, which is the Andean mountain moorland, over-farming has reduced the soil's ability to hold water that later drains into lowland rivers. 58% of the Colombian paramo is gone, and 75% of the rest could disappear in 15 years. 27% of high Andean forests have been cut down, while pollution occurs from oil spills from bombed pipelines and toxic cocaine byproducts. Colombia is home to more bird and amphibian species than any other country on Earth. 002633
  • June 02, 2002   Green Scissors   Green Scissors Web Site .   In tune with a green economy, this web site is a joint project by Friends of the Earth, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and U.S. Public Interest Research Group. 002601
  • June 2002   Push journal   Indonesia: Premarital Sex Study in South Cause for Alarm.   Southern Mindanao has the highest number of premarital sex cases outside Metro Manila. The youth in this region has exhibited openess to outside influences that led to permissiveness and premarital sex. Half of a teenage population of three million live in major urban centers, where electronic media has been a strong influence. It is reported that teenage gangs practise free sex in high schools but officials deny their existence. It is said that parents are to blame for their failure to guide their children. Sex education is part of the school curriculum focusing on youths between 13 and 24, who have yet to understand the limits of sexual behavior. Teenage pregnancies are a serious concern. Contraceptive use in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) has been low, about 15% as against 50% in other regions of the island, since Islam shuns the use of contraceptives. 14% of women in Mindanao cited religious prohibition for the non-use of contraceptives while 20% said they wanted more children. Only 1.3% of women claimed use a condom or diaphragm regularly. Most get their supplies from the public sector.     rw 002803
  • May 31, 2002   Los Angeles Times   Organic Farms Viable Despite Lower Yields.   A study, published in Science magazine, reported that organic farming methods used 50% less energy, 97% less pesticides and up to 51% less fertilizer than conventional methods. Large-scale organic farming is economically viable and environmentally sustainable over the long haul, although crop yields are about 20% less than conventionally farmed crops. After two decades of cultivation, the soil in the study's test plots was still rich in nutrients, resistant to erosion and readily water absorbent. Conventional farming uses synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, mainly derived from fossil fuels, whereas organic farming uses fertilizers from composted animal manure and the practice of crop rotation with nitrogen-fixing cover crops such as clover. 002562
  • May 29, 2002   Reuters   Canada-U.S. Industrial Water Waste Rising.   The North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation, created by NAFTA and based in Montreal, issued its first 5 year study on industrial pollution (1995 to 1999) in Canada and the U.S., called "Taking Stock". This study includes data on chemical pollution releases and transfers of 210 chemicals in Canada and the U.S. mandated by NAFTA. It "examine[s] waste data on 210 chemicals", including ozone depleting chemicals from 21,500 facilities in the US and Canada. Despite a 25% reduction in toxic emissions to the air, they found a 25% increase in "on-site releases to land", a 35% increase in off-site emissions (primarily to landfills), and a 26% increase in pollution released onto surface water. About 1 million of the 3.4 million tons of toxic chemical waste was produced in 1999; and "almost 8% of total releases included chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive problems". Over the 5-year period, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana and Ontario were the "top polluting jurisdictions". "In 1999, only four industries – metals, chemical manufacturing, electrical utilities and hazardous waste management – accounted for almost two-thirds of all releases and transfers. Electrical utilities was the single most polluting industry (450,000 tons of toxic material in 1999)." "One third of total releases were metals...lead, chromium and nickel...produced by steel, aluminum and other metals makers." Data from Mexico is to be reported within the next 2 to 3 years. According to Janine Ferretti, executive director of the commission, the next step is to have "jurisdictions, industry, governments and citizen groups" analyze the causes of these trends and determine how to "improve the situation".  st 002520
  • May 29, 2002   New York Times   Power Steer .   Feedlot beef are fed corn because federal subsidies and ever-growing surpluses make feed corn cheap. David Pimentel, a Cornell ecologist who specializes in agriculture and energy, said that an average beef cow, eating 25 pounds of corn a day and reaching 1,250 pounds in weight, will have consumed in his lifetime roughly 284 gallons of oil. The corn requires a large amount of oil-based fertilization and beef feed is produced mechanically, also using oil-based energy to drive the agro-industrial feed producing equipment. Animals live in their own waste and are exposed frequently to new incoming beef, resulting in unsanitary conditions necessitating the addition of anitbiotics to their food. Such a widespread misuse of antibiotics creates a resistance by the bacteria to the drugs humans need to fight infection. Hormones are added to increase beef weight and speed readiness for the table. And so measurable hormone residues turn up in the meat we eat and end up in the water system. Estrogenic compounds in the environment may explain falling sperm counts and premature maturation in girls, as well as abnormal sex characteristics in fish. The corn to feed the beef consumes more chemical herbicide and fertilizer than any other crop, resulting in nitrogen runoff from that crop all the way down the Mississippi into the Gulf of Mexico, where it has created a 12,000-square-mile "dead zone."   [The population growth in the U.S. has produced the 'bigger is better' syndrome, where economy of scale kicks in due to the large number of consumers, and all sorts of impacts on the environment are mass-produced.] 002554
  • May 29, 2002   U.S. State Dept.   UNFPA Investigative Team Report Released.   The report made to Secretary of State Colin Powell by the team sent to China to see if the UNFPA was involved in coercive abortion or involuntary sterilization was made available to various organizations last week. The investigating team found no evidence that UNFPA has knowingly supported or participated in a management of coercive abortion or involuntrary sterilization in the PRC and recommended that not more than $34 million which has already been appropriated be released to UNFPA. But the team did find that, notwithstanding some relaxation in the 32 counties in which UNFPA is involved, the population programs of the PRC retain coercive elements in law and in practice, and recommended that, unless and until all forms of coercion in the PRC law and in practice are eliminated, no U.S. Government funds be allocated for population programs in the PRC. The team found that, with a population of 1.3 billion, PRC leaders view population control as a high priority and remain nervous as they face many imponderables concerning population growth and sociaeconomic change. Decisions made now and in the future by the PRC could have unintended consequences. Moreover, PRC population matters affect major U.S. policy concerns and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future; and so the team recommended that apporpriate resources be allocated to monitor and evaluate PRC population control programs. 002959
  • May 28, 2002   BBC News   EU Proposes Radical Fishing Cuts .   28,000 jobs would be lost from Europe's fishing industry if reforms are approved which would cut the size of the European fleet by 8.5%. The European Union Fisheries Commissioner, Franz Fischler, said "Either we have the courage to make bold reforms now, or we watch the demise of our fisheries sectors in the years ahead." If current over-fishing continued in the North Atlantic basin, trawlers could soon be left chasing jellyfish and even plankton to make "fake" fish products. Two-thirds of the North-east Atlantic fish stocks are at risk of collapse. Most cod caught there these days are less than three years old, and have not reached sexual maturity. 002550
  • May 27, 2002   US News & World Report/Kaiser   U.S. News & World Report Examines Sex Education Debate, Rising Rates of Standards Among Teenagers .   Although fewer young people overall are engaging in sexual activity, 10% of U.S. teens have their first sexual intercourse before the age of 13. Also doctors are reporting increasing rates among teens of sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes and human papillomavirus. 25% of new HIV cases occur in people under the age of 21 and girls 15 and 19 now have gonorrhea rates higher than any other age group. While some say that teaching teens about contraception sends "mixed messages," others say it is better to provide "medically and scientifically accurate" information about prevention of pregnancy and STDs, since many adolescents engage in sexual intercourse regardless of what they are taught. 002509
  • May 27, 2002   New York Times*   To Build a Country, Build a Schoolhouse.   by Amartya Sen     Extensive empirical studies have demonstrated the critical role of basic education in economic and social development in Europe and North America as well as in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Japan, for example, set a goal in its 1872 Fundamental Code of Education that there must be "no community with an illiterate family, nor a family with an illiterate person." Kido Takayoshi, one of the leaders of Japanese reform, said: "Our people are no different from the Americans or Europeans of today; it is all a matter of education or lack of education." This attention to education was mostly responsible for the speed of Japan's economic and social progress. The ability to read enhances one's quality of life. Educated populaces can better use democratic opportunities than an illiterate ones. Women can make use of their rights and demand more fairness after they have learned to read documents and legal provisions. Literate females have stronger voices in family affairs and experience gender equality. Female literacy tends to reduce child mortality and very significantly decrease fertility rates. A greater voice of young women in family decisions tends to cut down birth rates sharply. In India, fertility rates vary from almost 5 children in some districts per couple to less than 1.7 in some others. Studies show that only two general variables significantly help to explain these differences: female literacy and female economic participation. In sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of primary-age children have no opportunity for schooling. In fact, globally, 125 million children have never seen the inside of a classroom. A well coordinated global initiative on basic education is crucial. 002519
  • May 27, 2002   Africa News Service   Tanzania: Condom Shortage Poses Threat to Anti-HIV/Aids Strategy .   002534
  • May 27, 2002   Reuters   Sexy TV Linked to Sex Behavior in Some Teens .   Teens who watch television programs with high sexual content appear to engage in sexual behaviors more often than those who watch other types of TV programs. Certain groups, including Hispanic-American teens, showed a greater connection. The study could not explain if television influenced sexual behavior or if interest in sex drew teens to television shows with sexual content. The researcher suggests that parents should explain to teens how the media can influence self-esteem, and never shy away from talking to teens about sex. 002542
  • May 27, 2002     US: Atlanta's Growing Thirst Creates Water War .   The Chattahoochee River is the source of much of Atlanta's water and is shared by Georgia, Alabama and Florida. Downstream is Apalachicola Bay, a pristine estuary on the Gulf of Mexico in Florida. The region experiences a whopping 50 inches of rain a year. But Atlanta's population has soared nearly 40% in the last 10 years. Georgia officials say there will be no problem until the maximum sustainable limit is reached in 2030. But a Army Corps of Engineers draft report suggests the Chattahoochee may already be being tapped near capacity during parts of the year. 320 million gallons of drinking water were taken from the Chattahoochee in 1990; in 2000 the number rose to 420 million gallons; and it is projected to rise to the maximum possible, 705 million gallons a day, by 2030. The governors of the three states are each demanding their state's share of the water. Water pricing, regulation and conservation will soon be a necessity. 002544
  • May 27, 2002   The Washington Post   Signs of Thaw in a Desert of Snow - Scientists Begin to Heed Inuit Warnings of Climate Change in Arctic.   Scientists are beginning to take very seriously the Inuit’s observations of the changes in the Arctic weather and its impact on Arctic wildlife. The scientists are using these observations to confirm their data on change in the Arctic climate; the government of Canada has even "mandated that government agencies incorporate traditional knowledge into land-use decisions". Scientists have measured a 1.5 degree Celsius rise in the average temperature of Canada’s Western Arctic over the past 40 years, a lesser warming trend in the Central Arctic, and some cooling in the Eastern Arctic. They "predict a rise in sea levels leading to devastating floods, thinning ice and perhaps even an ice-free Arctic within 50 years"". The observations of the Inuit are very detailed and extend over generations, passed on as oral tradition. They confirm the impact of global warming on Arctic wildlife, impacts which are having a profound effect on the way of life of the Inuit and which indeed may mark its end. The fragility of the Arctic ecology has forced the Inuit to "live by rules that require them to respect animals and the land". One woman, "Siloah Atagoojuk…is worried." She says: "There is sickness in the animals. … The flesh doesn’t look good. You have to cook it extra. Even the caribou are not healthy, as fat – same for marine animals". Other Inuits have observed many "dead birds and dead hair seals and dolphins" and "dog salmon that were never touched by sea gull or foxes. They were never eaten. … One of the elders said that these things never used to happen". "They notice that "icebergs are melting, tides have changed, polar bears have thinned." These are just some of the increasing evidence of global warming in the Arctic. "Glaciers are receding. Coastlines are eroding. Lakes are disappearing." Both insects and birds never seen before this far north are now observed. In addition, the Inuit are now observing evidence of the impact of pollution on wildlife: "deformed fish, caribou with bad livers, baby seals left by their mothers to starve". The scientists have used these observations to confirm the effects of global warming and pollution on Arctic ecology. "The sustainable development institute produced a videotape of observations by Inuit hunters and elders that was recently shown as evidence of climate change at a conference in The Hague".     st 002549
  • May 26, 2002   Reuters   U.S. Falls Behind in Sex Education, Study Finds .   The U.S. is lagging in its sex education. Amy Coen, president of Population Action International said "We have over 87 percent of Americans who believe there should be comprehensive sex education in schools and we have a Congress that does not support this in their legislation." She cited the Netherlands which has a good sex education program and and exceptionally low rates of teen-age pregnancy, of HIV and STDs in youth. Iran's strong public health system delivers family planning and maternal health services. Well-meaning adults trying to protect children and teen-agers from sexual activity are actually keeping vital knowledge from them. on the other hand, Iran's religious leaders have foiled attempts to raise the legal age of marriage for girls from 9 to 15 and Iran's sex education programs are available only to married couples. 002350
  • May 25, 2002   Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO   The Billion Dollar Man; Working with Ted Turner's Money for U.N. Projects, Tim Wirth Aims to Fix Problems Before They Start .   Five years ago media mogul Ted Turner pledged 10 years worth of $100 million a year to the United Nations to be spent on various global problems. The U.N. Foundation, which administers the funds, is headed by Tim Wirth, a former U.S. Senator from Colorado and subsequently undersecretary of state for global affairs, concentrating on population, environment and human rights. The foundation deliberately handles the more controversial issues such as a family planning program where there is fear that it includes abortion. The foundation also works on AIDS in Africa, preventing human rights violations and war; preventing environmental degradation; preventing death and crippling disease among children. The foundation's most successful and ambitious project has been the effort to eradicate polio. In 2001 there were only 537 new polio cases. This year could see the number drop to zero. Projects include the sensitive issues of women's rights and population control. Many diplomats at the U.N. hesitate to say the word condoms. Instead they use the word "commodities". Wirth said he is trying to prevent girls from being forced into sex, marriage or child-bearing. But some, such as Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute in New York, view the push for women's "reproductive rights" as a drive to legalize abortion worldwide. One foundation project concentrates on literacy and economic self-support for adolescent girls in countries like Bangladesh. "If we do all these things, the girls will thrive and be much more productive in the economy -and they'll have fewer children, the children will survive, and they'll have them later," explained top aide Ellen Marshall. The foundation is also trying to persuade the U.S. to pay up the almost $2 billion it owes in overdue U.N. dues and peace-keeping fees. In a Better World Campaign to lobby for the money, campaign professionals were hired, political advertising was purchased, and town meetings were held in key congressional districts. Apparently the strategy worked because Congress agreed to pay and because Turner paid enough to raise the profile of the issue. 002553
  • May 13, 2002   Management Sciences for Health   Community-Based Health Care: Lessons from Bangladesh to Boston .   In this new book edited by Jon Rohde, seasoned public health professionals from around the world share their experiences and formulate principles about what has worked in many countries, including Bangladesh, Haiti, and the United States. 002425
  • May 13, 2002   Inter Press Service   Nepal: for War Widows, No Time for Self-pity.   In Nepal, Lily Thapa is advocating the rights of women who have lost their husbands. Her husband died in the Gulf War and she had three children to raise. In 1994, she set up Women for Human Rights, an organization where women who have lost their husbands meet once a month, collect savings and make loan flows. The group, which advocates improved social security of widows, has 236 members and 23 branches around the country. Lily was a member of a recent fact-finding study that tries to looks into the conditions of conflict widows, to assess the economic, social, physical and psychological damage that they are facing. The study indicated that the majority were illiterate or semi-literate, the average age 30, the average family was 5.36. Nearly 50% had been displaced, to seek compensation in Kathmandu, to look for work, and to escape harassment. Like-minded organizations are planning a transit home for those affected. The forum initiated the Displaced Youth Volunteer Support Programme hoping these educated youth can carry out reconciliation and reconstruction in their districts. But they don't have good negotiators and the government doesn't have a clear agenda.   Note: at this time, with a new King, a retired Parliment, and an uneasy treaty with the Maoists, the Nepali government is a long way from being organized and many important matters, such as this one, will probably have to wait.  rw 006661
  • May 10, 2002   Star-Ledger   New Jersey USA: Contraceptive Coverage for Women Clears Hurdle in Assembly .   A bill that would require employers to include contraception coverage for women in their medical plans has passed the N.J. state Assembly Health and Human Services Committee. The measure would exempt faith-based companies from having to provide this coverage if birth control violates their religious beliefs. Women's rights groups wanted the bill to exempt only nonprofit employers who primarily hire and serve people with the same religious beliefs. A study showed that women, on average, pay 68% more than men on out-of-pocket health care expenses. 002414
  • April 18, 2001   earth-policy.org   Dust Bowl Threatening China’s Future (last year).   Areas from Canada to Arizona have been blanketed with a layer of dust originating from a huge dust storm in Northern China. Deterioration of the rangeland and cropland have resulted in dust plumes which routinely travel hundreds of miles to cities in northeastern China, obscuring the sun, reducing visibility, slowing traffic, and closing airports. China has 1.3 billion people. Too many people, too many cattle and sheep, and too many plows have led to desertification of the area. Acting under government policy, fast-growing coastal provinces which are losing cropland to urban expansion and industrial construction are paying other provinces to plow new land to offset their losses. Consequently, other provinces in the northwest, already suffering from overplowing and overgrazing, are expanding their cropland, plowing marginal land, intensifying wind erosion. Loss of soil leads to migration similar to that in the Great Dust Bowl in the U.S. where farmers left their dust-filled farms in the southern Great Plains to move to California. Growing livestock populations are also denuding the land of vegetation, changing 900 square miles of land to desert each year. China has 127 million cattle, 29 million more than the U.S., and 279 sheep - compared with only 9 million in the U.S. Forested land holds the water and when it evaporates it is carried further inland. Deforested land allows the water to run back to the sea without traveling inland. Consequently deforestation in southern and eastern China rainfall is declining in the northern half of China, and aquifers are depleted by overpumping and thousands of lakes have vanished. Legislators from Japan and South Korea are strategizing with Chinese lawmakers to fight the dust. The use of rows of wind turbines as windbreaks to reduce soil erosion is a promising solution. An advanced design wind turbine now being used in the U.S. Great Plains, under conditions similar to China's northwest, sits on a tenth of a hectare of land and produces $100,000 worth of electricity per year. Use of such wind turbines would allow a phase out of wood for fuel, easing up on the pressure on forests. In addition, livestock populations need to be reduced, erodible cropland needs to be returned to grassland, and windbreaks need to be planted. 003032
  • August 7, 2002   MSI Press Release   Marie Stopes International Opens Reproductive Health and Safe Motherhood Clinic in Kabul .   The first safe motherhood and reproductive health clinic in Kabul is being opened this month by Marie Stopes International (MSI). "There is a desperate need for high quality services, said MSI Regional Advisor Peter Lawton. In a service area of 1 million people, the clinic will provide preventive maternal health care, reproductive health and child spacing and child health care, counselling and outreach education. 003123
  • August 6, 2002   United Press International   Population Trend Poses Challenges in Asia.   Declining population growth in the Asia-Pacific Region continued in 1995-2000, through education, female participation in the work force, and greater use of contraceptives. Excluding Japan, Australia and New Zealand, the region comprises 54% of the world's population, expected to fall to 51% by 2050. China has the lowest growth rate, while South Asia has one of the highest rates expected to add 570 million in India, 200 million in Pakistan, and 130 million in Bangladesh in the next 50 years. Overall population growth is slowing, life expectancy is rising, and infant mortality is dropping, but not all countries are recording equal progress. Larger work forces generate higher revenues for spending and investment, but an ageing populations needs healthcare, pensions and social security. Other challenges are a sharp rise in urbanization, China estimates that 120 million people have moved to the cities demanding housing, transportation, water and sewerage services, and the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus. The region has more than 6.6 million people with HIV.     rw 003072
  • August 6, 2002   South Africa Press Association   South Africa: Population to Even Out in 20 Years .   South Africa's population could level out in about 20 years time says South African environmental journalist James Clarke in his latest book, "Coming Back to Earth". AIDS and related illnesses may kill 10-14 million people in that 20 years. Clarke figures the resulting population of 30 to 40 million is the country's carrying capacity. Urbanization, cultural emancipation of women, changes in attitudes towards sex, and ongoing lowering of sperm counts will contribute to the decline in population, he says. The book criticized the U.S.'s production of a quarter of the world's industrially-induced carbon dioxides in the atmosphere. 003237
  • August 5, 2002   Reuters   Finnish Leader Says Global Lottery Could Fund UN .   A lottery run by the World Lottery Association (WLA) which would fund the United Nations efforts to fight poverty may become a reality by late 2003, said Martti Ahtisaari, a former president and U.N. peace broker. Finnish President Tarja Halonen promoted at a U.N. development summit in Monterrey, Mexico in March. 003120
  • August 2, 2002   adb.org   Part I: Population and Human Resource Trends and Challenges.   Who would like to do a review on this article? Click on the red arrow, get an account number, and when confirmed, send in your review via our online form. 003238
  • August 2, 2002   The Asian Development Bank;   The Key Indicators of Developing Asian and Pacific Countries 2002.   The 33rd edition of this flagship annual statistical data book of ADB. It features 31 regional tables that compare the Millenium Development Goals, economic, financial, and other social indicators across the 40 developing member countries of ADB. It also contains 38 country tables, each with 18-year data series on population, labor force and employment, national accounts , production, energy, price indices, money and banking, government finance, external trade, balance of payments, international reserves, exchange rates, and external indebtedness 003239
  • August 2, 2002   Reuters Health   Japanese Women Have Longest Life Expectancy in the World.   Japanese Health and Welfare Ministry said the life expectancy for Japanese females increased from 84.60 years to 84.93 years, the highest life expectancy in the world. Also men's life expectancy has increased by over four months to 78.07. The increase was attributed to a decrease in cancer-related deaths in men and a drop in deaths due to stroke in women. Hong Kong recorded the 2nd highest life expectancy. 003792
  • August 1, 2002     Blue Gold: Earth’s Liquid Asset: Water Will Become the Most Pressing Environmental Issue of This Century.   Consumption of freshwater is doubling every 20 years and new sources are becoming scarcer. 3 million people die each year of preventable water-borne diseases. 70% of all fresh water goes to grow food, and in parts of the US, North Africa and Asia, farmers take up to 95%. In the next 20 years population increases will need 17% more water to grow food. Deep aquifers are being pumped 10 times faster than they are being recharged and many have run dry. In many cases polluted water or sea water replaces the ground water, making it impossible to farm. Salt-tolerant crops are being developed to counter this. In Bangladesh, more than a million wells have been dug to tap into deep aquifers. But the water contained arsenic washed down from the Himalayas and up to 15 million people are being slowly poisoned. Tensions between people competing for water is escalating. Farmers compete directly with cities and industry for supplies. Major rivers are used for farm irrigation or industrial use until little is left to go out to sea. It takes 25,000 gallons of water to produce one car; a nuclear power station can use 30 million gallons of water a day and the US computer industry needs 400 billion gallons a year. In rapidly developing countries industrial needs are expected to grow 600% in the next 20 years. Sustainable development means thinking about stopping pollution before it reaches water sources and rethinking industrial processes. The worldwide water industry is expected to become a trillion- dollar-a-year operation within a decade. The only choice many countries have is to leave it to large northern corporations to manage - a politically and contentious route to take where people use little and believe that water is not a commodity from which anyone should profit.     rw 003868
  • July 7, 2002   Xinhua   Bangladesh: Early Marriage Linked to High Maternal Mortality .   47% of marriages in Bangladesh involve brides aged 15 to 19, who have 70% of the eclampsia cases, many of whom die from internal injuries during childbirth, and many surviving childbirth becoming infertile, according to a report by UNICEF. Less than 5% of women with complications have access to emergency obstetric care. Poverty and ignorance of family planning are the root causes of early marriage and early child bearing. 002934
  • July 5, 2002     Iran: Legal age for brides lifted to 13 .   In Iran, the minimum marriage age has been increased from 9 to 13 for girls and from 14 to 15 for boys. "This is yet another fulfillment of promises of reformists, especially female lawmakers, who had promised to protect women's rights," said lawmaker Fatemah Khatami. "Still, we have a long way to go to provide adequate legal protection for women." 002816
  • July 5, 2002   Push news service   When the Forests Go, Shall We Be Alone? .   by John Gray, author of Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and other Animals .. Species are vanishing at a rate of a hundred to a thousand times faster than they did before the arrival of humans says Edward O Wilson, the greatest living Darwinian thinker. Our children will be practically alone in the world. Cenozoic, the age of mammals, will be replaced by the Eremozoic - the era of solitude, according to Wilson. Biodiversity lost from the last great extinction took 10 million years to recover. Except for alarms from organisations like the World Wildlife Fund, politics and media debates proceed as if nothing is happening. Wilson says in his book Consilience: 'Population growth can justly be called the monster on the land.' Yet most political parties and even environmental organisations say environmental degradation is due to flaws in human institutions; that injustice prevents proper use of the earth's resources. Developing countries do not share this view, as evidenced by the existence of their various population programs. Rich countries are the most overpopulated because of their use of resources, but they are the most likely to reject the idea of overpopulation. Their affluence depends on their appropriating a hugely disproportionate share of the world's non-renewable resources. If they ever face up to that reality, they will have to admit that their affluence is unsustainable. Denial of overpopulation is fueled by the fact that there exists countries which are experiencing a decline in population; this denial ignores the fact that in others the numbers are exploding. The Gulf states, for example, will double their population in around 20 years, while their survival depends solely on one depleting natural resource, oil. China's population, despite its one-child policy, will continue to grow for much of this century. The population of the world has gone from 2 billion in 1940 to 6 billion today. By 2050, it will reach at least 8 billion, perhaps 9 billion. Rainforests will have to be cleared for human settlement and food production. Many of those that are taught in the Judaeo-Christian tradition believe that humanity can behave as lord of creation, treating the earth's natural wealth and other animals as tools, mere instruments for the achievement of human purposes. But human activity is already causing problems to humans. For example human-caused carbon emissions seem to be upsetting the balance of the global climate, with the possible effect of wiping out densely populated coastal countries such as Bangladesh within the present century, while seriously dislocating food production elsewhere in the world. Removing the world's rainforests would be removing part of the earth's self-regulatory system according to James Lovelock - they sweat to keep us cool. Eight billion people will not sit still for a depletion of vital necessities so the world will see a rise in the number of conflicts. While new technologies may allow more resources to be extracted and used more efficiently, their key use will be to secure control over dwindling supplies of oil, natural gas, water and other essential inputs of industrial society. Information technology will enable advanced industrial states to retain control of the most ancient sources of wealth - the world's shrinking supplies of non-renewable resources. With globilization, large numbers of today's population rely on far-flung supply networks, thus making them vulnerable to food shortages in the event of large-scale war. The author claims that "A policy of zero population growth requires universal availability of contraception and abortion, and limits on the freedom to breed;" [WOA!! agrees with everything but this] ... "but the authority that could impose these conditions does not exist." Population decline will more likely be realized through war, genocide or the kind of generalised social collapse that has taken place in post-communist Russia rather than through humans voluntarily limiting their numbers. 002988
  • July 3, 2002   The Washington Post   Debasing Human Dignity .   by Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute To respond to this op ed, email the editor at: letters@washpost.com. The United Nation Population Fund's population-control activities over the past three decades have cost far more lives than they have saved. China's one-child policy, for example, is responsible for the deaths of 5 million to 10 million Chinese children, children and mothers who died from forced abortions, homicidal neglect in orphanages or infanticide of girls by parents who wanted a son. This debate isn't about abortion. Funding population programs are based upon the Chicken Little theories about overpopulation, theories that have been discredited by people such as the late economist Julian Simon. Human beings are assets not liabilities. Having eliminated the UNFPA funding, the Bush administration should now end the $300 million a year of U.S. funding for population-control activities, such as those by USAID. It is the economic growth in places like China that has caused the birthrate to plummet, not condom distributions or coercive birth-control measures. If governments, through persuasion, coercion or false science, are permitted to control human reproduction, virtually no rights of the individual are inviolable. 003047
  • July 2, 2002   The Boston Globe   Guatemala: Women Entrepreneurs .   In the west highlands of Guatemala, women have a life expectancy of only 48 years and indigenous women in the area have an average of only one year or eductation. Many of the men have either been killed, left the country, or participate in conflict and vigilantism. FUNDAP (Foundation for Integrated Development through Socio-economic Programs), a local NGO - supported by Global Partnerships - promotes human development by training women and providing them with small loans to run businesses raising chickens, weaving, and other pursuits. The training includes sewing, baking, styling hair, and other skills. They are also learning how to keep good records, get the right price for their products, and charge for their time. The local village women often organize a bank to maintain a system of revolving credit. Their board of directors decides who is a worthy credit risk, sets repayment schedules, and determine how much money should be reinvested in businesses or set aside for savings. The village bank pays a 3% monthly interest, and if it is paid, the bank is eligible for another cycle of loans. The delinquency rate is less than 5%. Used properly, microcredit is self-sustaining, fostering creativity and independence. Imnproving the lives of women, it leads to healthier families, better-educated children, and stronger communities. 002870
  • July 2, 2002   New York Times   Study Warns of Stagnation in Arab Societies .   Repression of women, isolation from creative ideas, and lack of political freedom is causing Arab countries to stagnate, according to the Arab Human Development Report, 2002, recently released by the United Nations an co-sponsored by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, a development finance institution set up by members of the Arab League. Currently 280 million people live in the 22 Arab countries covered by the report, but the number is expected to grow to between 410 million and 459 million by 2020. While oil has changed the landscapes of some Arab countries, the region remains "richer than it is developed." Per capita is now just above that of sub-Saharan Africa, but the level of abject poverty is the world's lowest. Half of Arab women still cannot read or write but education spending is higher than elsewhere in the developing world. Life expectancy is longer than the world average of 67 years, but the maternal mortality rate is double that of Latin America and four times that of East Asia. Productivity is declining. Under Israeli occupation, Palestinians are particularly handicapped in the area of human development. 002871
  • July 2, 2002   David Pimentel   Last Orders Please ... Room is Running Out at the Global Dinner Table .   by David Pimentel The world's population doubled during the past 45 years to 6.2 billion, and is projected to double again within 50 years, adding 250,000 people to the world each day. At the same time, food, fresh water, quality soil, energy and biodiversity are being degraded or depleted. "The freedom to reproduce is creating problems for other freedoms: from poverty, from disease, from malnutrition and from environmental problems." As transport systems and urbanisation expands, 10 to 35 million hectares (about 1%) of vital cropland a year is being lost - when it is replaced, it is usually taken from forest areas, accounting for over 60% of the deforestation occuring worldwide. The average per capita cropland, worldwide, has diminished to about a quarter of a hectare, or about half the amount needed to provide diverse food supplies similar to those enjoyed in the US and Europe. Food production is also being constrained by water shortages and soon by fossil fuel shortages. In 80 countries, water demands exceed supplies - 300 cities in China suffer from inadequate water supplies, for example. To feed everyone sustainably based on a European standard of living, we would have to gradually reduce the world's population to 2 billion by having each couple produce an average of only 1.5 children on a 100 year plan. While this would cause social, economic, and political problems, the continued rapid growth to 10 billion or 12 billion people will result in an even more dire situation, with potentially greater problems. 002918
  • July 1, 2002   AIDS Weekly   U.N. Report Says ’Dramatic Changes’ in Sexual Behavior Needed in Many Poor Countries .   The U.N. Population Fund has produced a report based on surveys done in 39 Asian and African countries from the mid-to-late 1990s, of 5000 households in each country. "Clearly, dramatic changes in sexual and reproductive awareness and behavior in many less developed countries are needed in order to defeat the HIV/AIDS epidemic," it said. Even where there are high HIV rates most men and women considered themselves at little or no risk of contracting AIDS. In the Dominican Republic, Eritrea and Niger, 90% or higher felt thay were not at risk. Overall, 90% of respondents who had heard of AIDS knew one or more ways to avoid sexual transmission of the disease, most commonly the condom and having only one sexual partner. But the condom is not popular. In some countries in western and central Africa, "the large majority of women who are sexually active intend to become pregnant," and therefore avoid condoms. Men tended to know more than women about sexually transmitted infections. In Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Madagascar and Niger - about half the women surveyed didn’t know about sexually transmitted diseases. Overall, about one-quarter to one-third of women knew of no way to avoid getting AIDS. Education to make people aware of the risk of AIDS has not been effective. The notion of ’risk perception’ needs to be directly addressed in broad public programs. 002923
  • June 5, 2002   ILO Press Release   ILO Launches First "World Day Against Child Labour .   On 12 June 2002, the International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the first World Day Against Child Labour. Activities included gatherings of child workers and their supporters at school events, children's art shows and drama performances, media events and other activities. 246 million children age 5 to 17 are involved in child labour, including some 179 million still exposed to the worst forms of child labour which endanger the child's physical, mental or moral well-being, according to the recent report "A Future Without Child Labour". 002637
  • June 4, 2002   CNN.com   Whale-watchers Might Be Harmful to Orcas .   The killer whale population has declined 20% in the last 7 years; whale watchers may be the reason. It seems that the whale's sonar is disturbed by the sound of the motorized boats by as much as 99%. Therefore the whales take longer to find food, swimming longer and consuming about 20% more blubber in doing so. While allowing whale-watching may build public awareness toward the plight of the whales, the numbers of people watching the whales is just too many. 002608
  • June 3, 2002   IRIN PlusNews   Conservative Malawi Offended by Condom Advertisement .   A billboard ad for Chishango condoms shows a scantily-clad woman's torso, one hand on her revealed thigh, the other suggestively hovering below her navel - causing an uproar in Malawi. Religious groups say that it will encourage young people to have sex. But 50% of children and adolescents are already sexually active before age 15, according to Malawi National Human Development agency. The ratio of young women to young men with AIDS in the 15 to 19 age group is 6 to 1. Older men seek out schoolgirls and younger women because they believe, despite the statistics, that they are less likely to be infected. In marriage, women are often cannot protect themselves against infection, even if it is obvious. The manufacturer of the condoms is Population Services International. 002638
  • May 9, 2002   World Health Organization   Pollution-Related Diseases Kill Millions of Children a Year; Alarming Numbers Part of New UN Report Released for Child Conference.   5,500 children die every day from diseases caused by consuming water and food polluted with bacteria, says a new report, Children in the New Millennium: Environmental Impact on Health, produced jointly by UNICEF, the UN Environment Programme and the World Health Organization (WHO), and released for the May 8-10 UN General Assembly Special Session on Children. Diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections are two of the leading causes of child mortality. Diarrhoea is exacerbated by malnutritio, and together the two form a vicious cycle. Children are also affected by high levels of toxic chemicals and the degradation and depletion of natural resources. Lead from leaded gasoline and paint causes permanent neurological and developmental disorders in children. Millions of children who work in agriculture are at high risk of pesticide poisoning. Global environmental problems, such as the impact of climate change, the depletion of the ozone layer and the loss of the planet's biological diversity also leave children vulunerable. The report calls for increased national investment in early child care. 002398
  • May 9, 2002   Child Rights Caucus   Open Letter From the Child Rights Caucus to US Delegation at Child Summit.   The Child Rights Caucus sent a letter to Tommy Thompson, US Secretary of Health and Human Services and the United States delegation to the UN Special Session on Children saying they are "deeply disappointed" in the position that the United States has taken during the negotiations. Neither the reality of children's lives, nor the international framework of children's rights that has developed over the last twelve years are dealt with in the U.S. position. The success of this Special Session is in jeopardy if the US is unyielding in its position. Promoting abstinence as the primary strategy for dealing with adolescent sexuality is both naïve and inappropriate. For the millions of girls who marry before age 18 or who are forced into sexual relationships, abstinence is not an option, and lack of access to appropriate education and services can be life-threatening. 002400
  • May 9, 2002   Panafrican News Agency   UN Population Agency Initiates Action Against Fistula .   The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has begun a major initiative to act against obstetric fistula, an injury to the birth canal that tears the tissue between the vagina and the bladder or rectum and resulting in constant leakage of urine or faeces. About two million adolescent mothers worldwide suffer this odorous condition, many of them socially isolated, divorced by their husbands, or seen by the community as cursed for previous wrongdoing. Fistula is usually caused by obstructed prolonged labour in the immature adolescent body, often resulting in the baby being born dead. The average age at first childbirth in many developing countries is still 16. Stunted growth caused by malnutrition contributes to the problem. Africa, the Indian sub-continent and the Middle East have the highest occurance of fistula. In Nigeria, which has 1/2 of the world's untreated fistula cases, a 1983 study showed 84% of the cases resulted from prolonged, obstructed labour and 13% resulted from the traditional ritual cut of the genitalia. Also the study showed that 55% of the victims were under 19 years, while 30% were under 16. If not repaired, urinary tract infections often set in, which if left untreated are often deadly. Prevention entails raising the minimum age of marriage and providing access to reproductive health services, including prenatal and post-natal care. Girls 15-19 years are at twice as much risk of maternal death as mothers in their 20s. 3% of pregnancies lead to fistula. The surgery to repair the fisutla is successful in up to 93% of cases. 002406
  • May 9, 2002   New York Times*   U.S. Population: Bill on Border Security and Immigration Passes in House .   In response to the events of Sept. 11, the House unanimously approved a bill tightening visa controls and student monitoring. It would increase the number of immigration inspectors and investigators, require universities to keep better track of foreign students, heighten scrutiny of visa applications from countries listed as sponsors of terrorism, network databases of federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies, and issue machine-readable, tamper-resistant visas and travel documents. The bill would have required noncitizens to carry identification documents, but these provisions were dropped after bipartisan negotiations. An earlier proposal that would have made it easier for thousands of Mexicans and other illegal immigrants to obtain permanent resident visas, or green cards was not in this particular bill.   [Note: being lax on illegal immigration suggests that there should be no limits on immigration and is unfair to those trying to legally immigrate. With carrying capacity already exceeded, the U.S. simply cannot accomodate everyone who wants to come.] 002413
  • May 9, 2002   The Washington Post   ACLU Sues Louisiana in First Challenge to Use of Federal Abstinence Funds for Programs That 'Promote Religion' .   $1.6 million in federal money allotted for abstinence-only sex education programs in Louisiana are being used to fund activities that "promote religion", according to the American Civil Liberties Union. The law suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, contends that federal funding was used to promote such religious activities as prayer vigils at abortion clinics, "Christ-centered" skits that advocate sexual abstinence and Christmas youth revivals focusing on "virgin birth" and commitment to "sexual purity" and "scriptural concepts" to promote abstinence, all of which violates the separation of church and state outlined in the U.S. Constitution. 002415
  • May 6, 2002   National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy website   Advocacy Groups Observe First Annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy .   May 6 was declared the first National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Teen People magazine and Teen People Online and it coincides with National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, has been endorsed by more than 80 organizations and features an online effort to get teenagers to "make a personal commitment" to postpone pregnancy and parenthood until they are adults. One million American teenagers get pregnant each year, and the U.S. teen pregnancy rate remains the highest among industrialized nations. The Teen People Online website online quiz asks teens to choose the best response to "realistic" situations involving peer pressure, "out of control" parties and gossip - to help them foresee "risky" situations and to make a plan ahead of time to help them avoid pregnancy. 002417
  • May 6, 2002   Reuters Health   U.S. - Less Than One-third of Hospital Emergency Departments Routinely Offer Emergency Contraception to Sexual Assault Survivors .   In a study of Pennsylvania hospitals only 32% of hospitals surveyed routinely offered EC counseling and pills to sexual assault victims, while 9% of hospitals offered no EC counseling or provision at all. Only 6% of Catholic facilities provided EC counseling and pills on a regular basis. Up to 5% of women in the U.S. who are sexually assaulted each year become pregnant from the attack. EC is effectie in preventing pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse. 002418
  • May 6, 2002   AP/St. Louis Post-Dispatch   Reproductive Health of Afghan Women Improving, but Many Barriers Remain .   The average Afghan woman has seven children and one in every seven Afghan women dies giving birth. While under the Taliban rule, men made the medical decisions for the family, but treatment of pregnancy and gynecological problems were impeded by the taboos and shame associated with sex. Women could not make decisions about their own medical care. The World Health Association (WHO) plans to send a caravan to villages to show a seven-minute film about women's health and to provide contraceptives such as birth control pills, which the organization says are "catching on" among Afghan women. 002419
  • May 4, 2002   The Guardian   AIDS Turns Back the Clock for World's Children.   HIV/AIDS, and the poverty that goes along with it, hits children with a force that was not foreseen. Life expectancy has fallen from 18 tod 23 years in the worst affected countries; malnutrition has risen; immunisation rates have dropped; more than 13 million children have been orphaned by AIDS, 95% of them in Africa; and four million children have died of AIDS since the epidemic began. Teachers, health workers and other social service staff who are crucial to children's welfare and development are being hit with AIDS. 300,000 child soldiers fight in 30 wars. "These are shameful statistics for a world possessing such extraordinary wealth, knowledge and technological capacity," says UNICEF. In Jamaica, HIV/AIDS is contracted by girls aged 15 to 19 three times more than by boys and it is the second leading cause of death in children under 5. In the former Soviet Union 18 million of the region's 107 million people are living in poverty and 1.5 million children live in public care because their families cannot provide for them. Where there is increasing poverty, sex is a currency and AIDS has made it a deadly one. Poverty means sexually transmitted disease goes untreated and it keeps children out of school - lack of education often means that girls sell sex as their only viable economic option. 002380