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Articles by Category for ‘Environment’

Call for Applications, Deadline 8/22/2014

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Call for Applications:

See: http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/?u=302c6990dc3b5cfe595793def&id=b1d248218a&e=7ac8664768

The OASIS Initiative is currently seeking nominations for Fellows and for facilitators for theSahel Leadership Program (PLS). The PLS will be co-hosted by Abdou Moumouni University (UAM) in Niamey, the Higher Institute of Population Sciences (ISSP) based at the University of Ouagadougou (UO) in Burkina Faso and the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS).

The PLS is a unique and visionary program, aiming to catalyze an active and engaged network of development professionals with a common vision for the Sahel. We will recruit approximately 20 emerging leaders in research, policy and development programs from Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad. The costs of participation will be fully covered by the program. Selected fellows will strengthen their skills in multidisciplinary collaboration while gaining knowledge about the interactions between population, climate and sustainable agriculture, and in the crucial role of girls and women in development.

The success and sustainability of this program depends on you. Please share information about this exciting opportunity with your professional networks, especially with potentially qualified candidates. More information about the program and the application form are available at www.oasisinitiative.org/pls. If you know of any dynamic facilitators whom you would like to recommend with expertise in sustainable agriculture, girls education and empowerment, or family planning, please contact Paige Passano toinfo@oasisinitiative.org.

Dick Smith challenges ‘faith’ in benefits of population and economic growth

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Dick Smith challenges ‘faith’ in benefits of population and economic growth
See: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/dick-smith-challenges-faith-in-benefits-of-population-and-economic-growth-20140813-3dmx0.html

Dick Smith has warned against unchecked population growth but says Australia’s politicians are not “game” enough to talk about the issue.

In an address to the National Press Club on Wednesday, the businessman said endless population and economic growth was like a “religious faith” for graduates of university degrees in economics and questioning whether these two things were beneficial for Australians was something of a taboo in public discussion.

Mr Smith singled out politicians, economists and journalists for restricting debate about the costs of “endless compound growth in population” and said a Senate inquiry might be needed to break open a conversation.

“It’s almost like a religious faith that growth, don’t even discuss it, it will just go on forever when it obviously can’t and I’m absolutely surprised at that,” Mr Smith said.

Mr Smith said, left unchecked, Australia’s population would hit “80 to 100 million by the end of the century if we keep growing”.

He said that kind of perpetual growth would only serve wealthy Australians, while the majority of the population would suffer a decline in living conditions and be worse off.

“The cake is a certain size, mainly coming from our mineral reserves and our primary production from farming, and double the population, I believe everyone’s worth half as much,” he said.

 See: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/dick-smith-challenges-faith-in-benefits-of-population-and-economic-growth-20140813-3dmx0.html

 

Not Yet?

Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

Not Yet?

See: http://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/not-yet/

The summer 2014 issue of CALIFORNIA, the magazine of the University of California Alumni Association, was touted as the “Apocalypse Issue.” It contained articles, mostly excellent, on a series of potential California and global problems: asteroid collision, epidemics, extinction, climate disruption and earthquake.  In stark contrast, though, was a summary article, “Apocalypse Later” by Brendan Buhler, interim Science Editor for the issue.

Buhler’s essay hinges around two assertions about the future.  On the one hand he asserts that apocalypse is something that is at worst far off in the future.  It is “not yet”; there is time.  Time for what?  For the technological solutions that he asserts are just around the corner.  To advise a wait-and-see attitude when it comes to confronting severe threats to us and our descendants, and a thoughtless confidence when it comes to future breakthroughs in technology, is a lethal combination; it is not the advice we and many of our scientist colleagues offer up in the classroom.

See: http://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/not-yet/

Planetary health: a call for papers

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Planetary health: a call for papers 

See: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)61289-7/fulltext

We live in the Anthropocene era when humanity’s impact on both biological and geophysical systems is becoming increasingly dominant. Environmental trends, including large-scale changes to climate, water, and natural habitats, pose important challenges to sustaining the biosphere in a state conducive to the advancement of health and flourishing of humanity. Those challenges also threaten the very viability of human civilisation.1
The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has assessed the risks to health from climate change, but much less has been written on the health effects of the other environmental changes or on the implications for health from interactions between different types of environmental stress. Biodiversity loss, freshwater withdrawals, cropland and pasture conversion, coastal buffer degradation, and ocean acidification have major implications for human health through effects on a range of health outcomes that include: water-related and vector-borne diseases; impacts of increased frequency and intensity of extreme events, such as floods, droughts, and heatwaves; and food security and undernutrition. Beyond these direct and ecologically mediated impacts, cultural and aesthetic deprivation, livelihood losses, population displacement, conflict, poverty, and ultimately collapse of our civilisation are of added concern. There is evidence, for example, that increased thermal stress will substantially reduce labour productivity in tropical and subtropical regions and earnings of subsistence farmers because of declining crop yields, thus increasing poverty.2 However, the nature and extent of many of these indirect pathways have yet to be successfully quantified.

See: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)61289-7/fulltext

My Turn: Raising awareness about population issues

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

My Turn: Raising awareness about population issues

See: http://www.taosnews.com/opinion/article_66d419b4-18d0-11e4-97c2-001a4bcf887a.html

On July 11 people around the world took part in World Population Day to raise awareness about population issues. But here in the United States, we don´t talk enough about the specific effects our exploding numbers have on wildlife, the planet and our own future. Instead, our ultra-conservative United States Supreme Court is telling us our employers can decide for us, based on the employer’s religious beliefs, whether we can have access to birth control through our health care plans.

There are more than 7 billion people on the planet, and we´re adding 227,000 more each day. Every eight seconds another person is born in the United States. U.S. citizens are the worst of all humans when it comes to consumption of resources and destruction of habitat for wildlife. If every human on earth consumed like we do, it would take 4.4 Earths to sustain our current world population.

We destroy a great deal of wildlife habitat in producing our food, then we waste about half of the food we produce. We foul our air and water, the most fundamental necessities of life, then we pat ourselves on the back for being the most intelligent creatures on Earth.

See: http://www.taosnews.com/opinion/article_66d419b4-18d0-11e4-97c2-001a4bcf887a.html

Reducing Carbon by Curbing Population

Tuesday, August 12th, 2014

Reducing Carbon by Curbing Population 

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/business/economy/population-curbs-as-a-means-to-cut-carbon-emissions.html?_r=0

Remember the population explosion?

When population was growing at its fastest rate in human history in the decades after World War II, the sense that overpopulation was stunting economic development and stoking political instability took hold from New Delhi to the United Nations’ headquarters in New York, sending policy makers on an urgent quest to stop it.

In the 1970s the Indian government forcibly sterilized millions of women. Families in Bangladesh, Indonesia and elsewhere were forced to have fewer children. In 1974, the United Nations organized its first World Population Conference to debate population control. China rolled out its one-child policy in 1980.

Then, almost as suddenly as it had begun, the demographic “crisis” was over. As fertility rates in most of the world dropped to around the replacement rate of 2.1 children per woman – with the one major exception of sub-Saharan Africa – population specialists and politicians turned to other issues.

By 1994, when the U.N. held its last population conference, in Cairo, demographic targets had pretty much been abandoned, replaced by an agenda centered on empowering women, reducing infant mortality and increasing access to reproductive health.

“Some people still regret that; some applaud it,” said Joel E. Cohen, who heads the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University in New York. “I’m not sure we need demographic goals but we need forward thinking.”

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/06/business/economy/population-curbs-as-a-means-to-cut-carbon-emissions.html?_r=0

Family Planning and Environmental Sustainability Assessment Aims to Shed Light on Pop-Environment Link

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Family Planning and Environmental Sustainability Assessment Aims to Shed Light on Pop-Environment Link 

See: http://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2014/08/family-planning-environmental-sustainability-assessment-aims-shed-light-population-environment-link/

As global environmental change accelerates, understanding how population dynamics affect the environment is more important than ever. It seems obvious that human-caused climate change has at least something to do with the quadrupling of world population over the last 100 years.

But the evidence that slower population growth is good for the environment – logical as that statement may seem – has never been extensive, with conceptual models, empirical research, and data often lacking on key issues.

An ambitious new Worldwatch project, the Family Planning and Environmental Sustainability Assessment, hopes to help redress this, shedding light on how increased access to voluntary family planning services can support environmental sustainability.

See: http://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2014/08/family-planning-environmental-sustainability-assessment-aims-shed-light-population-environment-link/

Family planning: Ugandan president’s change of heart

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Family planning: Ugandan president’s change of heart 

See: http://www.theafricareport.com/East-Horn-Africa/family-planning-ugandan-presidents-change-of-heart.html

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has scored an impressive first, as for the first time, since coming into power almost 30 years ago, he has lent support to family planning efforts, as the country’s rising population raises concerns.

Museveni, a fervent defender of high population as a key economic driver, attributing China’s success to its human capital, conceded that massive numbers supported by poor quality education will not transform the economy.

“Although I advocate for a big population, I have realised that a poor quality population cannot transform the country,” he told delegates to the country’s first ever national family planning conference on Monday.

Uganda’s current growth rate is estimated at 3.1 per cent, against a 1.2 per cent world average, with the Uganda Bureau of Statistics saying unmet needs for family stands at 34 per cent.

“It is imperative that parents have children they can afford to look after, so that they don’t grow like wild plants,” Museveni said.

See: http://www.theafricareport.com/East-Horn-Africa/family-planning-ugandan-presidents-change-of-heart.html

With too many mouths to feed, Kenya headed for trouble

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

With too many mouths to feed, Kenya headed for trouble 

See: http://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/DN2/Kenya-Population-Management-Vision-2030-Resources/-/957860/2391356/-/hxm0dw/-/index.html

At 34 years, Teresia Kananu is a mother of six; five girls and one boy. Her first born is 19 years old while her last born just turned four. When she got pregnant with her first child, she had just fallen in love; the breathy, reckless kind of first love that makes an impressionable 15-year-old leave her parents’ home and move in with her boyfriend.

She had dreams for her young family, dreams that she would see her two children grow up strong and healthy and educated.

Yes, she wanted just two children, and she was determined to give them the education she never had, having dropped out of school at Standard Two after, she says, her father refused to continue paying her school fees.

Nineteen years down the line, Teresia finds herself the mother of six children, none of whom she has managed to educate beyond primary school. They all live in a two-room tin-house which looks like it can collapse at the slightest hint of a stiff wind.

Her first husband and the father of her first three children died under mysterious circumstances while in prison. She remarried, and then three more children came.

See: http://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/DN2/Kenya-Population-Management-Vision-2030-Resources/-/957860/2391356/-/hxm0dw/-/index.html

Invertebrate numbers nearly halve as human population doubles

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Invertebrate numbers nearly halve as human population doubles 

See: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-invertebrate-halve-human-population.html

Invertebrate numbers have decreased by 45% on average over a 35 year period in which the human population doubled, reports a study on the impact of humans on declining animal numbers. This decline matters because of the enormous benefits invertebrates such as insects, spiders, crustaceans, slugs and worms bring to our day-to-day lives, including pollination and pest control for crops, decomposition for nutrient cycling, water filtration and human health.

The study, published in Science and led by UCL, Stanford and UCSB, focused on the demise of invertebrates in particular, as large vertebrates have been extensively studied. They found similar widespread changes in both, with an on-going decline in invertebrates surprising scientists, as they had previously been viewed as nature’s survivors.

The decrease in invertebrate numbers is due to two main factors – habitat loss and climate disruption on a global scale. In the UK alone, scientists noted the areas inhabited by common insects such as beetles, butterflies, bees and wasps saw a 30-60% decline over the last 40 years.

See: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-invertebrate-halve-human-population.html