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Population, not politics, threatens Pakistan

September 15th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Population, not politics, threatens Pakistan 

See: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/67778df6-38ec-11e4-a53b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3CwnJ1R31

While the politicians fight each other in Islamabad for control of Pakistan, they make no mention in their fiery speeches of the real crisis likely to stunt prosperity for generations. According to economists and demographers, the explosion that endangers Pakistan is not political but demographic.

 
At independence in 1947, there were 33m Pakistanis. Today there are about 200m, making the nation the sixth most populous in the world. By 2050, the population will reach 302m, if the standard projection of the Population Council, a non-government group based in New York, proves correct.

 
However, the number of inhabitants in 2050 could be as high as 395m or as low as 266m, depending on whether the fertility rate remains stable or declines rapidly from the current level of 3.8 children per woman. The gap between the highest and lowest forecasts is huge, exceeding the population of most countries.

 
The strain on natural resources (especially water), government services, infrastructure and families is already immense and will worsen – even if Islamabad suddenly boosts family-planning programmes to meet popular demand for contraception and so ensures the population grows at the lowest of the predicted rates.

See: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/67778df6-38ec-11e4-a53b-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3CwnJ1R31

Hobby Lobby Creates Open Season For Birth Control Lawsuits

September 15th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Hobby Lobby Creates Open Season For Birth Control Lawsuits 

See: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/hobby-lobby-declared-open-season-for-birth-control-lawsuits

Ten weeks after Hobby Lobby, the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling has emboldened a swath of separate legal attacks on birth control, many of which experts say have a real chance of succeeding.

In a case heard in an appeals court court this week, a Missouri state representative named Paul Joseph Wieland and his wife sued the Obama administration over the contraceptive coverage mandate because it could let their three teenage daughters access birth control in their family insurance plan at no extra cost.

 
“The employees are to Hobby Lobby what the daughters are to Paul and Teresa Wieland,” Timothy Belz, the attorney for the Wielands, told the three judges, as quoted by MSNBC. Belz’s message was that the Wielands object to birth control and expect their children to follow their religious beliefs. His case was previously thrown out by a district court judge.

 
The lawsuit is one of dozens of attacks on birth control coverage that enjoy new life as a result of the landmark Hobby Lobby decision. The Supreme Court’s ruling applied only to the four types of emergency birth control methods (emergency contraceptives Plan B and Ella, as well as two types of IUDs) that were challenged, but lawyers quickly saw an opening to attack contraceptive coverage more broadly because the justices didn’t distinguish the methods.

See: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/hobby-lobby-declared-open-season-for-birth-control-lawsuits

A billion Africans under 18 by mid-century: More jobs, or more angry youth?

September 15th, 2014 | Add a Comment

A billion Africans under 18 by mid-century: More jobs, or more angry youth?

Arguments that a large African labor pool brings growth through expanded light manufacturing, is belied by the fact that African labor markets aren’t now absorbing a vast and growing supply of workers.

See: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Africa-Monitor/2014/0909/A-billion-Africans-under-18-by-mid-century-More-jobs-or-more-angry-youth

 
recent report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) forecasts that if current trends persist, one in every four people on the planet will be African by the year 2100.

 
Even accounting for a decline in fertility brought on by greater prosperity, UNICEF predicts that by 2050 alone, the number of Africans under the age of eighteen may swell to around one billion.

 
The report concludes that more emphasis must be placed on access to reproductive health services, girls’ education, and vital statistics systems.
Such numbers should inform development strategies and common perceptions on the African continent.

See: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Africa-Monitor/2014/0909/A-billion-Africans-under-18-by-mid-century-More-jobs-or-more-angry-youth

Africa’s Dividing Farmlands A Threat To Food Security

September 15th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Africa’s Dividing Farmlands A Threat To Food Security 

See: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/09/africas-dividing-farmlands-a-threat-to-food-security/
NAIROBI, Sep 10 2014 (IPS) - When Kiprui Kibet pictures his future as a maize farmer in the fertile Uasin Gishu county in Kenya’s Rift Valley region, all he sees is the ever-decreasing plot of land that he has to farm on.

 
“I used to farm on 40 hectares but now I only have 0.8 hectares. My father had 10 sons and we all wanted to own a piece of the farmland. Subdivision … ate into the actual farmland,” Kibet tells IPS. “From 3,200 bags a harvest, now I only produce 20 bags, at times even less.”

 
Experts say that Africa’s extensive land subdivision is emerging as a significant threat to food security.

 

Statistics by the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) show that a majority of Africa’s farmers now farm on less than one hectare of land.

 
According to FAO, in the last 10 years the land/person in agriculture ratio in Kenya declined from 0.264 to the current 0.219. Explained as a percentage, this means that the number of people with one hectare of agricultural land in Kenya decreased by 17 percent over the last decade.

See: http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/09/africas-dividing-farmlands-a-threat-to-food-security/

Stoddard: Bill Ryerson, Global Vermonter

September 15th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Stoddard: Bill Ryerson, Global Vermonter 

See: http://digital.vpr.net/post/stoddard-bill-ryerson-global-vermonter

In his office in Shelburne VT, Bill Ryerson, founder and president of Population Media Center or PMC is unassuming, as he jokes about a foot-high stack of folders on his desk he still needs to deal with at the end of the day, before resuming a relentless travel schedule.

 
(Ryerson) Well, next week I will be in Washington DC speaking at the International Best Practices Meeting. The following day I’m speaking at the Inter-American Development Bank and have several other meetings. Then I fly to Ethiopia. I’ll spend nine days there with our country representative, meeting with donor agencies like UN agencies and embassies, to seek their support for what we hope will be our ninth program on Radio Ethiopia.

 
He’s pitching soap opera as one of the most powerful catalysts for social change. Ryerson has worked in more than 50 countries using the power of entertainment media to shift behavior patterns. PMC’s popular radio and TV serial dramas with compelling characters as role models, have led to significant change in both attitude and actions.

 
(Ryerson) We’ve reached well over a hundred million people. We have clearly seen dramatic increases in family planning use, dramatic increases in willingness to send daughters to school, which of course is a very important factor in both human rights, the human rights of women to be educated, and in delaying marriage and child-bearing until adulthood.

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Okotoks gets ready for the big boom with 60-year-plan

September 15th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Okotoks gets ready for the big boom with 60-year-plan

City with small-town soul plans for impressive growth

See: HERE

No longer a sleepy bedroom community for Calgary, Okotoks has a 60-year growth plan that could see the population triple, says a town official.

One key element in bringing the impressive plan to reality is a “safe and secure source of water,” says municipal manager Rick Quail.

“Discussions and negotiations with the City of Calgary are ongoing and we hope to secure an agreement this year,” Quail says.

In addition, the town is talking with the provincial government for funding support to have a water pipeline up and operating in five years, he says.

The town hopes to complete the annexation of 2,300 hectares of land from the MD of Foothills in a couple of years – land that will eventually push the town’s population to an estimated 82,000 from the current total of just over 27,000.

See: HERE

Remarks on the 20th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development

September 15th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Remarks on the 20th Anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development 

See: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/09/231385.htm

SECRETARY KERRY: Anne, thank you. Thanks so much for that terrific introduction. Most importantly, thank you very, very much. You are a spectacular, powerful, wonderfully dedicated, and extraordinarily – I’m lucky to have an extraordinary advocate like you as a cohort in this endeavor. Ladies and gentlemen, she does a spectacular job as (inaudible). (Applause.)

I am especially pleased to be able to share this moment with the – with my fellow members of our government’s delegation to the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo. You are as unruly as you were then. (Laughter.) Nothing has changed. (Applause.) And by the way, no one looks any older, right? (Laughter.) It is great to see so many familiar faces. I’m really happy to be here with you. Thank you for being a part of this.

I remember leading that delegation to Cairo, back when there really was a conspiracy of silence on family planning, sexual and reproductive health, and reproductive rights. And a lot of folks back then were very frightened. They were still afraid to talk about the connections between women’s empowerment and women’s rights and development, let alone to think that we could actually turn the tide…

See: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/09/231385.htm

 
Since Cairo – the commitments made by 179 governments – it is clear the tide has, in fact, turned. But it’s not a done deal, and we all know that

Democratic Republic of the Congo Tunes in their Radios on September 16th

September 9th, 2014 | Add a Comment

KINSHASA, DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO–A new radio show airing in the Democratic Republic of the Congo doesn’t promise to solve every challenge, but it is promising top-notch entertainment that will spur conversation and change.

Radio Okapi, a nationwide radio station in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, starts broadcasting Vivra Verra (“Time Will Tell”) on September 16, 2014. Vivra Verra, written and produced in French, promises action and suspense, but the writers and producers know Vivra Verra’s casts of characters and plot twists will also get the audience talking about important issues, such as maternal and child health, gender-based violence, and adolescent reproductive health.

“Long-running dramas are a powerful vehicle to introduce audiences to important social concepts,” says Bill Ryerson, President of Population Media Center, which is producing the program. “We’ve been telling stories for social development for over 15 years, and we’re very excited to work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to bring our method of entertainment-education to the airwaves.”

Population Media Center (PMC), an international nonprofit based in the United States, specializes in entertainment-education, producing what much of the world would describe as “soap operas” for TV, radio, and the web, but these soap operas effect changes in health and social attitudes and behaviors.

“We’re excited about Vivra Verra,” says Kriss Barker, PMC’s Vice President of International Programs. “Our method for producing these dramas – we use the Sabido Methodology – has been tested through a variety of environments, cultures, and issues. We’re eager to bring our expertise to bear on these important issues facing the Congo.”

As of 2013, the Democratic Republic of the Congo ranked as second to last of all countries on the Human Development index. The Democratic Republic of the Congo also has one of the highest fertility rates in the world, and PMC explains that these two facts are directly connected. PMC works to address human health and human rights issues, which are key factors in lowering fertility.

“When people are empowered with information and choice,” says Ryerson, “the fertility rate drops while health, human rights, and economies advance. In fact, every country that has been reclassified from developing status to developed status since World War II first started with fertility reduction by promoting family planning and small family norms.”

“Radio Okapi welcomes the broadcast of serial dramas as they reconcile the two basic elements of radio: information and entertainment,” says Denis Faoud, Head of Media at the Hirondelle Foundation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo which oversees Radio Okapi. “Such programs are a good complement to our range of program information, such as news programs and cultural programs. This allows us to talk about serious things without necessarily doing so in a serious way.”

PMC also hopes to launch up to four more dramas in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to address similar and additional issues in local languages of Lingala, Swahili, Kikongo, and Tshiluba.

“The writers and producers of our programs are always local, and the Vivra Verra staff is superb,” says Barker. “The local PMC staff looks forward to the Vivra Verra characters coming alive in the minds and conversations of people throughout the Congo and seeing real dialogue around important issues.”

This project is funded by DFATD (Canada), the US Embassy in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, UNICEF, UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund), DKT International, UN Women, and UNAIDS.

 

ABOUT POPULATION MEDIA CENTER (PMC):
Population Media Center is a nonprofit, international nongovernmental organization, which strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world through the use of entertainment-education strategies, like serialized dramas on radio and television, in which characters evolve into role models for the audience for positive behavior change. Founded in 1998, PMC has over 15 years of field experience using the Sabido methodology of behavior change communications, impacting more than 50 countries around the world. www.populationmedia.org

Three Limits to Growth

September 8th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Three Limits to Growth 

See: http://steadystate.org/three-limits-to-growth/
As production (real GDP) grows, its marginal utility declines, because we satisfy our most important needs first. Likewise, the marginal disutilitiy inflicted by growth increases, because as the economy expands into the ecosphere we sacrifice our least important ecological services first (to the extent we know them). These rising costs and declining benefits of growth at the margin are depicted in the diagram below.

daly graph1

From the diagram we can distinguish three concepts of limits to growth.
1. The “futility limit” occurs when marginal utility of production falls to zero. Even with no cost of production, there is a limit to how much we can consume and still enjoy it. There is a limit to how many goods we can enjoy in a given time period, as well as a limit to our stomachs and to the sensory capacity of our nervous systems. In a world with considerable poverty, and in which the poor observe the rich apparently still enjoying their extra wealth, this futility limit is thought to be far away, not only for the poor, but for everyone. By its “non satiety” postulate, neoclassical economics formally denies the concept of the futility limit. However, studies showing that beyond a threshold self-evaluated happiness (total utility) ceases to increase with GDP, strengthen the relevance of the futility limit.
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Population stabilization is not enough to save Earth

September 8th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Population stabilization is not enough to save Earth

See: http://www.africasciencenews.org/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=982:population-stabilization-is-not-enough-to-save-earth&catid=52:environment&Itemid=115
As a college undergraduate years ago majoring in forestry and wildlife management, I took an elective philosophy course in logic. One of the key takeaways that I still remember more than three decades later is the crucial distinction between the words “necessary” and “sufficient.”

 
When it comes to population issues, I often find myself using these two words and drawing the distinction between them, as in the following statement: “Population stabilization is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for environmental sustainability.”

 
In other words, if we do not stabilize the human population at or below carrying capacity, it will be impossible to ever achieve environmental sustainability. However, even if we do stabilize population, sustainability is still not guaranteed, because stabilization alone is insufficient.
We also need the right technologies, and most important of all, the right values and priorities, in other words, a sense of ethics that embraces more than short-term human interests.

 
Our ideological adversaries on population – cornucopians both on the left and the right – would have flunked my college logic class because they misunderstand or conflate “necessary” and “sufficient.” They mistakenly or mendaciously conclude that because population stabilization is not sufficient, neither is it necessary. Nothing could be further from the truth.

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