World Population Awareness

Action Alerts

Stop the War on International Law

June 21, 2014, Global Solutions.org

The Women's Equality Treaty (officially known as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW) has been languishing in the Senate for over 30 years due to a well-funded and coordinated opposition that feels threatened by international law.

This law has been used by over 180 other countries to address female illiteracy, discrimination, female genital mutilation, sex trafficking and income inequality.

But opponents are portraying it as a threat to the "traditional family" and deliberately distorting the truth about it and several other treaties. They are threatening to run against Senators who support international cooperation, leading many to keep silent on their support for ratification.

Our Senate is better than this. Our citizens deserve better. It's time our Senators went on the record about the U.S. standing up for women's equality and ratifying CEDAW.

Opponents of international cooperation are threatening any Senator who supports working with other countries to solve global problems. Help us fight this "war on international law" and recommit American leadership to engaging and shaping global norms that reflect our shared values. doclink

Act Now for Women and Girls

June 18 , 2014

Around the world, women and girls are targeted for rape and sexual violence as a tactic of war, to tear apart and terrorize families and communities. But women and girls are taking a stand for what they need to recover and survive. We can take a stand. And the United States must take the lead. Stand with CHANGE, Global Fund for Women, and tens of thousands of women and girls. Send President Obama a strong message: act now for women and girls raped in conflict and crisis. Join us at GenderHealth.org http://www.genderhealth.org/ doclink

Governor Brown: Support the End of Forced Sterilization of California Prisoners

Ask the California legislature to immediately pass SB 1135, a proposed law that would prohibit sterilization of prisoners for birth control or without their consent.
June 19 , 2014, MoveOn.org

Ask the California legislature to immediately pass SB 1135, a proposed law that would prohibit sterilization of prisoners for birth control or without their consent.

The State of California cares for its prisoners so badly that in 2005, a judge mandated federal oversight of their prison healthcare system after it was documented that one person dies in California prisons every day from extreme medical malpractice or neglect. But as horrific as these crimes of neglect are, it shocks the conscience anew to hear that the medical care that was provided to prisoners included forced sterilization as recently as 2010.

Eugenics is a word that sounds to too many of us like it belongs only in the history books, but the eugenics programs started in California in the 1920s were found still alive and kicking in its prisons until very recently. While mainstream, and mostly white, women's rights advocates celebrated and defended legal abortion, too little attention has been paid to genocidal medical violence practiced against members of society deemed 'unfit' parents due to poverty, mental health, or non-white ethnicity.

As Loretta Ross, an African American victim of forced sterilization at the age of 23, wrote recently, "After my sterilization, I felt empty, lost, and butchered. I was in shock and felt powerless." There is no justification for an atrocity like this and the State of California must immediately act to ensure that state power is never again abused to deprive people of their right to parent and make their own decisions about their family size.

Tell Governor Brown to ask the California legislature to act immediately to pass SB 1135 and safeguard against forced sterilization of vulnerable populations. doclink

U.S.: SB899 - Take Action: Why is California Telling Women How Many Kids to Have?

June 01 , 2014, Act for Women and Girls - California

Repeal the MFG rule. Stop punishing families.

California has a long history of supporting a woman's personal decisions regarding her reproductive choices. We trust women to make decisions about what's best for their families. But there is a state policy - the Maximum Family Grant rule (MFG) - that actually limits women's ability to make reproductive decisions.Tell California's lawmakers and Gov. Brown today: it's time to repeal the MFG rule.

The MFG rule is part of CalWORKs, California's program to help families in poverty. But this rule punishes poor women for their reproductive decisions by withholding aid for a newborn child. It also punishes poor children by denying them financial support and drives families deeper into poverty.

The MFG rule limits reproductive freedom by telling women how many children they should have. The government shouldn't be intruding in families' private lives like this.

For the past 20 years, this failed state policy has made life harder for families. It's time to stop punishing children and start supporting families who are trying hard to make ends meet. It is time to tell the government out of women's decisions about when to have children. It's time to repeal the MFG rule. Take action today.

A strong coalition led by State Senator Holly Mitchell has come together to repeal the MFG rule through a bill, SB 899, and the state budget doclink

Karen Gaia says: this is not what we population folks are all about. We believe that families must be trusted to make the best decision for their families. Voluntary family planning is the essence of our ideals. Fifty percent of pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended. That tells us that women do not always have the best information about, and access to, affordable effective contraception. This is where we must focus.

Donate

Wise Giving Guide

Change comes from what we do; not what we think. The world has more problems than we can solve. Supporting those who offer good solutions may be all that most of us can do. But when the phone rings almost daily with people requesting donations, I always decline. To ensure that what little I have to donate goes to the best possible use, I pool my contributions and carefully target them for maximum affect. doclink

We Can Do More This World Contraception Day

September 26 , 2012, Pathfinder International

Let us help the 215 million women who lack access to family planning, like Georgette, a mother in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who, before she finally found access to contraception, had already been pregnant 20 times, and lost 7 of her babies to starvation because nursing was cut short by another pregnancy. With the help of the Pathfinder-trained community health worker, Georgette chose a contraceptive method and is now happy and healthy.

Click here to donate.

$25 can provide 4 doctors with infection prevention training manuals.

$50 can give a woman in Peru a year of contraception and counseling.

$100 can train a community health worker in India to provide basic family planning services.

$250 can train 10 midwives to recognize the signs of high risk pregnancies, enabling them to refer a woman to a health facility.

$1,000 can buy one year of injectable contraceptives for 600 women in Ethiopia. doclink

Center for Biological Diversity Overpopulation Public Service Ad in Times Square on a 520-square-foot Screen for One Month

September 08, 2011, Center for Biological Diversity

The Center for Biological Diversity launched a new national campaign, 7 Billion and Counting, to highlight the devastating effects of the world's exploding human population on wildlife around the globe. The PSA in Times Square will reach a million people every day over the next month. Check out the powerful ad by clicking on the headline link above -- now running hourly in one of the most crowded places on the planet.

The 7 Billion and Counting campaign is timed to raise public awareness of the world hitting its 7 billionth human being at the end of October and the impacts of that benchmark on global biodiversity and endangered plant and animal species.

The money for the ad was raised from individual contributions. doclink

Book Signing Set for Redlands Author; Jane Roberts Says Her Grass-roots Fundraising Has Been 'an Incredible Adventure'

November 03, 2005, Press Enterprise (US)

Jane Roberts was mad that the Bush administration had refused to release the funds Congress had approved for UNFPA and she set out to raise the $34 million - she would ask 34 million Americans to send $1 each to UNFPA. Lois Abraham came up with a similar idea, the U.N. agency put the two in contact and they joined forces. Together they gave birth to 34 Million Friends of the Women of the World. By May 1, 2003, the organization had raised $ 1 million and a recent tally puts the total at nearly $ 2.75 million. UNFPA has been using the money for family-planning supplies and the prevention and repair of obstetric fistula. Ted Turner's U.N. Foundation has donated grant funds and support. A first-hand account of her experiences, published by Ladybug Press is titled "34 Million Friends of the Women of the World." After co-founding the organization, Roberts began speaking around the world about the fundraising effort. Roberts and Abraham were nominated, along with 998 other women, for the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize. They did not win, but their nomination brought attention to their efforts. For years she believed herself to be the lay person best informed and most passionate about women's reproductive issues and problems. "I am living in a dream world, doing what I want to do most in the latter years of my life." doclink

Peruvian Amazon Conservation

June 26, 2005, Richard Grossman, MD

We can all agree about the importance of providing voluntary family planning to women. Please take a moment to learn about an amazing organization, Peruvian Amazon Conservation, which supplies women who live along a section of the Amazon with an exceptional contraceptive service.

PAC (www.peruvianamazon.org) is based in a small village where there are no roads'all travel is along the waterways. It was a real eye-opener for me when I visited there a few years ago. The people are universally poor - too poor to afford any medical care in most cases. Although Peru has a family planning program, people would have to go to Iquitos (the nearest city) to participate; this is a journey that few of the people in this area can afford. Although population density seems low, all people live along rivers, and they are making significant changes to the rain forest by cutting down trees and "development". PAC provides basic medical care, health and environmental education as well as family planning.

The PAC family planning program is based on depo-medroxyprogesterone (Depo Provera, or DMPA). Women come to the clinic for their shots every three months. All women receive their shots during the same week so they can "carpool". (Actually, people arrive at the clinic by dugout canoe.) If a woman wants to start contraception at a time different from the shot week, she is given enough birth control pills to last until the next time shots are given.

It has been difficult and expensive to get a reliable supply of DMPA. People from my hometown, Durango, Colorado, gave over a thousand dollars last year to help pay for the medication and to support PAC. (Please note that PAC is not a slick organization with paid staff. You need to mail them a check rather than making a donation by internet). PAC is a nonprofit 501c3 tax-exempt organization, so all donations are tax deductible. The contact information is:

Peruvian Amazon Conservation 1759 Dyson Drive NE Atlanta, GA 30307 Phone: 404-378-9800 www.peruvianamazon.org

The organization is run out of the home of Eleanor Smithwick, the founder and executive director. She is often in Peru, so her husband, Ron, will answer the phone if she is not at home. Note that none of the contributions go to support Eleanor or the other USA staff. doclink

Videos, Presentations

Meltwater Pulse 2B

June 01 , 2014, Yale Climate Connections

Independent videographer Peter Sinclair's 'This is Not Cool' video explores recent headline-grabbing research on Antarctic glacial melting. doclink

Human Population Growth and Wildlife Extinction

January 24, 2014, Center for Biological Diversity

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

Letter and Article Writing

LTE: for Contraception Methods, Long-term Options Work Better

November 27 , 2013

Bonnie Tillery, a population issues coordinator for the New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club wrote this LTE which she is willing to share with anyone who wants to send it to their local paper.

For contraception methods,long-term options work better

There has been a lot of negative press about the Affordable Care Act, but here is some positive news.

The act mandates that insurance companies provide all forms of female contraception without a co-pay as part of preventive health care. This should bring down the incidence of unplanned pregnancy dramatically, as was shown in a 2007 study at Washington University in St. Louis.

According to an Oct. 23 article in The American Prospect, researchers "provided 10,000 St. Louis women with free contraception, with the goal of decreasing unintended pregnancy.... Few women ended up choosing the pill. Most went with a long-acting contraceptive method, like an IUD or an implant and the results were striking. Women who opted for a shorter-term contraceptive like the pill were 20 times more likely to have an unintended pregnancy."

Currently, about one-half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned - the largest number among countries in the developed world. By reducing dependence on the birth control pill, which is not as effective as other long-term contraceptives, the incidence of unplanned pregnancy should be greatly diminished.

Women who are able to plan their pregnancies and space their children have healthier outcomes for themselves, their families and the environment.. doclink

Talk Point: Have Your Say on Population Growth

July 18, 2011, The Guardian

This month's Global development podcast looks at population growth. What questions would you like us to ask our panel?

Click on the headline link above to participate. doclink

Activist Yellowpages

White House: 202-456-1111, http://www.whitehouse.gov

Congress: 202-224-3121

Senators: http://www.senate.gov

Representatives: http://www.house.gov doclink

U.S.: How You Can Help Improve News Media Coverage of Population

May 11, 2011, Population Media Center

While it seems the volume of news media coverage of population issues has increased significantly in the last few years, still a lot of inaccurate and biased coverage of population issues, both by the media and by institutions that favor continued population growth.

With food and energy crises, political instability, continuing loss of the biodiversity, and a growing volume of material coming from population activists, awareness has been raised among journalists that we may have overgrown the capacity of the planet to sustain our numbers and lifestyles.

An example of this problem is when the US Census Bureau characterized the US population 9% growth rate in the last decade as, "The percentage growth this last decade...is thus the second lowest of the past century," and failed to mention that the total population growth 1990's and the 2000's (60 million) was bigger than the Baby Boom of 1945 to 1965 (54 million), as reported by researcher Mark Powell of Vermonters for Sustainable Population.

Newspapers picked up on the slow growth idea and published inaccurate stories.

Population Media Center is managing a project called the Population News Strategy that seeks to educate the public about population issues both in the United States and abroad, in order to help the public understand the importance of slowing down and eventually halting both domestic and international population growth.

How you can help:

If you see a news-story which explicitly covers a population issue - accurately or inaccurately - and the email of the reporter is available, please send the hyperlink of the story to: joebish@populationmedia.org . Stories where the reporter's email is not available may be interesting, but will not help us build our database.

If you see a blogger covering population issues, please send the blog url to: joebish@populationmedia.org

If you personally know and can easily contact a credible and well-credentialed researcher, writer, advocate, politician, scientist, activist, etc., who is interested in sustainable population issues who you think deserves consideration for being placed on-air, please contact Joe Bish at: joebish@populationmedia.org . In your message please identify the individual and provide back-ground information on them if possible (e.g. bio or url to website).

If you have something to say about population and wish to contribute an Op-Ed to be considered for syndicated publishing, please do not hesitate to send drafts for consideration to: joebish@populationmedia.org

Please note these general Op-Ed guidelines: Columns should be provocative: identify a problem and identify a specific culprit (e.g. Congress, a specific person, a corporation). Aim for no more than six hundred words. Please indicate if the piece has been run in another publication before you sent it to us. doclink

Appreciate your Lawmakers Who Support Family Planning and Women's Choice

January 2011, WOA!! website

This letter was received by one of the activists in our local population group. She had written a letter of concern to her congress person. The next step would be for several activists to send letters of appreciation and support to this lawmaker.

Dear Ms. xxx:

Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns about family planning and a woman's right to choose. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on this issue.

As you know, the 1973 Supreme Court ruling of Roe v. Wade allowed for legal abortions in the United States. In the thirty-six years following this decision, the question over the legality and morality of abortion rights has continued. The Supreme Court decision in Gonzales v. Carhart on April 18, 2007, upheld a law banning so-called partial birth abortions and reignited this emotional debate.

I am committed to reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in the United States. Additionally, I am especially concerned about the increasing rate of teenage pregnancies, particularly in the Central Valley where our teens are becoming pregnant at a much higher rate than the rest of the county. However, I believe that education, a streamlined adoption process, and an improved health care system are better means of achieving this goal than prohibiting abortion by law. In my opinion, intervention into such a personal decision is an inappropriate role for government. I have consistently supported a woman's right to choose throughout my career in public service, and will keep your views in mind as debate on this issue continues in the 112th Congress.

To keep informed of the work I do here in Congress, please visit my website at www.xxx.house.gov and sign up for my newsletter. If I may be of any further assistance on this or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,

xxx Member of Congress doclink

The Future of the International Family Planning Movement

July 27, 2005, Population Reference Bureau

The availability, use, and funding of family planning worldwide has seen a revolution in the last 50 years, dramatically reducing fertility levels and slowing population growth in developing countries. But contraceptive use is still low and need for it high in some of the world's poorest and most populous places.

In the 1970s and 1980s family planning was in the spotlight, but recently not so much recently as as issues such as HIV/AIDS and poverty alleviation. Perhaps its success has led to its recent loss of visibility.

Recently key informants - developing-country program managers, senior staff members of nongovernmental and donor organizations, and prominent researchers - were surveyed in a study supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute of Population and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins University. One key informant in the study said: "When you hesitate to say the words 'family planning,' something is happening. When you say 'reproductive health' and have to be careful, something is happening."

There is a declining sense of urgency about population growth and its consequences; competing health and development priorities; rising political conservatism (especially in the United States); and a lack of international and local leadership. Poverty reduction was cited as the primary focus of current development efforts.

The agenda of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) meeting in Cairo in 1994 emphasized the welfare of individual women, the achievement of their sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender equity. This redefinition of the social problem of population growth in terms of reproductive health, particularly for women, has caused popular consciousness about the problem to ebb, since reproductive health does not carry the same political vitality as a developmental disaster or disease epidemic.

"When reproductive health becomes too big, family planning gets lost. The trouble is that it's no longer a focused program. It's difficult for donors to see, to manage and implement." In 1995, family planning received 55% of total worldwide population-assistance expenditures, while basic research and reproductive health received 18% each and HIV/STIs received 9%. In 2003, HIV/STIs received 47% of total worldwide population-assistance expenditures, while reproductive health received 25%, basic research 15%, and family planning 13%. Compared to the magnitude of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, preventing unintended pregnancies is now perceived internationally as much less compelling and less urgent.

While there was general agreement that collaboration between family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment programs was appropriate, there seemed to be distinct lack of collaboration between the fields. Young people who used to be attracted to the family planning field when it was seen as a critical social need are reportedly going into fields that are perceived to be more urgent today, such as HIV/AIDS, safe motherhood, and poverty alleviation, while some older, experienced leaders who formerly worked in family planning have moved on. That and lack of funding for advanced training means that leadership in family planning is aging or lacking.

Strong opposition from abortion opponents is also a disincentive to work in the family planning field. Some respondents felt that the international family planning movement was in it's demise, but others felt that the movement would continue with the locus of action shifiting to the developing world in those countries that have major contraceptive needs, a rapidly growing population, and a policy commitment to slowing growth. Others felt that women's motivation to control fertility is so strong (and the social norm of family planning so well established) that contraceptive use will continue to rise no matter what happens to family planning programs.

Some felt the message of family planning could be recast (1) addressing an unfinished agenda of unmet contraceptive need, unwanted fertility, stalled fertility decline, and shortages of contraceptive supplies; (2) highlighting family planning's benefits for reducing abortion and improving women's status and health; and (3) demonstrating family planning's relevance in reducing social inequity. Many saw the risks of increased poverty, poor health, and higher mortality as a result of high fertility and population growth rates.

"The population theme is both a threat and an opportunity. It needs to be better utilized, not for Malthusian reasons, but in order to rise above poverty," said one respondent. doclink

U.S.: Izaak Walton League: Outdoors Journalists Key to New Education Campaign Linking Impact of Population Growth on Conservation Resources

2005, Izaak Walton League

Human population growth has potentially explosive consequences for natural resources and the Izaak Walton League has released a pair of publications intended to inspire, engage, and assist outdoor journalists to reacquaint themselves with this issue. The first is a collection of essays by five prominent journalists on the effects of population growth on outdoor recreation. The second gives background information and tips on writing stories about population growth and getting them published. Chuck Clayton, national president, said that outdoor recreation enthusiasts will understand more fully the consequences of human population growth on their pursuits when a broader spectrum of journalists start addressing the issue as a matter of course. Jim Baird, director of the League's Sustainability Education Project said "Every major threat to outdoor recreation-from climate change to hunting access, from habitat loss to dying fisheries - is, at its base, an issue about how people can continue to thrive while maintaining a livable world." Outdoor journalists should embrace this topic more aggressively." In 1970 the League's members enacted a policy on carrying capacity - an evaluation of how human needs and numbers affect wildlife, their habitat and all forms of recreation that depend on the outdoors. Follow the headline link to read the two publications. doclink