Also known as: WOA!! * World Population Awareness * population-awareness.net
A health care worker in Bangladesh gives a young pregnant woman a birthing kit for a safer delivery. It contains a sterile razor to cut the cord, a sterile plastic sheet to place under the birth area, and other simple, sanitary items - all which help save lives. The health care worker asks the young woman to come back with her baby for a post natal check after the birth. At that time, she asks the mom if she wants to have another child right away or if she wants to space her children. Usually the mom wants to wait, and gladly accepts contraception. The worker is prepared to give her pills, an injection, implants, or an IUD. The mother is instructed to come back if the baby shows signs of diarrhea or pneumonia, common infant killers.
People's Rights, Planet's Rights - Holistic Approaches to a Sustainable Population (pdf) Suzanne York, Institute for Population Studies
Art Elphick's Pop- ulation Slide Show
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Seeks to protect the global environment, preserve natural resources for future generations, and foster healthy communities by advancing sustainable development solutions by:
- promoting increased access to voluntary family planning and reproductive
health information and services
- advocating for women's and girls' basic rights, including health care, education, and economic opportunity
- raising public awareness of wasteful resource consumption in the context of social and economic equity
- empowering youth leaders
Wise Giving Guide
If we don't halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity - and will leave a ravaged world. Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry W. Kendall
Population & Sustainability News Digest
December 19, 2014
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."
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.
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.
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.
Long acting reversible methods of birth control (LARCs) is a category of highly effective contraceptives that includes intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants. These methods are chosen by U.S. women more and more, according to the CDC, despite political controversy stoked by religious conservatives, who assert they're comparable to abortion.
The birth control pill has been the most common contraception for many years. Long-acting birth control, meanwhile, has historically been one of the least popular methods even though it's actually the most effective reversible option.
From 2006 to 2013, the rate of women choosing IUDs and implants nearly doubled -- jumping from 3.8% to 7.2%.
In the past, doctors avoided prescribing IUDs to young women who hadn't yet given birth, assuming that they would be too hard to insert or that younger patients wouldn't want to stick with the method. And some medical professionals have been reluctant to give long-term contraceptives to unmarried women, reflecting somewhat of a discomfort with female sexuality outside of serious relationships.
Recent research in the field has confirmed that IUDs are safe for younger women, and that, when presented with all the options, teenage girls are 16 times more likely to choose an IUD than any other method. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the American Academy of Pediatrics now encourage doctors to give IUDs to their teenage patients.
Obamacare's birth control benefit eliminates out-of-pocket costs for FDA-approved contraception, so women no longer have to pay hundreds of dollars upfront to insert an IUD.
Methane emissions from both operating and abandoned oil and gas wells are a major source of greenhouse gasses that goes largely unnoticed. Methane is the second most common greenhouse gas the U.S. emits. Although the EPA estimates that methane makes up only 9% of all greenhouse gas emissions, over a 20-year period it traps 86 times more heat than CO2, and the Environmental Defense Fund estimates that it accounts for about 25% of human-caused global warming.
Two new studies explain how methane continues leaking into the air after the process of drilling for oil and gas. In a Princeton University study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers looked at 19 abandoned wells in northwestern Pennsylvania. All were leaking some methane, but three leaked at thousands of times the levels the others did. Still, only one of the wells was on the state's list of abandoned wells. Poor record keeping makes it hard to learn when wells were drilled or if they were plugged. The only clue may be a pipe sticking out of the ground in a forest or someone's yard, often making a notable contribution to climate change. An earlier Stanford University study said about 3 million abandoned wells like the ones Princeton studied are scattered across the U.S. The understaffed Department of Environmental Protection is assigned to plug them, but Pennsylvania plugs those it finds to ensure that the job gets done.
The second study, by the University of Texas at Austin, with funding from both the Environmental Defense Fund and natural gas companies, found that among operating wells 20% of sites known to researchers are responsible for the vast majority of emissions. David Allen, Chemical Engineering Professor at the Cockrell School and principal investigator for the study, compared this to 10% of the cars on the road being responsible for most of the exhaust pollution.
The Clean Air Task Force and the Sierra Club issued a report showing how the EPA could cut methane leaks from oil and gas drilling in half. But America still has no system to determine which wells emit the most methane nor any standard policy on what to do about them. The administration has promised new regulations, but environmental groups are getting frustrated waiting for them.
While those who think that climate change is causing the weather are trying to do something about it, there are others who think that end times are causing the weather and are just sitting back, waiting for the Antichrist to show up. They believe that once the Antichrist comes it is only a matter of time before the Rapture, at which point the true believers will be lifted up into the heavens and the hole in the ozone will cease to be anyone's primary concern.
According to the Public Religion Research Institute 49% of Americans think that, if we are dealing with lots of severe natural disasters, it is because we are living in the end times.
The end times is a period of exceptional wickedness. And this climate of exceptional wickedness can only be said to be the product of human activity. As GotQuestions.org put it, "The list of things people will be in the last days -- lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power (2 Timothy 3:1-2) -- seems to fit our modern age exactly." It's all these high emissions of slander and ungodliness that have put us in this fix!
In 1967, deaths resulting from illegal abortions accounted for 42% of New York City's maternal mortality rate. Wealthy women could afford to have illegal yet safe abortions but less privileged women didn't have that option. A survey of low-income women who had abortions in the 1960s found that 80% had attempted a self-induced procedure, and only 2% said that a trained physician was involved in any way.
The Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion, a group of pastors and rabbis, came together to talk about how they might help women get connected with the illicit "abortionists" who could perform a safe procedure. Wanting to be totally transparent, they announced their new organization in a front page story in the New York Times. They choose to defy the law in order to adhere to a higher moral code.
Decades later, many Americans have no idea that religious leaders were instrumental in one of the most dramatic public health shifts of the 20th century. Especially since the modern anti-abortion movement is grounded in conservative religious communities, the legacy of pro-choice people of faith has receded into the background.
Dr. S. Huw Anwyl was one of the religious leaders working for that policy change five decades ago. After accompanying the a 14 year-old pregnant girl and her family to Tijuana for an illegal abortion procedure, he was horrified at the thought of girls and women putting their lives in the hands of inexperienced doctors who might harm them.
After meeting with Rev. Howard Moody, founder of Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion, Anwyl started assembling a chapter of the Clergy Consultation Service on the West Coast. They followed in Moody's lead and announced their services in the Los Angeles Times. The next day they got 293 calls from women who wanted their help.
Anwyl sent nurses to check in on abortion doctors unannounced, just to make sure they were still using safe and clean equipment. His group pressured doctors to lower their prices or occasionally discount their services.
Four decades later, the Clergy Consultation Service isn't just distant history. A version of the group still exists as the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC).
Part of RCRC's work today involves educating pastors about the fact that, if one in three women in the U.S. will have an abortion in her lifetime, some of those people are surely sitting in their pews. Religious leaders need to know how to handle those conversations in an empathetic way.
Faith Aloud, a Missouri-based organization, trains clergy about how to compassionately assist women who have had abortions. The group receives phone calls from all over the country from women who are seeking "spiritual counseling" and may have previously only encountered faith leaders who were not equipped to support them.
“We believe that women are good, created in the image of God, and able to make difficult decisions. We believe this power to make personal decisions is good and given to us by God," Faith Aloud explains in the section of its site devoted to its counseling services.
Faith Aloud supports reproductive justice for every person.
Reproductive justice addresses the disparities that prevent many women of color from having the freedom to determine the course of their lives, including when to become a parent and how to raise a healthy child. It places an emphasis on marginalized women's personal experiences, going beyond the “choice" language to articulate a vision of supporting women throughout every aspect of their reproductive lives.
This series won a 2014 Global Media Award from the Population Institute
Hollywood celebrities and respected journalists span the globe to explore the issues of climate change and cover intimate stories of human triumph and tragedy. This first episode features Don Cheadle, Harrison Ford & Thomas Friedman
Statement from Population Foundation India on the Chhattisgarh sterilisation deathsNovember 14 , 2014, Population and Sustainability Network By: Poonam Muttrija
Population Foundation of India is deeply anguished at the death of 13 young mothers during a sterilization camp at a hospital in Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh. The deaths should awaken us to the fact that the target-free approach, which India claims to follow, is not yet a reality. Though the word ‘target' has been removed, it has been replaced by ‘expected level of achievement', which means the performance of the health staff in family planning continues to be determined by the number of women they round up for the sterilization procedure or the number they operate on. Also the awards and the monetary compensation they receive are directly linked to their performance on numbers instead of quality of services.
Family planning is a way to save mothers and children; give them a healthier life. The way forward is to begin by focusing on quality of care by adhering strictly to prescribed guidelines. One doctor should not do more than 30 sterilisations with three laparoscopes in one day. The doctor in Chhattisgarh is said to have performed 83 operations in less than five hours. While sterilisation camps are supposed to be organised in established government facilities, in Chhattisgarh, the camp was organised in a private charitable hospital, and according to reports, did not have even the basic life-saving facilities.
Population Foundation of India calls for the funds now being spent on incentives to health staff and compensation to the women, to be diverted as investment in quality of care in government facilities. Family planning is supposed to save lives.
A research paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) -- "The Consequences of Increased Population Growth for Climate Change", by economist David Rosnick -- finds that that an additional 1% of population growth through the end of the century would coincide with about an additional 2 degrees Fahrenheit in average global temperatures.
"Over time," the paper concludes, "the temperature change is greater and becomes increasingly sensitive to population growth."
While there are dire warnings of ‘demographic time bombs' due to population declines in countries like Japan and China, "lower population growth actually has many economic benefits; one of the most important is that it reduces the rate of global climate change," says Rosnick. "In fact, not only can working-age populations continue to support larger numbers of retirees, but declining population rates are good for the planet as a whole."
"A larger population requires more farmland, and increased economic activity means greater carbon emissions and more intense climate change."
The Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM) was used to show that a larger population supports a larger economy, which translates in close proportion into additional releases of carbon dioxide (CO2). It also showed that the global temperature should in any year be nearly linear in relation to the rate of growth when the rate of population growth is constant.
Technology or economics (such as reducing work hours) can also produce a path of lower emissions.
"There are many positive economic and social policies that can promote this transition to lower birth rates," including "more security in old age; he education of girls and women and increased economic opportunities for them, as well as affordable contraception and reproductive choice; lower infant and child mortality; nd increased literacy, education levels, and productivity generally." Moreover, reductions in population growth in high-income countries will have a greater impact on climate change reduction.
The Montpellier Panel, a group of African and European experts in agriculture, trade, ecology and global development, recently published a document saying that "In Africa, … 65% of arable land, 30% of grazing land and 20% of forests are already damaged." It cautioned that aid donors should raise the priority of African soil degradation and reduced soil fertility because these problems lead to lower crop yields, hamper economic development (costing farmers billions of dollars in lost income), and increase greenhouse gas emissions.
Panel chairman Gordon Conway told BBC News that talk of crops and livestock and debates about agriculture "tend to ignore that it all depends on soils." He said, "Serious land degradation [accounts for] about a quarter of land area of sub-Saharan Africa - it is a vast area." About 180 million people live on land that is in some way degraded. The problem threatens food production in a region that is already experiencing very low crop yields (The average yield in sub-Saharan Africa is about one third the yield in China for the same amount of land.) "Africa already imports US $40 billion worth of food each year…. If we do not produce more food in Africa, that will get worse..."
Africa faces a combination of land degradation, poor yields and a growing population. "We know what you have to do to improve the quality of soil, but the big challenge is providing the funds and making sure that there are incentives for farmers. Farmers will not invest in their land unless they have land tenure." But many farmers cannot afford to invest in their land, Mr. Conway said. "In South-East Asia, the great irrigation schemes that have provided much of the food security in the region were publicly funded."
The panel made a number of recommendations, including:
There is this myth that marriage is falling apart and that feminism has uprooted family life by creating a bunch of marriage-allergic women.
However divorce rates are down, and we have feminism to thank for it. Claire Cain Miller of the New York Times reasons that It's true that the initial surge of divorces in the '70s were partially the result of feminism, both because feminists pushed for no-fault divorce laws and because women who had been stuck in unhappy marriages for a long time felt empowered by feminism to leave them. However, many of the very same forces that led to the rise in divorce numbers in the '70s, Miller reports, are the very same ones lowering it now. Now that women are growing up with feminism in their lives, they're able to reject bad marriage decisions before they make them. In turn, divorce rates have fallen. There are still embittered misogynists griping about how they lost out because women started wanting equal treatment.
Reproductive rights also played a role: a chart from the conservative "Knot Yet" project was meant to raise the alarm about "out-of-wedlock" births, but it also demonstrates the remarkable increase in the age of first birth and first marriage. This means that people are waiting longer to have kids. The teen pregnancy rate is at its lowest in decades too. Women are clearly using their access to contraception and abortion to be more confident that they want to have children with the men of their choosing.
Without reliable, legal birth control -- and abortion -- many women would end up tied to men through their shared offspring, and thus, more divorce.
If you define marriage as an institution in which men put out a minor outlay of cash in exchange for having a live-in servant who does all the housework and most of the heavy lifting of childcare, so that a man can pursue his career and hobbies unimpeded, then absolutely, feminism has done some real damage there.
The number of births in the US has declined over the last six years, bringing the U.S. to 9% below the high in 2007.
The fertility rate in the United States -- the average number of babies women from 15 to 44 bear over their lifetime -- dropped to a record low last year, to 1.86 babies, well below the 2.1 replacement level.
This decline has happened even though the number of women in their prime childbearing years, 20 to 39, has been growing since 2007.
Andrew J. Cherlin, a family demographer at Johns Hopkins University said Americans aren't worried about birthrates because "we have the faucet of immigration to turn on and off," At 1.8, "we're in the ballpark with the highest rates in Europe."
William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution said "On just about every demographic indicator involving young adults, whether it's marriage, buying a home or delaying childbearing, it's all been on hold since the beginning of the recession."
Also more women are delaying pregnancy, often past their prime childbearing years.
Bloomberg Businessweek magazine just ranked the pill as the ninth most important invention that transformed the business sector in the past 85 years. Bloomberg's full ranking shows the magazine's take on the 85 most disruptive ideas that time -- ideas that changed the world.
Since Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger coined the term "birth control" in 1914, contraception has truly revolutionized women's lives in the United States, and around the world. The timeline below starts that year and ends, 100 years later, in 2014 -- as 99 percent of sexually active women report using at least one form of birth control at some point in their lives.
Follow the link in the headline to see the infographic where you can brush up on your birth control history, and see just how far we've come in 100 years.
See http://www.businessweek.com/features/85ideas/ The 85 Most Disruptive Ideas in Our History #9 The Pill
A federal court in Denver will hear objections to a birth-control rule has been among the most divisive aspects of the Obama administration's health care overhaul. Some advocates for women praise the mandate, but some religious groups have decried it as an attack on religious freedom.December 08 , 2014, Christian Science Monitor By: Kristen Wyatt
A group of Colorado nuns called Little Sisters of the Poor, and also four Christian colleges in Oklahoma are already exempt from covering contraceptives under the federal health care law. But they say the exemption doesn't go far enough because they must sign away the coverage to another party, making them feel complicit in providing the contraceptives.
The government will argue that its 2013 rule on religious groups and contraceptives, which requires only that a religious group sign "a self-certification form stating that it is an eligible organization," does not make that religious group complicit in providing contraceptives.
The rule "does not require nonprofit religious organizations with religious objections to contract, arrange, pay, or refer for that coverage," lawyers for the federal government wrote in a 2013 filing.
The nuns' lawyer, Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said the government is free to provide contraception coverage on its own without needing any action at all by the religious institutions. The government wants such coverage to come through the institutions' own plans, he said.
Global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than transport but fear of a consumer backlash is preventing action, says Chatham House reportDecember 02 , 2014, Guardian By: Damian Carrington
An anallysis from the thinktank Chatham House reveals that the global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined. However, twice as many people think transport is the bigger contributor to global warming, according to a survey from Ipsos MORI.
Rob Bailey, the report's lead author said "A lot is being done on deforestation and transport, but there is a huge gap on the livestock sector."
Keeping meat eating to levels recommended by health authorities would not only lower emissions but also reduce heart disease and cancer.
The report shows that soaring meat demand in China and elsewhere could tip the world's climate into chaos. Emissions from livestock, largely from burping cows and sheep and their manure, currently make up almost 15% of global emissions. Beef and dairy alone make up 65% of all livestock emissions.
Meat consumption is expected to rise 75% by 2050, compared with 40% for cereals.
Two other studies show that agricultural emissions will take up the entire world's carbon budget by 2050, with livestock a major contributor. Every other sector -- energy, industry and transport -- would have to be zero carbon to keep within the budget. "Dietary change is essential if global warming is not to exceed 2C."
The consumer survey in the report found a link between the awareness of climate change impacts and the willingness to change behavior. Acceptance that human activities cause climate change was significantly higher in China, India and Brazil than in the US, UK and Japan.
Brigitte Alarcon of WWF said: "We can cut a quarter of our climate emissions from the European food supply chain by eating more pulses, fruit and vegetables and by reducing our meat consumption. National governments should improve food education to encourage healthy eating habits and environmental sustainability as a first step."
In the UK a YouGov poll found 20% saying they have cut the amount of meat they eat over the last year, with only 5% say they are eating more.
Population Stories: Roger-Mark De Souza, Director of Population, Environmental Security, and Resilience for the Wilson CenterNovember 06 , 2014 By: Amy Westervelt
Roger-Mark De Souza, Director of Population, Environmental Security, and Resilience for the Wilson Center, previously worked with the environmental NGO World Resources Institute (WRI), whose president at the time had been appointed by President Clinton to co-chair the U.S. President's Council on Sustainable Development. The Council addressed various key issues: energy consumption, land use, sustainable communities, international engagement, and agriculture.
The Council also addressed was population and consumption, but there was a lot of controversy around it. To De Souza, this was interesting since population dynamics are such an integral part of sustainable development. It touches on human well-being, environmental preservation, and equity all at once.
As a teenager in the Caribbean he went into local communities with his youth group talk to folks about how they could improve their lives. He met a 17-year-old woman who had three children. She was his age, was educated, and went to a very good high school. As they chatted about her future and the future of her children, he whispered to her, "Have you ever thought about family planning?" The connections between population and our collective future seemed obvious to him.
Addressing population dynamics is a key, important component of improving peoples' lives, preserving the environment, and finding rights-based, thoughtful solutions that allow us to sustainably achieve economic and equity goals.
While De Souza was working in the Philippines, which is predominantly Roman Catholic, he was talking to community members in a very vulnerable fishing village that was experiencing declining fish catch, deteriorating mangrove habitats, and a growing population. A young woman from the community said to him, "I am deeply religious, but I also believe there are critical interventions that improve lives and the environment, and addressing population growth is one of them. It makes sense: We want it, it's cheap, and it's effective in a short period of time."
"I was interested in environmental well-being and human well-being, and addressing population kept hitting me on the head," said De Souza.
The discussion during the time of Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb, "was then linked back to Malthusian thinking: It was all about exponential growth, doomsday scenarios, and very much tied to looking at population growth in a macro sense. And I think there is still some of that, and that's fine. We still need to pay attention to thoughtful discussions around those concerns," De Souza said. But today most people talking about population are focused on rights, individual choice, the directives coming out of the 1994 international conference on population and development in Cairo, and from the Earth Summit two years earlier. Rather than population growth we're looking more at population dynamics. And this involves things around age structure, gender issues, different vulnerabilities, aging policies and implications for social security, migration, what that means in relationship to broader economic and development questions.
Today you hear people doing humanitarian work talking about population dynamics in a way they haven't in the past. When De Souza was recently briefing U.S. diplomats who were being stationed in Africa, they were discussing natural resource management and environmental trends in Africa and the security implications for the United States. About 45% of the people at the briefing were from the military, and the rest were from the state department, foreign service, etc. And they start asking about gender, women's empowerment, reproductive health, and how these issues are tied to security and natural resource management. "The conversation is evolving; it's more sophisticated, more nuanced now — and is even being seen in the context of natural security," he said.
In Ethiopia De Souza visited one community that had programs focused on women's empowerment and local responses to climate change. He heard a mother talk about the environment club at her son's school in the village and why it was important for them to think about making personal choices about how many kids they had and what that meant for CO2 emissions.
In Bangladesh, where a lot of cyclones hit, the women he talked to said: "We are among the most vulnerable and because we have so many children. And because there are so many roles ascribed to us as women, we continue to be more and more vulnerable. When something happens and a tsunami hits, we can't run in these saris. In shelters, there are no separate accommodations for us women." They would like to have more control over their lives: in the number of children they have, in their livelihood options, and in planning for how to minimize the impacts of natural shocks when they occur.
Open enrollment for the Affordable Care began for a second time last week. The number of people who take advantage of the ACA this time around is projected to be low. 9.1 million people are expected to enroll by the end of the enrollment period in February, just 1.8 million more than the number enrolled in August.
But unfortunately there has been little talk among government officials and healthcare advocates about the people locked out of healthcare because of their immigration status.
More than 10 million people have gained access to health insurance since it Obamacare began. Insurance companies can no longer discriminate against people based on a preexisting condition or charge more because of gender, and they are now required to cover prevention and wellness benefits at no charge.
112,000 people lost their ACA coverage this year because they did not verify their eligibility based on citizenship and immigration status. More than 11 million people living in the United States are ineligible for the ACA at the national level due to their immigration status.
550,000 of them are young people, often called "Dreamers," who came to the United States as children and are, at present, lawfully residing here. These Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program recipients, who have been given reprieve from deportation, were explicitly carved out of the ACA through announcements made by CMS and HHS on Aug. 28, 2012, issued as federal regulations and guidance. The announcement altered federal rules for DACA-eligible people by excluding them from health insurance options available to others with deferred action status.
Immigrants work, pay taxes, and contribute to our communities and our economy. They should have the same responsibilities and opportunity to participate in health care as their friends and neighbors. Further, it's better and more affordable for all of us when immigrants can participate in the health care system their tax dollars support. Affordable health coverage improves access to preventive care, protects public health, prevents suffering, and puts less strain on under-resourced and costly emergency services. The impact of the large number of uninsured on our economy is huge. It results in a loss of $65 billion to $130 billion annually, consisting of lost wages, absenteeism, and family leave.
There are things that guys never talk about, like benefits of birth control, the care a woman should take when pregnant, and breast-feeding. But in the School for Husbands program in Niger they are talking about it.
"In our culture, in the past having a large family was seen as a gift of God," says the local chief. A large family "is seen as something positive, and that's in contrast to what is needed for development. The fast-growing population really hampers the development of the country."
Niger is the country with the highest birth rate in the world, at seven children per woman. Its population is expected to double over the next two decades. Most people in Niger survive by way of subsistence agriculture in a country primarily covered by desert.
Ali Hassan, the assistant country representative for the United Nations Population Fund in Niger, says the population boom is a huge threat to the country's future.
"Now people are just looking to survive. And the government's only priority is to slow down population growth for people to just survive," Ali Hassan, of the UNFPA in Niger, says. The country has run out of arable land and yet the population continues to go up. "In the past they would use a specific place, and when the productivity [of the soil] went down, they'd move to another place. Now they don't have that possibility, and the productivity is just going down and down and down," he says.
For 25 years Niger has tried a soft-diplomacy approach centered around delaying marriage for teenage girls and encouraging the use of contraception. However, the primary roadblocks to social change come from men.
Six months after the School for Husbands began in 2004, there are now Schools for Husbands in villages across Niger and more women are asking about family planning. When the schools started, only 5% of women in Niger reported using contraception. Now that figure is up to 13%.
The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) recently became the newest member of the Population and Sustainability Network (PSN), an independent body which also coordinates an international network of organisations recognising the importance of population and consumption impacts as significant factors in sustainable development. PSN raises support for, and investment in, sexual and reproductive health services which respect and protect rights. PSN membership includes the United Nations Population Fund, the UK government's Department for International Development, the International Planned Parenthood Federation and several smaller conservation organisations promoting the integrated approach to development known as "Population, Health and Environment".
Poor rural communities rely on healthy ecosystems for their food, water and livelihoods. When population growth threatens those ecosystems, the local communities suffer too. Population, Health and Environment (PHE) programs integrate improved sexual and reproductive health services with conservation actions and the creation of alternative and sustainable livelihoods. This approach has led to greater conservation and health outcomes than single sector actions but continental southern Africa has no PHE programs.
The women's rights NGO Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP), based in Limpopo, South Africa, also has become a member of EWT. TVEP passionately advocates for increasing women's capacity to act. Male partners must allow female partners to use the contraceptives of their choice and this is not always the case. TVEP's programs seek to ensure women can exercise their rights to make their own contraceptive and other decisions.
Africa's population is anticipated to double by 2050, a reality which successful conservation cannot ignore. When women are empowered to choose the number and timing of their pregnancies, they are likely to have fewer, healthier children, which means that fewer natural resources need be harvested, benefiting food security and the environment.
The EWT and TVEP are hoping to get funding for a pilot project for a site in KwaZulu-Natal where human settlements are encroaching on remaining habitats and where an absence of alternative livelihoods means some locals have little choice but to turn to bush meat to support their families. Sometimes the bush meat animal is endangered.
To help them get their funding, click here to vote for this project as a candidate for the Hivos Social Innovation Award.
Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that pediatricians consider long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods -- namely, hormonal and copper intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants -- as "first-line contraceptive choices for adolescents."
In the United States, 614,000 teens became pregnant in 2010, and 82% reported that their pregnancy was unintended. The overall U.S. teen pregnancy rate has declined steadily -- in all 50 states and among all racial and ethnic groups -- since its peak in 1990. Between 2008 and 2010, the rate dropped by 15%, likely due, in part, to the increased use of LARC methods.
Contraception accounted for 86% of the decline in teen pregnancies between 1995 and 2002, while abstinence accounted for 14%, according to a Guttmacher analysis. Between 2003 and 2010, the proportion of teens who had ever had sex did not change, indicating that abstinence did not play a role in the teen pregnancy declines during that time. While still small, the proportion of teens using LARC methods is growing: Among women aged 15-19, LARC use increased substantially between 2002 and 2009, from less than 1% to 4.5% -- and may have increased even more since that time.
LARC methods may appeal to teens who do not want to worry about remembering to take birth control pills at the same time every day. LARC methods require little maintenance and can provide long-term protection during the years when many young women are at highest risk for unintended pregnancy. A new study released in the New England Journal of Medicine documents the potential for LARC methods to significantly decrease pregnancy and abortion rates among teens.
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more women -- including teens -- now have private or public insurance coverage that funds contraception without out-of-pocket costs, which can otherwise be a critical barrier to use. It is important to be vigilant that such efforts fully respect adolescents' informed consent, given the historical context of coercive practices related to contraception, especially those targeting disadvantaged groups. The new recommendations emphasize educating teens about all contraceptive methods that are safe and appropriate for them, so they can choose freely from among the range of contraceptive options, including highly effective LARC methods.
Although Norman Borlaug has been practically diefied for his agricultural revolution, Sharon Donovan's article pointed out the potentially adverse environmental impact of genetically modified agricultural practices (GMOs) and, in particular, the use of compatible fertilizers, herbicides, and insecticides that have tended to devastate small, more sustainable farmers in favor of "capital-intensive, high fertilizer, pesticide, and irrigation use" by large corporate farming operations.
The World Food Prize President, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn said: "We will endeavor to bring together all stakeholders to be part of the solution to nutritiously and sustainably feed our growing population." When asked about the ramifications of feeding the multitudes with Borlaug-modified wheat without, at the same time, providing resources for family planning and birth control. His response was that the Word Food Prize attempts to pursue its feed-the-multitudes mission without getting involved in politics.
The George W. Bush administration mammoth global anti-AIDS initiative poured billions of dollars for AIDS Relief into Africa but prohibited groups from spending any of it on family planning services or counseling programs. Couple that with Bush's 2002 Global Gag Rule as a condition to US foreign aid, and the budgets for those services flat-lined. As a result, lives were saved from AIDS infection, people were fed thanks to Borlaug, but there was a population explosion.
Animal populations explode when food is plentiful. If it rains, plants grow. When plants grow, herbivores thrive. When herbivores thrive, carnivore populations balloon until the food supply is exhausted. When it stops raining, the reverse in that food chain happens. Humans are animals; if we are fed, we reproduce. And we'll continue to do so until either we exhaust the available food supply or we, intelligently, intervene to stop the population explosion. "Lesser" animals aren't capable of such intervention; we human beings are capable of it.
Borlaug said while accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. "There can be no permanent progress in the battle against hunger until the agencies that fight for increased food production and those that fight for population control unite in a common effort."
Unless the continuing efforts of the World Food Prize are not forcefully coupled with the call for increased funding for birth control and family planning, the singular mission to feed more people is a fool's mission and a disservice to the memory and work of Norman Borlaug. The resources for producing and distributing more food cannot possibly keep up with our growing population, which means that our success will breed our failure (pun intended).
Last week, the California State Water Resources Board sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirming that roughly 3 billion gallons of hydraulic fracturing wastewater was illegally dumped into central California aquifers.
Last July, the state of California closed 11 wastewater injection wells in fear that the fracking wastewater was contaminating surrounding aquifers. The EPA demanded a report within 60 days of the closure...
Publicly Funded Family Planning Saved $13 Billion — but Lawmakers Don't Think It's Worth the Investment
For every dollar spent on contraception and STI testing, the government saves 7 more. Oh, and people stay healthyOctober 14, 2014, Salon By: Jenny Kutner
Lawmakers have continued to slash safety nets for contraceptive coverage and other Title X-funded family planning programs.
An analysis from the Guttmacher Institute found that such services helped prevent an estimated 2.2 million unintended pregnancies and 1.1 million unplanned births, and helped prevent nearly 761,000 abortions.
One might think that the right-to-life movement would be motivated, by the prevention of such a large number of abortions, to get on board with access to solid family planning.
Publicly funded services prevented or treated tens of thousands of STI infections in over 3 million women; allowed patients to detect 1,100 ectopic pregnancies, which can be life-threatening, and treated 2,200 cases of infertility.
Mehmet Hulki Uz, the resident representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), welcomed the decree of the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on population and said Iran's population policy is a "perfect" policy that covers everything related to population, including youth, aging, urbanization and women householders.
However Uz discouraged the incentives planned by the government to motivate Iranian couples to have more children, referring to the outcome of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) held in 1994 in Cairo, Egypt. "ccording to ICPD, incentives or disincentives are not recommended to any country, but the decision and timing of having child should be left to the couples," he said. Over 180 states, including Iran took part in ICPD negotiations to finalize a Program of Action.
In the 1980s the motto in Iran was "two children is enough", but the UNFPA officially opposed the motto at that time, since according to the ICPD, governments should not interfere in decisions about the number of children.
“UNFPA and ICPD documents say countries should only inform people of the realities and let them decide, instead of forcing them to have children," he said.
"The Leader has said in the policy document that we need to increase the population but in balance and without forgetting the reproductive health of women and children," he said.
Iran has already achieved the Millennium Development Goals of reducing maternal mortality rate -- 80% by 2015 -- but Uz warned that removal of family planning methods could lead to unwanted pregnancies and increase child and maternal mortality.
He also cautioned that an unplanned increase of population could also have social and economic consequences, particularly if the rate of fertility is at the highest level in less developed parts of Iran.
" child born in a poor and uneducated family could be a burden on the system because he/she will demand job, house and healthcare services as an adult and without contributing to the economy of the country," he said.
He added that unemployed and uneducated youths are more vulnerable to commit crimes.
In Pakistan and parts of Turkey, youths are turning to crimes because of unemployment in the regions.
Soudabeh Ahmadzadeh, assistant representative of UNFP Country Office in Tehran, said if the government improves the livelihood of people and provides jobs, housing and health services to youths, they would automatically get married and have children.
Noting that Islam asks for working to empower women, Uz also hailed Shahindokht Molaverdi, the head of the Department for Women and Family Affairs, for having a comprehensive and systematic approach on women and her efforts to improve the livelihood of women breadwinners.
According to some of UNFPA's findings, youth unemployment is one of the biggest challenges facing the nation and they account for 70% of the unemployed. The highest rate of unemployment has been reported among university graduates.
The answer actually surprised usNovember 11, 2014, Mother Jones By: Eric Jaffe
This story originally appeared in CityLab and is republished here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
The ever-thought-provoking David Levinson posed a question at his Transportationist blog earlier this week that's worth a longer look: Are you more likely to die from being in a car crash or from breathing in car emissions? If your gut reaction is like mine, then you've already answered in favor of crashes. But when you really crunch the ...
A politically hostile and anti-woman sentiment is playing out in Ohio, where local and state legislators are using women's access to reproductive health care as a tool to jockey for power. We are seeing varying degrees of this in states across the country, but the anti-choice movement's "war on women" most recently came to a head in Ohio following the tragic death of Lakisha Wilson, a 22-year-old mother who had sought an abortion during h...
Novel Agreement Expands Access to Pfizer's Contraceptive, Sayana® Press, for Women Most in Need in the World's Poorest Countries
Collaboration will help advance progress and support global efforts to increase access to voluntary family planning information, services and contraceptives by 2020November 13, 2014, Pfizer By: Media Capsule
Designed for women most in need in 69 of the world's poorest countries, Sayana® Press is a long-acting, reversible, contraceptive with an all-in-one prefilled, single-use, non-reusable Uniject™ injection system that eliminates the need to prepare a needle and syringe. The contraceptive is meant to be administered by health workers to women at home or in other convenient settings. The training basic and straightforward. Each subcutaneous injection prevents ovulation and provides contraception for at least 13 weeks.
Injectables are already widely used by among women in developing countries where the lifetime risk for death due to a maternal cause can be as high as one in 15.
John Young, President, Pfizer Global Established Pharma Business said: "Pfizer saw an opportunity to address the needs of women living in hard-to-reach areas, and specifically enhanced the product's technology with public health in mind. I'm so pleased with the leadership from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Children's Investment Fund Foundation and other collaborating organizations that are helping create a sustainable market through an approach that could be a model for other medicines."
More than 200 million women in developing countries want to delay pregnancy or prevent undesired pregnancy but are not using any method of contraception. Since the landmark London Summit on Family Planning in July 2012, the global community has been working together to provide an additional 120 million women in the world's 69 poorest countries with access to voluntary family planning information and services by 2020.
In 2013, the number of women using modern contraceptives in the 69 focus countries increased by 8.4 million in one year to 273 million. The additional use of contraception helped avert 77 million unintended pregnancies and 125,000 maternal deaths.
"When women are able to plan their families, they are more likely to survive pregnancy and child birth, to have healthier newborns and children, and to invest more in their families' health and wellbeing," said Dr. Chris Elias, President of Global Development Programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In many developing countries, women must return to a clinic or health post every three months for a new injection from a skilled health worker, limiting access in remote and other hard-to-reach areas. Accordingly, experts have identified the need for a contraceptive method that can be administered in low-resource, non-clinic settings. Sayana® Press could help fill this gap.
Sayana® Press is approved in the European Union, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda, as well as additional markets in Latin America and within the Asia Pacific region. It is not approved or available for use in the United States.
Since the introduction program launched in Burkina Faso in July 2014, approximately 75,000 Sayana® Press units have been distributed to health facilities in the introduction countries, and approximately 2,500 health care providers have thus far been trained on it's administration.
The pro-choice movement likes to point out all the other health benefits. Let's not forget that it allows women to have sex without getting pregnant.October 24, 2014, Cosmopolitan By: Katha Pollitt
Sex is a normal, happy part of life for millions of married and unmarried people in America today. For this we have modern, effective birth control to thank. Why is it so hard for the pro-choice movement to celebrate this openly?
Of course there are other important reasons for using birth control. Condoms protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Emergency contraception (Plan B) will prevent pregnancy for women that are raped. The Pill, ring, patch, and other hormonal contraception can help with painful periods, acne, endometriosis, and other health problems. But for most women, birth control is about having sex -- voluntary sex -- without getting pregnant. We need to say it: having a sex life is a good thing, part of what makes us human and lets us enjoy life.
Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke -- an unmarried law student in her late 20s -- a slut and a prostitute because she testified in Congress about the suffering caused when her Catholic university, Georgetown, denied coverage for contraception. Oddly, Limbaugh seemed to think that the more often you have sex, the more burden on the taxpayer. Like Viagra perhaps, which has always been widely covered in government and private insurance, with no fuss or controversy. We don't seem to have a problem at all helping men have sex.
Why does it matter that we talk about sex when we talk about birth control?
When we talk about IUDs, which allow women to have sex without pregnancy for a fairly long period of time, it may conjure up, in the mind of a conservative like Limbaugh, the image of a promiscuous "coed," slutty twentysomething. When we allow the image to take hold, we make it harder to fight against employers who want to exclude those methods from coverage.
Also we need to defend the rights of teenagers to get birth control in privacy. In Utah and Texas, for example, require that -- to access state funds for contraception -- teenage girls must get parental consent while teenage boys do not require a parents permission to buy condoms at the drugstore. It's like they are saying a girl's sex life is up to her parents, and the best way to keep her a virgin is to make her risk pregnancy. Even President Obama said that "as a father of two daughters," he supported keeping it prescription-only for girls under 17, against the findings of the government's own experts.
Our lives are healthier, happier, freer, and more prosperous because we can control our fertility and enjoy sex without fear of pregnancy. We mustn't let the slut-shamers keep us from saying that out loud.
Carbon Intensity of Global EnergySeptember 2014, Paul Chefurka website
Here are some of the things this graphic tells us.
• During the 1800s the majority of the world's energy came from carbon-neutral biomass, with an increasing contribution of carbon from coal as time went on. • The Great Depression and WWII are clearly visible as dips in carbon intensity. • Carbon intensity has not changed significantly since 1950. • The addition of nuclear power starting in 1965 made no difference. • The addition of wind and solar have made no difference. • The recession in 2008 made no difference. • The increasing use of coal by China is visible as a rise since 2001.
We would need to reduce our carbon emissions by 80% by 2030 in order to avoid a 2C rise in global temperatures.
Many lawfully present immigrants are ineligible for coverage through Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program during their first five years of legal residency. Undocumented immigrants are largely barred from public coverage, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits them from purchasing any coverage, subsidized or not, through its health insurance marketplaces.
In 2012, the administration created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, enabling many so-called DREAMers to lawfully remain in the United States. Unfortunately those with DACA status are essentially treated as if they were undocumented and expressly carved out of nearly all public and private health coverage and affordability programs. Also, the immigration reform bill passed by the Senate in 2013 failed for the most part to address the legitimate health insurance and health care needs of immigrants, denying those eligible for provisional status access to public coverage and the ACA's subsidies.
Among women of reproductive age (15-44), 40% of the 6.6 million noncitizen immigrants are uninsured, compared with 18% of naturalized citizens and 15% of U.S.-born women.
Of reproductive-age women living below the poverty level (a group in which immigrant women are overrepresented), 53% percent of noncitizen immigrant women lack health insurance -- about double the percentage of U.S.-born women. Further, only 28% of poor noncitizen women of reproductive age have Medicaid coverage, compared with 46% of those born in the United States.
Only half (52%) of immigrant women at risk for unintended pregnancy received contraceptive care, compared with two-thirds (65%) of U.S.-born women.
Consistent contraceptive use is critical to helping women prevent unintended pregnancies, plan and space wanted pregnancies, and achieve their own educational, employment, and financial goals. Without coverage, immigrant women and couples may well be unable to afford the method of contraception that will work best for them, which is critical to realizing these benefits.
In addition, preventive sexual and reproductive health services are effective in helping women and couples avoid cervical cancer, HIV and other STIs, infertility, and preterm and low-birth-weight births -- all while saving substantial public dollars. Notably, cervical cancer disproportionately afflicts and causes deaths among immigrant women, particularly Latinas and women in certain Asian communities, likely because many go without timely screenings.
We need greater investment in alternative forms of livestock production that protect animal welfare, the environment, worker safety, and public health.November 18 , 2014, Foodtank By: Danielle Nierenberg and Maia Reed
Recently, Food Tank published a quick guide, "Rethinking Industrial Animal Production," detailing the significant and far reaching consequences of a food system dominated by industrial animal production.
Industrial animal operations already account for the vast majority of animal production in the United States, and are responsible worldwide for 67 percent of poultry production, 50 percent of egg production, and 42 percent of pork production...
A three-year study by a research team at the Wellesley Centers for Women compared Get Real, Planned Parenthood's (PP's) comprehensive sex ed program, with existing programs at 24 racially and economically diverse Boston area schools (some of which already offered sex ed). The results, published in the Journal of School Health, show that classes emphasizing healthy relationships and family involvement encourage middle school students (grades 6 - 8) to delay trying sex.
Get Real's "social-emotional learning approach" teaches kids how to navigate relationships. Researchers say that Get Real's key feature is that kids get to practice communication skills both in the classroom and at home with their parents. Study leader, Sumru Erkut, said the program teaches relationship skills and provides a very strong follow-up of family involvement.
Using test and control groups of equal size, the study found that 16% fewer boys and 15% fewer girls became sexually active by the end of eighth grade after completing Get Real. Previous research into standard Boston-area sex ed programs did not show such clear results for both genders. "It's certainly a very important and positive contribution," Erkut, told Think Progress. "People clap their hands over a program that can reduce HIV infections by 4%, so these numbers can be put in that context."
"Parents tend to talk about sex earlier and more frequently with their daughters than their sons," said the paper's lead author, Jennifer Grossman. Get Real‘s take-home assignments got parents involved in discussions that few parents knew how to handle the on their own. Sixth grade boys who completed the family assignments were more likely to delay sex until after eighth grade.
PP is the nation's largest sex ed provider, but is also a flashpoint in the abortion rights fight. Jen Slonaker, Vice President of Education and Training at the PP League of Mass. said. "This is exactly what we want our middle schoolers to be doing… delaying sex." But that is not the way conservatives typically view PP programs. Those who favor abstinence education believe (against contrary evidence) that teaching students about sex encourages them to become sexually active at an earlier age, and they pressure schools administrations to remove certain sex ed materials from the classroom. Most states don't require sex ed, and some prohibit any form of comprehensive sex ed. Republicans in Texas and Louisiana have even suggested that PP wants teens to get pregnant so it can give them abortions. But PP officials say the resisters are a small minority. Educators, administrators, and parents should remember that 95% of parents in high school and 93% of parents in middle school support sex education.
PP partners with ETR to distribute its Get Real materials. Thanks to these study results, ETR's website can offer this pitch: “Research Shows It Works! Students who receive Get Real are less likely to have sex."
After a mass sterilization clinic run by a single doctor, at least 13 women in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh died, and others were hospitalized. Witnesses said the surgeries took place in an "assembly-line atmosphere with little regard to hygiene or patient comfort."
This tragedy is only the latest to arise from the country's attempts to control its population, which has resulted in the death of hundreds of women from botched sterilizations. Earlier this year the same doctor received an award from Chhattisgarh state health ministry earlier this year for performing a record 50,000 surgeries.
Tubal ligation, the most common method of female sterilization, costs three to four times as much as a vasectomy. Women are five times as likely to die from sterilization than men, the Encyclopedia of Women and Gender reports. More than one third of married Indian women undergo sterilization, versus just 1% of Indian men. Around the world, more women then men undergo the procedure.
Women in India often don't want their husbands to undergo a vasectomy because they fear he will "lose his strength and virility."
More than 50 health workers told Human Rights Watch that district and sub-district authorities assigned individual yearly targets for contraceptives, with a heavy focus on female sterilization, under the threat of adverse consequences if they did not achieve their targets.
The Earth's "natural" carrying capacity for terrestrial vertebrate life is probably in the neighbourhood of 200 million tonnes. This represents the carrying capacity based on solar input only, with no assistance from human technology or fossil fuels. The estimate is derived from Vaclav Smil's biomass estimate for 1900 shown on the graph, which has been reduced by about 30% to account for technology and coal use by that time. The assumption is that by 10,000 BCE this biomass of 200 MT was fully utilizing the available solar flux.
One crucial question is what proportion of this 200 MT of biomass could be devoted to humans and their domesticated animals without excessively damaging the rest of the biosphere? This is hard to answer without a controlled experiment of course, but here's one approach.
I begin with the human population in Year 1 AD of about 250 million as a baseline. At 50 kg/person that number represents about 12.5 MT of human biomass. Domesticated animal biomass in 1900 was about three times that of humans, so that would give us an additional 37.5 MT of domesticated animals, for a total human-related biomass of 50 MT. This number represents one quarter of the estimated natural carrying capacity of the planet. That degree of appropriation is probably not completely sustainable, but would likely be OK for a few thousand years, provided there was no further human expansion beyond that number.
Because I presume that any use of technology promotes overshoot, this 250 million number also represents a human population without any significant technology beyond what was available when Christ was born.
Under this set of assumptions the planet may be overpopulated by almost 30 times.
Keep in mind that this scenario says precisely nothing about what's likely to happen in our present circumstances. In fact, the idea of voluntarily reducing our population by 97% might as well come from a different universe, it's so utterly unachievable in this one. This line of argument simply represents a way of viewing the current situation through a more ecologically holistic lens.
One additional idea to consider is that the period for which a particular population's activity level will be sustainable is variable. The lower the collective activity level (in other words, the lower its impact on its environment) the longer the probable period of sustainability becomes.
One way I measure human impact is through what I call our "Thermodynamic Footprint". According to this measure, modern humans have an average of 20 times the per capita impact on their environment as a hunter-gatherer. Europeans have an impact 40 times as high, while the average American impact is 80 to 100 times as high. This implies that to achieve the same period of sustainability as the 250 million humans I described above, the world could support six million average Europeans, or 2.5 million Americans.
Any increase in either population or activity levels (i.e. per-capita energy use) shortens the period of sustainability. Humans currently have an environmental impact almost 600 times as high as the baseline I proposed above - our population is 29 times higher, and our per-capita impact is 20 times higher. As a result, our period of sustainability will not be a few thousand years, but something more on the order of a small handful of decades. If we begin the countdown from the onset of heavy global industrialization around 1900, we have already burned through 11 of those "sustainable" decades.
Unfortunately, the more we look at our predicament, the more it becomes clear that no matter how we slice it or dice it, the human presence on the planet cannot be considered even remotely sustainable for much longer. And that implies that a correction in our numbers and activity levels is inevitable. The longer we proceed down the current road of technological, energetic and numerical expansion, the closer we come to that correction.
This realization was frankly shocking.November 19 , 2014 By: Stephen Lacey
Google unveiled its initiative to make renewable energy competitive with coal, called RE In 2011 Google stopped its R&D efforts prematurely; apparently it was more interested in the deployment of renewables. Since then Google has invested more than $1 billion directly in solar and wind projects and has now procured enough renewable energy and efficiency to offset its carbon emissions. Meanwhile, the levelized cost of renewables has come down to rival the cost of building new coal plants. So did the Google engineers who worked on the RE "Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today's renewable energy technologies simply won't work; we need a fundamentally different approach," wrote Google's Ross Koningstein and David Fork in a piece published recently in IEEE's Spectrum. "As we reflected on the project, we came to the conclusion that even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions," they said. "Even if every renewable energy technology advanced as quickly as imagined and they were all applied globally, atmospheric CO2 levels wouldn't just remain above 350 ppm; they would continue to rise exponentially due to continued fossil fuel use. We decided to combine our energy innovation study's best-case scenario results with Hansen's climate model to see whether a 55 percent emission cut by 2050 would bring the world back below that 350-ppm threshold. So our best-case scenario, which was based on our most optimistic forecasts for renewable energy, would still result in severe climate change, with all its dire consequences: shifting climatic zones, freshwater shortages, eroding coasts, and ocean acidification, among others. Our reckoning showed that reversing the trend would require...radical technological advances in cheap zero-carbon energy, as well as a method of extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and sequestering the carbon." Even if they had found cheap renewable energy technologies that could gradually replace all the world's coal plants, it still wouldn't have solved climate change. Koningstein and Fork hint at one possible focus that might work: technologies like power electronics that can efficiently control the grid and enable higher penetrations of distributed generation. In July, Google unveiled a $1 million challenge to build an inverter one-tenth the size of existing devices. Solar panels can be put on every rooftop, but can't provide power if the sun isn't shining. Yet if we invented a distributed, dispatchable power technology, smaller players could generate not only electricity but also profit, buying and selling energy locally from one another at real-time prices. "We don't have the answers. Those technologies haven't been invented yet". The Google engineers recommended that energy companies used Google's 70-20-10 rule approach to foster innovation in the energy sector and allow for those breakthrough inventions : 70% of employee time be spent working on existing energy technologies that industry knows how to build and profitably deploy. 20% could be dedicated to cutting-edge technologies that are on the path to economic viability. 10% could be dedicated to ideas that may seem crazy but might have huge impact.
In 2011 Google stopped its R&D efforts prematurely; apparently it was more interested in the deployment of renewables. Since then Google has invested more than $1 billion directly in solar and wind projects and has now procured enough renewable energy and efficiency to offset its carbon emissions. Meanwhile, the levelized cost of renewables has come down to rival the cost of building new coal plants.
So did the Google engineers who worked on the RE "Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today's renewable energy technologies simply won't work; we need a fundamentally different approach," wrote Google's Ross Koningstein and David Fork in a piece published recently in IEEE's Spectrum. "As we reflected on the project, we came to the conclusion that even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions," they said. "Even if every renewable energy technology advanced as quickly as imagined and they were all applied globally, atmospheric CO2 levels wouldn't just remain above 350 ppm; they would continue to rise exponentially due to continued fossil fuel use. We decided to combine our energy innovation study's best-case scenario results with Hansen's climate model to see whether a 55 percent emission cut by 2050 would bring the world back below that 350-ppm threshold. So our best-case scenario, which was based on our most optimistic forecasts for renewable energy, would still result in severe climate change, with all its dire consequences: shifting climatic zones, freshwater shortages, eroding coasts, and ocean acidification, among others. Our reckoning showed that reversing the trend would require...radical technological advances in cheap zero-carbon energy, as well as a method of extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and sequestering the carbon." Even if they had found cheap renewable energy technologies that could gradually replace all the world's coal plants, it still wouldn't have solved climate change. Koningstein and Fork hint at one possible focus that might work: technologies like power electronics that can efficiently control the grid and enable higher penetrations of distributed generation. In July, Google unveiled a $1 million challenge to build an inverter one-tenth the size of existing devices. Solar panels can be put on every rooftop, but can't provide power if the sun isn't shining. Yet if we invented a distributed, dispatchable power technology, smaller players could generate not only electricity but also profit, buying and selling energy locally from one another at real-time prices. "We don't have the answers. Those technologies haven't been invented yet". The Google engineers recommended that energy companies used Google's 70-20-10 rule approach to foster innovation in the energy sector and allow for those breakthrough inventions : 70% of employee time be spent working on existing energy technologies that industry knows how to build and profitably deploy. 20% could be dedicated to cutting-edge technologies that are on the path to economic viability. 10% could be dedicated to ideas that may seem crazy but might have huge impact.
"Trying to combat climate change exclusively with today's renewable energy technologies simply won't work; we need a fundamentally different approach," wrote Google's Ross Koningstein and David Fork in a piece published recently in IEEE's Spectrum.
"As we reflected on the project, we came to the conclusion that even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch would not have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions," they said.
"Even if every renewable energy technology advanced as quickly as imagined and they were all applied globally, atmospheric CO2 levels wouldn't just remain above 350 ppm; they would continue to rise exponentially due to continued fossil fuel use. We decided to combine our energy innovation study's best-case scenario results with Hansen's climate model to see whether a 55 percent emission cut by 2050 would bring the world back below that 350-ppm threshold. So our best-case scenario, which was based on our most optimistic forecasts for renewable energy, would still result in severe climate change, with all its dire consequences: shifting climatic zones, freshwater shortages, eroding coasts, and ocean acidification, among others. Our reckoning showed that reversing the trend would require...radical technological advances in cheap zero-carbon energy, as well as a method of extracting CO2 from the atmosphere and sequestering the carbon."
Even if they had found cheap renewable energy technologies that could gradually replace all the world's coal plants, it still wouldn't have solved climate change.
Koningstein and Fork hint at one possible focus that might work: technologies like power electronics that can efficiently control the grid and enable higher penetrations of distributed generation. In July, Google unveiled a $1 million challenge to build an inverter one-tenth the size of existing devices.
Solar panels can be put on every rooftop, but can't provide power if the sun isn't shining. Yet if we invented a distributed, dispatchable power technology, smaller players could generate not only electricity but also profit, buying and selling energy locally from one another at real-time prices.
"We don't have the answers. Those technologies haven't been invented yet". The Google engineers recommended that energy companies used Google's 70-20-10 rule approach to foster innovation in the energy sector and allow for those breakthrough inventions : 70% of employee time be spent working on existing energy technologies that industry knows how to build and profitably deploy. 20% could be dedicated to cutting-edge technologies that are on the path to economic viability. 10% could be dedicated to ideas that may seem crazy but might have huge impact.
Researchers say conflict and climate change mean the region’s resources will be unable to sustain the increasing populationOctober 22, 2014, Mail and Guardian By: Chris Arsenault
"The Supply and Demand of Net Primary Production in the Sahel", a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters, used satellite images to find that the Sahel's ability to produce food is not keeping pace with its growing population, and higher temperatures from global warming will only
In the 22 countries that make up the arid Sahel in northern Africa, the population grew from 367 million in 2000 to 471 million in 2010, an increase of almost 30%. However, the production of crops remained essentially unchanged and higher temperatures will reduce crop production. The amount of carbon consumed jumped from 19% in 2000 to 41% in 2010.
Hakim Abdi, lead author of study, said the tension in Darfur "stems partially from a lack of resources." The Sahel also faces Islamist insurgencies in parts of Libya, Chad and Niger, along with an uprising by ethnic Tuareg separatists in Mali.
Political violence seems likely to intensify as growing populations battle for dwindling food supplies. Some of the world's fastest growing populations are located in the region. Niger, the poorest place on Earth, according to the UN's human development index, also has the world's highest birthrate, followed by Mali.
The number of people in the Sahel is expected to rise from 30 million in 1950 to close to 1 billion by 2050.
Ibrahim Coulibaly, a Malian farmer and activist with Via Campesina, recently told a UN panel in Rome "Producing results to overcoming food insecurity means we need to take a fresh look at innovation in family farms." Drought resistant crops and new infrastructure for processing and transporting food, along with new publicly funded training for small farmers were needed to increase resilience, he said.
The Philippine island of Palawan hosts two World Heritage sites, the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River in the provincial capital, and the Tubbataha Reef in Cagayancillo, and it is almost completely covered in Protected Areas; yet Palawan lost 6.4% of its tree cover since 2001.
Data from Global Forest Watch (GFW) reveals that many animals -- including 27 endemic species of birds, 19 varieties of land mammals, and 24 kinds of reptiles -- are facing huge population declines.
The National Statistics Office (NSO) records show that the population in Palawan grew by 2.66% per year from 2000 to 2010. This would double the population in 26 years.
"It's just too many people, and more people need more space," said Dr. Neil Aldrin Mallari, country program director of Fauna & Flora International - Philippines.
Illegal logging is one of the biggest contributors to forest cover loss.
"People living in the mountains still practice slash-and-burn where they cut trees and burn them to make the land available for farming," said an environmentalist, who asked not to be identified. "The problem is so difficult to solve," he said. “In a scale of 1-10, 10 being the hardest, I would rate the deforestation in Palawan is a 7," he said.
Deforestation in the southern part of the province results from bark tanning, in which bark harvested of mangroves is used to tan leather. Illegal land conversion and charcoal production are also common in northern Palawan.
Palawan's palm oil industry has also led to significant forest loss.
Mining also contributes to deforestation, but it is not the primary culprit. However, this controversial issue led to the 2011 shooting death of a well-known radio announcer and environmentalist in the Province, Dr. Gerry Ortega. Mining is mostly concentrated in the southern tip of the province.
Mining also adds to the growing of the population in the area.
Humans are also affected by deforestation. “Forest means life to us because forests are our first line of defense against typhoons, water, clean air and lots of things," Mallari said. "nd it is not just about the size of the forest but the quality."
Mining-caused deforestation could interfere with groundwater resources and could even make El Nino-induced drought worse in the Philippines. There would be more runoff during storms and less water retained during droughts, when trees are cut down.
When Wendy Davis ran for the Texas gubernatorial election, there was much concern over what the Hispanic lady voter would do: Are they too socially conservative to support Wendy Davis?
As it turned out, among voters, 94% of Black women, 90% of Black men, 61% of Latinas, and 49% of Latinos in Texas voted for Wendy Davis. In contrast, only 32% of white Texas women voters actually voted for Wendy Davis. Time and time again, people of color have stood up for reproductive rights, for affordable health care, for immigrant communities while white folks vote a straight "I got mine" party ticket.
A vote for Wendy Davis meant a vote for strong public school funding, for Texas Medicaid expansion, for affordable family planning care, for environmental reforms, for access to a full spectrum of reproductive health-care options.
A vote for Greg Abbott meant a vote for empowering big industry and big political donors, for cutting public school funds and dismantling the Affordable Care Act, for overturning Roe v. Wade, and - a vote for the status quo.
There are many factors contributed to America's rightward dive over the cliff: Citizens United, racist gerrymandering and voter ID laws, but there is also the historical crisis of empathy in the white community, one much older than gerrymandered congressional districts or poll taxes.
In choosing Greg Abbott Tuesday white women choose the fact that our children will always have access to education, that our daughters will always be able to fly to California or New York for abortion care, that our mothers will always be able to get that crucial Pap smear.
We chose a future where maternal mortality -- but not our maternal mortality -- rates will rise. We chose a future where preventable deaths from cervical cancer -- but not our deaths -- will rise. We chose a future where deaths from illegal, back-alley abortions -- but not our illegal, back-alley abortions -- will rise.
Without empathy, a culture of fear is allowed to foment and thrive. It is that culture that has ensured that white folks never need engage with the idea of non-white humanity. It is this culture of fear that put Greg Abbott in the governor's mansion, and it needs to be cut out of our communities like the cancer it is. We do this by rebuilding ourselves in a better image, in the image of our sisters of color who, time and again, have shown that they care that we have access to health care, to the voting booth, even though we have not done the same for them.
We need to support groups like the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, the Afiya Center, SisterSong, the Texas Organizing Project, Mamas of Color Rising, Rise Up/Levanta Texas, and ask: What role of assistance can we play as you lead?
Tree and shrub-planting program has transformed degraded and deforested land across Africa, with Ethiopia planning to restore a further 15m hectares by 2030October 30 , 2014, Guardian By: John Vidal
Fifteen years years ago, in the villages around Abrha Weatsbha in northern Ethiopia the hillsides were barren, the communities, plagued by floods and droughts, needed constant food aid, and the soil was being washed away.
Today, the planting of many millions of tree and bush seedlings have saved the environment. Wells that were dry have been recharged, the soil is in better shape, fruit trees grow in the valleys and the hillsides are green again.
Farming communities worked together to close off large areas to animals, save water and replant trees,and this is now to be replicated across one sixth of Ethiopia - an area the size of England and Wales. The most ambitious attempt yet to reduce soil erosion, increase food security and adapt to climate change is expected to vastly increase the amount of food grown in one of the most drought- and famine-prone areas of the world.
"Large areas of Ethiopia and the Sahel were devastated by successive droughts and overgrazing by animals in the 1960s and 1970s," says Chris Reij, a researcher with the World Resources Institute in Washington.
In Tigray it has involved communities building miles of terraces and low walls, to hold back rainwater from slopes, the closure of large areas of bare land to allow natural regeneration of trees and vegetation, and the widespread planting of seedlings.
"In the early 1990s every able-bodied villager in Tigray had to contribute three months of labor to dig pits to save water, or to construct terraces and bunds to stop water rushing off the hills. This was reduced later to 40 days a year and currently it is 20 days a year.
Ethiopia's pledge to restore a further 15m hectares of degraded land was the largest of many made at the end of UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon's New York climate summit last month, where governments, companies and civil society groups together agreed to try to restore 350m hectares of deforested landscapes - an area the size of India - by 2030.
With help from the World Bank, the UK government and development groups like Oxfam and World Vision, Africa has emerged as the leader in restoring the world's estimated 2bn hectares of degraded lands.
Over 200m trees have been planted and 5m hectares of degraded land regreened in Niger, resulting in an extra 500,000 tonnes of food being grown in the country with the fastest growing population in the world, as well as an increase in biodiversity and incomes.
In Burkina Faso where 2-300,000 hectares of land has been regreened, food production has grown about 80,000 tons a year - enough to feed an extra 500,000 people.
In Tanzania 500,000 hectares of land has been restored.
Increasing the rate of restoration of degraded lands will be vital both for feeding fast-growing populations and adapting to climate change, says Green Belt Movement (GBM) international director, Pauline Kamau.
"frica is already experiencing some of the most dramatic extreme temperature events ever seen. Without action to reduce emissions, average annual temperatures on the continent are likely to rise 3-4C by the end of the century and [there could be] a 30% reduction in rainfall in sub Saharan Africa."
Agriculture, forestry and other land use changes accounts for nearly 25% of greenhouse gas emissions globally. "Restoring degraded lands can both help rein in warming and adapt to higher temperatures," Kamau said.
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How to Defuse the Population Bomb When the sun is up, things are hectic and loud, rough and fetid, but always safe and even welcoming: Bright colors abound and so do offers of nyama choma (roasted meat, usually goat) and bottles of Tusker, the local lager. Soon after the first stars appear in the sky, the streets of Nairobi, Kenya's largest urban slum go silent, emptying out but for dogs, cats and rats, thieves and rapists. Life moves indoors, and because most people are too scar...
The Power of Women in the Face of Climate Change All eyes are on 2015. It's a big year for global development. The target date of the Millennium Development Goals is approaching. Representatives of UN Member States, citizen advocates, and technical and policy experts are shaping the sustainable development goals that will make up the new global development agenda. Increasingly climate change sits within the development framework. And after more than 20 years of UN negotiations, a legally bindin...
Sorry, but the Abortion Rate is Not Going Down Because Women “choose Life” The abortion rate is down, and anti-abortion folks would very much like to take credit for it. Last week, David Frum at the Atlantic wrote a piece arguing that "the pro-life movement really does seem to have changed American minds about the morality of abortion," and that, along with a growing acceptance of single motherhood, has led to a drop in the abortion rate. At the National Review on Wednesday, Ryan T. Anderson and Sarah Torre, while haste...
Why Aren't World Leaders Angrier About Violence Against Women? On this cold and rainy Tuesday, Bafana Khumalo stood in front of the White House with a controversial demand for President Obama: The U.S. should provide foreign aid to fund abortions for women who've been raped during conflicts and in other circumstances. Currently, the 1973 Helms Amendment prohibits the use of foreign aid money for abortions as "family planning." About 200 protesters joined Khumalo. On Wednesday morning, the South African acti...
Kenyan Women with HIV Sue Over Sterilisation Related Stories Kenya country profile Judge backs sterilised Namibians India's dark history of sterilisation A group of HIV-positive women in Kenya has taken legal action against the government, accusing it of arranging for them to be forcibly sterilised. The five women are demanding compensation from the government and the non-governmental organisations they say carried out the sterilisations. Activists protested in the capital, Nairobi, to call...
Vietnam Launches Month of Action on Population Towards Sustainable Development The average number of children per couple in the reproductive age has dropped from 6.4 children in 1960 to 2.1 children in 2013; the population growth rate per year decreased from 3.5 percent in 1960 to 1.05 percent in 2013; the population size in 2013 was kept at 90 million people; and the average life expectancy rose from 40 in 1960 to 73 in 2013. Despite these important achievements, the country still faces many difficulties and challenges in ...
Return of the Rhythm Method Every morning when she wakes up, Becca, a college student in Pennsylvania, puts a teardrop-shaped thermometer called the Daysy under her tongue. If it lights up green, she knows that day she and her boyfriend can have sex without a condom. If it's red or yellow, they need to use protection. With its blinking face and patented "LadyComp algorithm," Daysy seems newfangled, but its core technology is one septuagenarians would recognize. It re...
Hope for Imagining a World Beyond Corporate Control The commons is not just a battlefield between corporate predators and those who resist them - it is also a source of hope for those willing to imagine a world beyond capitalism. It represents a space between the private market and the political state in which humanity can control and democratically root our common wealth. Both the market and the state have proved inadequate for this purpose. In different ways, they have both led to a centraliza...
Organic Nearly as Productive as Industrial Farming, New Study Says Impressive research from Iowa State University has already begun to show that agroecological systems that don't completely eliminate synthetic chemicals can match or exceed yields from U.S. industrial grain production and provide equal or higher profits to farmers. Now, new research by a team of U.C. Berkeley scientists shows that organic systems can also be highly productive. I want to point out that, despite the fact that we currently produce m...
Ohio Lawmakers Work to Sneak Through Extreme Six Week Abortion Ban On Tuesday, facing an uphill battle in their attempt to pass a stringent anti-abortion bill as a standalone measure, Ohio lawmakers attempted to tack it onto an unrelated piece of legislation that aims to reduce infant mortality. Senate Bill 276 is primarily concerned with lowering the state's disproportionately high rate of infant deaths by requiring the Ohio Department of Health to establish a sleep safety program. It's one of a series of ...
How Deforestation Can Make Us Sick Deforestation can lead to the spread of dangerous infectious diseases like Ebola. As reported by Al Jazeera and The Guardian, researchers suggest that large-scale deforestation, coupled with the movement of increasing numbers of humans into areas previously dominated by forests, has lead to a growing risk of viral epidemics as diseases cross from animal hosts into humans. Here's how it works. Increased human-wildlife interaction As forested area...
The Fracking Boom Could End Way Sooner Than Obama Thinks President Obama is fond of touting America's vast trove of natural gas—and the energy (read: economic growth) it can provide—as a reason to support fracking. "Our 100-year supply of natural gas is a big factor in drawing jobs back to our shores," he told a gathering at Northwestern University in October. You can hear that same optimism about US natural gas production from Democrats, Republicans, and of course, the industry itself. The convic...
Cities and Markets Can Fight Climate Change In the debate over how to address climate change, there is a glaring gap between the levels of carbon reductions the world must achieve to avert the worst consequences of global warming and the levels of reductions that national governments have been willing to make thus far. Bridging that gap will require cities and businesses -- the chief drivers of carbon emissions -- to play a leading role, and Lima's experience points the way forward. Lima r...
Nigeria: Nurhi Raises Alarm Over Fg Default in Funding Family Planning As Nigeria approaches 2015, fears have been raised on the possibility of the country meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially on goals three and four which bothered on maternal and child mortality. Dr. Mojisola Odeku, National Coordinator, NURHI at the weekend warned that the gains made in maternal and child mortality might be reversed if the country fails to meet up with its commitment to family planning in the country. Dr. Od...
Saving Forests Not Enough to Stop Carbon Imbalance LONDON, 21 November, 2014 − Foresters may be guardians of the planet, but they may need to think about more than just the forests to reduce the threats from climate change. New research suggests that a policy that protects the planet's forests from fire and the chainsaw must also deliver new ways of stopping the spread of agriculture into other habitats. The trick − according to a report by Alexander Popp, a senior researcher at the Potsd...
Goal to End Fossil Fuels by 2050 Surfaces in Lima UN Climate Documents It's a rare thing when you can point to paragraphs in a United Nations climate negotiating text and feel they more or less match what most of the science says should become a reality. Yet in Lima on Monday, it happened. Our little revolutionary moment comes in a document with the memorable title "ADP 2-7 agenda item 3 Elements for a draft negotiating text" with its climate-busting section D (paragraph 13.2) outlining several possible long...
Back to the Future for Economic Inequality Apart from global warming, it is arguably the rise in economic inequality witnessed over the past forty years that constitutes the most significant threat to our democratic social order. Unlike pandemics or acts of terrorism, inequality develops insidiously during which it transforms social institutions and indeed the very way in which we think. It moves us away from fundamental ethical principles enshrined in the golden rule to accept vast greed...
Beyond Electrification: Why Fuels Matter for Energy Access Though growing interest in energy access issues in developing countries has led to more open discussions and more funding opportunities, much of it is focused on electrification needs, not clean cooking and heating fuels. Despite the lop-sided attention, the statistics on access to clean cooking and heating fuels in the developing world are just as (if not more) staggering as the electrification challenge, and ensuring access to modern fuels dema...
Oil Investors at Brink of Losing Trillions of Dollars in Assets. Gore: It's That Road Runner Moment A major threat to fossil fuel companies has suddenly moved from the fringe to center stage with a dramatic announcement by Germany's biggest power company and an intriguing letter from the Bank of England. A growing minority of investors and regulators are probing the possibility that untapped deposits of oil, gas and coal -- valued at trillions of dollars globally -- could become stranded assets as governments adopt stricter climate change po...
Best & Worst of Women's Health and Rights in 2014 1 "Heck Yes!" Moment of the Year 2 "Really?!" Moment of the Year 3 Women's Health Feat of the Year 4 Women's Rights Hero of the Year 1 “Heck Yes!" Moment of the Year 2 “Really?!" Moment of the Year 3 Women's Health Feat of the Year 4 Women's Rights Hero of the Year Email:* Yes, send me email updates from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund. Planned Parenthood Action Fund ...
Melinda Gates Backs Contraception for Healthier, Wealthier Future Nov 3 (Reuters) - Giving the millions of women who need it contraception and pregnancy advice will help avoid illness, disadvantage and poverty for current and future generations, Melinda Gates said on Monday. The co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation told Reuters she is encouraged by progress in the past two years in putting family planning at the center of woman and child health programs, but says more needs to be done to ensure al...
The Birth Control Pill Advanced Women's Economic Freedom 1960 Enovid is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as the first oral contraceptive. Five years after the introduction of the pill, 41 percent of "contracepting" women had a prescription, according to The Power of the Pill, a 2002 analysis by Harvard economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz. Today, four out of every five sexually active women in the U.S. have taken oral contraceptives at some point in their lives. As birth ...
7 Victories for Reproductive Freedom You May Not Realize Happened This Year There's no question that 2014 has been a difficult year for the reproductive rights community. The Supreme Court ruled against pro-choice groups in the Hobby Lobby and abortion clinic buffer zone cases, and the midterm elections brought a wave of GOP victories at the state and national level that will surely result in even more anti-choice legislation next session. It's easy to feel like everything is hopeless. But there were also a few brig...
The Climate-change Solution No One Will Talk About The equation seems fairly simple: The more the world's population rises, the greater the strain on dwindling resources and the greater the impact on the environment. The solution? Well, that's a little trickier to talk about. Public-health discussions will regularly include mentions of voluntary family planning as a way to reduce unwanted pregnancies and births. But, said Jason Bremner of the Population Reference Bureau, those policies can also...
Life in Nepal by Sarah Wade At high noon, Devi KC is still deep in the daily chores she started at sunrise: brewing tea and cooking a meal of rice, lentils and spinach for her husband and teenage son; pumping and hauling water from the nearby well; harvesting hay from her field; and sweeping road dirt from her front porch. Despite a long mental list of tasks to complete before she goes to sleep at 10 p.m., Devi changes out of her well-worn green sari and...
Big Changes Need Big Stories: the Year Ahead in Environment and Energy Reporting While climate change has enjoyed a recent spike in news coverage, journalists face a constant challenge to bring sustained attention to other environmental stories, including resource scarcity, the changing oceans, and demographic change. [Video Below] Growing demand for natural resources emerged as a major theme among a panel of national environmental journalists, convened by the Society of Environmental Journalists at the Wilson Center on Janu...
Sexual and Reproductive Health Services Fall Far Short of Needs in Developing Regions LONDON, 4 December 2014—A new report finds a staggering lack of basic sexual and reproductive health services in developing countries. The report, Adding It Up: The Costs and Benefits of Investing in Sexual and Reproductive Health 2014, finds that currently 225 million women in developing countries want to avoid pregnancy, but are not using modern contraceptives. In addition, tens of millions of women do not receive the basic pregnancy and del...
World Population Will Soar Higher Than Predicted Hana Ševčíková and Jen Christiansen; SOURCES: "WORLD POPULATION STABILIZATION UNLIKELY THIS CENTURY," BY PATRICK GERLAND ET AL., IN SCIENCE EXPRESS. PUBLISHED ONLINE SEPTEMBER 18, 2014 (2014 projections); “THE END OF WORLD POPULATION GROWTH," BY WOLFGANG LUTZ ET AL., IN NATURE, VOL. 412; AUGUST 2, 2001 (2001 projections) United Nations leaders have worried for decades about the pace of population growth. A few years ago leading cal...
Six Myths About Climate Change That Liberals Rarely Question Myth #1: Liberals Are Not In Denial "We will not apologize for our way of life" -Barack Obama The conservative denial of the very fact of climate change looms large in the minds of many liberals. How, we ask, could people ignore so much solid and unrefuted evidence? Will they deny the existence of fire as Rome burns once again? With so much at stake, this denial is maddening, indeed. But almost never discussed is an unfortunate sid...
Too Many of Whom? Population and Climate Change Since the 1798 publication of Robert Malthus's Essay on the Principle of Population, arguments that the world is getting too crowded have habitually reared their head during times of societal crisis. The dawn of the Anthropocene Epoch is no different. The equation upon which Malthus based his research, that birthrates increase in multiples while crops fecundate arithmetically leading to scarcity if not kept in check, has since been widely disp...
How Much Does Sexual Assault Cost College Students Every Year? In 2008, Wagatwe Wanjuki reported to her school, Tufts, that her boyfriend had repeatedly assaulted her. But the college refused to investigate the claim. The stress of the abuse and institutional betrayal took a toll on her grades, but without the school's support she could not afford the tutoring she needed. Tufts then expelled Wanjuki for her substandard academic performance in 2009. (Tufts declined to comment on Wanjuki's experience, citi...
Population Growth is Clearly Our Planet's Number-One Problem There are so many elephants in the room these days that I often find myself wondering if those ancient Hindu cosmologists might have been on to something. Perhaps the world really is just one giant room, supported on the back of four elephants. I'm not sure what this means for the giant turtle on whose back the elephants are meant to be standing. Perhaps turtles are the new elephants. Anyway, in the modern British discourse, our unaddressed e...
A Strategy for Rich Countries: Absorb More Immigrants Economic debate since the financial crisis and Great Recession has often focused on issues like monetary policy, fiscal stimulus, unemployment and financial regulation. Yes, these are all important, but in the future we will need to pay much more attention to a relatively neglected field: population economics. It's an area that will prove central to understanding whether nations will grow richer — or will stagnate and lose global importance. ...
Human Population Growth & Endangered Species Africa's human population is expected to double by 2050, and population growth is a major threat to biodiversity. When poor rural communities rely on healthy ecosystems for food, water and livelihoods their interests and those of conservationists are the same. The Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) works in rural communities which often face significant barriers to accessing voluntary family planning services. Even when such services exist, women ...
Americans Across Party Lines Think We Should Talk More About Birth Control twitter icon thanks birth control CREDIT: Thanks Birth Control Day Policies to expand access to all forms of birth control have broad bipartisan support, and most Americans think we would benefit from talking more about the positive effects of contraception, according to new research released by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy on Thursday. Support for contraception transcends party lines, with with 82 percent of D...
What We're Reading: New Study Misses the Point on Family Planning Last week, there was a flurry of media attention around a new study out of Australia that claimed the world's growing population is just going to keep on growing, destroying the planet, and there's nothing we can do about it. WaPoclip The Washington Post's Wonkblog was one of many outlets that missed the point in their coverage of the study. That's a vastly simplified and overstated description, but it's not too far from the panicky he...
How to Put the Chill on Teen Sex Back in July, I argued that there is growing evidence that liberals have found a way to preserve traditional families in our modern, disconnected, wealthy society. Now, I'm seeing some evidence that liberals have found another way to out-tradition the traditionalists -- curbing teen sexuality in the face of modern media. The conservative method of preventing teen sex is to tell teens not to have sex. That seems pretty straightforward, right? T...
Human Population Size: Speeding Cars Can't Stop Quickly Here at ConservationBytes.com, I write about pretty much anything that has anything remotely to do with biodiversity's prospects. Whether it is something to do with ancient processes, community dynamics or the wider effects of human endeavour, anything is fair game. It's a little strange then that despite cutting my teeth in population biology, I have never before tackled human demography. Well as of today, I have. The press embargo has just...
Executive Summary (INFOGRAPHIC) All women and girls have the right, and must have the means, to decide freely and for themselves whether and when to have children. Access to voluntary family planning leads to transformational benefits across the development spectrum, and is one of the smartest investments a country can make in its future. At the 2012 London Summit on Family Planning, leaders from around the world committed to expanding contraceptive access to an a...
Drilling Deeper: a Reality Check on U.S. Government Forecasts for a Lasting Tight Oil & Shale Gas Boom Drilling Deeper: A Reality Check on U.S. Government Forecasts for a Lasting Tight Oil & Shale Gas Boom investigates whether the Department of Energy's expectation of long-term domestic oil and natural gas abundance is founded. It aims to gauge the likely future of U.S. tight oil and shale gas production based on an in-depth assessment of all drilling and production data from the major shale plays, current through early- to mid-2014. The report ...
Do Not Underestimate Family Planning A recent article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has ignited a small firestorm of criticism. As reflected by its title, "Human population reduction is not a quick fix for environmental problems," the authors argue that reducing projected population growth rates, by itself, would not have an immediate impact on environmental threats like climate change. In a broad sense that's true, but it is sort of like saying that ...
October 11 - International Day of the Girl
October 16 - World Food Day
October 17 - International Day for Eradication of Poverty
October 17-23 - World Population Awareness Week
November 19 - World Vasectomy Day
November 29 - Women's Human Rights Defenders Day
November 30 -South Asian Women's Day for Human Rights
December 1 - World AIDS Day
December 10 - Human Rights Day
January 19 - Martin Luther King Day
"There is no human circumstance more tragic than the persisting existence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily available. Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is possible, practical and necessary.
January 22 - Roe vs. Wade anniversary39 years ago the courts recognized the right of women to make personal, private medical decisions, to control their bodies, their reproductive health, and their lives.
Karen Gaia's Sustainability & Family Planning Travel Study
South Asia 2000
South Asia 2001