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Correlations in fertility across generations: can low fertility persist?

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Correlations in fertility across generations: can low fertility persist?
Authors:Martin Kolk, Daniel Cownden and Magnus Enquist
Journal:Proceedings of the Royal Society B
A study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B reveals the possibility for a reversal of the twentieth-century decline in fertility.
See: http://royalsociety.org/news/2014/fertility-rates-future/

Although the world population has now risen beyond 7 billion, fertility has declined over the last 200 years with women bearing fewer children on average than in the past. This decrease, which scientists call the ‘fertility transition’, has been especially dramatic in the developed world where fertility dropped by more than half between the 1850s and early 1900s as people began having smaller families.

Demographers have also reported an increasingly significant link between the number of children a women might have and the number her children will have. As well as inheriting genetics from our parents we can inherit cultural preferences which could explain this link. However, the rapid drop in fertility over the past two centuries suggests a faster change than could be caused by parental influence alone. Scientists suggest that other role models must also influence the fertility choices of an individual.

A team of scientists at Stockholm University set about making a mathematical model to show how these factors could influence overall fertility rates. In particular they were interested to see if the trend of low fertility rates would last or if the number of children families have might be set to increase.

See: http://royalsociety.org/news/2014/fertility-rates-future/

Toward a Finite-Planet Journalism

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Toward a Finite-Planet Journalism
See: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/02/05/1275267/-Toward-a-Finite-Planet-Journalism

What happens when an infinite-growth society smacks into environmental limits? For one thing,it loses the very possibility of democratic decision making, as the effort to fit an increasingly problematic ecological footprint onto a finite planet means that more and more policy decisions have to be made by technocrats.

On a finite planet, only an ecologically knowledgeable electorate can reconcile democracy with non-negotiable ecological limits. If the majority of voters remain ecologically illiterate, they must give up either civilization or democracy. It’s impossible to retain both.

That sad truth emerges from a careful look at a political protest in Missouri over the future of the Ozark National Scenic Riverway. Locals are worried about park plans to limit access and exercise greater regulatory control; the science says that park ecosystems are in danger of being irreparably damaged by overuse.

And another truth emerges from a careful look at the story: the media have a role and responsibility in educating the American populace about ecological limits. At the very least, they need to give up their infinite-planet bias.

See: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/02/05/1275267/-Toward-a-Finite-Planet-Journalism

Speak Out Against Child Brides

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Mauritania Must Ban Deadly Force Feeding of Child Brides – Activists
See: http://allafrica.com/stories/201401202119.html

Mauritania must ban the practice of force feeding young girls to fatten them up for marriage, says a report which highlights the case of a child bride who died last year after being put on a dangerously high-calorie diet. Some young girls in Mauritania are even taking animal growth hormones and other dangerous drugs to help pile on the pounds and make themselves more marriageable. Many men in the West African country consider obese women beautiful, seeing their size as a sign of wealth and prestige. Girls of around eight can weigh 140kg (300lb) after force feeding, putting a huge strain on their hearts and jeopardising their health. Young women can tip the scales at 200kg. The practice is discussed in a new report on child marriage by rights group Equality Now which describes the case of Khadijetou Mint Moustapha whose weight ballooned after she was force fed from the age of seven. She was married at eight to her father’s cousin, a man 10 years older than her father.

Malawians take steps to end sexual initiation of girls
It’s an old but harmful practice in this sub-Saharan African country where child marriage is rife: girls as young as 7 or 8 enduring ‘sexual cleansing’ rituals that put their health at risk.
See: Malawians take steps to end sexual initiation of girls

When Grace Mwase was 10 years old, she was taken outside her Malawian village and taught how to “handle” a man. At an age when most children are learning fractions in Grade 4 classrooms, Grace was taken to a secluded camp and taught about sexual positions and pleasing her future husband. After one week, Grace and the other girls were sent home with an assignment: find a man and

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Lake Elmo’s population won’t have to triple by 2030, Met Council say

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Lake Elmo’s population won’t have to triple by 2030, Met Council say
See: http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_25051031/lake-elmos-population-wont-have-triple-by-2030

A cloud over Lake Elmo’s future will soon be lifted.

Under a proposal expected to be approved soon, the Metropolitan Council will suspend a controversial order that the city of 8,000 people triple its population by 2030.

“I feel great about this,” Mayor Mike Pearson said Monday. “This means that once again we are in charge of our own destiny.”

When the order is canceled, he said, the city will be able to grow at its own pace, the way other cities do.

“We are going to grow, but it is no longer a contractual obligation,” he said.

At first, Lake Elmo officials chafed under the 2005 order, saying the growth targets were unrealistic.

“It mandated growth and really put us under the microscope,” city administrator Dean Zuleger said.

See: http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_25051031/lake-elmos-population-wont-have-triple-by-2030

Ethiopia’s model families hailed as agents of social transformation

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Ethiopia’s model families hailed as agents of social transformation
Ethiopia is boosting its healthcare statistics by enouraging rural households to adopt and disseminate a range of good habits
See: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jan/09/ethiopia-model-families-social-transformation-healthcare

Wudinesh Demisse raises her hand above her head, showing off the matchstick-sized birth-control implant embedded just beneath the skin of her upper arm.

Wudinesh, 28, is a farmer in rural West Arsi, in Ethiopia’s central Oromia region. With three children already, Wudinesh says it is time to stop. “For me, three is enough,” she says, through a translator. “If they are too many, they are too expensive.”

Wudinesh, who lives in a small village 200km south of the capital, Addis Ababa, is one of millions of Ethiopian women who have gained access to modern forms of birth control over the past decade. Today, her local health post stocks a range of products, from condoms and pills to longer-acting injections and implants.

Ethiopia is increasingly touted as a family planning success story. The government, which has made maternal and child health national priorities, is proud of its statistics – the country’s contraceptive prevalence rate, for example, jumped from 15% in 2005 to 29% in 2011 – and says efforts to reach remote, rural areas lie at the heart of its success.

See: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/jan/09/ethiopia-model-families-social-transformation-healthcare

Population Dynamics Are Crucial to Sustainable Development. So Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About Them?

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Population Dynamics Are Crucial to Sustainable Development. So Why Isn’t Anyone Talking About Them?
See: http://populationaction.org/blog/2014/01/18/population-dynamics-are-crucial-to-sustainable-development-so-why-isnt-anyone-talking-about-them/

For the past 11 months, a group of United Nations member states has been holding meetings seeking input on future goals for sustainable development once the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015. Led by co-chair ambassadors from Hungary and Kenya, this Open Working Group (OWG) of 69 countries has delved into topics ranging from governance to health and everything in between.

Last week was the working group’s 7th session, which dedicated five full days to discussing sustainable cities, human settlements and sustainable transport, sustainable production and consumption (including chemicals), climate change, and disaster risk reduction. Leaders in business, industry, science and politics kicked off each session, framing the issues and describing the complex task of producing goals, indicators and targets for each theme.

These are big topics, and women play a crucial role in all of them. However, women’s reproductive and maternal health, family planning, and population issues were – as we’ve seen too often – left out of the conversation. If countries care about sustainable development, then ignoring these topics is foolish, and dangerous. Here’s why:

See: http://populationaction.org/blog/2014/01/18/population-dynamics-are-crucial-to-sustainable-development-so-why-isnt-anyone-talking-about-them/

5 Lessons on Integrating Family Planning and Maternal Health

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

5 Lessons on Integrating Family Planning and Maternal Health
SIRINA KEESARA, GRACE LESSER
January 29, 2014
See: http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2014/01/5-Lessons-on-Integrating-Family-Planning-and-Maternal-Health

Jacaranda Health is working to change the way that maternity care is provided in Africa. We are developing a replicable model to provide affordable, high-quality maternal health services to low-income women worldwide. Our goal is to become a global laboratory for some of the most exciting innovations in maternal and child health service delivery.

Family planning is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce maternal mortality, and at Jacaranda we are committed to integrating high quality family planning services to the spectrum of our maternity services. We hope to contribute to the community by sharing what we are learning about providing postpartum family planning services in resource-constrained settings.

1. Integrate family planning into maternity services

Pregnant women have so much to think about during pregnancy – where to deliver, how to save for the costs, the baby clothes – that preventing the next child is often the last thing on their mind. But studies from around the world have shown that nearly 80 percent of women do not want a pregnancy in the two years following a delivery. Half of these women would like to start contraception within six weeks after delivery. In Kenya, 90 percent of women in the three months postpartum and 68 percent of women at one year postpartum still have an unmet need for family planning. Most health care facilities design maternity care and family planning as separate services; we believe the two should be married.

Integration of family planning into antenatal, postpartum, and child wellness services is proven to help women meet their contraceptive desires. At Jacaranda, we’ve integrated family planning cues into documentation so that providers do not have to struggle with multiple forms, and can respond to built-in prompts to initiate family planning dialogue throughout the continuum of care. We’ve also designed educational materials for our antenatal clients to take home, which plant the family planning seed early and equip clients with the knowledge they’ll need to make a decision after delivery. The postpartum period is often a missed opportunity for family planning, so we’re also considering helping our antenatal clients build a personal postpartum contraception plan, analogous to a “birth plan,” to encourage them to start planning early.

See: http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2014/01/5-Lessons-on-Integrating-Family-Planning-and-Maternal-Health

Virtually impossible to feed world and protect environment – Coveney

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Virtually impossible to feed world and protect environment – Coveney
See: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/virtually-impossible-to-feed-world-and-protect-environemt-coveney-1.1674123

The world is facing a “virtually impossible challenge” of increasing food production by 50 per cent in two decades while protecting the environment from the consequences of intensive production, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney has said.

He pointed out that the world population was increasing by 80 million every year, while 150 million people were joining the middle classes annually. “And that is accelerating rather than flattening out,” he said. “When you look at all those demands and the challenges that are in the way of achieving them, it almost seems impossible.You’re talking about , in less than 20 years, increasing the volume of food we produce to meet current consumption patterns, of 50 per cent.”
He was speaking at a conference organised by IBM to look at how smart technology could help the agri-food sector to compete and win new markets. Mr Coveney said the consequences of intensifying food production could not be ignored as it would eventually destroy the planet.

See: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/virtually-impossible-to-feed-world-and-protect-environemt-coveney-1.1674123

Global Risks

February 5th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Global Risks

See: http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=Global-risks&id=82703

Global Risks 2014 is an analysis of a survey of over 700 world leaders and top businessmen from the World Economic Forum’s global multi-stakeholder community. From the report, growing “global risks” arise from demographic trends, societal issues, technological developments, environmental concerns, and economic mismanagement.

The demographic trends “flagged” consist of “overpopulation… unmanaged migration flows… and energy crises.” Specifically, the risk cited is “being unable to deal with rapid population growth and the growing burden of an ageing population.” According to the report, “Around 1 billion people, one-third of the world’s urban population, live in slums — a number that has been increasing in the current era of high and widening income inequalities. This growing population of urban poor is vulnerable to rising food prices and economic crises, posing significant risks of chronic social instability.” Further, there are the “costs of living longer” to be considered and, notably, the “risks related to longevity remain significant as medical advances increase life expectancy, posing funding challenges in retirement financing, long-term care and healthcare.”

Societal issues involve “the breakdown of social structures, the decline of trust in institutions, the lack of leadership and persisting gender inequalities.” Particularly highlighted are “ideological polarization, extremism — in particular those of a religious or political nature — and intra-state conflicts such as civil wars.” Also mentioned is “the future of the youth: the quality of and access to education, the marginalization of young generations and high rates of youth unemployment.” Quoting the Global Agenda Council on Youth Unemployment, “About 300 million young people — over 25% of the world’s youth population — have no productive work, according to World Bank estimates. Add low-paid rural and urban self-employed workers, and the estimates rise to 600 million. An unprecedented demographic ‘youth bulge’ is bringing more than 120 million new young people on to the job market each year, mostly in the developing world.”

To read the full article, please click here:  http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Opinion&title=Global-risks&id=82703

Indonesia Population Approaching U.S. Revives Birth Control

February 5th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Indonesia Population Approaching U.S. Revives Birth Control
By Shamim Adam, Berni Moestafa and Novrida Manurung January 28, 2014
See: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-01-27/indonesia-facing-populace-larger-than-u-dot-s-dot-revives-birth-control#p1

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono wants families to stop at two children to prevent a burgeoning population overwhelming schools and services. Asih, a cleaner in Tangerang, near Jakarta, is stopping at seven.

“In my family, we always had a lot of children, and as long as we still had something to eat, why do family planning?” said Asih, 35. “Now I have two children in primary school and more that will have to go in the next few years and I have no money to pay school fees. Seven kids are enough.”

Facing slower investment and one of the highest youth unemployment rates in the Asia-Pacific region, the government is concerned the demographic dividend that attracts companies seeking a young, cheap workforce will become an economic time bomb. As Indonesia’s growth slows, the world’s fourth-most-populous nation isn’t generating enough quality jobs to keep up with the population, the International Labour Organization said.

That prospect has brought the revival of a birth-control program begun 46 years ago by former President Suharto, who managed to halve the fertility rate to about 2.6, where it’s been stuck ever since. The government wants to cut the rate to the replacement level of 2.1 within two years to prevent the 250 million population doubling by 2060.

“We have to go back to the policies of the Suharto era, to make strong campaigns and bring the fertility rate down,” said M Sairi Hasbullah, head of Indonesia’s statistics bureau for East Java province. “It’s not going to be easy to provide food, education, health facilities and infrastructure for 500 million people. It’s a big danger for Indonesia.”

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2014-01-27/indonesia-facing-populace-larger-than-u-dot-s-dot-revives-birth-control#p1