Also known as: WOA!! * World Population Awareness * population-awareness.net
A health care worker in Bangladesh gives a young pregnant woman a birthing kit for a safer delivery. It contains a sterile razor to cut the cord, a sterile plastic sheet to place under the birth area, and other simple, sanitary items - all which help save lives. The health care worker asks the young woman to come back with her baby for a post natal check after the birth. At that time, she asks the mom if she wants to have another child right away or if she wants to space her children. Usually the mom wants to wait, and gladly accepts contraception. The worker is prepared to give her pills, an injection, implants, or an IUD. The mother is instructed to come back if the baby shows signs of diarrhea or pneumonia, common infant killers.
People's Rights, Planet's Rights - Holistic Approaches to a Sustainable Population (pdf) Suzanne York, Institute for Population Studies
Art Elphick's Pop- ulation Slide Show
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Seeks to protect the global environment, preserve natural resources for future generations, and foster healthy communities by advancing sustainable development solutions by:
- promoting increased access to voluntary family planning and reproductive
health information and services
- advocating for women's and girls' basic rights, including health care, education, and economic opportunity
- raising public awareness of wasteful resource consumption in the context of social and economic equity
- empowering youth leaders
Wise Giving Guide
If we don't halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity - and will leave a ravaged world. Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry W. Kendall
Population & Sustainability News Digest
December 06, 2013
Some biologists call it the sixth mass extinction event. Now that humans dominate the Earth, other species have been going extinct at rates from 100 to 1000 times faster than before we arrived. We have tried to stem this loss. According to the UN, we have placed 14.6% of the Earth's land surface and 9.7% of coastal waters under protection, and we continue adding more. Yet despite our many conservation efforts, human activities now extinguish almost 17,000 plant and animal species per year - and the pressures causing this are constant or increasing.
Research published in Human Ecology by anthropologist Jeffrey McKee and colleagues suggests that species decline results more from the growth in human numbers than from economic growth and land-use changes. McKee's model showed how increased GDP and agricultural land use contributed to the problem, but population density mattered more.
Nations with growing populations can expect a 3.3% increase in the number of threatened mammals and birds over the next decade, and a 10.8% increase by 2050. What's more, recent UN studies project substantial population increases through the end of the century.
McKee acknowledges that his research did not include such emerging threats to species as pollution, invasive species, and climate change. Dieter Gerten of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research predicts that under a 2°C warming scenario, substantial habitat changes, such as changes to water flows and vegetation composition, will likely add to the threat of species extinction. Of course, we can trace the roots of this warming trend to the growing number of people who use fossil fuels.
The UN's Millennium Development Goals will expire unmet in 2015. The goals and targets proposed this summer by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda recommend renewing the goals with several changes. The new goals support the rights of women to determine the number, timing, and spacing of their children, and that could help to slow the rates of biodiversity loss.
However, the proposed changes pay less attention to biodiversity. The natural resources goal calls for "safeguarding ecosystems, species, and genetic diversity," without drawing attention to the urgent need to not only stop the increase of species loss, but to reverse the rate of loss. We must achieve more than the proposed recommendations require because even the current extinction rate is unacceptable.
Two of my recent columns dealt with child deaths. The sad fact is that, worldwide, 19,000 children die every day - mostly in poor regions, and mostly related to inadequate nutrition.
The first column (Herald, Aug. 25) told the story of two boys I took care of in Nicaragua when I was in medical school. Miguel hadn't been fed enough protein and recovered with good food. Van was just skin and bones, and died from starvation.
The second article (Herald, Oct. 27) mentioned that there is hunger in the United States. Our country doesn't have a universal safety net to catch people in need.
Sending food to poor countries does not help in the long run because it increases people's dependence. Indeed, well-meaning people may do more harm than good. This is made clear (in a religious context) in the book When Helping Hurts. It points out that many actions that might seem helpful have the opposite effect.
Unfortunately, despite the best of intentions, transferring technology from rich to poor countries can have bad effects. Supplanting breast-feeding with artificial formula is a good example. Contaminated water may be used to mix the formula, and poor parents cannot afford to buy the formula after breast milk has dried up.
Nepal, where villages had an epidemic of deaths, provides another example of unintended consequences. Metal cookware appeared to be a boon to the Nepalese because food cooked more rapidly than in old-fashioned earthenware pots. This meant less denuding forests for firewood and less smoke from cooking fires. But it also meant that pork wasn't uniformly well-cooked. Pork tapeworms lodged in people's brains and killed them. Fortunately, cooking pork adequately can prevent this disease, cysticercosis. Sanitary toilets are also important in separating human waste from pigs. We must try to foresee and prevent unintended consequences when trying to help others.
There are many examples of programs that are very effective in reducing child deaths. Brazil, which has experienced a remarkable transformation, is one.
Nancy Scheper-Hughes first went to a favela (Brazilian shanty town) in 1964 as a Peace Corps volunteer. She is now a professor of medical anthropology. Her article "No More Angel-Babies on the Alto" is available at: http://clas.berkeley.edu/research/brazil-no-more-angel-babies-alto.
Nancy found that many babies in the favela died, and she was shocked that their mothers didn't grieve their deaths. The average woman gave birth to eight children, of whom almost half died. One woman put it this way: "Why grieve the death of infants who barely landed in this world, who were not even conscious of their existence?"
When Nancy returned to Brazil recently she was surprised to find that the under-5 death rate in that same city had decreased from 110 to 25 per 1,000. How had this radical drop been achieved? She cites several factors. Brazil's president's wife was a strong advocate for women's rights. They started a system of care for all, including “barefoot doctors" to identify children at risk. The “zero hunger" campaign provides food for the most vulnerable. Safe water supplies and prenatal clinics improved the health of pregnant women. Women's literacy is a universal theme in social change, especially for improving child survival.
Along with the decrease in child mortality has come an amazing decrease in family size. The average number of children a Brazilian woman will bear is 1.8 - fewer than in the U.S., and less than replacement. Each child born can be expected to live to adulthood and is therefore valued from birth. This favela has gone through the demographic transition in less than 40 years!
What is the difference between good aid programs and not so good? The best programs tune in to what the local people want rather than imposing agendas that are not culturally sensitive. They are sustainable - meaning that the aid recipients will be motivated to maintain the work with little or no help from donors.
Back to Nicaragua. People there are still impoverished; it is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with 80 percent living on less than $2 per day. Less than 40 percent of people in rural areas have improved sanitation. Fortunately, the country is receiving sustainable assistance. El Porvenir (a nonprofit organization) partners with rural Nicaraguans to build sanitation and pure water infrastructure and protects the water supply through reforestation. Their school hand-washing facilities make kids healthier and increase school attendance by 20 to 30 percent!
These improvements have raised the standards of living and health. Better-educated women have healthier and fewer children. Development has helped Nicaraguans in many ways, including reducing the average number of children a woman has from seven when we visited in 1968 to just 2.6 now.
Note: click on the link in the headline to see a map showing serious soil degradation throughout the world
A team of scientists at the University of Colorado under Noah Fierer has recently discovered that crop farming across the Prairies since the late 19th Century has caused a collapse of the soil microbia that holds the ecosystem together. They compared tilled land with rare pockets of ancient tallgrass found in cemeteries and reservations and found that crop agriculture has "drastically altered" the biology of the land.
Professor Fierer said, "We really know very little about one of the most productive soils on the planet, but we do know that soil microbes play a key role and we can't just keep adding fertilizers."
The scientists fear that we are repeating the mistakes of past civilisations, over-exploiting the land until it goes beyond the point of no return, and leads to a vicious circle of famine, and then social disintegration.
The study, entitled "Dust to Dust", says that the erosion of soil fertility has been masked by a "soup of nutrients" poured over crop lands, giving us a false sense of security. One percent of global land is being degraded each year, contributing to a 70% loss of the top soil.
Chemicals can keep crop yields high for a while but the complex ecology beneath is being abused further. Once a certain threshold is reached, the recovery rate plunges. Yields have already fallen 8% across Africa as a whole.
Given that the world's population will grow by over a quarter to nine billion before peaking in the middle of the century, and China and emerging Asia switch to an animal protein diet, this news can spell real trouble. It takes 4kg-8kg of grains in animal feed to produce 1kg of meat.
Professor Robert Scholes, one of the authors, said there will come a time when terrified governments sacrificing their future to stop their people starving today. "We're seeing a massive arc of deforestation in Africa," he said.
Iceland's Norse settlers turned their green and partly forested island into a Nordic desert in the 10th Century and have not yet restored the fragile soil, despite careful husbandry. The Sumerian civilisation that first pioneered cereal farming in the Tigris and Euphrates was almost certainly destroyed by soil erosion and over-cultivation.
"We are using up our nutrient capital and face a looming food crisis over the next 30 to 40 years. ... Famine is a very real possiblity," he said.
Once the hillside trees are cut down, water flows are disturbed. It then becomes harder to feed saturated settlements. Societies take short-cuts to survive, leaving less land fallow . The spiral accelerates.
Climate shock is the often the coup de grace, pushing them over the edge.
The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) says the world food demand will 50% by 2030, requiring more fresh land. However land degradation is expected to cut output by 12% over the next 25 years.
The UNCCD set a goal to achieve "zero net land degradation" by 2015, mostly by replanting forests. "It's not impossible but it takes time, money, dedication, and political will, and there is not a lot political will," environment chief Veerle Vanderweerde said. Global agro-industrial companies are moving into new frontiers, stripping and degrading land for quick profit, more akin to mining than farm stewardship, she said.
Yacouba Sawadogo stopped soil erosion on his little farm in Burkina Faso by digging small holes and filling them with compost and tree seeds to catch the seasonal rains, in 30 years recreating a woodland of 20 hectares in the arid Sahel. Sadly, local officials then expropriated the land.
While the world land grab by investors is not quite as bad as feared, an area the size of Spain has been taken. Foreign firms have learned to tread carefully after a populist backlash in Africa and Latin America.
The top investors came from the US, followed by Malaysia, the Arab Emirates, the UK, and China.
Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Sudan, the Congo, and Mozambique are the targets.
In 2008 corn and wheat prices tripled in three years and then stayed high, triggering the food riots that led to the Arab Spring. However bumper crops in the US, Canada, and Ukraine have boosted world cereal output by 8% this year. Consumption has risen 3.5%.
Global grain stocks have jumped 13% yet cover only 69 days of global consumption, compared to 107 days in the 1980s and 1990s. Food prices remain high, with the UN's food price index up by 105% over the last decade.
The world cannot afford to lose 12m hectares a year, not even 1 hectare.
Global warming is not the only problem and it is not certain that it is caused by man's actions.
Grain production is up, but wells are going dry from the unsustainable use of irrigation water.November 29, 2013, Los Angeles Times
India is third in grain production, after China and the United States. Since the 1960s the adoption of higher-yielding crop varieties and the spread of irrigation have led to a remarkable tripling of output. However, a growing share of the water that irrigates three-fifths of India's grain harvest is coming from wells that are starting to go dry. Soon India's growing population will see a major disruption in food supplies. 190 million Indians are being fed using water that cannot be sustained.
27 million wells have been drilled and wells have been drilled in every Indian state. The World Bank warned in 2005 that 15% of India's food was being produced by overpumping groundwater.
Global warming also threatens India's grain. Himalayan and Tibetan glaciers that feed Asia's major rivers during the dry season are shrinking. There will be more meltwater in the near term, but far less in the future. Monsoon patterns are also changing, making these annual deluges more difficult to predict.
Due to the unsustainable use of irrigation water, India is experiencing is a "food bubble." Already 43% of children under age 5 are underweight and 1 out of 4 families experience "foodless days" - days where they do not eat at all. Plus half the families subsist on just one staple food, thus missing vital nutrients that come in a diversified diet.
Two-thirds of the population still live on less than $2 a day, according to the World Bank. Every two years the population grows by another Canada, with population expected to hit 1.5 billion, surpassing China, by 2043.
The government revamped its food distribution program in September, but averting a sudden and devastating collapse of the food bubble will require ramping up initiatives in health, family planning and education to put the brakes on population growth and rethinking energy and transportation policies to reduce India's contribution to climate change. It is incredibly shortsighted to be building coal-fired power plants in a country where climate change threatens to worsen water shortages.
Solutions include phasing out energy subsides so that farmers don't overpump, capturing the excess water that comes during monsoons in small ponds, and using more-efficient irrigation techniques and by growing less thirsty crops -- for example, more wheat and less rice.
In 1965 the U.S. government shipped 10 million tons of grain - 20% of the U.S. harvest that year - to India - the largest food relief effort in history.
Will we witness famine if many wells run dry at the same time? Or will the United States be called on to again come to the rescue?
With a third of the U.S. grain harvest now going to fuel for cars and another third going to feed livestock, U.S. exports are down. Global demand is increasing rapidly as populations expand and as more people move up the food chain, consuming grain-intensive animal products. A tightening grain situation means rising food prices for all, a trend that will continue without a global mobilization to use water more efficiently and quickly stabilize population and climate.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham just introduced a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks, nationwide. This is just the latest attempt by anti-women's health politicians to turn back the clock on women's rights, even if it means endangering women's lives and ignoring the Constitution.
Politicians like Sen. Graham have no right to stand between a woman and her doctor, and Congress should not have a say in any family's deeply personal medical decisions. But the House passed a similar bill earlier this year, and similar legislation just went into effect in Texas — so we need to speak out and shut this bill down now.
The grocery delivery program Door To Door Organics, report that Americans eat at least 12 ounces of meat per day, almost 50% more than the recommend daily amount. One 2011 study found eating less meat could double the world's food supply. A March study published by the Archives of Internal Medicine through Harvard University found eating too much red meat can shorten one's lifespan. Also eating too much meat can lead to kidney stones, dehydration and calcium loss. Dieticians of Canada recommend 75 g or 2 1/2 ounces of meat every day, along with a meat alternative to make up the recommended daily intake of five ounces of protein.
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This is a well-done fact sheet with many persuasive population facts that can be used for tabling or persuading policy makers.
Here are some of the facts from the factsheet:
• There are an estimated 222 million women in developing countries with an unmet need for modern contraception.
• Worldwide only 57.4% of women aged 15-49 who are married or in a union are using modern contraception, and this figure falls to only 31.0% in the least developed countries
• Growth is expected to be most rapid in the 49 least developed countries, which are projected to double in size from around 900 million inhabitants in 2013 to 1.8 billion in 2050.
• The population of Africa is expected to more than double by mid-century, increasing from today's 1.1 billion and potentially reaching 4.2 billion by 2100.
• Niger has one of the highest population growth rate in the world (currently 4.0% a year) and the highest fertility rate in the world (with an average of 7.8 babies born to every woman between 2010 and 2015) also has one of the lowest rates of modern contraceptive use (only 8.7% among women of reproductive age who are married or in a union).
• 80 million unintended pregnancies occur every year in developing countries, with women with an unmet need for modern contraception accounting for 79% of these unintended pregnancies.
• Worldwide an estimated 41% of pregnancies are unintended5 and over one in five of all births result from unintended pregnancies.
Fulfilling the unmet need for modern contraception in developing countries would each year:
• Save the lives of 79,000 women from pregnancy-related deaths (in addition to the 118,000 maternal deaths averted by current modern contraceptive use)
• Save the lives of 1.1 million infants that would die before the age of 1 (in addition to the 1.8 million infant deaths averted by current use)
• Avert 54 million unintended pregnancies (which would represent a decline by two-thirds and is in addition to the 218 million averted currently)
• Avert 26 million abortions, including 16 million fewer unsafe procedures (in addition to the 138 million abortions currently averted, 40 million of them unsafe)
In an era of globalization, where products often travel thousands of miles before reaching our hands, there exists the dangerous perception that supplies are limitless. There's a disconnect too between our consumption choices and how their production and processing impacts the environment. All too often, the result is humans falling prey to the simple idea that more is better, which is dangerous when "more" is easy to obtain.
Figuring out how to clothe, feed, and please all seven billion of us is a task that will require looking at systems as part of a whole, and, in that respect, the population, health, and environment (PHE) community has much to offer.
Our generation faces unprecedented challenges: imminent climate change resulting in rising temperatures, more frequent violent storms, and altered rainfall patterns; land and water scarcity; quite possibly the peak of human population; true globalization of world markets, driving maximal consumption among both developed and many fast-developing countries; a rapid transition to urban living, with the global urban population rising to around 70 percent by 2050; and a shift in the leading causes of death worldwide from infectious diseases (1970s and 80s), to chronic diseases (now), to neurodegenerative diseases (projected for the future).
PHE intervention programs do a laudable job meeting local demand for family planning in vulnerable environments, improving food security, and encouraging environmentally sustainable livelihoods. However, monitoring and evaluation, a strength of research organizations, is still being developed.
But their short time-frames often mean it's not yet possible to scale-up potential interventions and engage communities to evaluate long-term sustainability.
Making sense of increasingly linked and globalized relationships will require an interdisciplinary approach to training and research, which only a handful of universities have truly embraced. The PHE community's head-start on the challenge, including years of experience working on the complexity of measuring cross-sectoral results, gives it a chance to become much more than it is today. The future of PHE could be in addressing the biggest challenges facing mankind.
Monitoring and evaluation must continue to be a priority for programs working in the field, while research efforts identify synergies and make policy recommendations that maximize impact. Partnerships between academia, government, non-government, industry, and local communities will be needed for large-scale implementation and rapid response.
We can no longer measure the benefits obtained for one large population without considering the impact it has on another. Interdisciplinary and cross-scale approaches need to be utilized to more thoroughly vet the interactions between human population dynamics and the environment in order to secure our future on the planet. PHE has a role to play in leading the way.
This year, Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, will host the annual International Family Planning Conference. Ethiopia's public health facilities offer several contraceptive options. Usage has grown from 8% in 2000 to 29% in 2011. Combining family planning with immunizations, antibiotics and other health services has reduced Ethiopia's maternal and child mortality rates. Minister of Health, Catherine Gotani Hara, says that women have fewer children when they expect them all to survive.
The success of programs in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Malawi show that even poor nations can make family planning work. Contraceptives are free at public health clinics in all three of these nations. Women tend to pick long-acting reversible and discreet contraceptives (like implants and IUDs) over condoms and pills. But clinics offer other options so users can decide for themselves which methods to choose.
Women often fear their husband's reaction, so health workers often offer birth control outside the clinic so husbands won't know that their wives have visited the program. Where men resist family planning, Ethiopia sends male mentors to their homes to help convince them. Officials in Rwanda encourage male family planning methods such as vasectomies. In Malawi, village campaigns headed by community chiefs promote family planning for couples. They include the voice and perspective of as many men as possible, including respected elders.
Some programs also focus on teens. Although many 18-year-old girls are already married with children, some national leaders fail to acknowledge that teens have sex. Ethiopian community health centers now include youth services and private offices to educate teens and offer them contraceptives. Boys even learn about family planning in primary school. Since teens may feel uncomfortable discussing sex with adults, some organizations use unconventional approaches to reach them. For example, Planned Parenthood partners with Mary Joy Aid Through Development to train Ethiopian teens as peer health promoters who can talk to other teens about sexual health issues and distribute pills and condoms.
Ethiopia's constitution makes access to family planning a woman's right, which highlights the critical role it has in that nation. Rwanda also introduced strong policies in support of family planning. It improved access to contraceptives by stocking up all public health clinics and training more family planning providers. This resulted in a 10-fold increase in contraceptive use (from 4% of married women of reproductive age in 2000 to 45% by 2010).
In Ethiopia and Malawi, health extension workers help get people to clinics. USAID helps these nations fund the Women's Development Army, which trains community mothers as extension workers. In addition to a hospital and small health center in every community, Ethiopia also staffs a health post with two extension workers. They go door to door and they host informal gatherings to promote family planning and answer questions. Before joining the Women's Development Army, Yenenesh Deresa had her first of five children at 15. Now she talks to women about family planning over coffee. She says this empowers women to make their own decisions and have safer pregnancies.
Countries that lower their fertility rates often experience an economic boost known as the demographic dividend. Family planning allows more women to work and help grow the economy. Where girls can work and support themselves, the nation has fewer dependents, thus adding to its stability. The first step is to lower fertility rates, but for young people of both genders to join the workforce, they must be trained and jobs must exist. This is mainly a problem for girls in low-resource countries since about a quarter of them get pregnant and drop out of school. Roman Tesfaye, First Lady of Ethiopia, says to become a middle income nation, girls "need to be protected from unplanned pregnancies." Zewdtu Areda, who oversees health services in her area, sees significant progress. "You can see that things are changing now for women. I am a woman, and I am a leader here."
This Months' Top Most Informative Articles Needing Summarization
Click on the red arrow of the article of your choice to summarize it
Britain's continuing population growth threatens our future prosperity.
The number of people in the UK grew by more than that in any other EU country in the last year, according to the latest data from the EU. We had the second largest number of live births, over 800,000, and just below that of France, and the second largest excess of births over deaths (natural change), over 240,000, again just below that of France. These positions were due to Britain's relatively high fertility rate rather than a particularly low mortality rate.
With this natural change being negative in some countries, the UK's natural change was higher than that for the EU as a whole. Add in net migration (the excess of immigration over emigration) of almost 150,000, and Britain's overall growth in the last twelve months was almost 400,000, over one third that for the EU as a whole.
Commented Simon Ross, chief executive of Population Matters, "The cause of our rising cost of living is staring us in the face. Rising numbers and hence demand is putting pressure on limited resource supply, from housing and transport to energy and even water. The cost of the enormous infrastructure projects being added to all of our bills is ultimately due to this population growth.
Rising numbers also affect our quality of life, from easy access to health and education to cramped house sizes and easy access to playing fields and green belt land.
The Swiss financial services group, Zurich Insurance, plans to invest about 0.5% of its $200 billion portfolio in green bonds issued by the World Bank and other institutions to support sustainable growth and development without sacrificing financial returns. This investment will make the group the biggest holder of dollar-denominated green bonds, holding about 10% of the global market.
Impact investing is becoming increasingly popular with both institutions and individuals who want to do good while making money. The global financial meltdown, financial scams and Wall Street misconduct have left many people disillusioned with traditional investments. A growing awareness of inequality and diminishing natural resources has also helped fuel a hunger to do good with finance, particularly among young people.
Extreme weather, such as floods and typhoons, has caused $76 billion of insured losses in east Asia over the past three decades.
Naderev Sano, of the Philippines Climate Change Commission, said that the highest increase in measured sea levels over the past seven decades "has been in the waters just east of the Philippines." ... "you shouldn't wait for full scientific certainty before doing something or taking action." .. "How many lives do we want to lose, not just in the Philippines but in communities that have other climate impacts?"
Zurich will finance initiatives such as an energy efficiency project in Turkey aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions by over 1.4 million tons per year by investing in solar, geothermal and other renewable resources.
This is a series of articles and videos from the November 2013 International Conference on Family Planning , including:
Girls' Globe Reports Live from ICFP: Coverage Archive - http://live.fhi360.org/category/icfp2013/#sthash.r5F3HcX1.dpuf
CFP 2013 Reflections: Maternal & Child Health, Family Planning… and NTDs http://live.fhi360.org/category/icfp2013/#sthash.r5F3HcX1.dpuf
Video: The Importance of Women Leaders in Family Planning - Ellen Starbird, USAID
Connected Health Workers Key to Improved Healthcare
Day Two of the ICFP and the Energy around Youth is Electric
Latin America's Contraception Crisis
Inspired by youth involvement: Kate Gilmore, UNFPA
ICFPLive Crowdblog: Wednesday Plenary - Achieving Equity through Women in Leadership
Family planning leads to health, education and income
Video: The Importance of Involving Youth in Family Planning - Isaiah Olowabi
Spending $1 and getting $4 back sounds like a good deal, doesn't it? Well for every $1 we invest in family planning, we save $4 in other areas like education, public health, and water and sanitation.
It's time to cash in on this deal, and invest in family planning worldwide. When women are able to plan their pregnancies, they live longer, they have smaller families, and they're better able to participate in the workforce. In fact, women who have access to contraception typically make 40% more than those without access — and that economic success is good for the whole country.
LTE: for Contraception Methods, Long-term Options Work BetterNovember 27 , 2013
Bonnie Tillery, a population issues coordinator for the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club wrote this LTE which she is willing to share with anyone who wants to send it to their local paper.
For contraception methods,long-term options work better
There has been a lot of negative press about the Affordable Care Act, but here is some positive news.
The act mandates that insurance companies provide all forms of female contraception without a co-pay as part of preventive health care. This should bring down the incidence of unplanned pregnancy dramatically, as was shown in a 2007 study at Washington University in St. Louis.
According to an Oct. 23 article in The American Prospect, researchers "provided 10,000 St. Louis women with free contraception, with the goal of decreasing unintended pregnancy.... Few women ended up choosing the pill. Most went with a long-acting contraceptive method, like an IUD or an implant and the results were striking. Women who opted for a shorter-term contraceptive like the pill were 20 times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy."
Currently, about one-half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned - the largest number among countries in the developed world. By reducing dependence on the birth control pill, which is not as effective as other long-term contraceptives, the incidence of unplanned pregnancy should be greatly diminished.
Population-Environment Program Wins Recognition: Blue Ventures Honored at International Conference on Family PlanningNovember 14 , 2013, NewSecurityBeat
London-based NGO Blue Ventures was presented with an Excellence in Leadership for Family Planning (EXCELL) award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health for their work integrating community-based reproductive health education and services into their marine conservation and coastal livelihood initiatives in Madagascar.
"Blue Ventures demonstrates how environment agencies working in highly diverse areas can address reproductive health needs within a rights-based framework," said José Rimon, deputy director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, in presenting the award.
"We are all so grateful for this recognition that integration of voluntary family planning services into community-based conservation, food security, and other environmental programs provides an effective way to reach some of the world's most remote and under-served communities with the reproductive health services they need," said Blue Ventures' Caroline Savitzky at the conference hall in Addis Ababa.
Recognition at this scale is a major boon for the population, health, and environment (PHE) community, which supports similar integrated environment and health programming in biodiversity hotspots and rural areas around the world.
Sign the Bill of Reproductive Rights2013, Draw The Line
Vaginas Are Like "Little Hoover Vacuums," and Other Things Abstinence Lecturers Get Paid to Tell TeensNovember 14, 2013, Mother Jones
At least once a year we were shuffled into the gymnasium at high school for lectures from abstinence-only educational speakers on how to make "good choices." Young adult mentors would dance around the auditorium playing Christian rock and trying to convince us that having sex wasn't cool. In between all the jokes and music,
Justin Lookadoo, one such mentor, gave a presentation for teenagers in Texas in which he said: "Girls, the reason it's so hard for you to succeed these days is not because of guys…You're doing it to yourselves," He has an online dating service which advises: "Men of God are wild…They keep women covered up" and "dateable girls know how to shut up."
Jason Evert, another advisor says: "Girls...only lift the veil over your body to the spouse who is worthy to see the glory of that unveiled mystery." In this 2008 YouTube video, he says: "A culture of immodest women will necessarily be a culture of uncommitted men." .. Evert also maintains that birth control pills cause abortions. (In reality, they prevent conception, and if an egg is fertilized, they make the uterine lining inhospitable for implantation. The Code of Federal Regulations and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists define pregnancy as beginning at implantation.)
Pam Stenzel, who claims to make $4000-$6000 for each appearance, says: "If you take birth control, your mother probably hates you." At one public school in Virginia, she allegedly made some female students cry by "slut-shaming" them. Stenzel asserts that the HPV vaccine "only works on virgins," and that chlamydia—even when treated—is likely to make women infertile, with a 25% chance of infertility the first time it's contracted and a 50% chance the second time. . (Of women with chlamydia who go untreated, about 10% will develop pelvic inflammatory disease, which in some cases may cause infertility.)
The speakers claimed that condoms have holes in them and a failure rate of 14% (it's actually less than 3 percent); that first-trimester abortions can cause infertility (the National Abortion Federation says they're one of the "safest" medical procedures); and that the morning-after pill is a "chemical abortion" (nope, it delays and prevents ovulation). They also ssay that " life begins at conception.
Ravi Prasad disputes the June 2013 "medium-variant projections" (MVP) of the Population Division of the United Nations' Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The UN offers these figures to the media as their most likely population forecast. Companies and governments often use the country-specific MVP breakdowns in planning. For example, where should a water purification company build plants to meet expected demand in thirty years, or what allocation of public funds should be set aside for pension provision given the size of the population in 2040. These projections should be based on realistic estimates of population growth and size. Ravi fears that, especially for certain developing nations, the MVP projections underestimate what will occur.
The MVPs project that world population will reach 9.6 billion by 2050 and 10.9 billion by 2100. These estimates assume that global fertility rates will plummet and converge to a rate of 1.85, with most nations reaching that level by 2050 and the rest by 2100. The UN Population Division derives these figures by basing the pace of future fertility decline on the historical experience of countries that underwent major fertility rate reductions after 1950. The MVP actually shows what is possible if poor nations achieve reductions in childbearing resembling those of more advanced nations. To achieve the MVPs rates, nations would need to produce about 20 billion fewer people by 2100 than current rates would produce.
Most future population growth will occur in the least developed countries (LDCs). Between 2013 and 2100, the population of 35 mostly LDC countries is expected to triple or more. Among them, the populations of Burundi, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania and Zambia are projected to increase by at least five-fold by 2100. Of the 3.7 billion additional people anticipated, 2 billion will originate from LDCs - highlighting their above-average fertility rates. To meet the MVPs, the largest falls in fertility must occur in these regions. For example, in Mali, fertility must fall from 6.86 to 2.24 between now and 2100. The UN Population Division acknowledges these challenges, and admits the rates rely on "expected actions" being taken. They define "expected action" as LDCs improving family planning and widening access to contraception. Yet these LDCs differ fundamentally from advanced nations and do not follow conventional historical experience. Professor Paul Collier's "The Bottom Billion" (which won the 2009 Estoril Global Issues Distinguished Book Prize), explains why these countries are ‘trapped' and have not had the economic growth that permits them to follow in the footsteps of other nations.
One of the best known statistical relationships is that rich nations have lower birthrates than poor nations. For example, a country like Ethiopia, where the total fertility rate is 6.12 children per woman, is fifty-one times poorer than the United States, where the total fertility rate is 2.05. People offer a variety of explanations. For example, female empowerment helps reduce family size. Richer countries empower women through advanced legal systems (e.g. freedom of divorce), political systems (e.g. votes for women), social systems (e.g. contraception, childcare and education readily available) and economic systems (e.g. more employment opportunities for women). Another explanation argues that better healthcare in richer countries results in higher child survival rates, which lessens the need for having more children. Also, since retirees in richer countries can survive on their retirement incomes, they depend less on their children to support them in later life. Finally, since lower population growth means more capital per worker, workers can exploit productivity gains and drive economic growth.
All of these theories have merit, so if a nation is both rich and has a low population growth rate, the two advantages reinforce each other, and unless the cycle is broken, if a country is poor and has a high population growth rate, the two disadvantages reinforce each other. Breaking that cycle is difficult. Deep-rooted cycles prevent economic growth in LDCs, ranging from endemic diseases to endless conflicts. Yet, both growth and lower fertility rates require breaking those cycles. The UN Population Division assumes fertility will fall due to expected improvements in family planning, widening access to contraception, and educating about the dangers of unprotected sex. But these alone will not cut fertility rates. The UN must acknowledge the causal link between economic growth and fertility rates. It bases MVP forecasts on historical experience, but it fails to note that the historical experience the UN refers to, in nations where fertility rates fell since the 1950s, also saw an acceleration of economic growth rates.
The UN sees a lack of family planning usage, and explains it by a lack of supply. Yet, lack of usage is not necessarily indicative of lack of supply. Many LDC parents choose or feel forced to have more children either to support themselves on retirement or to counteract high child mortality (e.g. 20.9% in Chad) Also, in a war-torn country where sons die in conflict, people have more kids to offset their losses. Simply throwing condoms at LDCs to bring their fertility rates down has minimal impact where people choose to have large families. The driver for declines in LDC fertility rates is economic growth.
A little more than 300,000 square miles of forest was established or replanted worldwide between 2000 and 2012. Unfortunately, almost 900,000 square miles was destroyed during the same time period — logged, ravaged by fire, or attacked by insects.
Those are the main conclusions of a study that examined hundreds of thousands of images snapped by the U.S. government's Landsat satellites. Academic researchers partnered with Google staff to produce stunning maps displaying the world's forests and areas that have been deforested or reforested since 2000.
Society needs to realize growth does not equal prosperityOctober 15 , 2013, Chris Martensen's Peak Prosperity By: James H. Kunstler
Reverend Malthus's notorious Essay on the Principle of Population was first published in 1798, about the same time the industrial revolution - which ran on fossil fuel - got started.
First coal allowed populations to expand because it extended the extractive reach for resources by colonialist nations.
Then oil - which was better than coal for converting fuel into food - ran farming machines, was made into oil and gas based herbicides, insecticides, and fertilizers, and transported food over long distances, leading to the "hockey-stick" swerve of population growth that took human numbers worldwide from under 2 billion in the year 1900 to more than 7 billion today.
Now we have reached the end of cheap oil, which is misunderstood because people don't see us running out of oil. But it's about running out of cheap oil, the oil that was extracted at a price we can afford in terms of available capital and energy invested (and also ecological destruction).
Sadly, oil is now too expensive to permit further expansion of economies and populations, impacting virtually every system we need to run modern life: transportation, commerce, food production, governance, for example. Expensive oil means that not enough new wealth can be generated to repay previously accumulated debt, and new credit cannot be extended without a reasonable expectation that more new wealth will be generated to repay it. This destroys the cost structures of banking and finance. Attempts are made to "offset the failure to create new real wealth with fake wealth generated by accounting fraud, "innovative" swindling, insider chicanery, high frequency front-running, naked shorting of securities, and the construction of a vast untested network of derivative counterparty wagers that give every sign of being booby-trapped."
Our smartest people are tied up making a profit from oil, absorbing all their energies and they don't have time to figure out a sane and practical way to run civilization in the absence of cheap energy.
For example, the "innovation" in securitizing and repackaging mortgages expresses itself in the activity we call "housing starts," which economists agree are a good thing for the economy and hence for society. But these housing starts manifest themselves in new suburban housing subdivisions, strip malls, big box stores, producing more suburban sprawl and destruction of rural land, which is about the last thing this society needs when faced with the realities of peak cheap oil, since it is absolutely certain to make these things obsolete, and very soon.
"Shovel-ready" highway projects are another fiscal outlay playing to the fantasy that the Happy Motoring matrix will go on forever. But "oil will never be cheap again; it will impair future capital formation; there will be far fewer car loans; there will dwindling public funds to maintain the roads; and there is no practical substitute for gasoline that scales to the existing system, nor any prospect of one within a time frame that makes sense -- not to mention the gigantic background problem of pouring evermore carbon into the sky."
To support our lifestyle and regenerate the ecological resources we use, the U.S. would need an ecosystem 1.9 times larger than its actual landmass. Japan's residents consume the ecological resources of 7.1 Japans. Italy's residents consume the ecological resources of 4 Italys, and China the resources of 2.5 Chinas. These and scores of other "ecological debtor" nations deplete their own stocks of fish, trees, and other resources, and import some of the difference from other nations. But much of what they consume the Earth cannot replenish.
Since the 1970s humans have been consuming more renewable resources that Earth can sustain. According to our Global Footprint Network calculations, Earth's annual demand for renewable resources now exceeds what 1.5 Earths could produce sustainably, and before mid-century we will be using twice as many renewable resources as the Earth can replenish.
Wealthy nations also emit more than their share of carbon dioxide into the air and oceans and more than nature can restore to normal. Climate change is the most pressing impact of this excess activity, but there are others -- shrinking forests, biodiversity loss, fisheries collapse, food shortages, higher commodity prices and civil unrest, to name a few. To achieve sustainability, we must make ecological limits central to decision making. As per-capita consumption rates grow at the same time the global population increases, we endanger the future of our planet and the quality of our lives.
Global Footprint Network is an international think tank working to advance sustainability. In 1990 Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees developed Ecological Footprint, an accounting tool that tracks what nature can provide relative to what people demand. It quantifies every nation's ecological resource demand (Ecological Footprint) against its supply (biocapacity). This allows governments, investors, corporations and opinion leaders to better manage their ecological capital and develop policies that advance sustainable development within Earth's ecological capacity. The demand calculation includes the land and sea area a population uses to consume resources, the ecosystems that absorb waste emissions, and the space used for buildings and roads. The supply calculation tracks how much biologically productive area is available to provide such ecological services.
Global Footprint Network works to make resource accounting as commonplace as tracking GDP, employment, and debt. Like a balance sheet, our annual National Footprint Accounts quantify each nation's ecological footprint, documenting whether that nation is living within or exceeding its ecological budget. Global Footprint Network also produces Country Trends which graphs track patterns of resource demand and availability, a Human Development Initiative which strives to meet human needs while maintaining natural capital, a Competitiveness 2.0 Initiative with a goal to redirect billions of investment dollars toward more sustainable development, a Finance for Change Initiative which leverages the finance industry and capital markets to shift national government policies and investments in a more sustainable direction. The organization also runs the Earth Overshoot Day campaign to spark a global dialogue about how we can facilitate a one-planet future.
Eleven governments have accepted the Ecological Footprint (EF) as an official metric. The WWF International's biennial Living Planet Report highlights the EF of 150 nations, and The United Nations Development Program's Human Development Report 2013 combines EF with its Human Development Index (HDI) to measure well-being by nation. And the New Economics Foundation uses EF to form its Happy Planet Index calculation. Also, more than a million people per year use the individual Ecological Footprint calculator to measure their own nation's footprint.
New Study Provides First Abortion Estimates for the Country State and AgeDecember 19 , 2013, Guttmacher Institute
The theory that high levels of unintended pregnancy result in high abortion rates, has been demonstrated to be true in Mexico with 54% of all unintended pregnancies ending in induced abortion.
One million abortions take place in the country each year, even though abortion is highly restricted throughout Mexico, except in the Federal District of Mexico City.
The high abortion rate indicates that family planning programs are not keeping pace with women's desire to limit and space their births.
About 4 million Mexican women are at risk for unintended pregnancy -- they want to avoid pregnancy, but are not using a modern contraceptive method.
"Family planning programs must be improved to ensure that women—and young women in particular—can easily access counseling and the range of contraceptive options they need," said Dr. Fátima Juárez, lead author of the study.
Approximately 12% of married women who want to avoid pregnancy are not using any method of contraception. About 27% of sexually active young women aged 15-24 are not using a contraceptive method, resulting in high abortion rates among adolescents aged 15-19 (44 per 1,000) and young women aged 20-24 (55 per 1,000).
In Tabasco, the Federal District, Mexico State, and Baja California Sur, the abortion rates for women aged 20-24 are at least 80 per 1,000.
The study found that more than one-third of all women having a clandestine abortion (36%) experience complications that need medical treatment from a health facility, but an estimated 25% of them do not receive the care they need. Almost none of the women having unrestricted abortions had problems.
Groundwater is a life-sustaining resource that supplies water to billions of people, plays a central part in irrigated agriculture and influences the health of many ecosystems. Most assessments of global water resources have focused on surface water, but unsustainable depletion of groundwater has recently been documented on both regional and global scales.
It remains unclear how the rate of global groundwater depletion compares to the rate of natural renewal and the supply needed to support ecosystems. Here we define the groundwater footprint (the area required to sustain groundwater use and groundwater-dependent ecosystem services) and show that humans are overexploiting groundwater in many large aquifers that are critical to agriculture, especially in Asia and North America.
The size of the global groundwater footprint is currently estimated at about 3.5 times the actual area of aquifers while about 1.7 billion people live in areas where groundwater resources and/or groundwater-dependent ecosystems are under threat. That said, 80% of aquifers have a groundwater footprint that is less than their area, meaning that the net global value is driven by a few heavily overexploited aquifers.
The groundwater footprint is the first tool suitable for consistently evaluating the use, renewal and ecosystem requirements of groundwater at an aquifer scale. It can be combined with the water footprint and virtual water calculations, and be used to assess the potential for increasing agricultural yields with renewable groundwater.
Japan's under-40s have been losing interest in conventional relationships. Largely free of religious inhibitions, the Japanese have long maintained "a pragmatic separation" between love and sex. Yet today, millions of singles don't date and increasing numbers can't be bothered with sex. Calling it "celibacy syndrome," the government considers this trend a problem.
Japan can almost claim the world's lowest birth rate, and its population (currently 126 million) continues shrinking, while the number of single people has reached a record high. A 2011 survey found that 61% of single men and 49% of single women aged 18-34 had no romantic relationships. Another study found that a third of people under 30 had never dated, and a Japan Family Planning Association (JFPA) survey found that 45% of women and more than 25% of men aged 16-24 either "were not interested in or despised sexual contact." Kunio Kitamura, head of the JFPA, frets that Japan "might eventually perish into extinction."
Perhaps logic outweighs passion in modern Japan. The decision to not have children often makes sense for both sexes, but especially for women. The saying "Marriage is a woman's grave" originally referred to mistresses getting more attention than wives, but today it more often applies to women's fear of setting back their careers. They dread the tender trap. While kids are too costly for most single-income couples, Japanese men don't earn as much as their fathers did and are less secure in their jobs. And while Japanese women have become more independent and ambitious, employers make it difficult for them to combine a career with a family. Bosses also look down on living together or having children out of wedlock, so many now see casual sex or short-term trysts as the safest option. Others turn to technological solutions, such as online porn or virtual-reality "girlfriends." And some just find pastimes that have nothing to do with sex or the opposite sex. Many stay with their parents until middle age. Of the estimated 13 million singles who live with their parents, about three million are over 35.
Tomita, a 32 year old HR worker with two degrees, now spurns all romantic attachments so she can focus on work. When a boyfriend proposed to her three years ago, she realized that her job came first. After that, she said, "I lost interest in dating. It became awkward when the question of the future came up… The bosses assume you will get pregnant." She feared that the long, inflexible hours would force her to resign and end up as a housewife without an independent income. The World Economic Forum ranks Japan very low on both attitudes toward working mothers and parental amenities on the job. Rather than face such barriers, about 70% of Japanese women leave their jobs after giving birth.
In some ways Japan is sexually permissive, yet it still has a double standard toward unwed women having sex. And once couples marry, the family model still defines husbands as salarymen and wives as stay-at-home mothers. Kunio Kitamura (noted above) used these words to explain why a 2013 JFPA study on sex among young people gathered more data from men than women: "Sexual drive comes from males. Females do not experience the same levels of desire." While most young people spurn the government's claim that giving birth is a civic duty, they are still made to feel that something is wrong with the way they think. Ai Aoyama, a sex therapist, blames the government for "whipping up fear about the falling birth rate."
The US has the ability to become a major exporter of natural gas, due to the fracking boom. But over 100 scientists, doctors, environmentalists and even a former high-ranking Mobile Oil executive are demanding time before fracking additional gas for researchers to consider the potential impacts to local communities. They have urged the Obama administration not to approve several proposed liquefied natural gas exporting facilitates that would expand the domestic demand for natural gas produced by fracking; at least not until widespread environmental and health impact studies are conducted to ensure the American public is safe.
The development of the massive natural gas export facilities would drive a "rapid increase" in fracking operations, which have been linked to water, air and soil pollution as well as health problems in communities near the drilling rigs, according to a petition filed with the White House last week by Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE).
"The question here is very simple. Why would the United States dramatically increase the use of an energy extraction method without first ensuring that the trade-off is not the health of Americans in exchange for the energy demands of foreign nations?" said Seth B. Shonkoff, PSE director and environmental researcher at the University of California at Berkeley.
The rapid expansion of unconventional fracking has produced a natural gas glut in the US, lowering gas prices in the U.S. while prices remain much higher in other countries.
Up to 19 additional export facilities have been proposed for coastlines across the country, with a potential to export more than a third of what is currently consumed in the US. Even a few of these facilities would make the US one of the largest natural gas exporters in the world and put increased economic pressure on the industry to expand unconventional fracking in rural areas already hit hard by development.
Louis Allstadt, the former executive vice president of Mobil Oil, who retired in 2000, said that unconventional fracking is drilling "on steroids." The process involves pumping much higher volumes of water and chemicals into rock formations than traditional drilling. "All of this requires far greater industrial activity at the well site compared to conventional drilling, and that provides greater opportunity for methane gas and volatile compounds to enter the atmosphere, and well as opportunities for water laden with chemicals to enter drinking water supplies." Allstadt said.
Although the full scope of potential environmental and health impacts of unconventional fracking remains unknown, but anecdotal evidence from across the country continues to suggest that fracking can contaminate groundwater and cause health problems in nearby communities.
"Researchers are finding measurable levels of pollutants from this industry in air and water that are associated with the risk of illness," said Adam Law, a PSE member and physician at the Cayuga Medical Center in Ithaca, New York. Policymakers should wait for such research to be completed before approving export facilities that would cause a rapidly expanding industry to grow even faster.
Fracking is common in medically underserved areas, he said, and rural communities do not stand to benefit directly or indirectly from expanding international export markets.
PSE members say that the disposal of the massive volumes of wastewater created by fracking will be a problelm.
A study recently released by the Obama administration shows that the economic benefits of exporting large quantities of natural gas far outweigh concerns that American consumers and industry would be left to pay more for natural gas as the domestic surplus from fracking goes overseas.
On the other hand, low natural gas prices have allowed Dow Chemical, which relies on natural gas for a list of industrial processes, to plan $4 billion in expansions in Texas and Louisiana. "The report fails to take into account the $80 billion in new spending along with 3 to 5 million new jobs that the industrial sector has already announced predicated on available and low natural gas prices."
"The law requires the DOE to determine if more natural gas exports are in the public interest - so it is baffling that this report omits the serious threats increased fracking and gas production pose to our water, our air and the health of our families," said Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune. "Increased gas exports are expected to result in higher gas prices and lower wages for American families, meaning we pay the price here while the companies shipping gas overseas rake in the profits."
Please visit the CNN Heroes website and vote for Kakenya Ntaiya, as the CNN Hero of the Year.
If Kakenya gets enough online votes between now and November 17, her Center in Kenya will receive $250,000 that will help hundreds of Maasai girls get an education, avoid female genital mutilation and child marriage and learn important skills to be self-sufficient.
Your vote can help hundreds more Maasai girls achieve their full potential and, like Kakenya, help improve Kenya's political, education, economic, and health systems. You can vote for Kakenya every day between now and November 17th.
Unless sufficient measures are taken, by 2100 the growing global urban population will be producing three times as much solid waste as it does today, former World Bank urban development specialist Dan Hoornweg and his colleagues write in the journal Nature.
The report is an expansion on their work from the 2012 World Bank report What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management.
In the earlier report, they warned that global solid waste generation was on pace to increase 70% by 2025. The waste from cities alone is already enough to fill a line of trash trucks 5,000 kilometers long every day. The global cost of dealing with all that trash is rising too: from $205 billion a year in 2010 to $375 billion by 2025, with the sharpest cost increases in developing countries.
OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries, where waste levels are the highest today but populations aren't growing as quickly and waste reduction efforts are underway, expect their trash levels to peak by 2050. Asia-Pacific countries won't peak until 2075.
Mexico City's Bordo Poniente and Shanghai's Laogang receive more than 10,000 tonnes of waste per day. Waste incinerators pose ash disposal and air pollution problems worldwide. Also landfills produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas, contributing to climate change.
"With lower populations, denser, more resource-efficient cities, and less consumption (along with higher affluence), the peak could come forward to 2075 and reduce in intensity by more than 25 percent. This would save around 2.6 million tonnes per day," Hoornweg and his colleagues write.
San Francisco has set a of "zero waste" by 2020 policy with aggressive recycling. Today 55% of its waste is recycled or reused today.
Other things that can be done:
* Reduce food waste with better storage and transportation systems.
What Will $1 Billion Buy?November 13 , 2013 By: Bonnie Tillery, Population Issues Coordinator. New Jersey Sierra Club
What will $1 billion buy? This is the question the Sierra Club Global Population and Environment Program and other health, environmental and population organizations are asking. The United Nations Population Fund informs us that 222 million women in the developing world would like to voluntarily plan their families, spacing births so that both mother and child are healthy, and so that families are able to educate their children. This also puts fewer demands on scarce resources.
They go on to explain that "2 billion people live in countries without adequate water...and by 2025 the number will grow to 3.1 billion. There are 925 million chronically malnourished people in the world...A 40% decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in the developed world could be completely negated by population growth in the developing world. Empowering women with the tools and resources to time their pregnancies would provide 8-15% of the reductions needed to avert (more drastic) climate change."
Why should the U.S. contribute $1 billion for international family planning? According to Population Action International's web site, we have supported family planning and reproductive health care programs since 1965. "Polls have consistently shown that 75 to 90 percent of Americans support international family planning programs, including 69 percent of Independents and Republicans...While the demand has consistently increased, the U.S. funding level for family planning in 2010 (was) nearly 25 percent less than...in 1995 (when adjusted for inflation)."
How is that $1 billion U.S. contribution figured? Brian Dixon from Population Connection explained, "it's derived by taking the total overall donor funding necessary to meet the existing unmet need (for family planning and reproductive health care) and then apportioning that by the GDP of the donor countries."
One-billion dollars sounds like an awful lot of money. But consider this, in 2012, here in the U.S. we spent $8 billion on Halloween candy, costumes and decorations. This year it was down to $6.9 billion, or $75.03 per person.(1) By comparison, $1 billion averages to about $3 per person per year, or one-cent per day.(2) For Valentine's Day 2013, CNN.com reported we spent $18.6 billion, or $130.97 per person on flowers, candy, etc. That makes the $1 billion request for international family planning seem like so little to make such a big difference.
Shouldn't we be focusing on needs here at home? Yes, but Dixon goes on to note “total foreign assistance funding is less than one percent of the federal budget and family planning is a very small part of that."
Focusing on need here at home, the Affordable Care Act mandates that insurance companies provide all forms of female contraception without a co-pay as part of preventive-care. This should bring down the incidence of unplanned pregnancy dramatically as was shown in a 2007 study at Washington University in St. Louis. There researchers “provided 10,000 St. Louis women with free contraception, with the goal of decreasing unintended pregnancy...Few women ended up choosing the pill. Most went with a long-acting contraceptive method, like an IUD or an implant and the results were striking. Women who opted for a shorter-term contraceptive like the pill were 20 times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy."(3) Currently about one-half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned - the largest number in the developed world. By eliminating dependence on the birth control pill, which is not as effective as other long-term contraceptives, the incidence of unplanned pregnancies should be greatly reduced.
Can the U.S. afford to spend $1 billion on international family planning and reproductive health services? The author, Alan Weisman, in his latest book, Countdown, notes that we can't afford not to spend this money. “I don't want to cull anyone alive today. I wish every human now on the planet a long, healthy life. But either we take control ourselves, and humanely bring our numbers down by recruiting fewer new members of the human race to take our places, or nature is going to hand out a pile of pink slips. When you see survival of the fittest portrayed on the National Geographic Channel, it's entertaining. When it happens to your own species, it's not pretty."(4)
Talk with your family, friends, and representatives in Washington, DC about voluntary family planning and the need for $1 billion for international family planning assistance. When we can afford to spend $10 billion a year on romance novels (5), we can certainly afford $1 billion for women to voluntarily decide their family size.
(1) National Retail Federation web site 9/23/2013.
The Budget Myth That Just Won't Die: Americans Still Think 28 Percent of the Budget Goes to Foreign AidNovember 07, 2013, Washington Post By: Ezra Klein
Follow the link in the headline for graphic information.
According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, sixty nine percent of Americans believe the U.S. spends between 6% and 51% of its budget on foreign aid (average guesstimate 28%), and 61% believe that the amount they think we give is too much. However, if you show the actual figures (i.e., The U.S. spends less than 1% on foreign aid) and ask if that amount is too much, only 30% say yes. "Foreign aid is the only program that (people) consistently favor cutting," said Bruce Bartlett, and he credits most of foreign aid's unpopularity to the public "grossly overestimating its share of the budget." He can show multiple polls that show the public's wildly incorrect opinions about how much our government spends on helping other countries. If our government actually did spent what people think it spends on foreign aid, the cost would exceed that of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or all defense spending.
Ezra Klein's brief article on the Washington Post's WONKBLOG drew numerous blog responses, some of which complained about how nations become eligible for aid and how that aid is spent. That breakdown too might come as a surprise to many people.
The February 8, 2013 U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants (Greenbook), "Program and Account Reports" breaks down U.S. aid expenditures like this: Our total aid budget is $49.5 billion, with $17.8 billion going to military assistance and $31.7 billion going to economic assistance ($14.1 billion of which is distributed by USAID). The largest military aid recipients are Afghanistan with $10,265,400, Israel with $2,995,100, and Egypt with $1,298,700. Iraq, Pakistan, Haiti, Kenya and Jordan receive the largest Economic Assistance grants.
U.S.-based contractors received 59% of USAID's $14.5 billion in foreign assistance spending in the FY 2012, and 26% went to other institutions, including universities and vocational schools. With military aid exact numbers are harder to find, but much of the aid money goes to U.S. defense contractors to pay for weapons systems, which are then sent to places like Egypt and Israel. This raises the question whether Congressmen favor the aid more to support contracts in their district or as a way of supporting military allies -- or, in the case of Egypt and Israel, as a reward for signing the Oslo Peace accords, which triggered the U.S. to grant generous amounts of aid to both nations.
U.S. citizens give larger sums privately than their government gives to international aid. Also, people working in the U.S often send sizable checks to assist their families living in poorer nations. And, finally, not all foreign aid gets budgeted as foreign aid. As I write this, U.S. military vessels are moving as quickly as they can towards the Philippine Islands to do what they can to assist the victims of typhoon Haiyan.
Nestlé is draining developing countries' groundwater to make its Pure Life bottled water, destroying countries' natural resources before forcing its people to buy their own water back. Now Nestlé is moving into Pakistan and sucking up the local water supply, rendering entire areas uninhabitable in order to sell mineral-enriched water to the upper class as a status symbol, while the poor watch wells run dry and their children fall ill. Tell Nestlé to stop stealing Pakistan's water and making its villages uninhabitable.
Don't Panic - The Truth About Population: broadcast on BBC Two, 11:20PM Thu, 7 Nov 2013; available on BBC iPlayer until 9:59PM Thu, 14 Nov 2013 Duration 60 minutes (Editor's note: parts of this presentation may only be available in the U.K.; see http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03h8r1j )
This widely publicised programme is introduced as follows:
‘Using state-of-the-art 3D graphics and the timing of a stand-up comedian, world-famous statistician Professor Hans Rosling presents a spectacular portrait of our rapidly changing world. With seven billion people already on our planet, we often look to the future with dread, but Rosling's message is surprisingly upbeat. Almost unnoticed, we have actually begun to conquer the problems of rapid population growth and extreme poverty.
Across the world, even in countries like Bangladesh, families of just two children are now the norm - meaning that within a few generations, the population explosion will be over. A smaller proportion of people now live in extreme poverty than ever before in human history and the United Nations has set a target of eradicating it altogether within a few decades. In this as-live studio event, Rosling presents a statistical tour-de-force, including his 'ignorance survey', which demonstrates how British university graduates would be outperformed by chimpanzees in a test of knowledge about developing countries.'
To that, we respond as follows:
Yes, the UN projects that the human population may well peak at around 11 billion in around 100 years, time. Yes, the UN is seeking to end extreme poverty.
We in Population Matters are not reassured.
That is because the programme failed to consider in any detail resource scarcity and depletion, environmental degradation and climate change.
The Global Footprint Network, in association with the WWF and the Zoological Society of London, tell us that humanity is already consuming renewable ecological resources at a rate 50% higher than can be produced sustainably, while non-renewables are steadily depleted. The consequences, which are already with us, are rising resource prices, and environmental degradation. These will of course be increased by a world population some 60% higher than the current level, as well as by rapid industrialisation of countries which have not yet done so.
We cannot be sure to what extent the consequences will be a gradual decline in living standards and quality of life or a series of economic and environmental crises. However, we can be reasonably sure that changes in technological use or affluent lifestyles will be insufficient to avoid one or both of these in the absence of early stabilisation in human numbers.
The programme reported a widespread fall in the birth rate and seemed to leave it at that. In fact, birth rates are increasingly diverse, both between and within countries. The programme acknowledged that birth rates are a variable, not a given - they are affected by a wide range of factors, including the provision of family planning services and clear messages that smaller families are better. Consequently, if we act now, we can reduce that population peak to the enormous benefit of mankind, other species and future generations.
Rosling may be a good statistician, but he is an ecological illiterate. He assumes that ‘demography is destiny' - that all current trends will continue. He ignores the facts that: while the proportion of people in poverty is shrinking, the actual number of such people in the high fertility countries is rising; the fertility decline he celebrates has recently stalled - the UN increased their 2050 projections by 300 million this year; the danger of discontinuities or ‘tipping points', leading to a sharp increase in mortality, is visibly approaching (cf the ‘perfect storm' foreseen by the last UK Chief Scientist); the reduction in fertility rates does not happen automatically, but has taken years of effort, resources and priority to achieve in developing countries; no non-oil country has achieved economic take-off until it reduced its fertility to three births per woman or lower; and the timing of countries' achievement of replacement fertility radically affects their eventual population equilibrium number, which means there is great urgency in achieving it as quickly as possible.
It is also unclear what Rosling, like Fred Pearce and Danny Dorling, aims to achieve with his complacent message "The population problem is solved - don't worry about it". If he succeeded in persuading governments, both donors and recipients, to reduce the still inadequate priority they give to family planning and women's empowerment programmes, the effects would be: to increase the number of unwanted births, unsafe abortions, maternal deaths, and stunted children; to increase the rate of planetary degradation and the probability of crossing a tipping point, with a rapid increase in premature deaths; to reduce the number of people, the Earth can sustain in the long-term; and to reduce the likelihood of all our children enjoying a decent quality of life. Why does he do it?
A new U.S. Supreme Court decision has blocked a challenge to the Oklahoma Supreme Court's ruling that a state law effectively banning medical abortions was unconstitutional. Still, women in Oklahoma and in many states must take abortion-inducing drugs in the presence of a physician, which limits access to the non-surgical procedure for those who live in rural areas or must arrange childcare and time off work.
And Texas, Arizona and Ohio have passed measures requiring adherence to an outdated FDA protocol for medical abortions, while the World Health Organization has more recently determined that a smaller dose administered until a later date in the pregnancy and with fewer doctor's visits is equally effective and less invasive.
U.S.: Choice Project - Obstacles to IUDsAugust 09 , 2012, WOA website
There was a discussion on Facebook about the Choice Project in St. Louis where women were given the choice of contraception, and most of them chose IUDs and implants, which resulted in fewer unintended pregnancies and abortions.
Caitlin wrote: "There's a huge stigma to giving them out to "possibly slutty" women. My sister went to 2 private practice doctors who balked at giving one to someone under 20, and in "just" a year-long relationship. She finally got it at PP, which is why they are awesome :) The one doctor I went with her to talk to literally said "this would allow you to sleep around without consequences, and I'm not comfortable giving these out in those cases. I only do them for married women.""
Anna wrote: "The reason my provider gave is that doctors are skittish about lawsuits - if you've never had a baby, and after you take the IUD out you have problems conceiving, you might blame the IUD and therefore the doctor."
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South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham just introduced a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks, nationwide. This is just the latest attempt by anti-women's health politicians to turn back the clock on women's rights, even if it means endangering women's lives and ignoring the Constitution.
»» We Won't Go Back; We Demand Medicare for All We need to expand health care for Americans, not roll back hard-won reforms. Hands off the Affordable Care Act, and give us an up-or-down vote on expanding Medicare to all Americans. ... 2013, Credo
See Headlines below for examples of articles to summarize
Headlines on WOA!!
** Access to Family Planning Alone Won't Stop the Population Boom November 27, 2013 Beatrice Khalayi Shibunga is a community health worker and family planning champion, working in the slums of Korogocho in Nairobi. She goes door-to-door to offer women in her community family planning information. In her work experience, she has met women who use contraceptives but without the knowledge or consent of their husbands. "Because some men are unco-operative, some women are forced to use contraceptives without the kn...
** Supreme Court Must Reject Attempt to Distort Religious Liberty November 26, 2013 Following today's announcement by the Supreme Court that they will be granting cert in two cases regarding a business owner's religious objections to the contraceptive coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act (Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Sebelius), Rev. Harry Knox, President and CEO of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, released the following statement: "In th...
** Just How Bad is Overfishing? It's Really Bad November 25, 2013 12 facts on overfishing: 12. Since 1950, one in four of the world's fisheries has collapsed due to overfishing. 11. 77 percent of the world's marine fish stocks are fully exploited, over-exploited, depleted or slowly recovering. 10. The cod fishery off Newfoundland, Canada collapsed in 1992, leading to the loss of some 40,000 jobs in the industry. Twenty years later, the fishery has yet to recover. 9. Scientists estima...
** Phe Mythbusting at the International Conference on Family Planning November 21, 2013 I've just returned from the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) in Ethiopia where integrated population, health, and environment (PHE) programs had a strong showing. More than 16 sessions over three days at the conference incorporated PHE themes, including panels on communicating complexity around family planning, conservation and human rights; how PHE helps accelerate the fertility transition in rural Ethiopia...
** Vaclav Smil: This is the Man Bill Gates Thinks You Absolutely Should Be Reading November 25, 2013 "There is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil," Bill Gates wrote this summer. That's quite an endorsement—and it gave a jolt of fame to Smil, a professor emeritus of environment and geography at the University of Manitoba. In a world of specialized intellectuals, Smil is an ambitious and astonishing polymath who swings for fences. His nearly three dozen books have analyzed the world's biggest...
“Crazy” Becomes the Norm in Germany After Tremendous Green Progress "They told us we were crazy." It is a phrase you often hear from Dr Dieter Salomon - the Australian-born mayor of the German city of Freiburg - a city so much at the vanguard of the green transformation that is currently underway in Germany that it calls itself - Green City Freiburg. It probably feels that it needs the extra words to reinforce the point - because green, or at least green energy, is now mainstream in Germany. Salomon...
* Did Fecund Filipinos Bring the Typhoon Upon Themselves? This article needs a rebuttal. All environmental problems become harder, and ultimately impossible, to solve with ever more people.' So said Sir David Attenborough, the highest profile patron of Population Matters (PM), formerly the Optimum Population Trust, the campaigning organisation dedicated to curbing population growth. The Attenborough outlook infuses all of PM's propaganda. Everything PM pumps out contains the same brutally reductiv...
* Anatomy of the War on Women: How the Koch Brothers Are Funding the Anti-Choice Agenda In the dog days of summer, the "war on women" erupted into a full-fledged conflagration, as heated battles to roll back reproductive rights in the U.S. Congress and in state legislatures across the nation were met with protests from women's rights groups and grassroots uprisings. While the religious right had, over the years, used its influence to restrict access to abortion and contraception and push for feticide and personhood laws, nothi...
* Ohio Bill Would Ban Insurance Coverage of Most Abortions and Contraception A bill introduced Wednesday in the Ohio legislature would ban both public and private insurance providers from covering almost all abortions, and potentially many forms of contraception. Introduced by state Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township), HB 351 would prohibit any insurance policy in the state from covering abortions except in cases of ectopic, or tubal, pregnancies. Termination of any other life-threatening pregnancies, and pregnancies res...
* 'Thanks, Birth Control' Day Wants to Remind Americans How Modern Contraception Has Changed the World National sexual health organizations are marking Tuesday as the first annual "Thanks, Birth Control" Day, an opportunity for Americans to openly discuss the benefits of preventative health care. The two groups spearheading the effort, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and Bedsider, are encouraging supporters to tweet their personal stories about how birth control has helped them in their own lives. According to th...
* Philippines Rep's Tearful Testimony Makes Compelling Case for Climate Action At the opening of the UN climate talks in Warsaw yesterday representatives of countries from around the globe packed into the conference hall to hear the lead climate negotiator for the Philippines, Yeb Sano, describe the ‘unthinkable, horrific and unprecedented devastation left in the wake of Typoon Haiyan - the strongest typho...
* Big Families and Typhoons Typhoon Haiyan is a natural phenomenon, though one perhaps exacerbated by climate change. However, the scale of suffering has been worsened enormously by the five fold increase in the population of the Philippines since 1950, from less than 19 million then to almost 100 million today. (1) Pressure on space and resources means people are more likely to live in areas vulnerable to storms, such as coastal and low lying areas, where land is cheaper...
* New Analyses Find Evidence of Human-caused Climate Change in Half of the 12 Extreme Weather and Climate Events Analyzed From 2012 Human influences are having an impact on some extreme weather and climate events, according to the report "Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective" released today by the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. Overall, 18 different research teams from around the world contributed to the peer-reviewed report that examined the causes of 12 extreme events that occurred on five continents and in the Arctic during 201...
* National Geographic Maps: Our Coastline After We Melt All Earth's Ice, Raising Seas Over 200 Feet Click on the link in the headline to see the graphs and map of the U.S. showing the areas that would be under water. Homo sapiens sapiens, the species with the ironic name, is not known for long-term thinking. So if the prospect of Sandy-level storm surges happening every year (!) in a half century or so isn't enough to get us to stop using the atmosphere as an open sewer for carbon pollution, then the prospect we are going to melt all of the ...
* How We Can Stop Failing the World's Girls The UNFPA recently released a report called "Motherhood in Childhood," providing more concrete and stark evidence that girls are being compromised -- globally, and particularly in the developing world. Let me start off by giving you some facts from the UNFPA report. There are over 580 million adolescent girls in the world. Four out of 5 of these girls live in developing countries. Ninety-five percent of the children born to adolescent mothers are...
* 5 Reasons Cracking is a Death Sentence for Arid States As we move into a time of unprecedented climate change, many are worried about where we'll find enough food and energy to sustain nearly 10 billion people. Food and energy are big demands, yes, but few seem to realize that without an adequate supply of drinking water, neither will matter. Water is the new oil, and there are parts of the world that have already run dry. In August, The Guardian reported that the town of Barnhart, Texas had compl...
* More Than 7 Million Girls in Poor Countries Give Birth Before 18 Each Year, Finds New UNFPA Report Motherhood in childhood is a huge global problem, especially in developing countries, where every year 7.3 million girls under 18 give birth, according to The State of World Population 2013, released today by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund. Of these 7.3 million births, 2 million are to girls 14 or younger, who suffer the gravest long-term health and social consequences from pregnancy, including high rates of maternal death and obstet...
* Is Youth Bulge a Crucial Determinant of Stability? Today approximately 44 percent of the world's 7.2 billion people are under 24 years old - and 26 percent are under 14. Of those 7.2 billion people, a staggering 82 percent live in less developed regions of the world - primarily sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Currently, the global median age is 29.2 years old, a sharp contrast to Europe, for example, where the median age is 41. This population phenomenon, called "youth bulge," is especially...
A Year of Magical Thinking Leads To… Unintended Pregnancy In-depth interviews with 49 women obtaining abortions in the United States found that most of the study participants perceived themselves to be at low risk of becoming pregnant at the time that it happened. According to "Perceptions of Susceptibility to Pregnancy Among U.S. Women Obtaining Abortions," by Lori Frohwirth of the Guttmacher Institute et al., the most common reasons women gave for thinking they were at low risk of pregnancy included ...
* Climate After Growth: Why Environmentalists Must Embrace Post-Growth Economics and Community Resilience The nearly ubiquitous belief of our elected officials is that addressing the climate crisis must come second to ensuring economic growth. This is wrongheaded-both because it underestimates the severity of the climate crisis, and because it presupposes that the old economic "normal" of robust growth can be revived. It can't. In fact, we have entered an era of "new normals"-not only in our economy, but in our energy and climate systems, as well. Th...
* A Lesson From Virginia: Attacking Women's Health is Not Only Bad Policy, It's Bad Politics Texas Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott recently told an El Paso audience: "There is no one in the state of Texas who has done more to fight to help women than I have in the past decade." It's a bold choice of words coming from someone who wants to end access to safe and legal abortion, and has supported shutting down 76 women's health centers across the state. Thousands of women have already been cut off from...
* The Ocean is Broken It was the silence that made this voyage different from all of those before it. Not the absence of sound, exactly. The wind still whipped the sails and whistled in the rigging. The waves still sloshed against the fibreglass hull. And there were plenty of other noises: muffled thuds and bumps and scrapes as the boat knocked against pieces of debris. What was missing was the cries of the seabirds which, on all previous similar voyages, had surr...
* The Long-Term, Extremely Positive Effects Of Birth Control In America Lots of charts! The debate about birth control sometimes misses an essential point — that making it available and affordable meant people could make smarter decisions about whether and when to have children. That freedom meant brighter futures for whole generations of Americans and their children, according to new research. About 50 years ago, there were two major shifts in access to birth control and family planning. First, the landmark Supr...
* As People Live Longer, Threats to Wildlife Increase, Study Finds As countries' human life expectancy grows, so do their numbers of invasive and endangered species, according to a new study. The researchers examined social, economic and ecological information for 100 countries to determine which factors are most strongly linked to endangered and invasive birds and mammals. Human life expectancy is rarely included in such studies but turned out to be the best predictor of invasions and endangerment in these c...
* Small-Scale Agriculture Holds Big Promise for Africa The recent discovery of a large aquifer in Kenya is a reminder that far from being dry, Africa has abundant water resources. The problem for farmers is access: only around 6% of cultivated land is equipped for irrigation, leaving millions dependent on rain-fed agriculture. How might more of them be helped to access water that could raise their productivity? Large-scale, government-funded irrigation systems have long attempted to address this, wi...
* Africa: Be Bold, Do Not Shy Away - Girls and Women Have the Right to Access Family Planning Services Unmet need", in the context of family planning, is a rather mundane term that masks an urgent social justice and human rights issue. An estimated 220 million women in the world who want to manage their fertility, and plan their lives, do not have it, because they lack access to contraceptives. Some wish to decide whether to have children, while others want to delay parenthood for months or years, or want to space births for health and financial r...
* Contraception Extremism and the Right-Wing Bubble Well, looks like the grand scheme of the Republicans to shut down the federal government—a plan that was years in the making—as a chest-thumping show of power did not turn out as planned. Instead of gallantly demonstrating that they will control the government even if the voters keep rejecting them, Republicans ended up caving while facing historically low polling and a general consensus that they are a bunch of babies throwing a tantrum. Whe...
* Wind Power Proves Effective CO2 Saver Contrary to claims by critics of wind power, Spanish researchers say, the turbines do reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly even though the wind does not blow continuously One of the most oft-repeated arguments of the anti-wind lobby is that turbines produce electricity only intermittently, when there is enough wind to turn them. This, the wind critics argue, means that so much gas has to be burnt to provide a reliable back-up supply of...
* Conditional Cash Keeps Girls in School Research shows that keeping girls in school helps fight poverty, but economic and cultural challenges must be overcome. One way to do this is through conditional cash transfers, and Gayle Tzemach Lemmon from the Council on Foreign Relations showcases a successful CCT program in Bangladesh. Keeping girls in school has become a priority for those fighting poverty around the globe, and for good reasons. Research shows that the longer a girl stays i...
* Does My Health Plan Cover Contraceptives Or Not? Q: Under the Affordable Care Act, I qualify for contraceptive services as part of my health plan at no extra cost. My health insurance provider Blue Cross Blue Shield has confirmed that fact to me. Yet Express Scripts, a separate company my Blue plan uses for prescription coverage, insists that my Blue plan doesn't offer a zero co-pay for me. What's going on? I've called and called and called. Where can I file a complaint against Express Sc...
* Victory in California! As the rest of the country is busy restricting safe and legal access to abortion with mandatory waiting periods, costly clinic restrictions and by targeting doctors, California has become a beacon for reproductive justice and health. Last week, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 154, legislation sponsored by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, which now authorizes trained Nurse Practitioners (NPs), Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) and Phys...
* Latinas/os and the a Word: What Latinas/os Really Think About Abortion California Latinas for Reproductive Justice (CLRJ) is aware that for our communities, abortion is a complex issue that similar to other sexuality topics is considered taboo and often does not get discussed. The vast majority of public opinion surveys concerning abortion are relegated to a polarizing debate around rights and "choice." Based on this limited and highly politicized framework, Latinas/os are erroneously perceived as an anti-aborti...
* USGS: Land Sinking Rapidly in Central Valley November 21, 2013 Land in California's San Joaquin Valley is sinking more rapidly than usual because of increased pumping from underground sources, a phenomenon that is damaging vital water infrastructure, the U.S. Geological Survey said Thursday. The USGS study found that land sinking had been measured at nearly one-foot per year in one area, and that it is reducing the flow capacity of the Delta-Mendota Canal and the California Aqueduct, two...
* How Will Climate Change Affect the Next Generation? October 8, 2013 We have been told that we live in a threshold age of energy production, an era when industrialized nations are poised to migrate from the combustion of fossil fuels to a solar- and wind-powered, renewable energy future. That has been the political assurance of the Obama administration and the appealing scenarios served up by energy futurists, even from the marketing departments of the large oil and gas corporations which today ca...
* Scarlet Letters: Getting the History of Abortion and Contraception Right August 8, 2013 If recent legislation passed in Arkansas and North Dakota is allowed to stand, it will be harder for women to get an abortion in those states than it was in New England in 1650. Legislators in Little Rock and Bismarck have passed new restrictions that ban abortions according to when a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can occur as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. Federal judges have blocked the new restrictions until legal ch...
* The Real Population Problem September 3, 2013 (Figures) Sometimes considered a taboo subject, the issue of population runs as an undercurrent in virtually all discussions of modern challenges. Naturally, resource use, environmental pressures, climate change, food and water supply, and the health of the world's fish and wildlife populations would all be non-issues if Earth enjoyed a human population of 100 million or less. The subject is taboo for a few reasons. The sugge...
* U.S. Supreme Court Takes Up Contraceptive Coverage Guarantee November 26, 2013 The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to decide whether the owners of for-profit companies can assert religious objections to deny their employees insurance coverage of contraceptive services and supplies in employer-sponsored health plans. The 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA) guarantees that most private plans will have contraceptive coverage without cost-sharing for patients. Churches and other houses of worship are exempted fro...
* U.S. Methane Study Says Emissions 50 Percent Higher Than EPA Estimates November 25, 2013 The United States is spewing 50 percent more methane — a potent heat-trapping gas — than the federal government estimates, a new comprehensive scientific study says. Much of it is coming from just three states: Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. That means methane may be a bigger global warming issue than thought, scientists say. Methane is 21 times more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, the most abundant global warmin...
* Ocean Acidification Will Cut Food and Jobs in Poor Countries - Scientists November 22, 2013 Soaring seawater acidity from rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will hit marine species used for food and livelihoods hard, and will have knock-on impacts on coastal communities, particularly in developing countries, experts said at the UN climate talks in Warsaw. Poor coastal communities, especially those in small island states whose existence hinges on coral reefs and fishing, will bear the brunt of this cha...
* Making the Connection: Reproductive Health and Environmental Protection November 25, 2013 With international leaders currently gathered at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP19) in Warsaw, Poland to negotiate and develop policies and procedures to address climate change, it seemed the perfect time to explore the connection between the issues of reproductive health and environmental degradation and our Youth Leadership in Sexual and Reproductive Health Program's (GOJoven) work to addres...
* Committed to Fp2020? Invest in Civil Society! November 25, 2013 As five countries - Benin, Mauritania, DRC, Myanmar, and Guinea - made new commitments to FP2020 last week in Addis, one plea was made multiple times on the last day of the International Conference on Family Planning: don't neglect civil society. It's the governments that make headlines, and there's no question that they need international support to follow through on their family planning action plans and strategies...
* If California Can Make Obamacare Work, Anyone Can November 24, 2013 I've mentioned before that Obamacare's rollout problems really are all about the website. Rate shock and network shock may be real problems for some people, but they aren't deal breakers and they aren't as serious or as widespread as Fox News is trying to make them out to be. Fix the website and Obamacare will be in pretty good shape. Paul Krugman produces some pretty good evidence for this today: California. It is, he says, ...
* When in a Hole… November 27, 2013 Yesterday, Oil Change International (OCI) published its great new interactive graphic that shows that fossil fuel reserves continue to grow, whereas the scientists are telling us that we can burn less and less carbon. The graphic was also published in The Guardian newspaper. The OCI analysis shows that fossil fuel companies gained access to more than twice as much in fossil fuels as they produced between 2007 and 2011. The re...
* Preparing for Civilization's End: Links of the Month (excellent Chart) November 8, 2013 (Chart) I‘ve just been interviewed by Janaia and Robyn at Peak Moment TV (video will be up soon). [Update Nov. 25: Video is now up].The conversation inspired me to try to come up with a short summary of why I am so convinced that our civilization is in its last few decades, and that our efforts to mitigate its collapse are largely a waste of time and energy, and what someone who shares this worldview could or should do now....
* Supreme Court Expected to Take Up Birth Control Cases November 25, 2013 Last year, the debate over insurance coverage for birth control was held on the presidential campaign trail and in Congress. On Tuesday, the Supreme Court is expected to decide whether it will take up the controversy. The Court is considering several cases brought by private, for-profit employers, among 43 such cases that have been filed. The employers say the Affordable Care Act's requirement to fully cover birth control ...
* Giving the Gift of Yourself: Juliet's Story November 26, 2013 The earrings are simple -- a thin piece of pink plastic, almost like a small spear. They're inexpensive, not from any known designer, but they are one of my most treasured possessions. They were made and given to me by Juliet, a young Kenyan woman I met several years ago while working on an advocacy film about the effects of abstinence-only sexual education. Juliet is an extraordinary person, and the story that she shared in t...
* Gates Foundation Awards Grants to Condoms of the Future November 22, 2013 Would you use a condom made from beef tendons? Bill and Melinda Gates think you might. The foundation has selected it as one of the 11 winning designs in the first round of the Gates Foundation's quest to develop a condom that will preserve -- or even enhance -- sexual pleasure. Announced in March, the "Next Generation Condom" challenge sought out designs for condoms that were easier to apply, maintained pleasure or made ...
An Interview with a Texas Abortion Doctor Who Can No Longer Do His Job November 20, 2013 On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court declined to block a new law in Texas that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, a measure that has caused at least a dozen clinics in the state to stop terminating pregnancies. Dr. Lester Minto owns and operates one of the affected clinics, Harlingen Reproductive Services. I spoke with him last week as he awaited the Supreme Court's vote. S...
* New Climate War: Billionaires Vs. Big Oil October 30, 2013 Finally, Big Oil's trillion-dollar war on climate change is getting a serious challenge. This time it's not just 28 Greenpeace activists assaulting a Russian oil rig in the Arctic. Not 208 demonstrators at a Bay Area Chevron refinery. Not another 1,252 arrests of Bill McKibben's army of environmental activists chaining themselves around the White House. This is a declaration of war. This time some very high-profile America...
New Scientific Evidence on Fracking's Risks Shows Cuomo Should Stand Firm on Moratorium November 1, 2013 NRDC and a coalition of environmental and public health advocacy groups today sent a memo to Governor Cuomo outlining a variety of new scientific evidence showing the magnitude of potential risks from fracking has grown significantly. In light of this new evidence, we are urging the Governor to stand firm in maintaining New York's moratorium on the controversial practice while the state thoroughly evaluates the science around ...
Report: Climate Protection Goal Slipping Away November 20, 2013 Scaled-back global warming initiatives in Japan and Australia are moving the world further away from preventing the most dangerous effects of climate change, three research groups said in a joint analysis released Wednesday. The Climate Action Tracker report concludes that weakened government action put global temperatures on pace to rise 3.7 degrees Celsius by 2100, compared to 3.1 °C if the world's 24 biggest emitters met na...
Albuquerque Voters Defeat Anti-abortion Ballot Measure November 20, 2013 Last night, voters in Albuquerque, New Mexico defeated an unprecedented ballot measure that would have banned abortion after 20 weeks and contained no exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the woman. The proposed measure was the first of its kind to be introduced on the city-level and drew national coverage for the robust campaigns launched around it, both for and against. Yesterday's election drew record numbers of v...
* Poor Nations Failing to Create Jobs Despite Booming Growth: UN November 21, 2013 The planet's poorest nations such as Angola and Ethiopia have largely failed to cash in on booming economic growth to create the jobs needed to push their ballooning populations out of poverty, the UN warned today. "Economic growth that does not create decent jobs in sufficient quantities is unsustainable," said Mukhisa Kituyi, head of the UN Conference on Trade and Development. In its tri-annual review of the world's least deve...
Critique of the 100 Percent Renewable Energy for New York Plan November 17, 2013 (chart) 100% Renewable Energy for New York State from Wind, Water and Solar. Really? I feel compelled to respond to a paper that is widely referenced by anti-hydrofracking activists as proof that New York can move beyond fossil fuels and power 100% of its energy needs with renewables. The WWS (Wind, Water and Solar) Plan for New York (Jacobson et al., 2013) is part of a series of papers authored chiefly by Prof Mark Jacobson ...
Ms. Freedom Feminist activist and Ms. magazine co-founder Gloria Steinem was the first woman to speak at the National Press Club in Washington, begrudgingly accepting a necktie—the NPC's traditional souvenir at the time—in 1972. Tongue firmly in cheek, she told the audience she'd be happy to complete the look with a men's jacket to "confirm your worst suspicions." Steinem, who turns 80 in March, returned to the NPC podium earlier this week to ...
Zeer Pots: a Simple Way to Reduce Post-harvest Food Waste October 27, 2013 Post-harvest food losses occur mainly in the developing world, and can be attributed to poor storage facilities, inadequate distribution networks, and low investment in food production. Improved storage conditions could drastically reduce this food waste, yet technologies must be affordable and realistic to be sustainable in these regions. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, in Guinea, where up to ...
* Girls' Education and Disasters October 11, 2013 Disasters do not discriminate, but people do. Disasters reinforce, perpetuate and increase gender inequality, making bad situations worse for women. Disasters are not experienced in a vacuum. What happens to an adolescent girl in such times is directly related to attitudes towards girls and women in the wider community and in the political, economic, social and cultural context. It is also affected by the family she comes from, ...
Six-state Study Confirms Job Numbers Exaggerated by Fracking Industry November 21, 2013 (graph, map) Drilling in the six states that span the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations has produced far fewer new jobs than the industry and its supporters claim, according to a report released today by the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative, a group of state-level research organizations tracking the impacts of shale drilling. "Industry supporters have exaggerated the jobs impact in order to minimize or avoid altoget...
Forest Change Mapped by Google Earth (Images) NOTE: Mapping tool is here: earthenginepartners.appspot.com/science-2013-global-forest A new high-resolution global map of forest loss and gain has been created with the help of Google Earth. The interactive online tool is publicly available and zooms in to a remarkably high level of local detail - a resolution of 30m. It charts the story of the world's tree canopies from 2000 to 2012, based on 650,000 satellite images by Landsat 7....
China Expecting a Modest Baby Boom Under Revised One-child Policy At soon as Luo Yuannan heard about the change in China's one-child law, she began to calculate when it would be best for her 2 1/2-year-old son to get a baby sister, because, like many modern Chinese women, Luo is pining for a girl. "I was amazed," said Luo, 31, who lives in the southern city of Shenzhen. "I always wanted to have a second child and now I will get the chance." If things go as planned, a second child for Luo could be part of a ba...
Children Lead Nepal's Drive Against Open-air Defecation For several months last year, Pramala Balami, 14, went out every morning with a group of other children in her village, looking out for people defecating in the open air. The Children's Club in the Chitlang Village Development Committee in Makwanpur district in central Nepal was one of the groups mobilized by the local authorities in their drive to make their area an open-defecation-free zone. "We'd form separate groups of about six children ea...
Family Planning as a Global Priority The third annual International Conference on Family Planning closed on Saturday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with new and increased commitments from countries around the world to bolster local and global family planning initiatives. The conference, under the theme "Full Access, Full Choice," was co-hosted by the The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the...
Mcenas! Sms Client Education to Improve Family Planning Uptake Among Youth BACKGROUND After working with young people in Mozambique for more than two decades, Pathfinder recognizes the many barriers youth face in terms of accessing and using contraceptive methods. One of the main barriers to uptake of contraception among youth is lack of knowledge around the range of contraceptive methods, especially myths and misconceptions about particular methods. Pathfinder recognizes the need to offer innovative opportunities fo...
October 11 - International Day of the Girl
October 16 - World Food Day
October 17 - International Day for Eradication of Poverty
October 17-23 - World Population Awareness Week
October 18 - World Vasectomy Day
November 29 - Women's Human Rights Defenders Day
November 30 -South Asian Women's Day for Human Rights
December 1 - World AIDS Day
December 10 - Human Rights Day
January 19 - Martin Luther King Day
"There is no human circumstance more tragic than the persisting existence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily available. Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is possible, practical and necessary.
January 22 - Roe vs. Wade anniversary39 years ago the courts recognized the right of women to make personal, private medical decisions, to control their bodies, their reproductive health, and their lives.
Karen Gaia's Sustainability & Family Planning Travel Study
South Asia 2000
South Asia 2001