Facebook Twitter



Two Realities

July 25th, 2014 | Add a Comment

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’

July 25th, 2014 | Add a Comment

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/

One-child proclivity

July 25th, 2014 | Add a Comment

One-child proclivity

Predictions of a baby boomlet come to little

See: http://www.economist.com/news/china/21607877-predictions-baby-boomlet-come-little-one-child-proclivity

WHEN China eased its one-child policy late last year, investors bet on a surge in demand for everything from pianos to nappies. They, and government officials, foresaw a mini-boom after long-constrained parents were allowed a second go at making babies.

So far, however, it is hard to identify a bedroom productivity burst. About 270,000 couples applied for permission to have second children by the end of May, and 240,000 received it, according to the national family-planning commission. It means China will fall well short of the 1m-2m extra births that Wang Peian, the deputy director of the commission, had predicted.

The problem is partly bureaucratic. China announced the relaxation of the one-child policy in November: if at least one of two parents is a single child, the couple may have two children. Provinces began implementing the new rule only in January. Fearful of a baby boom that would overwhelm hospitals and, eventually, schools, they have made the application process cumbersome. In the eastern city of Jinan, for instance, would-be parents must provide seven different documents, including statements from employers certifying their marital status. With 11m couples suddenly eligible to have second children, some caution over easing policy may be understandable. As the process is simplified, more parents will choose to go through it. Analysts expect additional new births to rise toward 1m a year over the next decade or so. That is on top of today’s average of 16m births a year.

See: http://www.economist.com/news/china/21607877-predictions-baby-boomlet-come-little-one-child-proclivity

Chepangs still wary of family planning

July 25th, 2014 | Add a Comment

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

Two Global Health Corps Fellows Head to Burundi to Change Lives through Radio

July 23rd, 2014 | Add a Comment

SHELBURNE, VT–“I can’t believe we’ll be in Bujumbura on Friday,” says Alex Bozzette, a 2014-2015 Global Health Corps fellow being placed with Population Media Center. It was a Tuesday, and Bozzette was sitting with his co-fellow, Jean Sacha Barikumutima, in the modest offices of Population Media Center (PMC) in Shelburne, Vermont. On Thursday, July 17, the two would make the 27-hour trip to Bujumbura, Burundi for their year-long placement in PMC’s Burundi office.

“For me, this is the perfect opportunity at the perfect time,” says Bozzette. “It combines my experience in international public health project management with my interests in design and communications. Family planning is a huge priority for public heath, but family planning is also a huge priority for gender equality, environmental sustainability, and economic development.”

This is the first time US-based Population Media Center has teamed up with Global Health Corps to offer year-long paid fellowships in Burundi, one available to a US citizen, Bozzette, and one available to a Burundi citizen, Barikumutima. This opportunity coincides with the launch of a new radio soap opera produced by Population Media Center’s Burundi office to address women and children’s health.

“This year, I’m really excited by PMC’s approach and to see its impact,” says Barikumutima, who had been interning in PMC’s Burundi office when he was awarded the fellowship. “I believe this approach has the ability to address cultural mindsets. It draws people in and as they listen to the drama, they understand the message themselves. I’m excited to see how people change.”

The radio drama, Agashi (“Hey! Look Again!”), addresses issues such as child nutrition and family planning through intriguing storylines and plot twists. Over the course of the episodes, characters demonstrate choices and consequences, learning from their actions and teaching listeners as well. Agashi will run for approximately two years, airing two episodes per week.

Barikumutima, who now lives in Bujumbura, the capital, but grew up in the Kayanza province, explains that many of the issues addressed in Agashi will help individuals and communities that he cares about.

Prior to traveling to Burundi, Bozzette and Barikumutima spent two weeks at Yale University’s campus in New Haven, Connecticut for Global Health Corps training.

“I couldn’t sleep,” says Barikumutima. “I was thinking about things. This is a great opportunity to work on specific issues, and also to work with partners in Burundi to understand what is being done while being part of change. I want to give back to my community. After all this, my family and friends will be proud of me.”

Bozzette will be further from home for the year, but that won’t be a new experience since the California native spent last year coordinating a public health initiative in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

“We come from very different backgrounds, Sacha is from Burundi and I’m from San Diego, but we’re both dissatisfied with the world as-is. The simple truth is that everyone, everywhere, deserves to be healthy, and they aren’t,” says Bozzette. “Global health inequity is wrong, and something needs to change. This year, we are pushing that change in our own small way by promoting women and children’s health with Population Media Center.”

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

ABOUT GLOBAL HEALTH CORPS (GHC):

Global Health Corps mobilizes a global community of emerging leaders to build the movement for health equity. GHC believes young people are the future to solving global health challenges. We place recent college graduates and young professionals from diverse professional backgrounds in health non-profits and government offices in the US, East Africa and Southern Africa for a year of service in order to strengthen and learn from the organizations. Fellows focus on creating solutions for a variety of current health issues like HIV, maternal child health, nutrition, and healthcare access. Through additional training, community building, leadership development and mentorship these young people complete their fellowship with skills to be change-makers and paradigm-shifters in the global health field throughout their careers. Since its founding in 2009, GHC has deployed 322 fellows to work in 7 countries.

http://ghcorps.org/

 

Launching the Youth Champions Initiative

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

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

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

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

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

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

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

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

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

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