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Beyond Marriage

September 26th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Beyond Marriage 

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/opinion/sunday/beyond-marriage.html?emc=eta1&_r=1

 

MARRIAGE is disappearing. More than 40 percent of new mothers are unmarried. Many young adults drift into parenthood unintentionally. They may be cohabiting at the time of their child’s birth, but about half of these couples will have split up by the time their child is 5 years old. College-educated young adults are still marrying before having children and planning their families more intentionally. The rest of America, about two-thirds of the population, is not.

 
We’ve been worrying about these trends for years, and wondering: Can marriage be restored as the standard way to raise children? As much as we might welcome a revival, I doubt that it will happen. The genie is out of the bottle. What we need instead is a new ethic of responsible parenthood. If we combine an updated social norm with greater reliance on the most effective forms of birth control, we can transform drifters into planners and improve children’s life prospects.

 
The drifters need better educational and job opportunities, but unless we come to grips with what is happening to marriage and parenting, progress will be limited. For every child lifted out of poverty by a social program, another one is entering poverty as a result of the continued breakdown of the American family. If we could turn back the marriage clock to 1970, before the sharp rise in divorce and single parenthood began, the child poverty rate would be 20 percent lower than it is now. Even some of our biggest social programs, like food stamps, do not reduce child poverty as much as unmarried parenthood has increased it.

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/14/opinion/sunday/beyond-marriage.html?emc=eta1&_r=1

In Texas & Around The World: Women’s Rights Matter for The Environment

September 26th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Why Women’s Rights Matter for The Environment

See: http://www.tribtalk.org/2014/09/16/why-womens-rights-matter-for-the-environment/

Texas women have suffered major setbacks to their reproductive health and rights this year.

 

At the federal level, the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision has made it more difficult for women to access their contraceptive method of choice. At the state level, the Legislature and Gov. Rick Perry have enacted new restrictions on clinics providing basic women’s health care and family planning services.

 
Of course, these decisions hurt Texas women and their families – but they also increase the risk of social, economic and environmental harm in our great state.

 
When women and their medical providers are prevented from making personal health care decisions, the negative consequences are far-reaching. A woman’s inability to control the number, timing and spacing of her children impacts her health, education and career. Moreover, the cumulative impact of women having more children than they desire strains public health systems and natural resources such as water, energy and healthy food.

Read the rest of this entry »

High Listenership and Good Stories Combine for Large-Scale Behavior Change in Sierra Leone

September 25th, 2014 | Add a Comment

FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE– Imagine that for 53 cents, you could reach someone in Sierra Leone with entertaining stories that educate about family planning and using bednets to prevent malaria. A United States nonprofit discovered this month that they didn’t have to imagine – the impact was real.

Population Media Center (PMC), a nonprofit, international organization that strives to improve the health and well-being of people around the world with entertainment-education strategies, recently completed an impact evaluation of one of its programs in Sierra Leone. Saliwansai (“Puppet on a String”) was a 208-episode drama that aired on nine radio stations throughout Sierra Leone from April 2012 through April 2014.

“We’re excited by the results from the research survey, which was conducted with a nationally representative sample size of 1,098 respondents,” says Kriss Barker, PMC’s Vice President of International Programs. “The results clearly demonstrate the impact of the radio drama. It was entertaining, and the people of Sierra Leone tuned in.”

The results indicate that Saliwansai reached a total estimated audience of three million people between the ages of 15 and 59 years old. The results also estimate that the cost per behavior change for the listeners who, as a result of listening to the program, began discussing family planning with family, friends, or neighbors was $2.54 US and listeners who began using bednets to prevent malaria was $1.62 US.

“The cost per behavior change is important and demonstrates the power of our approach,” says Barker. “Behavior is a hard thing to change and to do it for these costs is remarkable.”

PMC uses a unique form of entertainment-education: long-running serial dramas on radio and TV. These dramas are based on real-life, mirroring every day challenges and solutions and using country data to determine which social and health issues will be addressed in each drama.

The results of Saliwansai on individual metrics demonstrate varying levels of success, such as listeners being:

  • 3.1 times more likely than non-listeners to say that you can decrease your chance of getting AIDS by using a condom every time you have sex
  • 4.1 times more likely than non-listeners to say it’s okay for information about condoms to be discussed on the radio
  • 2.9 times more likely than non-listeners to say they know where they could get a condom if they wanted one
  • 3.7 times more likely than non-listeners to say that a healthy-looking person can have HIV
  • 2.4 times more likely than non-listeners to say they would buy fresh vegetables from someone who has HIV
  • 2.3 times more likely than non-listeners to say that becoming pregnant every year can impact the health of the mother
  • 1.6 times more likely than non-listeners to say they know of an organization or people that advocate against domestic violence

“Results like these are promising,” says Scott Connolly, PMC’s Director of Research. “Sierra Leone  ranks as one of the lowest in the world on some of the United Nations Human Development Index health indicators. We’re pleased to address some of these issues with Saliwansai as part of the ongoing effort to improve life in Sierra Leone.”

 

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

Condoms and Soap Operas to Save the World: A Forum in Arizona

September 24th, 2014 | Add a Comment

TUCSON, ARIZONA– About 140 people learned about endangered species condoms and soap operas as methods to save the world on September 10th in Tucson, Arizona. The event, titled “How Can Condoms and Soap Operas Save the World?” was co-hosted by the Arizona Chapter of Population Media Center, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the University of Arizona’s Department of Communication.

The audience gathered to hear Bill Ryerson, President of the Population Media Center (PMC), Kieran Suckling, the Director of the Center for Biological Diversity, and Jennifer Aubrey, Associate Professor of Communications at the University of Arizona discuss domestic and international efforts to bring about positive social change. Read the rest of this entry »

New Study Finds that 40% of Pregnancies Worldwide are Unintended

September 22nd, 2014 | Add a Comment

NEW STUDY FINDS THAT 40% OF PREGNANCIES WORLDWIDE ARE UNINTENDED

Findings Highlight Need for Increased Investment in Contraceptive Services
See: http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2014/09/17/sfp-sedgh-up.html
Of the 213 million pregnancies that occurred worldwide in 2012, 40%-about 85 million-were unintended, about the same proportion as in 2008, when 42% of all pregnancies globally were unintended. The new study, “Intended and Unintended Pregnancies Worldwide in 2012 and Recent Trends,” by Gilda Sedgh et al. of the Guttmacher Institute, found that the proportion of pregnancies that are unintended varied considerably by region. The highest proportions were in Latin America and the Caribbean (56%) and North America (51%), and the lowest were in Africa (35%), Oceania (37%) and Asia (38%); Europe’s proportion was the closest to the global average (45%).

 
In addition to documenting the proportions of pregnancies that are unintended across regions, the study examined recent trends in unintended pregnancy rates per 1,000 women of reproductive age. The researchers found that the average annual decline in the global unintended pregnancy rate between 2008 and 2012 was very small, compared with the average annual decline between 1995 and 2008. In 2012, there were 53 unintended pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15-44, compared with 57 in 2008.

 
Overall, between 2008 and 2012, the unintended pregnancy rate remained steady in developed regions-44, on average-but it remained higher than average in North America (51). In less developed regions, it declined from 59 to 54; most of this decline resulted from declines in the Latin American and Caribbean region (76 to 68) and in Africa (86 to 80). There was less of a decline in Asia, where the rate (46) was more comparable to that in Europe (43) and in Oceania (43).

 

See: http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2014/09/17/sfp-sedgh-up.html

World population to hit 11bn in 2100 – with 70% chance of continuous rise

September 22nd, 2014 | Add a Comment

World population to hit 11bn in 2100 – with 70% chance of continuous rise

New study overturns 20 years of consensus on peak projection of 9bn and gradual decline

See: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/18/world-population-new-study-11bn-2100

 
The world’s population is now odds-on to swell ever-higher for the rest of the century, posing grave challenges for food supplies, healthcare and social cohesion. A ground-breaking analysis releasedon Thursday shows there is a 70% chance that the number of people on the planet will rise continuously from 7bn today to 11bn in 2100.

 
The work overturns 20 years of consensus that global population, and the stresses it brings, will peak by 2050 at about 9bn people.

 
“The previous projections said this problem was going to go away so it took the focus off the population issue,” said Prof Adrian Raftery, at the University of Washington, who led the international research team. “There is now a strong argument that population should return to the top of the international agenda. Population is the driver of just about everything else and rapid population growth can exacerbate all kinds of challenges.” Lack of healthcare, poverty, pollution and rising unrest and crime are all problems linked to booming populations, he said.

 
“Population policy has been abandoned in recent decades. It is barely mentioned in discussions on sustainability or development such as the UN-led sustainable development goals,” said Simon Ross, chief executive of Population Matters, a thinktank supported by naturalist Sir David Attenborough and scientist James Lovelock. “The significance of the new work is that it provides greater certainty. Specifically, it is highly likely that, given current policies, the world population will be between 40-75% larger than today in the lifetime of many of today’s children and will still be growing at that point,” Ross said.

See: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/sep/18/world-population-new-study-11bn-2100

Hey, U.N.: Climate change and population are related

September 22nd, 2014 | Add a Comment

Hey, U.N.: Climate change and population are related 

See: http://grist.org/climate-energy/hey-u-n-climate-change-and-population-are-related/
On Sept. 22 and 23, the United Nations will host separate daylong conferences on two issues of incalculable importance to the future of humanity: population andclimate change. Though the two meetings will take place just one day apart, neither is likely to refer to the other. And that will be a missed opportunity, because scientific research increasingly affirms that the two issues are linked in many ways.

 
The population gathering in the General Assembly on Sept. 22 will mark the 20th anniversary of the landmark International Conference on Population and Development held in Cairo in 1994. The next day’s summit has been convened by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for government and business leaders to brainstorm ideas for addressing climate change.

 
The coincidence of these meetings occurring a day apart offers a teachable moment for the global decision-makers gathering in New York. Actions to promote the well-being of women might produce mutually reinforcing benefits in both areas.

 
Population, the lives and status of women, and climate change are rarely linked at the United Nations – or in any other intergovernmental conversations, for that matter. Intuitively, it’s easy to understand that the growth of world population from 1 billion people at the start of the Industrial Revolution to 7.3 billion today has something to do with the accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

See: http://grist.org/climate-energy/hey-u-n-climate-change-and-population-are-related/

Rapid UK population growth undermines living standards, but may be necessary for economic growth

September 22nd, 2014 | Add a Comment

Rapid UK population growth undermines living standards, but may be necessary for economic growth 

See: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-rapid-uk-population-growth-undermines.html

 

The traditional link between population growth and economic growth has been weakened in the UK, according to academics at the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI).

 

The latest evidence shows that despite the economic recession of the late 2000s, and subsequent stagnation, the UK population has grown at a rapid rate since the mid-2000s, with this growth continuing despite the coalition government’s attempts to curb immigration.

 
This contrasts with post-war experience in the UK, say academics. High population growth in the mid-to-late 1960s was matched by high economic growth, and lower population growth in the 1970s was matched by lower economic growth. Similarly, higher population growth from the mid-1980s onwards was matched by relatively high economic growth (with the exception of the early 1990s recession).

 
This unusual shift is the main reason that, while the economy creeps towards recovery in statistical terms, living standards remain significantly below their pre-recession peak.

See: http://phys.org/news/2014-09-rapid-uk-population-growth-undermines.html

Climate Change and World Population: Still Avoiding Each Other

September 22nd, 2014 | Add a Comment

Climate Change and World Population: Still Avoiding Each Other 

See: http://passblue.com/2014/09/16/climate-change-and-world-population-still-avoiding-each-other/
Despite their intimate relationship, climate change and world population are still not talking to each other. The lack of meaningful dialogue has persisted for decades, with both seeming to deliberately ignore the significance, relevance and impact of the other.

 
With the simultaneous convening on Sept. 22 of a special session of the United Nations General Assembly marking the 20th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development and the UN Climate Summit on Sept. 23, this estranged relationship is now more glaring. Both gatherings are taking place within shouting distance of one another at UN headquarters in New York.

 
With growing concerns and uncertainties about the extent of the detrimental consequences of rapid population growth and climate change, the international community of nations convened the first World Population Conference in 1974 and the first World Climate Conference in 1979. Growing at 2 percent annually, global population increases reached a record high, doubling the world population in just 38 years. At the same time, rising amounts of carbon dioxide spewing into the atmosphere pointed to a gradual warming of the earth, especially at higher latitudes. The recommendations for action emanating from these groundbreaking conferences, however, essentially ignored each other.

See: http://passblue.com/2014/09/16/climate-change-and-world-population-still-avoiding-each-other/

Video: The Eighth Billion

September 22nd, 2014 | Add a Comment

The Eighth Billion

See: http://vimeo.com/102369639

Technology, rising material consumption, and what could be called a pandemic of “nature deficit disorders” are causing the loss of large areas of wilderness and ecosystem services, but the greatest threat can be traced to growing numbers of people.

The exponential nature of population growth shapes life on earth almost as much as gravity or respiration. But because it is so pervasive, it often goes unseen. One hour from now, earth will show a net increase of more than 9,000 humans, each one needing adequate food, water, shelter, clothing, education, and eventually jobs, not to mention realistic dreams of a better life for themselves and for their children… and on it goes. Our population currently adds 219,000 people every day. That’s a billion every 12-13 years. Will the next billion drive human civilization to a social and ecological tipping point?

“The Eighth Billion” examines the impact of population growth on the health of wildlife and wild places. It also explores the benefits of wildness and natural beauty for producing human enjoyment and inspiration. Wilderness is a form of ecological wealth that, unlike money, is not ours to spend. The quality of our lives and that of future generations depends on efforts to preserve this wealth.

Population stabilization and wilderness preservation offer complementary pathways to true prosperity. As imperatives of sustainability, they offer the prospect of a world that is green, prosperous, inspirational, and fair. If we can embrace both pathways, we just might create a world that is worth inheriting!