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Articles by Category for ‘Issues We Address’

Two Realities

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Two Realities

See: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-07-22/two-realities

Our contemporary world is host to two coexisting but fundamentally different-and, in at least one crucial respect, contradictory-realities. One of these might be termed Political Reality, though it extends far beyond formal politics and pervades conventional economic thinking. It is the bounded universe of what is acceptable in public economic-social-political discourse. The other is Physical Reality: i.e., what exists in terms of energy and materials, and what is possible given the laws of thermodynamics.

For decades these two realities have developed along separate lines. They overlap from time to time: politicians and economists use data tied to measureable physical parameters, while physical scientists often frame their research and findings in socially meaningful ways. But in intent and effect, they diverge to an ever-greater extent.

The issue at which they differ to the point of outright contradiction is economic growth. And climate change forces the question.

See: http://www.resilience.org/stories/2014-07-22/two-realities

Two out of three countries ‘ecologically overshot’

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Two out of three countries ‘ecologically overshot’ 

See: http://populationmatters.org/2014/population-matters-news/countries-ecologically-overshot/

Two out of three countries are already consuming more individually than each can produce sustainably from its own resources, i.e. relying only on renewables, as we eventually must. This position can only worsen as population and consumption rise.

For World Population Day 2014 on 11 July Population Matters has released its updated Overshoot Index. Based on Blue Planet Prize-winning Global Footprint Network data, the Index relates each country’s biocapacity – the ability to provide renewable ecological services like water collection, food production and waste absorption – to the country’s population size and current per capita resource consumption. The Index shows that 96 out of the 146 countries listed, including all but seven or eight of the OECD nations, are already in overshoot, i.e. living beyond their ecological means. The Index in addition gives the biophysically sustainable population for each country, given current productivity and consumption levels. The UK ranks as the 26th most overshot nation, with a sustainable population of 20.6 million people. England alone would be much higher up on the list.

“This puts the scale of the challenge facing the Sustainable Development Goals process into stark relief”, said Population Matters Chair Roger Martin. “Countries in overshoot are unsustainable from their own resources in the long-term unless they reduce their populations, or their consumption per head, or some combination of both. An increase in either worsens a country’s long-term position.

See: http://populationmatters.org/2014/population-matters-news/countries-ecologically-overshot/

Chepangs still wary of family planning

Friday, July 25th, 2014

Chepangs still wary of family planning 

See: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=79408

GORKHA, July 20: Bir Bahadur Chepang of Makaising village has four daughters and five sons. His eldest son is 24 years old. Forty-eight-year old Bir Bahadur´s youngest child is a toddler. His wife is going to deliver another soon.

“Yes, I have too many kids, but what to do, it is very natural,” says Bir Bahadur.

Whatever the Chepang family grows in the field throughout the year is not enough even for four months. Although the growing size of the family is already taking its toll on the Chepangs´ well-being, Bir Bahadur simply has no idea that he could stop adding more members to the family by opting for family planning options.

Years of government campaign aimed at raising awareness about family planning has failed to impress Bir Bahadur.

“I have not heard much about ways not to have babies,” said Bir Bahadur. He has never heard about condom. Moreover, he is still guided by the belief among the older generation of Chepangs that they need to produce more babies in view of their declining population.

See: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=79408

Launching the Youth Champions Initiative

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Launching the Youth Champions Initiative with the Packard Foundation 

See: http://www.youthchampionsinitiative.org/

Dear Colleagues,

We are thrilled to share that The David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Public Health Institute (PHI) have partnered to launch the Youth Champions Initiative - a new initiative to advance innovation and quality in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights globally.

The Youth Champions Initiative (YCI) will leverage the experience and lessons learned from PHI’s Let Girls Lead and Champions for Change initiatives, building an entirely new and innovative initiative in honor of the Packard Foundation’s 50th anniversary. The YCI will build upon the Foundation’s longstanding commitment to reproductive health and the engagement of youth leaders by investing in visionary young champions who will lead the sexual and reproductive health and rights movement for the next generation.

The Youth Champions Initiative will select 18 visionary young leaders (ages 18-29) from India, Ethiopia, Pakistan, and the US to attend YCI’s innovative Incubator workshop, which will be held from December 4-12, 2014 in Los Altos, California, USA. The Incubator will integrate capacity building in sexual and reproductive health and rights, leadership, innovation, advocacy and project development. YCI will competitively award grants (in the range of $8,000 – $12,000) to participating Youth Champions and their organizations to launch innovative sexual and reproductive health and rights projects they develop during the Incubator.

See: http://www.youthchampionsinitiative.org/

The Next Phase of the Birth Control War: Religious Discrimination Lawsuits

Monday, July 21st, 2014

The Next Phase of the Birth Control War: Religious Discrimination Lawsuits 

See: http://www.care2.com/causes/the-next-phase-of-the-birth-control-war-religious-discrimination-cases.html

As more states push bills to strip family planning funding from Planned Parenthoods, or relocate funding so that Planned Parenthood affiliates are last in line, other clinics that provide care to low-income and uninsured residents will be forced to shoulder the burden of reproductive health care services, especially when it comes to offering birth control.

Yet, as a case in Florida shows us, those clinics are now being drawn into the war on contraception thanks to “pro-life” medical specialists who are seeking positions within those networks with absolutely no intention of providing the full range of services the clinics were set up to offer. And sadly, refusing to hire these people won’t work as then you’d be facing a discrimination lawsuit.

The Florida Lawsuit

Sara Hellwege applied for a job at Tampa Family Health Centers (TFHC), but was turned down. According to lawyers representing Hellwege, by refusing her an interview after noting that she was a member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists (AAPLOG) and learning that she would refuse to offer hormonal contraception, TFHC has discriminated against her on the basis of her religion.

See: http://www.care2.com/causes/the-next-phase-of-the-birth-control-war-religious-discrimination-cases.html

California Farms Are Sucking Up Enough Groundwater to Put Rhode Island 17 Feet Under

Monday, July 21st, 2014

California Farms Are Sucking Up Enough Groundwater to Put Rhode Island 17 Feet Under 

See: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/07/california-drought-report-economy-groundwater

California, the producer of nearly half of the nation’s fruits, veggies, and nuts, plus export crops-four-fifths of the world’s almonds, for example-is entering its third driest year on record. Nearly 80 percent of the state is experiencing “extreme” or “exceptional” drought. In addition to affecting agricultural production the drought will cost the state billions of dollars, thousands of jobs, and a whole lot of groundwater, according to a new report prepared for the California Department of Food and Agriculture by scientists at UC-Davis. The authors used current water data, agricultural models, satellite data, and other methods to predict the economic and environmental toll of the drought through 2016.

Here are four key takeaways:

  • The drought will cost the state $2.2 billion this year: Of these losses, $810 million will come from lower crop revenues, $203 million will come from livestock and dairy losses, and $454 million will come from the cost of pumping additional groundwater. Up to 17,100 seasonal and part-time jobs will be lost.
  • California is experiencing the “greatest absolute reduction in water availability” ever seen: In a normal year, about one-third of California’s irrigation water is drawn from wells that tap into the groundwater supply. The rest is “surface water” from streams, rivers, and reservoirs. This year, the state is losing about one-third of its surface water supply. The hardest hit area is the Central Valley, a normally fertile inland region. Because groundwater isn’t as easily pumped in the Valley as it is on the coasts, and the Colorado River supplies aren’t as accessible as they are in the south, the Valley has lost 410,000 acres to fallowing, an area about 10 times the size of Washington, DC.

See: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2014/07/california-drought-report-economy-groundwater

Food, population and the post-2015 development agenda

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Food, population and the post-2015 development agenda 

See: https://www.devex.com/news/food-population-and-the-post-2015-development-agenda-83892

Meeting the growing demand for food may be the world’s single greatest challenge, but it is part of a much larger complex of problems, all relating to the overuse of our planet and, ultimately, to the larger challenge posed by population growth.

Addressing that challenge is both a moral and a global imperative. That’s why earlier this month, the Population Institute unveiled “Population by the Numbers,” a series of compelling factoids focusing on population and its implications for economic and human development.

As the United Nations prepares for its General Assembly in September, many questions remain about the new global development agenda that is emerging from high-level negotiations among world leaders. For the past 14 years, the Millennium Development Goals have played a leading role in shaping the international development agenda. But the MDGs expire at the end of next year and progress toward a post-2015 agenda has been kept tightly under wraps.

See: https://www.devex.com/news/food-population-and-the-post-2015-development-agenda-83892

A Practical Guide to Population and Development

Monday, July 21st, 2014

A Practical Guide to Population and Development

See: http://www.prb.org/Publications/Reports/2014/population-development-guide.aspx

(July 2014) Throughout human history, the world’s population had grown slowly and by the beginning of the 20th century was only 1.6 billion people. Today, after only 110 years, the world’s population has surpassed 7.1 billion people.

During this time, the world has witnessed tremendous development-including innovations in health care, education, infrastructure, and technology-but more than 2 billion people still live in poverty and remain left out of this progress. The great challenge leaders of the world face today is to reduce poverty and inequity, and improve people’s lives without compromising the environment and the well-being of future generations.

At the same time, world population continues to increase by more than 80 million people a year, with most of the growth occurring in the world’s least developed countries. By 2050, according to the United Nation’s medium projection, the world’s population will increase to 9.6 billion people and will continue to grow through 2100. This continued growth has strong implications for health, well-being, and economic development. Leaders of nations everywhere must ask themselves: How does population growth affect national development and what must be done to manage the challenges of population growth?

See: http://www.prb.org/Publications/Reports/2014/population-development-guide.aspx

 

Shocking Photographs of People Lying in Seven Days Worth of Their Trash

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Shocking Photographs of People Lying in Seven Days Worth of Their Trash

See: http://www.boredpanda.com/7-days-of-garbage-trash-pollution-photography-gregg-segal/

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Keeping pace with population growth

Monday, July 21st, 2014

Keeping pace with population growth 

See: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)61130-2/fulltext

By Vladimíra Kantorová, Ann Biddlecom, Holly Newby

July 11 marks World Population Day, calling attention to the crucial part that population growth plays in meeting the health needs of a global population projected to reach 7·3 billion people in 2015 when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to an end.1 The region of sub-Saharan Africa faces particular challenges, where the population is projected to nearly double from 510 million people in 1990 to 989 million in 2015, driven mainly by high fertility and large cohorts of women of reproductive age.
When compared to other regions, sub-Saharan Africa is often described as lagging behind in terms of MDG progress on reproductive health. Looking at the absolute numbers of people reached, however, reveals unrecognised efforts made by countries in the region. For example, the percentage of women who received at least four antenatal care visits during pregnancy from skilled health personnel increased minimally over the past two decades, from 48% in 1990 to 50% in 2012 (figure).2 However, the estimated number of births for which mothers had received four antenatal visits increased by 61%. Moderate progress in increasing coverage of skilled attendance at birth (from 40% in 1990 to 53% in 2012) also masks a substantial increase in the absolute number of births attended by a skilled health provider, doubling from an estimated 9 million births in 1990 to 18 million births in 2012.