Health care worker giving a young pregnant woman a birthing kit, in BangladeshSee more

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.

50 years ago, here in the USA, I was given the same option to space my births after the birth of my first baby. I gladly accepted contraceptive pills (which was new to me) .. Karen Gaia


Mother Caring for 7 Billion doc

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

January 23, 2015

Close to Home: When Climate, Population and Food Collide

January 11 , 2015, Santa Rosa Press Democrat   By: Jeff Baldwin and Asher Sheppard

The shift from muscle power to energy from combustion of fossil fuels releases vast amounts of carbon that living organisms took from the atmosphere hundreds of millions of years ago. Energy stored in the coal, oil and gas of Earth's crust powers large-scale industrialization, while the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions warm Earth's climate.

Technology- intensive industrial agriculture is producing the food for many of Earth's billions. As Western Europe, North America and Japan industrialized, farmers were pushed off their lands and moved to cities. Large families became problematic as women went to work outside the home. Education and the ability to control fertility have combined with these societal changes to cut fertility rates markedly in the developed world.

In many developing countries women commonly have more than five children -- most too poor to buy enough food should prices rise. Meanwhile rapidly developing populous countries have burgeoning middle classes desirous of more animal protein, which requires three to 15 times its weight in feed.

In the last century, world population increased from about 2 billion to 6 billion people. Fortunately global food production kept up thanks to the industrialization of agriculture, including increased mechanization, new plant varieties, refrigeration, long-distance transportation and agrochemicals, including petrochemical fertilizers. Each of these technologies increases emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide -- the very greenhouse gases that hasten climate change and threaten agricultural productivity with drought, flood and soil loss.

In the tropics many small-farm families have been forced onto marginal lands where they face greater threats from floods, drought, erosion, and extreme weather events. One-half the global food supply is is produced by small farmers.

Decreasing snowfalls in the world's high mountain ranges threaten the water supplies essential for production on long-established lands and those newly brought into production by the Green Revolution. In the tropics, where the majority of humanity lives, high temperatures are expected to reduce crop production by up to 50% by 2080.

We cannot afford paralysis in face of population growth and climate change. There is reason to hope for success ahead. doclink

Kick it Over Manifesto

January 05, 2015, Kick It Over

We, the economics students of the world, make this accusation:

That you, the teachers of neoclassical economics and the students that you graduate, have perpetuated a gigantic fraud upon the world.

You claim to work in a pure science of formula and law, but yours is a social science, with all the fragility and uncertainty that this entails. We accuse you of pretending to be what you are not.

You hide in your offices, protected by your jargon, while in the real world forests vanish, species perish, human lives are ruined and lost. We accuse you of gross negligence in the management of our planetary household.

. . . more doclink

Carbon Bubble

December 30 , 2014, Cascadia Weekly

The big story is that over two dozen large-scale carbon energy projects slated for the Pacific Northwest have faltered, stalled or failed to make headway. Together these projects would have been capable of delivering enough fuel to release 822 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year -- five times the carbon yield of the more famous Keystone XL Pipeline.

The Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline from Alberta oil sands fields to Kitimat, in northern British Columbia, and the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion to carry similar Alberta oil sands to Burnaby, British Columbia each ground to a halt, primarily as a result of the coordinated activism of north coast tribes.

Six new natural gas pipelines capable of carrying 11.7 billion cubic feet per day are planned for coastal communities from Prince Rupert, B.C. to Coos Bay, Ore. Each has stalled.

Seven new or expanded coal export terminals have died or retreanched. Only two remain viable-- those at Longview and at Cherry Point.

In the most telling indicator of the decay of these projects, coal industry lobbyists have pressured Wyoming and Montana to apply legal and financial weight to force open the coasts for the transport of coal. The coal industry may no longer be able to broadcast a compelling narrative on the resplendent persuasion of capital and investment.

The expansion of oil-by-rail facilities at refineries or port terminals around the Pacific Northwest was the only delivery vector able to make significant headway in 2014. Yet heightened regulatory concerns about rail safety coupled with the drop in petroleum prices have brought these industries precariously close to the threshold at which shale and tar sands extraction regimes remain profitable. If producers can't make these products cheap, they can't afford to make them at all.

Coal futures have plunged to junk bond status. Peabody Energy was able to ship coal out of Cherry Point when the company was trading at $69 per share, however share prices have dropped to under $7.80. Industry analysis suggests coal prices around $80 per ton are required to earn a return on the investment in these piers, yet prices have hovered for most of the year at around $60 per ton, down from a high of $132 per ton in mid-2011, at the peak of the carbon bubble.

Meanwhile the very character of investment has shifted, from banks and prominent investment firms like Goldman Sachs to higher-risk private investors.

"You can see a mounting sense of desperation among these companies that something is going horribly wrong on the West Coast for their plans" .. "When faced with determined, coordinated opposition, the fossil fuels companies cannot succeed in this region. They need our permission to take this stuff somewhere else to burn it, and they're not getting it."

This opposition is similar to what Naomi Klein described as Blockadia, "a desire for a deeper form of democracy, one that provides communities with real control over…the health of water, air and soil. In the process, these place-based stands are stopping real climate change in progress."

In a year filled with many terrible setbacks in social and political rights, the frightening erosion of democracy in a storm of runaway wealth transfer, this is a story that deserved to be told. doclink

Karen Gaia says: When it takes more energy to take it out of the ground than the energy produced, it is time to leave it in the ground and learn to live with less. The cost to the environment and our health must be figured into the equation. Resource depletion must be dealt with by tightening our belts and having fewer children.

Everything Changed for Birth Control in the United States in 2014

January 01, 2015, Bustle   By: Lauren Barbato

The religious right can't ban birth control outright, but they can make access more difficult. Nearly 50 years after Griswold v. Connecticut struck down anti-contraception laws, birth control still triggers debate from pulpits to the Supreme Court. Last year the Supreme Court ruled a closely held company can deny birth control coverage to its employees because of the company's religious beliefs -- with no regard to the religious beliefs of its employees. The Hobby Lobby case, which centered on the IUD and the morning-after pill, set the bleak precedent that the "religious freedom" of a company's owner's trumps an employee's right to choose a form of health care. Or, as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg put it in her dissent: "The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga … would deny legions of women who do not hold their employers' beliefs access to contraception coverage."

Last July the court broadened its ruling to cover all types of birth control, including the Pill. More than 50 closely held companies and religiously affiliated universities had lawsuits challenging the Obama administration's birth control mandate over the summer, leaving contraception coverage for women across the country in a precarious state. It even let Wheaton College refuse to sign off on a waiver allowing its employees and students to receive contraception coverage from a third-party insurer.

Despite the Hobby Lobby setback, family planning advocates made several gains in 2014. Numerous studies released in 2014 concluded that increased access to birth control is directly responsible for the dramatically declining abortion and teen pregnancy rates. A 2014 study from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention said that since 2010 the usage rate has doubled for Long-acting contraception (LAC) methods, such as the IUD, which the Guttmacher Institute says has a failure rate of 0.2% with typical use. Instead of taking a pill at the same time each day, with IUD provides worry-free contraception for at least five years. More gynecologists now recommend the IUD to young patients, and since health insurance plans now cover the IUD, women find it more affordable -- unless, of course, you work for Hobby Lobby or a religious nonprofit. A 2014 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that, at no cost, teen girls are 16 times more likely to choose the IUD. In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics said that long-acting contraception has become the "first-line contraceptive choices for adolescents." For women between 25 and 34, about 11.1% now use a form of LAC*. This increase resulted, not only from better insurance coverage, but also from changes made to improve the safety of the IUD.

But safety and side effects have been issues for Essure, the "permanent" birth control. Erin Brockovich -- known also for her environmental activism -- has posted a website against Essure. On it she writes about women who claim to have serious medical issues including headaches, nausea, allergic response to the nickel the device is made of, hysterectomies, and problems with the device moving, all resulting from the Essure implant. None of the women were told of the serious side effects. Other former Essure users have also spoken publicly about excruciating chronic pain. "It felt like barbed wire inside of me," one woman told news station KNXV in October.

With politicians and religious leaders trying to block access to affordable birth control,over-the-counter (OTC) birth control may sound like a dream. Although doctors support OTC birth control, we should not buy into the Republican hype that OTC availability of oral contraceptives will help more women get the contraceptives they need. OTC access to contraceptives should be part of a broader dialogue about improving women's health care, preventing unintended pregnancies, and increasing use of contraception, including long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). Over-the-counter access should not be used as a political tool by candidates or by elected officials.

Mike Huckabee scorned women who "cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government." Some women still face battles when they need affordable contraception, but 2014 has shown that science is on their side. doclink

Karen Gaia says: I believe that LAC and LARC amount to the same thing. Essure is an implant inserted into the fallopian tube.

‘One Key Question' to Revolutionize Reproductive, Public Health

August 26, 2015, Public Health Newswire

In Oregon there is a movement where doctors ask every woman of reproductive age "Would you like to become pregnant in the next year?" The movement is called One Key Question.

The Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health (OFRH) believes this question "triggers a doctor-patient discussion that will keep women healthier, help eliminate health disparities and save taxpayer dollars."

The goal is to ensure that more pregnancies are wanted, planned and as healthy as possible.

This question brings pregnancy intention screening and preventive reproductive health directly in to primary care. It opens the door to providing either preconception, prenatal or contraceptive care in a novel fashion that goes beyond simply asking if she is pregnant or using contraception. One Key Question is a conversation starter, not a checklist. It can initiate a genuine conversation that empowers a woman to plan her health care needs in support of her goals for herself and her family.

OFRH tested many variations of asking about prenatal care and pregnancy prevention before determining this question to be the most effective. Clinicians implementing One Key Question have found that the majority of women have a clear opinion about whether or not they would like to become pregnant in the next year.

However, when a woman answers "maybe" or "I don't know," One Key Question often effectively leads to identifying urgent health needs that may otherwise go undetected — such as depression, violence in the home or substance abuse — and leads to negative pregnancy outcomes.

Women are relieved to be able to talk about their reproductive health needs in a primary care setting rather than through a separate appointment with a specialist. This more streamlined approach can be invaluable for low income women, women of color and those in rural communities, in particular, who have decreased access to reproductive health care.

OFRH is very aware of the need to establish reliable systems for measuring the impact of One Key Question as it is implemented in sites nationwide.

Ultimately, because One Key Question encourages women to obtain preconception care, we expect to see a drop-off in public health care costs as earlier identification and management of conditions such as diabetes and hypertension improve pregnancy, delivery and post-natal care and lower long-term costs for all women, but particularly for those with decreased access to specialized care. doclink

Karen Gaia says: After I gave birth to my first child 50 years ago, my doctor asked me if I wanted to get pregnant right away. Of course I said 'No'. That's when I was introduced to contraception. In Bangladesh, the health care worker tells the pregnant woman to come back after the birth and when she comes back, she is offered birth control to space her pregnancies. That is how Bangladesh lowered its fertility rate so quickly.

Important Articles Need Our Attention

Once again I am slipping behind on offering WOA!s readers a summary of each of the most important of the latest population and sustainability articles. Please, if you can help, click on the red arrow in the headline, which will take you to a page where you can register. When you are registered, you can use this page to log in and summarize the article.

  • Is Inequality Killing US Mothers? doclink

    Today, more U.S. women die in childbirth and from pregnancy-related causes than at almost any point in the last 25 years. The United States is the one of only seven countries in the entire world that has experienced an increase in maternal mortality over the past decade (we join the likes of Afghanistan and South Sudan), and mothers in Iran, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Serbia and Greece (among many other countries) have a better chance of s... January 16, 2015   By: Andrea Flynn

  • Condoms and Contraceptive Pills Reach Rural Laos doclink

    Bounthone Kongphongma knows family planning arrived too late for his generation in rural Laos. The former military medic and his wife had 14 children, the youngest of whom they raised during the country's secret war, often escaping to the jungle on the outskirts of their village to avoid airstrikes. Only eight of his children survived to adulthood, and those who died were not victims of war, but of what Kongphongma thinks was malaria. "It wa... January 13, 2015, Guardian   By: Carla Kweifio-okai

  • Scientists: Human Activity Has Pushed Earth Beyond Four of Nine ‘planetary Boundaries' doclink

    At the rate things are going, the Earth in the coming decades could cease to be a "safe operating space" for human beings. That is the conclusion of a new paper published Thursday in the journal Science by 18 researchers trying to gauge the breaking points in the natural world. The paper contends that we have already crossed four "planetary boundaries." They are the extinction rate; deforestation; the level of carbon dioxide in the atmos... January 15, 2015, Washington Post   By: Joel Achenbach

  • Planetary Dashboard Shows "great Acceleration" in Human Activity Since 1950 doclink

    A decade on, IGBP in collaboration with the Stockholm Resilience Centre has reassessed and updated the Great Acceleration indicators, first published in the IGBP synthesis, Global Change and the Earth System in 2004. Paper The trajectory of the Anthropocene: The Great Acceleration (Anthropocene Review) 15 January 2015. Data download Great Acceleration dataExcel 2007 (excel 2007, 364.7 kB) Human activity, predominantly the global economic sys... January 15, 2015, IGBP - International Geosphere-Biosphere Program   By: IGBP

  • Ethiopia's Key: Young People and the Demographic Dividend doclink

    (January 2015) Over the last decade, Ethiopia has experienced strong economic growth, accompanied by positive trends in poverty reduction. Ethiopia has demonstrated its commitment to improving the lives of its citizens through policies and programs that have reduced child mortality, improved education, and increased access to family planning. While life is improving for many, nearly 30 percent of Ethiopia's population still live in extreme povert... January 16, 2015, Population Reference Bureau   By: Shelley Megquier and Kate Belohlav

@@032153 Close to Home: When Climate, Population and Food Collide
  • An Expansion of the Demographic Transition Model: the Dynamic Link Between Agricultural Productivity and Population doclink

    Corn along the Kenyan coast of Lake Victoria by Erika Gavenus Item Link: Read Article File: Download Media Type: Article - Recent Date of Publication: October 22, 2014 Year of Publication: 2014 Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group Journal: Biodiversity Volume: 15: 4 Pages: 246-254 Categories: Carrying Capacity/Population, Human Behavior Russell Hopfenberg expands on the traditional demographic transition model by considering a longer time... January 10, 2015, MAHB - Millenium Alliance for Humanity and the Biosphere   By: Erika Gavenus

@@032138 Kick it Over Manifesto
  • A Haven in a Land of Unsafe Abortions doclink

    "In my village abortions do happen, but women hide it, they are ashamed of it," says Palo Khoya. "They worry that people will say nasty things." Khoya is one of the four women pictured above (top right). They have come to a small abortion clinic in Khunti, in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. Abortion is legal in India. The government has built clinics to serve poor rural women like Khoya. But there are simply not enough facilities. Jharkha... December 31, 2014, National Public Radio   By: Poulomi Basu

  • Energy Slaves of Modern Culture doclink

    Ancient Sunlight Fossil fuel is a form of ancient sunlight. Formed over millions of years, it is the product of the compression and heating of massive amounts of biomass, creating a highly concentrated form of energy. Tremendous amounts of carbon were removed from the atmosphere and safely sequestered underground. It helped form the atmospheric conditions in which we have evolved and thrived. This natural process was integral in creating the curr... January 11, 2015   By: Steve Rypka

@@032134 Carbon Bubble
  • It's All About Soil doclink

    According to plant geneticist and president of The Land Institute Wes Jackson, and farmer and author Wendell Berry, "our present ways of agriculture are not sustainable, and so our food supply is not sustainable. We must restore ecological health to our agricultural landscapes, as well as economic and cultural stability to our rural communities." Jackson says we're plowing through our soil bank account and sending those riches downstream to the o... January 07, 2015   By: Danielle Nierenberg and Sarah Small

  • Birth Control is Essential to a Woman's Economic Security, Yet Barriers Persist for Non-white, Low Income Women doclink

    That said, language, cultural, institutional and payment barriers can act as a challenge, perpetuating a belief that one lacks ownership over one's own wealth and body. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recently released a statement that urged elected officials to understand the fundamental part that birth control plays in a woman's economic security. The pill, in particular, has been transformative in the lives of w... January 06, 2015   By: Nicole Akoukou Thompson

  • In Kenya, Family Planning is An Economic Safeguard doclink

    With Kenya's population expected to double by the year 2050, the government and non-governmental organizations are investing heavily in family planning. Providing contraception and education to women is not just about population control, it's also about protecting the country's economic interests. There are more than 40 million people in Kenya, and the population keeps rising. The average family has five children. While that number is down from... December 30, 2014, Voice of America News   By: Gabe Joselow


Population Boom Driving Philippines' Climate Vulnerability

More people living in Philippines has worsened pollution, deforestation and waste problems, says government report
January 05 , 2015   By: Sophie Yeo

The Philippines' rapidly growing population is increasing its vulnerability to climate change, according to a government document.

Around 92 million people live in the Philippines and the number is growing by 1.9% a year. The country has slipped recently from 12th to 3rd most vulnerable in the world to climate change.

"The large number of people and their migration patterns have led to crowded cities, waste and housing problems, pollution, and encroachment of upland forests and watersheds leading to denudation and, consequently, significant reduction of carbon sinks," write the authors of the report.

In 1970, the population of the Philippines was 30 million. Population growth has slowed since then, but the number of people living in the country is nonetheless expected to double in the next thirty years.

The growth is mainly happening in urban areas, as Filipinos migrate towards cities. Urban areas tend to be more at risk of flooding and earthquakes, which raises the pressure on the Philippines as rising temperatures are predicted to intensify the impacts of climate change.

The vulnerability of the Philippines was thrown into the spotlight in 2013 when Typhoon Haiyan made landfall, killing more than 6,000 people and forcing millions into temporary homes.

According to World Bank data, the Filipino population is increasing faster than in neighbouring countries Indonesia and Vietnam. But it is slower than many African countries, where growth rate in 2013 was more than 3%.

Forest cover in the Philippines has been reduced from around 27.5 million hectares in the 1500s to around only 7.2 million today. Many of the causes - including logging, agriculture and unplanned land conversion - have been worsened by population growth. doclink

This Ingenious Machine Turns Feces Into Drinking Water

January 05, 2015, GatesNotes   By: Bill Gates

I watched the piles of feces go up the conveyer belt and drop into a large bin. They made their way through the machine, getting boiled and treated. A few minutes later I took a long taste of the end result: a glass of delicious drinking water.

Because a shocking number of people, at least 2 billion, use latrines that aren't properly drained. Others simply defecate out in the open. The waste contaminates drinking water for millions of people, with horrific consequences: Diseases caused by poor sanitation kill some 700,000 children every year, and they prevent many more from fully developing mentally and physically. If we can develop safe, affordable ways to get rid of human waste, we can prevent many of those deaths and help more children grow up healthy.

The project is called the Omniprocessor, and it was designed and built by Janicki Bioenergy, an engineering firm based north of Seattle. I recently went to Janicki's headquarters to check out an Omniprocessor before the start of a pilot project in Senegal. The Omniprocessor is a safe repository for human waste. Today, in many places without modern sewage systems, truckers take the waste from latrines and dump it into the nearest river or the ocean—or at a treatment facility that doesn't actually treat the sewage. Either way, it often ends up in the water supply. If they took it to the Omniprocessor instead, it would be burned safely.

The next-generation processor, more advanced than the one I saw, will handle waste from 100,000 people, producing up to 86,000 liters of potable water a day and a net 250 kw of electricity. If we get it right, it will be a good example of how philanthropy can provide seed money that draws bright people to work on big problems, eventually creating a self-supporting industry. doclink

Fertility Among Orphans in Rural Malawi: Challenging Common Assumptions About Risk and Mechanisms

January 07, 2015, International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health   By: Rachel Kidman and Philip Anglewicz

26% of respondents had lost their father and 15% their mother. Orphanhood was not associated with sexual risk-taking. However, respondents whose mother had died in the past five years desired more children than did those whose mother was still alive (risk differences, 0.52 among women and 0.97 among men). Actual fertility was elevated among women whose father had died more than five years earlier (0.31) and among men whose mother had died in the past five years (1.06) or more than five years earlier (0.47).

Men had higher educational attainment (29% had attended secondary school, compared with 17% of women), while women were more likely than men to be married (and to be divorced, separated or widowed). On average, men reported having had 3.4 partners in their lifetime, while women reported having had 1.8. HIV prevalence was 6% among women and 2% among men. Finally, the mean number of living children was higher among men (1.7) than among women (0.7).

Compared with nonorphans, orphans both had greater fertility desires and had had a greater number of children. This is the first study to demonstrate elevated fertility desires among orphans living in areas characterized by high HIV prevalence. This finding suggests that orphans may exercise greater agency over reproductive outcomes than previously thought, though we caution that these decisions are still made within very constrained and difficult circumstances.

The study findings suggest that orphanhood is not associated with sexual risk-taking in a cohort of Malawian youth, but is positively associated with fertility desires and childbearing. doclink

Defining Sustainability and How Population Matters

January 15, 2015, WOA website

Note: In the following piece I borrowed heavily from a quote by Rudy Sovinee on Facebook. ... Karen Gaia

The Brundtland Definition of Sustainability states: "Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." However, Prof. Emeritus Al Bartlett amended the Brundtland definition as follows: "Sustainable development is development that does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Without Bartlett's amendment, current generations are allowed to continue robbing the future, as the current development has priority - as it certainly has political clout. Thus is set up an inter-generational battle already on display in Congress for the USA and in national capitals around the globe. Without the amendment we would be sacrificing the long term viability of life being sustained so as to prolong the current path of economic dominance by a few over the many while riding the climate, and resources into a dystopian future. Is there a way to survive more than another century, to actually consider at least another seven generations as was the path of indigenous peoples?

We humans are recipients of a beautiful planet of great complexity in life forms. It took 3.6 Billion years for Life to evolve to our current form, and we are set to perhaps end at least the last 600 million years of it in something like the next hundred years. That is just wrong, ethically, morally wrong. Specifically, Prof Bartlett wrote in 2012 - the year before his death: "The Brundtland definition of sustainability is appealing because it has both virtue and vagueness. It is virtuous to give the impression that one is thinking of the wellbeing of future generations, but the definition itself is vague; it gives no specifics or hints about the nature of a sustainable society or about how we must conduct our society in order to become sustainable. This vagueness of definition opens the door for people to use the term 'sustainability' to mean anything they want it to mean. It's straight from Alice in Wonderland where Humpty Dumpty proclaims, 'When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean, neither more nor less.' With the freedom supplied by the vagueness, anyone can become an expert on sustainability." See this and more at:

With human population continuing to grow (even if it is slowing, it is still compounding its growth), any valid attempt to discuss Sustainability will reach a conclusion of humanity currently being in overshoot. Is there a long term path "that does not compromise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."? I believe if such a path exists, one of its components will require a way to discuss and implement a reduction in human population.

The problem of any such discussion is our memory of the racial and ethnic violence done so often in recent history - we humans have made discussion of population restraint and reduction into a topic that is generally taboo. Can a consensus be developed collectively that offers a humane and fair way to limit procreation? doclink

Karen Gaia says, if we meet only the needs (and wants) of the current generation living life to the fullest, how can we meet the needs of all of the more people in future generations? We can't create resources out of thin air, although it seems there are many people who seem to think so.

How Likely is it That Birth Control Could Let You Down?

September 13 , 2014, New York Times   By: Gregor Aisch and Bill Marsh

Note: click on the link in the headline to see these wonderful interactive charts that show the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of most major kinds of birth control

Misuse and failure of birth control are major contributors to the millions of unplanned pregnancies in the United States each year. Failure rates of contraceptives usually refer to a given year of use. Over time the risk of failure is compounded over time. The longer any method of contraception is used, the greater the probability of unplanned pregnancy.

These charts show probabilities of pregnancy for each method by two standards: typical use, which is usually incorrect or inconsistent use, and perfect use - when used exactly as specified and consistently followed. Over long time periods, few couples, if any, achieve flawless contraceptive use.

Only the 10 year probability is shown here. Jump to the link to see the charts.

* Spermicides 96% chance of pregnancy

* Fertility awareness-based (ovulation method) 94%

* Sponge (after giving birth) 94%

* Withdrawal 92%

* Condom (female) 91%

* Condom (male) 86%

* Diaphragm 72%

* Sponge (prior to any births) 72%

* Pill, Evra patch, NuvaRing 61%

* Depo-Provera 46%

* Copper IUD 8%

* Female sterilization 5%

* Levonorgestrel IUD 2%

* Male sterilization 2%

* Hormonal implant 1%

Sources: James Trussell, Office of Population Research, Princeton University; Brookings Institution doclink

Karen Gaia says:

a) The average American woman spends 30 years trying to avoid pregnancy. 11% of women at risk of unintended pregnancy are not currently using any contraceptive method. 18% of these are teens.

b) 16% of women using birth control use the pill, while 15.5% use female sterilization, 9.4% use male condoms, and only 7.2% use IUDs or implants, although this number is growing.

Reproductive Health: the Battle Resumes

January 08, 2015, Huffington Post   By: Robert Walker

One the first day of Congress this year, Representatives Trent Franks (Ariz.) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) reintroduced legislation to stop women from terminating pregnancies after 20 weeks.

The proposed abortion ban is part of a much larger, ongoing struggle over reproductive health and rights in America. The Population Institute recently gave the U.S. a "C" for Reproductive Health Rights in 2014, a slight improvement over last year's grade ("C-"). 15 states received a failing grade.

Several states enacted arbitrary abortion restrictions that will likely lead to the closure of more family planning clinics, making contraceptive services more difficult to access. Other states approved further cutbacks in funding for family planning clinics, while 23 states still reject the expansion of Medicaid coverage called for by the Affordable Care Act, effectively denying millions of women improved access to contraceptive services.

It might get worse. If the U.S. Supreme Court overturns key sections of the Affordable Care Act or Congress repeals it altogether, millions of women could be forced to pay a lot more for their contraceptive coverage. And if Congress slashes or eliminates funding for Title X, the federal program that provides family planning services to low-income households, millions of women could suffer a loss of contraceptive services.

More states could cut funding for family planning clinics or impose arbitrary restrictions on birth control clinics providing abortion services. Unfortunately, contrary to the stated intention of the attackers, the practical effect will be more abortions, not fewer.

The Institute's report card ranked the states based on measures of effectiveness, including:

* The teenage pregnancy rate (15% of the score)

* The rate of unintended pregnancies (15%)

* Mandated comprehensive sex education in the schools (15%)

* Access to emergency contraception (5%)

* Whether states are expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (10%)

* Medicaid eligibility rules for family planning (10%)

* Funding for family planning clinics serving low-income families (10%)

* Abortion restrictions (10%)

* Percent of women living in a county without an abortion provider (10%).

Four states (California, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington) received an "A".

Fifteen states received an "F": Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Wyoming.

Last year could have been a great victory for women's reproductive health with tumbling teen pregnancy rates and increased access to reproductive health care for women under the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, setbacks at the state level negated some of the gains.

The reported teen pregnancy rate continued its historic drop, a 51% decline since its 1990 peak, however America's teenage pregnancy rate is still higher than other industrialized nations. Also 50% of pregnancies are unintended. All women need to have access to affordable reproductive health services and young people need to receive comprehensive sex education in the schools.

The outlook for 2015 is not positive. Millions of women could experience reduced access to contraceptive services in the next year. We should not let that happen. doclink

Carbon Taxes

January 2015, WOA website   By: Rudy Sovinee

Carbon taxes are justifiable - even on a totally economics based perspective. The appropriate amount though depends both on the projected rate of GDP growth AND on whether there are things not yet in the economy that deserved to be given value (like species that will disappear otherwise.)

The social cost of carbon, if it is not offset by a tax or other fee on emitting the carbon, is essentially a subsidy from society for fossil-fuel use. This subsidy being OVER and ABOVE all the other subsidies being awarded the fossil fuel industry. This is solely an attempt to quantify the externalized costs of carbon that industry now hands to everyone else.

As storms, droughts, floods etc continue to appear. expect these estimates to rise.

"In the United States, credible estimates of annual fossil fuel subsidies range from $14 billion to $52 billion annually. "

Those subsidies are spread over Oil, Gas and Coal. Looking only at Crude Oil, the US annual rate of consumption is 365.25 times 18.49 Million barrels of oil per day = 6,665.8 million barrels oil/ year.

There are 317 Kg of CO2 generated by burning the fuels of a barrel of crude oil = 694.4 lbs of CO2 = 0.347 US tons CO2 /barrel. Multiply 6,665.8 million barrels by 0.347 tons/ barrel = 2,314.5 million tons of CO2 = 2.3145 Billion tons of CO2

If the entire subsidies for all Fossil Fuels used annually in the USA were applied to a carbon tax on Crude Oil Alone, (an unfair and exaggerated assumption) then the $14 to $52 billion divided by 2.3145 Billion tons would only be a Carbon Tax of $6.05 - $22.47 per ton! Or $2.10 to $7.80 a barrel!! ... which is less than the price now fluctuates from week to week.

Call for a carbon tax. doclink

Young Women's Access to and Use of Contraceptives: the Role of Providers' Restrictions in Urban Senegal

January 07, 2015, International Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health   By: Estelle M. Sidze, Solène Lardoux, Ilene S. Speizer, Cheikh M. Faye, Michael M. Mutua and Fanding Badji

The proportion of young urban Senegalese women who reported using a modern contraceptive method was 20% among those currently married and 27% among those who were unmarried and sexually active. The greatest proportion of the married group relied on the injectable (43%), followed by the pill (33%) and the condom (15%); this pattern was consistent across age-groups. In contrast, the greatest proportion of the sexually active unmarried group relied on the condom (56%), followed by the injectable (21%) and the pill (14%). Overall, 19% of married women had an unmet need for contraception, almost all for spacing; the highest level of unmet need for spacing was among 20-24-year-olds (20%). Among sexually active unmarried women, the level of unmet need for contraception -- all for spacing -- was 11%.

Health posts were the facility type most commonly cited by women as their public source for the pill (39%) and the injectable (64%); health centers were the most common public source for the implant (60%). 26% of young women obtained their contraceptive method from the private sector. Young women mostly turned to private- sector health facilities for condoms (61%); however, 34% of condom users obtained the method from NGOs or other facilities.

12-14% of providers in public health facilities reported requiring that a woman be married to receive the pill, the injectable or the implant, and 8-9% applied a marital status restriction for condoms and emergency contraception. In private health facilities, 21-30% of providers reported refusing to offer unmarried women the pill, the injectable, the implant or emergency contraception; 12% imposed a marital status restriction for condoms.

Male providers -- particularly in the public sector -- were more likely than female providers to impose restrictions by minimum age for the pill, the injectable and condoms.

Recommendations from this study were: First, training and education programs for medical staff in Senegal should aim to reduce unnecessary provider-implemented barriers to contraceptive access, such as restrictions by age or marital status.

Second, all family planning service delivery protocols or policies should make clear that young people are eligible for services. doclink

Fracking and Trafficking

January 05, 2015, Trafficked

In the Balkan Oil Patch and beyond -- in North Dakota, South Dakota, and affecting young girls in Minneapolis -- the high ratio of men to women has created an issue of supply and demand. In the summer of 2014, Forum News Service set out to shed light on what we saw as a growing problem in North Dakota: human trafficking. It wasn't until we began reporting that we realized truly what a serious issue our state had on its hands. Not only because of the depravity of the crimes taking place in our own communities, but also because of the difficulties in detecting trafficking victims and given the unique nature of the Oil Patch, where the high ratio of men to women has created an issue of supply and demand.


*Native American populations are ‘hugely at risk' to sex trafficking.

*Tim Purdon, U.S. attorney for North Dakota, often says he realized that sex trafficking was a problem in western North Dakota after a November 2013 sting in Dickinson was shut down early because of such high demand for commercial sex with minors.

*The closest dedicated shelter for trafficking victims is more than 500 miles away from the Oil Patch.

. . . more doclink

Unplanned Births Associated with Less Prenatal Care and Worse Infant Health,compared with Planned Births

Greater Attention Needed on Consequences of Unplanned Childbearing
January 05, 2015, Guttmacher Institute

Greatly mistimed and unwanted births face considerable disadvantage, compared with wanted and well-timed births.

"Almost 40% of the four million annual births in the United States result from an unintended pregnancy," says study author Kathryn Kost . "During and immediately following pregnancy, women with unplanned births are less likely to receive early prenatal care or to breast-feed the infant and are more likely to have infants with poorer health at birth.

The analysis was limited to live births, and those resulting from unintended pregnancies were divided into three categories: mistimed (by less than two years), greatly mistimed (by more than two years) and unwanted.

Additionally, they suggest that public policy should focus on providing women and men with the services and support they need to avoid unintended pregnancies and empower them to choose the time and circumstances in which they bear a child. doclink

Male Birth Control, Without Condoms, Will Be Here by 2017

September 09, 2015, Daily Beast   By: Samantha Allen

Vasalgel, a reversible, non-hormonal polymer that blocks the vas deferens, is about to enter human trials. How will rhetoric change when male bodies become responsible for birth control?

Vasalgel is proving effective in a baboon study. Three lucky male baboons were injected with Vasalgel and given unrestricted sexual access to 10 to 15 female baboons each. Despite the fact that they have been monkeying around for six months now, no female baboons have been impregnated.

It is essentially a reimagining of a medical technology called RISUG (reversible inhibition of sperm under guidance) that was developed by a doctor named Sujoy Guha over 15 years ago in India, where it has been in clinical trials ever since. Unlike most forms of female birth control, Vasalgel is non-hormonal and only requires a single treatment in order to be effective for an extended period of time.

Elaine Lissner of the Parsemus Foundation is worried about the effectiveness of the pill, given how many women forget to take pills during any given cycle. The Parsemus Foundation has to rely on donations and crowdfunding in order to bring male birth control to the market. Potential funders in the pharmaceutical industry would much rather "sell pills to men's partners every month." doclink

Republicans Introduce Five Anti-Abortion Bills in First Days of New Congress

December 08 , 2014, Huffington Post   By: Laura Bassett

Emboldened by a new Senate majority, Republicans in Congress introduced five abortion restrictions in the first three days of the new legislative session that would severely limit women's access to the procedure.

Recently Republican Congressmen reintroduced a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund President Cecile Richards condemned the onslaught of anti-abortion bills on Thursday and the attack on her own organization.

"The public wants Congress to protect women's health, not interfere in women's personal medical decisions," she stated, "which means making sure all forms of birth control are affordable, women can get preventive care at Planned Parenthood and other trusted providers, and abortion remains safe and legal."
. . . more doclink

Listen Up, Legislators: People Want Better Sex Education Than What Many States Require

January 09 , 2015, Huffington Post   By: Rebecca Klein

A majority of U.S. states don't mandate sex education, even though two-thirds of Americans think students should get comprehensive birth control information at school.

Twenty-two% of poll participants who identify as Republican said they think teenagers should only be taught about abstinence, compared with 9% of participants who identify as Democrats. At the same time, 59% of Republicans said they think teenagers should be taught about various methods of birth control. Whites were somewhat more likely than minorities to support comprehensive sex ed. Those who currently have children under the age of 18 were almost twice as likely to say that teenagers should only be taught abstinence.

The poll found that 66% of respondents said they think sex education with information about various forms of contraception is more effective at reducing teen pregnancies than courses providing information on abstinence. This was especially true for respondents who identified as atheists or agnostics. Zero percent of this group reported thinking that courses stressing abstinence would reduce teen pregnancies, compared with 24%of Protestants and 19% of Catholics.
. . . more doclink

This Map Shows You All the Places Where the Pill is Free

These nations have government subsidies that make buying the pill free.
January 03 , 2015, Global Post   By: Simran Khosla

Can you imagine what would happen if birth control were subsidized in the United States?

While access to birth control and abortion are hot topics in the US, there are some places where the pill is more readily available.

Follow the link in the headline to see a map of the countries where the pill is free due to government subsidies. This map is compiled of data from a 2011 Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, curated by Slate, which examined reproductive laws around the world. doclink

Scientist Predicts Mass Exodus of Climate Change Refugees to Pacific Northwest

January 01, 2015, Global News (Canada)   By: Negar Mojtahedi

Cliff Mass, an atmospheric science professor from the University of Washington, predicts the Pacific Northwest will be one of the best places to live as the earth warms from Global Warming.

But as far as "winners" and "losers" go for climate change, B.C. and the rest of the Pacific Northwest could become a new safe haven for those fleeing rising mercury.

Click on the link in the headline to view map of climate change areas. doclink

Population Growth and Control in Africa

October 01 , 2013   By: Femi Aribisala

You may know that demographers predict at least a doubling of Africa's population by 2050 and that quality of life and environmental issues will result from that rapid pace of growth. But some statistics on Africa may surprise you. For example, while the continent covers about 25% of the world's land area, Africa has only about 15% of the world's population (about 1 billion people - less than that of India or China). It has less than half the population density of Europe and only about 40% the population density of Asia. Still, according to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, Africa's growth rate was in the range of 4.8% per year in 2013, up from 3.4% in 2011. Today, Africa has the world's youngest population with 200 million people between 15 and 24 years old. If current demographic trends persist, Africa's population will reach 1.4 billion in just ten years. UNICEF projects that by 2050 one out of every three births in the world will occur in Africa.

In the short-term a mushrooming African population means that the economies must run faster to merely stand still. With over 400 million Africans currently under the age of 15, this means a large proportion of the national income in African countries is devoted to feeding, clothing and housing "non-producers," with a consequence of having less available funds for investment.

At the same time, a decline in mortality and fertility rates could lead to dramatic changes in the country's age structure with possible future dividends. 800 million Africans will soon range between the ages of 25 and 59. The size of Africa's labor force will soon surpass that of China, which now is the world's largest. By 2050 one out of every four workers in the world could be African. This labor force would not only be young but also cheap, so multinational companies might want to move production to Africa, instead of East Asia. Africa's population boom could fuel a much-needed economic transformation, provided that Africa's human capital receives training appropriate to deal with changes in the world economic system. This has been the experience of such Asian "tigers" as Indonesia, South Korea and Thailand. However, Africa's population boom poses grave threats to the region's political stability and social cohesion if economic and employment opportunities are not sufficient.

Nigeria will have the world's highest increase in new births between now and 2050. The UN projects Nigeria's population will grow to 389 million by 2050, rivaling the United States at 403 million. By the end of the century, the U.N. projects that Nigeria's population will range between 900 million and 1 billion, nearing that of China. Nigeria's population will grow geometrically, while China's population is expected to begin to shrink by 2030. East Africa probably has the continent's most acute rapid population growth problem. For example, Kenya's population will increase from the current 43 million to over 100 million by 2050 with 43% of the population under 15 years old. The working class must support this is dependent group, which leaves the workers with little opportunity for savings.

The Kenyan government sponsors a family-planning program that emphasizes the health and economic benefits of spacing children. Schools, training centers and community development programs explain the link between living standards and family size. But the program must contend with a lack of facilities for distributing birth-control information and ethno-cultural traditions which encourage large families. In general, birth control measures imposed "from above" by government authorities and family planning associations have had limited impact on population growth in Africa. Judging from the experience of western societies, the most effective motivation for birth control rests on individual desire. In Africa, this would require a fundamental transformation of the society and its modes of thought, which is best facilitated by economic development.

By comparative standards, Africa does not qualify as over-populated. Nor is it under-populated, since there is very little evidence that any lack of manpower is holding up development. Most of the ills attributed to population growth in Africa would dissolve with reasonable rates of economic growth, since economic development generally leads to lower birth rates. Also, by itself, population density does not retard development. More important factors include reproducible capital, research and educational facilities, an entrepreneurial class, infrastructure development, and an environment supportive of development. doclink

Art says: This implies that investments made for profit do more good than aid. China and the Asian Tigers make good examples. By offering cheap labor, they attracted business and eventually grew more prosperous and sophisticated.

Karen Gaia says: We must not look at density as a measure of overpopulation. We must also take into account per capita water (Egypt is a good example) and soil suitability (jungle areas have poor soil). Furthermore, much of Africa's food supply suffers from lack of mechanized farm machinery, plus the roads and trucks needed for food transportation.

World Population Projections - UN 2014

September 01 , 2014

Note that Africa's projections have increased due to the faulty assumption made in earlier projections that Africa's fertility rates would decline similarly to the rest of the world.

This chart is adapted from a chart shown in Scientific American at doclink

World Should Condemn ‘Assembly Line' Sterilizations

December 27, 2014, Durango Herald   By: Richard Grossman MD

News media focused in November on deaths in India after women had surgery at a sterilization "camp". Authorities suspect that the surgeon caused more than a dozen deaths, so he is in prison.

More people are added to the population of India each year than to any other country. India has family planning programs, but abuses occur. This epidemic of deaths may have occurred because of disregard for established standards.

Indian gynecologist Pravin Mehta holds the world's record for the number of tubal ligations that one doctor has done—over a quarter million. He told me how he could do 300 surgeries in one day; Henry Ford would have been amazed!

I didn't realize how crude Mehta's process was until I saw a movie of him working in a surgery camp. Operations were performed in a tent, and conditions were very primitive.

Nevertheless, Dr. Mehta's safety record was remarkable. He offered a reward for anyone who reported a problem, including pregnancy, after his surgery, but gave out very few rewards. Indeed, I believe that his complication rate was lower than surgeons doing tubal ligations under modern conditions.

Were all these surgeries truly voluntary? During the era when Dr. Mehta worked—1970s and 1980s—India had aggressive sterilization programs for both men and women. Acceptors were given a small stipend if they agreed to the surgery. Recently the stipend for a person getting sterilized was equivalent to less than $10—a small sum by our standards but more than a villager might see in a month.

Reports of the recent sterilization tragedy frequently mention that women wanted to limit their family size, but that they were not given information about temporary methods of family planning. Even if women knew about temporary methods, they were not available.

Many problems were found after these Indian surgeries that killed many young mothers. The operating room was not clean, the staff were untrained, the medicine was contaminated. The same syringe and needle were used to inject local anesthesia for many women. Even worse were systemic problems: almost all of the funding was used for administration and too little paid for actual health care, there was little counseling or informed consent, no access to temporary contraceptive methods, and providers were pressured by numerical targets.

Two Americans are making a documentary about sterilization. published quotes from some of the Indian women they interviewed. One of them, Archana, said:

"I was 19 when I got married and I have 3 kids. I don't have much income, that's why I got sterilized. When our income is limited what's the use of having so many kids? ASHAs [Accredited Social Health Activists] came to visit me and told me about sterilization. When I got sterilized I went with my sister-in-law to the hospital and was given Rs600 in compensation. My husband and my mother-in-law were supportive. It took me about a month to recover fully. After a week I had to cook for my kids and take care of the house. I would have liked an entire month to recover, but we didn't have anyone else to do the work. I chose this method because I had so many kids, and I didn't know of other methods of contraception at that time. Now I've learned about more temporary methods. Copper T is not available here, you have to go to the cities, but you can get pills and condoms here."

Please remember that conditions and standards in developing countries are different from what we know. Nevertheless, people must be respected and well informed about their health care.

Can family planning programs provide services to millions of people and yet assure that care is truly voluntary? Delegates at the International Conference on Population and Development 20 years ago felt that it is best if family planning were a part of comprehensive reproductive health programs. Since then our population has grown by 1,600 million people, with consequent increasing problems. Much of this growth is in developing countries, but remember that it is we in the rich countries who cause the worst impact because of our consumption!

Some of the family planning workers have real concern for the people they serve. After this tragedy one ASHA (health activist), Mitanin, is quoted as saying: "with what face we will tell people to go for sterilization? Now, even if they come to us for it, we will hesitate."

A new program, FP2020, is working to provide quality family planning services while respecting reproductive justice. More about FP2020 soon.

Richard Grossman practiced obstetrics and gynecology in Durango. Reach him at © Richard Grossman MD, 2014 doclink

Human Population Growth and Wildlife Extinction

January 24, 2014, Center for Biological Diversity

There are more than 7 billion people on the planet, and we're adding 227,000 more every day. The toll on wildlife is impossible to miss: Species are disappearing 1,000 to 10,000 times faster than the natural rate -- the fastest rate since dinosaurs roamed the planet. doclink

Will World War 3 Be Fought Over Food?

December 28 , 2014

Pope Francis said a few months ago that World War 3 has already begun. Russian president Vladimir Putin is threatening the West almost every other day, which could trigger World War 3 anytime. But with the threat that the next war may be a nuclear one, these disputes may not escalate into the full-fledged World War 3.

The world is currently facing a food crisis. According to FAO, about 842 million people in the world are undernourished. One in the four children under the age of 5 are malnourished. The World Bank says food production needs to increase by at least 50% by 2050 to avoid food shortages when the population increases from the current seven billion to nine billion.

Some studies suggest that the food crisis could occur as early as 2030. Severe weather events such as floods and droughts, economic turmoil, and political unrest in developing countries will largely be responsible for the food crisis, says Mark Koba of Fortune magazine.

Giants like ConAgra, Cargill, Kraft Foods Group Inc, PepsiCo and others are heavily involved in food production around the world, putting too much control into too few hands, putting the food supplies at the mercy of a few nations that want to feed their populations at the expense of others. China is acquiring massive resources because it's citizens consume more than China produces.

Also, crops like soy, corn, sugar are used to create fuels for gas tanks, taking away food crops from people.

It could still come to a full-fledged war waged by countries to secure food for their populations. doclink

Karen Gaia says: more likely the war, if it happens, will be over oil. The people with the biggest guns have investments in oil. Also oil is needed to produce and transport food.

The Dangerous Economics of Shale Oil

December 27 , 2014, PeakOil

For years, we've warned that the economics of the US ‘shale revolution' were suspect, having only been made possible by the new era of ‘expensive' oil (between $80-$100 per barrel). We've argued that many in the shale industry simply wouldn't be able to operate profitably at lower prices.

Now that oil prices have dipped to under $60 per barrel, we're about to find out.

It is difficult to determine if shale drilling companies make money. There are a lot of moving parts, some deliberate obfuscation at some companies, and the massive decline rates make analysis difficult -- there are assumptions made regarding depreciation and depletion.

In a shale well, after drilling down into the earth, the shaft bends 90 degrees, and extends horizontally 5000-10000 feet. Then the surrounding rock is fractured to release the oil locked inside the rock.

The drilling of the vertical and horizontal shafts costs around $4 million. Each frack stage costs around $70k, and there are often 20-30 frac stages per well. The entire completion process costs around $4M.

To estimate the total amount of oil likely to be produced over the lifetime of the well (EUR - Estimated Ultimate Recovery), the initial production and the expected decline rate are used. The EUR assumes a recovery time of 10-30 years, but from a practical standpoint, companies need to recoup the costs of drilling the well within 3 years.

Shale drilling has dramatically improved over the past five years. Today's wells (vs wells drilled in 2008-2011) have horizontal sections twice as long, with three times more frac stages, with closer frac groupings, and the wells are drilled in about half the time. However many of the best spots have already been drilled, so the significant improvements in drilling efficiency have only been able to increase per-well production by about 7%.

92% of shale-region oil production in the US takes place in three primary geographical regions: Bakken, Eagle Ford, and the Permian Basin. The Eagle Ford region has a 62% decline rate, the Bakken region overall has a 54% rate, and the Permian region declines at a 33% rate.

Individual wells decline more rapidly: Bakken wells decline at a 72% rate for the first year, and then more slowly in the following years. Many Permian wells are vertical wells, and so their decline rates are much more gradual, accounting for the slower Permian region decline rate.

A well with an initial production of 1000 bbl/day and a 72% well decline rate will only be producing 280 bbl/day in the 2nd year.

In the Bakken shale, land costs to be around $2M-$6M per well.

Before you can drill, you have to get the rights. Typically, you go into debt in order to buy the rights, then you start drilling to recoup your investment and pay the interest costs on all that debt. Rights only last from 5-10 years. Failure to drill = wasted money.

An accountant, in calculating profits would take the following into account: * Revenues: barrels of oil sold x the price of oil. * Costs involved in drilling and completing wells, purchasing equipment, land drilling rights, and other long-lived assets required to run the business. * Operating expenses: well operations: insurance, repairs, maintenance, pumping costs, etc * General & administrative costs - including paying the CEO * Interest expense: for bonds, bank loans, preferred stock dividends * Transport: getting the oil to market * Royalties: paying the landowner a chunk of your revenues * Production taxes * Depreciation/depletion: i.e. the decline rate of each well multiplied by the cost of the land plus the cost to drill & complete.

If you want your company to look profitable, you will tell your accountant to use a 10% decline rate rather than the actual 72% well decline rate. That way if you sell your shale properties or get a bank loan, or sell junk bonds, you probably want to look profitable.

Banks however use ratios such as earnings before accounting/depletion fraud. Using this method, The average well in the Bakken -- at current prices -- loses money, no matter how you slice it.

Bottom line: the average US shale oil well is uneconomical even with hedging in place, since most hedging is around $90/bbl and the break-even is $99/bbl.
. . . more doclink

Florida Passes New York to Become the Nation's Third Most Populous State, Census Bureau Reports

December 23 , 2014

The United States saw its population increase over the last year by 2.4 million to 318.9 million, or 0.75%. Florida has passed New York to become the nation's third most populous state, according to U.S. Census Bureau. Florida's population is now at 19.9 million while New York's is 19.7 million.

California remained the nation's most populous state in 2014, with 38.8 million residents, followed by Texas, at 27.0 million. Georgia (ranked 8th), which saw its population surpass 10 million for the first time.

North Dakota was the fastest-growing state, increasing 2.2%.

Illinois, West Virginia, Connecticut, New Mexico, Alaska and Vermont lost population.
. . . more doclink

Experts Be Damned: World Population Will Continue to Rise

September 18 , 2014, Science   By: Sarah C. P. Williams

A new analysis, formulated by researchers from the U.N. and University of Washington (UW), projects that world population will continue to rise during the 21st century, leaving the planet to deal with 9 billion to 13 billion human inhabitants -- 4 billion of those in Africa -- by 2100. No leveling off is forecast.

Earlier projections said the world population would reach 9 billion by midcentury and then stop growing. However the projection was based on the assumption that high birth rates in Africa would steadily drop as access to contraceptives and women's education improved. Instead, birth rates in most African countries have remained stagnant or declined only slighty.

The new analysis involved statistical equations based on historical and real-time data that describe how the fertility rate is changing over time in different places around the world.

The new numbers will be used in models created by economists, environmentalists, and governments who use population estimates to predict pollution and global warming levels; prepare for epidemics; determine road, school, and other infrastructure requirements; and forecast worldwide economic trends. All of these plans need to be altered if the population is going to grow an extra few billion.

David Lam of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor said: "The world population doubled between 1960 and 1999 and we're never going to do that again. The population is leveling off and it's going to eventually level off under any of these scenarios, whether that's before 2100 or after." doclink

Khadija's True Story of Girl Power in Malawi

October 05 , 2014, Global Fund For Women

Khadija writes her own not-so-comic book with a real girl hero. Flip through the pages of her graphic novella to find out how grantee partner, Nkhotakota AIDS Support Organization (NASO), uses the power of education to empower girls to protect themselves from early pregnancy and stay in school in Malawi.
. . . more doclink

Peak Meat Production Strains Land and Water Resources

August 22, 2014, Worldwatch Institute   By: Michael Renner

Global meat production has increased 1.4% from 2012 to 2014. FAO estimates an additional growth of 1.1% in 2014. Despite drought conditions in Australia and New Zealand and disease outbreaks in the United States and Eastern Europe Production meat production is reaching new peaks. However, the annual rate of growth has slowed from 2.6 percent in 2010.

Production has quadrupled since 1961 and 25-fold since 1800, outpacing human population growth by a factor of 3.6. doclink

More Women Are Choosing More Effective Birth Control — Here's Why it Matters

December 15, 2014, Grist   By: Eve Andrews

The percentage of women using contraception has not changed since 2006; however the percentage of those using long-acting reversible contraption - LARCs (IUDS and hormonal implants) in the U.S. has risen from 2.4% in 2002 to 7.2%, the CDC reports. Calculations from the Guttmacher Institute indicate that it could be closer to 12%. International LARC usage is even higher at 25% of global contraceptive users using IUDs alone.

This is good news for people who want to have sex without the whole making-a-baby hassle.

LARCs are more effective than any other reversible form of contraception, at 99%. Ask any woman who has some experience with birth control if she's forgotten to take a pill, or had a condom break. Accidents like this don't happen with an IUD or hormonal implant. Recently, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out in support of doctors recommending LARC methods for teen patients seeking contraception.

The increase in LARC usage could be due to the fact that the Affordable Care Act covers contraceptive methods without a deductible expense for many, many women. As LARC usage has increased, the abortion rate dropped 13%. The rate of unintended pregnancy in the U.S. is 51%, which is higher than the global average. doclink

Karen Gaia says: see for a study that verifies that free effective contraception greatly reduces unintended pregnancies and even the number of abortions.

Laws Promoting Preabortion Ultrasound Are Not Having the Emotional Impact on Women That Abortion Opponents Predicted

December 18, 2014

A new study of 700 women examines the frequency with which women who received abortions were offered the opportunity to view an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abortion, whether they chose to do so and what their emotional response was to viewing the image.

The belief that viewing an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abortion would dissuade women from terminating pregnancies has led to an abundance of state-level legislation regulating ultrasound provision for women seeking abortions.

48% of study participants were offered the opportunity to view an ultrasound prior to obtaining an abortion, and 65% of those women (31% of all women) chose to do so. Among women who visited a facility with a policy requiring that they be offered the opportunity to view an ultrasound, 75% reported receiving this offer, and 34% chose to view the ultrasound. Among women who visited facilities that were subject to state laws with this requirement, 91% reported being offered the opportunity to view their ultrasound, and 44% chose to view the image. By comparison, 33% of women who were subject to neither a state nor a facility policy were offered the opportunity to view the ultrasound, and just 27% did so. Additionally, women who had never had children and black women were more likely to receive this offer than were women with children and white women, respectively.

Judging from the results the authors suggest that "offers" may be misconstrued by patients as "recommendations" that cannot be declined.

One week after their abortion, women most commonly described neutral or positive emotions. Of the 212 women who reported emotional responses, 77 reported feeling nothing or feeling fine, while 22 women said that they felt happy or excited after viewing the ultrasound, 15 felt comforted and 11 felt good. In contrast, 49 women reported feeling sad or depressed, 30 reported that viewing the ultrasound made them feel guilty about their decision, and 29 said that viewing the ultrasound made them feel upset or bad. Women who had never had children were more likely than others to express positive emotions in response to viewing the ultrasound. doclink

Karen Gaia says: The article did not specify at what stage in the pregnancy the participants had the abortion. This would make a difference, I would think.

How to Defuse the Population Bomb

December 18 , 2014, Newsweek   By: Zoë Schlanger and Elijah Wolfson

In Kibera a young woman has a botched, back-alley abortion. Kibera is the largest slum in Nairobi, and the largest urban slum in Africa. The young woman is lucky that she survived: too many more like her do not survive bad abortions, or suffer long-lasting health problems because of them. And then there's the even greater number of young women who, because they lack resources, keep unplanned children and end up trapped in a cycle of poverty and poor health.

If women were given full reproductive rights, including easy access to contraception and other family-planning options, such abortions would be rare. Family planning and reproductive health are some of the most crucial tools for reducing human suffering in a changing and increasingly crowded world.

The Kenyan census says that at least 200,000 people are crammed into the makeshift, two-square-mile shantytown. The land and city infrastructure can't keep up with the numbers of people.

The average Kenyan woman has 4.5 children, compared with 2.3 worldwide. Kenya's population is expected to more than double by 2050. Despite over a century of family-planning aid work, more than a quarter of Kenyan women are still unable to access the contraceptives they want.

Globally more women than ever before are masters of their own bodies. But in Africa the problems created by a lack of reproductive rights are getting more dire.

The world population has jumped from 500 million in 1650 to 1 billion in 1804, then to 2 billion in 1927 and then it doubled to 4 billion by 1974. In 2011 it passed 7 billion in 2011 and is expected to be up to 12.3 billion by 2100.

A paper in Science tells us that plant and animal species are now disappearing at least 1,000 times faster than they did before humanity's arrival, due mostly to human-caused habitat destruction and climate change.

In the 1970s, with the global population hovering around 4 billion, humanity began using more resources than the Earth could replenish each year, pushing us all deeper and deeper into "ecological overshoot," according to the Global Footprint Network.

In African nations the population is expected to go from 15% of the world's people to 25% by 2050. If Africa's need for family planning is not met, the result will be more and more poor, and poorly educated, people. Kenya, Ethiopia and Malawi, for example, are three nations where large numbers of women can't get the contraception they need and are at high risk for climate change effects like flooding and drought.

In the past three years, Australia, Canada, China, Russia and the U.S. have all suffered devastating floods and droughts that severely impaired food harvests. FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization said that to feed a population of 9 billion in 2050, the world must increase its food production by an average of 60% to avoid serious food shortages that could bring social unrest and civil wars. Wheat and rice production, increasing at a rate of less than 1% for the past 20 years, have not kept up with population growth.

Mark Montgomery of the Population Council found that the number of urbanites with inadequate water will rise by more than 1 billion by 2050, and cities in certain regions "will struggle to find enough water for the needs of their residents."

The Green Climate Fund does not say anything about population on its website. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change devotes a section of its website to the role gender plays in climate change. Women, it explains, are more vulnerable to its ravages and must be included in adaptation efforts. But family planning and contraception aren't on the official list of adaptation projects.

Because -- under colonialism -- wealthy, predominantly white powers manipulated family planning, and because of 20th century wrong-minded approaches to family planning that have ranged from using risky contraceptives on unwitting clients, such as "an annual application of a contraceptive aerial mist", or offering cash incentives to poor people who agreed to be sterilized, there has been a large backlash. Revolutionary leaders worldwide (including Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in Pakistan) attacked family planning as a symbol of American imperialism, and the Vatican jumped on board, helping organize a global campaign against family-planning efforts, which just happened to line up with the Catholic Church's official stance on procreation.

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan instituted what has become known as the “global gag rule" (officially the Mexico City Policy), which stopped U.S. dollars from flowing to any international family-planning groups that provided abortions. The rule also stipulated that any organization receiving U.S. funding could not educate patients on abortion or take a stand against unsafe abortion. President Bill Clinton repealed the policy in 1993, George W. Bush reinstated it in 2001, and Barack Obama repealed it again in 2009. If a Republican takes the presidency in 2016, the gag rule will likely come back.

When the gag rule was in effect, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funding to family-planning organizations plummeted. Clinics providing everything from condom distribution to HIV/AIDS treatment to neonatal care cut back their staff and services, and in some cases shuttered their doors entirely. In some cases, the rule backfired: Kelly Jones, a senior researcher at the International Food Policy Research Institute, found that in Ghana during gag rule periods, rural pregnancies increased by 12% and the rural abortion rate increased right along with it, going up by 2.3%.

Meanwhile, U.S. funding for family planning abroad has flatlined for several years, even though for every dollar spent on family planning up to $6 is saved on health care, immunization, education and other services.

Faustina Fynn-Nyame, Marie Stopes's country director for Kenya said "Africans see the importance of this. It's not the West telling us to do something."

In 2012, the estimated number of unintended pregnancies was 80 million. World population grow is also 80 million. In other words, if women all over the world had the ability to prevent the pregnancies they don't want, the world's population would stabilize.

In much of the developing world, there remains a deep-seated imperative to have as many children as possible. In part, this is due to the pernicious influence of colonialists and missionaries, but it also stems from many decades ago, when child mortality was so high that if you wanted to have a few kids, you had no choice but to follow one pregnancy with the next.

IUDs have a failure rate of less than 1%, while birth control pills have a failure rate of between 8% and 9%. “If you're on the pill and the pill truck doesn't show up one month, you're pregnant."

In Bangladesh the rising sea level, driven by climate change, is projected to wipe out 17% of its landmass by 2050 and displace 18 million people. But Bangladesh has a family planning program that made contraception free and distributed widely.

In the 1970s, Bangladesh, freshly independent, concluded it was growing too quickly -- it was projected to nearly triple its size in four decades. Women on average gave birth to more than six children. So the government made contraception free and distributed it widely. At the same time, educational opportunities increased: More than 90% of girls enrolled in primary school in 2005. Women who had an average of six children in the 1970s have about 2.2 children today. That fertility rate is well below India's and far lower than Pakistan's.

Iran is another example. It was the steepest population drop ever recorded -- faster even than China's one-child policy. And it came without coercion. The fertility rate fell from seven births per woman in 1966 to fewer than two today. The plunging birth rate, coupled with increasing public education for girls, shifted the role of women in Iran. More women postponed childbirth to attend college, and now the country's universities are 60% female.

Even though in 2006 the-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attempted to halt the decline, urging Iranian girls to marry young, offered cash incentives per child, “Iranian women are not going back," Sussan Tahmasebi, an Iranian women's rights leader said.

When women can have fewer children further apart, they have more time to pursue education and get jobs, earning money that they are more likely to invest back into their family and community than their male counterparts do. They lead healthier lives and have healthier children. Women with more access to resources are less frequently victims of domestic violence, according to USAID.

The Aspen Institute estimates that if all women globally had access to the contraceptives they want, the reduction in unwanted pregnancies would translate into an 8 to 15% reduction in global carbon emissions. Fewer people would be in harm's way as sea levels rise and farmland dries out, and less pressure on resources already stretched thin would mean less violent conflict over those resources.

Columbia University history professor Matthew Connelly argues that the real problem for the planet is overall consumption. In some family-planning clinics, he says, there are posters on the wall depicting two families: the unhappy, unplanned family, living in abject poverty and violence, and the happy, planned family, with a suburban home and two cars parked in the driveway. The idea it promotes is “the miracle of family planning: If you get rid of the kids, you can have more stuff." doclink

Karen Gaia says: Connelly has a point, but with resource depletion, we will very soon realize that we have to do both: have smaller families, and curtail our consumption. It is best to have in place a program of widely available and accessible, free and effective methods of birth control and the information needed to make the best choice in using it. Women need the capability to control their own reproduction.

The Devastating Consequences of Chipping Away at Family Planning Programs

December 18, 2014, Think Progress   By: Tara Culp-Ressler

The federally funded family planning clinics, under the Title X program, are supposed to offer a safety net for low-income Americans are in crisis.

Title X clinics provide confidential reproductive health services on a sliding pay scale, including STD screening, Pap smears, and birth control consultations. Most patients are low-income and uninsured and would struggle to get that care elsewhere.

Clare Coleman, the president and CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association, which represents Title X providers, said "We're now in the fifth year where the network hasn't seen any increase in service dollars — there's no new money to provide health services." ... "So now you've got a system that's dropped a significant number of patients."

206,000 fewer patients have been served in 2013 compared to 2012.

Some of them gained new coverage under the health reform law and have since been absorbed into the private insurance market. It may also be that more women are opting for long-acting forms of birth control, and that they have also been instructed to get Pap smears less frequently. But many patients are simply unable to get the health services they need because the network isn't able to accommodate them.

Around 20 million women in the U.S. need access to publicly funded contraception, reports the Guttmacher Institute. Coleman says that Title X clinics have historically only been able to meet about a third of that need. As more Americans slipped into poverty after the recent economic recession, Title X's patient load increased, but its budget didn't.

In 2011 Congress attempted to wholly defund the program. Recently abortion opponents simply took the fight to the states. New Jersey, Montana, Texas, and Maine have all slashed family planning funding.

Guttmacher's research has actually shown that the program is one of the best investments that lawmakers can make. U.S. taxpayers save $7 for every dollar the government spends on family planning, largely because the care provided at publicly funded family planning clinics can help prevent millions of unplanned pregnancies.

In Texas anti-abortion lawmakers fighting against Planned Parenthood have upended the entire family planning landscape, leaving low-income and rural women struggling to get the basic care they need. doclink

Health of People & Environment in Lake Victoria Basin

December 08, 2014, You Tube

The HoPE-LVB project reduces threats to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem degradation in the Lake Victoria Basin while simultaneously increasing access to family planning and sexual and reproductive health to improve maternal and child health in project communities. The project will develop and test two scalable models for building capacity and promoting an integrated set of Population, Health, and Environment interventions, which will be adopted by communities, local governments, or national governments.

28 minutes doclink

Population and Sustainability Website

December 08, 2014, Population and Sustainability Network

PSN is an international network and advocacy organisation that believes that the connections between population dynamics, human health and the environment are intrinsic to sustainable development.

This beautiful website is well worth visiting,
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Be a Vegan Monk and Crank Out All the Babies You Want

December 16 , 2014, GrowthBiasedBusted website   By: Dave Gardner

The New York Times has a wide readership and a good reputation which gives it a lot of influence. That's why Dave Gardner went back to an article of a few months ago to critique Andrew Revkin's commentary about the link between population and climate change: On the Path Past 9 Billion, Little Crosstalk Between U.N. Sessions on Population and Global Warming.

Garder applauds the following statement of Revkin's: "Largely missed in much of this... is the role of population growth in contributing both to rising emissions of greenhouse gases and rising vulnerability to climate hazards in poor places with high fertility rates."

However, another statement of Revkin's deserves a place on Gardner's Growth Biased Busted 'Wall of Shame': "Obviously, rates of consumption of fossil energy and forests per person matter more than the rise in human numbers. As I've said before, 9 billion vegan monks would have a far different greenhouse-gas imprint than a similar number of people living high on the hog."

Gardner points out that obviously people prefer to having fewer children to lowering their standard of living -- you can tell by the fact that the global average fertility rate has been on the decline for the past 40 years, while the trend in per-capita consumption has been in the opposite direction. However, "we haven't been fully motivated in this endeavor, as we still add nearly 80 million per year to world population," he says.

Gardner also points out that "there is a huge difference between 2 or 3 billion people living modest, happy, sustainable lives, and 9 billion people living the same lifestyle. With 9 billion people the sustainable lifestyle would not be modest and happy. It would be ascetic."

In addition, Revkin seems to relegate the population growth problem to people "over there:" “…Family planning, for instance, should absolutely be seen as a climate resilience strategy in poor regions," he said.

"Surely he realizes that each added family member in the over-developed world does more damage to our climate ... than several dozen in Nigeria." Also, "are not the millions added to the rich world's coastlines going to be a problem, too?," Gardner reasons.

"Every couple that ISN'T living that vegan monk lifestyle should be reading about how much better the odds are for the children of the world if they choose to conceive just one, or even zero, children." doclink

Nigeria Records 200,000km Roads, 17m Housing Deficits

December 10, 2014, Guardian

Nigeria needs about 400,000 km of roads to meet its quest for infrastructure development, approximately twice the volume of the present road network cross the 36 states of the federation. Likewise, the nation's housing deficit currently stands at 17 million.

The Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA) has enlisted into the workforce about 7,000 youths from communities to carry out maintenance tasks in various federal roads nationwide as part of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme.

Roads are necessary in a country like Nigeria where other forms of transport are negligible, especially such huge viable options like railways, air and water transportation.

The housing challenges were being compounded by rural-urban migration, as there is a rapid development of urban slum settlement in Nigeria, leading to such societal ailments like hydra-headed problem of building collapse, poor hygiene and health, disease, social and problems like crime.

70% of the African population will living in cities by 2050. doclink

Immigration is Driving Broad Demographic Shifts in U.S., Report Says

December 18, 2014, NPR National Public Radio   By: Scott Neuman

The U.S. Census Bureau has projected that migration to the U.S. will become the primary driver of population increases sometime between 2027 and 2038.

The Pew Charitable Trusts' Immigration and the States Project takes a closer look at the trend.

Immigration is driving population growth in the Sunbelt, Pacific Northwest and Mountain states.

The percentage of immigrants in the "gateways" of California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas, has decreased, while as a percentage of the population, they have increased in other states, including Nevada, North Carolina and Washington. The numbers include both legal and illegal immigration to the U.S.
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The Happy Planet Index

December 11 , 2014, Happy Planet Index

Did you know that Bangladesh scored higher than the U.S. on the Happy Planet Index?

Each of the three component measures - life expectancy, experienced well-being and Ecological Footprint - is given a traffic-light score based on thresholds for good (green), middling (amber) and bad (red) performance. These scores are combined to an expanded six-colour traffic light for the overall HPI score, where, to achieve bright green - the best of the six colours, a country would have to perform well on all three individual components. The scores for the HPI and the component measures can be viewed in map or table-form. By clicking on any individual country in the map or table you can explore its results in more detail.
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