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Food security, economy to be hit by climate change, leaked IPCC draft report shows

March 28th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Food security, economy to be hit by climate change, leaked IPCC draft report shows

See:  http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/food-security-economy-to-be-hit-by-climate-change-leaked-ipcc-draft-report-shows-20140318-34zpm.html

Global warming will displace millions of people, trigger falling crop yields, stoke conflict and cost trillions of dollars in lost economic output, a United Nations report will warn.

A draft of the report to be finalised later this month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and obtained by The Independent in Britain, says “hundreds of millions of people” will be forced to move because of coastal flooding and land loss as sea levels rise.

Food security will increasingly be threatened, with median crop yields to drop by as much as 2 per cent per decade for the rest of the century. Demand, though, is on course to rise 14 per cent per decade until 2050, the Independent cited the IPCC draft as saying.

Poverty and economic shocks from climate change will have a significant impact on migration, increasing the risks of violence from protests and from civil or international conflicts, according the draft version of the report on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability states.

Among the projections likely to attract scrutiny from reviewers when the final report of the IPCC’s Working Group II is settled on in Japan later this month is the draft’s estimate that annual global gross domestic product will drop by 0.2-2 per cent if temperatures rise 2.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

Global mean temperatures have already risen about 0.9 degrees, with at least a 2-degree rise increasingly likely as carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and land clearing continue to rise, scientists say.

See:  http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/food-security-economy-to-be-hit-by-climate-change-leaked-ipcc-draft-report-shows-20140318-34zpm.html

Without RH law, contraceptives will run out in Payatas

March 28th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Without RH law, contraceptives will run out in Payatas

See: http://www.rappler.com/nation/53399-rh-law-contraceptives-women-payatas

MANILA, Philippines - “Pigilan yung pagdami ng anak. Yun ba yun? Baka mali ako.” (Stop the increase of the number of children. Is that it? I may be wrong.)
Marife Zaragoza, 36, only hears about the Reproductive Health (RH) law from television. She doesn’t know it’s a law that took almost 14 years to pass. Nor does she know it’s a law that has been stalled in the Supreme Court since a year ago.
After this writer explained it to her briefly, she smiled and agreed with health advocates the RH law is needed. She’s tired of giving birth, she said, even if one more baby – her 5th child – is still on the way.
Her disposition on child birth today is a far cry from when she was 19. She was then living with her boyfriend, and very happy about being pregnant – so happy that even if she lost her first, unplanned baby to a miscarriage, it took only a month before she was pregnant again.
When they met, her boyfriend was a security guard. Today, 17 years after, he is still a security guard, only now he’s providing not only for Marife, but also for 3 daughters, a son, and the baby in her womb.
“Aminin ko hindi lahat maibigay [ko] sa kanila. Kaya nagdesisyon ako ngayon, nitong panghuli, gusto kong ma-ligate na,” Marife said. (I will admit I can’t give my children everything. That’s why I decided that after this last child, I want to be ligated already.)

TV Lowers Birthrate (Seriously)

March 28th, 2014 | Add a Comment

TV Lowers Birthrate (Seriously)
See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/20/opinion/kristof-tv-lowers-birthrate-seriously.html

In the struggle to break cycles of poverty, experts have been searching for decades for ways to lower America’s astronomical birthrate among teenagers.

We’ve tried virginity pledges, condoms and sex education. And, finally, we have a winner, a tool that has been remarkably effective in cutting teenage births.

It’s “16 and Pregnant,” a reality show on MTV that has been a huge hit, spawning spinoffs like the “Teen Mom” franchise. These shows remind youthful viewers that babies cry and vomit, scream in the middle of the night and poop with abandon.

Tweets containing the words “birth control” increased by 23 percent on the day after each new episode of “16 and Pregnant,” according to an analysis by Melissa Kearney of the University of Maryland and Phillip B. Levine of Wellesley College. Those tweets, in turn, correlate to increased Google searches along the lines of “how get birth control pills.”

Kearney and Levine find that regions with a higher audience for “16 and Pregnant” and the “Teen Mom” franchise had more of a drop in teenage births. Over all, their statistical analysis concludes that the shows reduced teenage births by 5.7 percent, or 20,000 fewer teenage births each year. That’s one birth averted every half-hour.

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/20/opinion/kristof-tv-lowers-birthrate-seriously.html

Bill Maher says you aren’t an environmentalist unless you care about overpopulation

March 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Bill Maher says you aren’t an environmentalist unless you care about overpopulation
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OK, so the green movement needs to get away from the words “environment,” “Earth,” and “planet,” but TV host Bill Maher has a fantastic point (for once): If you care about sustainability – hell, if you care about the future at all – you should be seriously worried about overpopulation.Maher spoke with Countdown author Alan Weisman in an insightful, much-needed conversation. “This is a topic most environmental groups won’t touch,” Weisman began. (We will!)

Weisman noted that Iran has the best family planning programs in history, with free birth control and premarital classes that teach just how frickin’ expensive it is to raise a kid. Plus, women are encouraged to stay in school, which delays parenthood. (As Maher says, “Education is the best contraception.”) Watch – it’s eight minutes worth seeing.

Maher also drops the sobering fact that Americans comprise 5 percent of the global population but use about 20 percent of its resources. Driving a Prius and using solar is awesome, but to really make a difference, put a jimmy hat on it.

Fruitful and Multiplying: The Overpopulation Exhibit

March 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Fruitful and Multiplying: The Overpopulation Exhibit
World population has more than doubled since 1960. The public discourse around population is skittish at best. It is safe to discuss the effects of overpopulation – sustainability, water supply, etc. – but discussion of over-population and especially action to limit population is taboo. The purpose of Fruitful and Multiplying is to present a collection of artwork on the issue of overpopulation and to sponsor dialogue that helps people understand and engage with the many global effects.
Fruitful and Multiplying will include three components: (1) Four featured artists with multiple works that directly address overpopulation and its effects, (2) a salon-style installation of individual art works from 13 local artists, and (3) an informational installation including facts, statistics, diagrams, etc. produced by World Population Balance, a local non-profit with a mission to educate communities on the issues of overpopulation.
“What others won’t talk about is a perfect call to action for artists,” says curator John Schuerman. “Politically sensitive topics, and in particular, social causes, are almost always ushered in with artistic support; for example, the folk singers that supported the civil rights movement. Furthermore, art is perfect for starting to talk about things we haven’t figured out how to address, and where there is no clear answer, or even articulation.”

Sex-Selective Abortion Bans Highlight Faultlines in the Reproductive Rights Movement

March 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Sex-Selective Abortion Bans Highlight Faultlines in the Reproductive Rights Movement
by Eesha Pandit, Independent Writer & Activist 

On March 5, the South Dakota house passed a bill that would ban abortions based on the sex of the fetus, otherwise known as “sex-selective” abortions. State Reps. Stace Nelson (R-Fulton) and Don Haggar (R-Sioux Falls) both invoked the changing demographic in South Dakota as their primary motivation for supporting the bill. Haggar noted on the house floor, “Let me tell you, our population in South Dakota is a lot more diverse than it ever was. There are cultures that look at a sex-selection abortion as being culturally OK. And I will suggest to you that we are embracing individuals from some of those cultures in this country, or in this state.”

Sex-selection bans, which have proliferated around the country as of late, are often proposed in the context of race, invoking Asian-American immigrants to a state. If the South Dakota bill passes, the state, which has a history of passing extreme anti-choice legislation, will become the eighth in the country to pass a sex-selective abortion ban. Yet these bills have yet to merit a larger conversation, either within the national reproductive rights and feminist movements or in the news more generally.

Family planning program in Senegal drawn into conflict with religious leaders

March 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Family planning program in Senegal drawn into conflict with religious leaders
MERETO, Senegal - From the corner of his family’s bustling courtyard, El Hadji Fally Diallo looked out approvingly at his large extended family. Several women with babies on their hips prepared the massive midday meal, and children studying the Koran mumbled verses to themselves.

“It’s like we expanded from one family to three,” Diallo, 76, a village leader, said of his own three wives and expansive brood. “With 30 children, some can go to the field, some can deal with the cattle, some can go abroad. It’s a lot of money you can have with this size family, so that is a lot of power.”

The Diallos have a time-tested definition of success in which a large family plays a central role. But that model is clashing with a government program to increase contraceptive use and reduce family sizes. Largely financed by international donors, the program is part of a global campaign that aims to give 120 million more women around the world access to contraception by 2020.

For supporters of the program, the benefits of contraception are clear: better health for women and children, economic benefits and smaller families.

Pope Francis and the Great Catholic Divide

March 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Pope Francis and the Great Catholic Divide
Perhaps more than any other pope in modern times, Pope Francis has done much to unify and reinvigorate the Catholic faith, but as he approaches the first anniversary of his ascendancy to the papacy, he still confronts a great divide. As confirmed by a recent international poll of 12,000 Catholics in 12 countries, many Catholics do not embrace the church’s teachings on family planning. Many, in fact, hope that Pope Francis will relax, if not reverse, the church’s longstanding opposition to the use of modern contraceptives.

The poll, which was conducted by Bendixen and Amandi International for Univision, found that support for family planning among Catholics is high, particularly in Europe and the Western Hemisphere. In five of the 12 countries that were surveyed, including the pope’s homeland of Argentina, nine out of 10 Catholics support the use of contraceptives. (The other four countries were Columbia, Brazil, Spain, and France.) In America, the poll found that nearly eight out of 10 Catholics (79 percent) were in opposition to church teachings on contraception.

If nothing else, Pope Francis is prepared to listen to concerns about family planning. Last fall the Vatican announced plans to gather information in preparation for the October 2014 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” The survey instrument, which was disseminated to dioceses around the world, asked Catholics to make known their views with respect to family planning, along with abortion, divorce, gay marriage and other issues affecting modern family life.

Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?

March 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?
Natural and social scientists develop new model of how ‘perfect storm’ of crises could unravel global system 
 
A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”

The research project is based on a new cross-disciplinary ‘Human And Nature DYnamical’ (HANDY) model, led by applied mathematician Safa Motesharri of the US National Science Foundation-supported National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, in association with a team of natural and social scientists. The study based on the HANDY model has been accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed Elsevier journal, Ecological Economics.

Revisiting the Environmental and Socioeconomic Effects of Population Growth

March 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Revisiting the Environmental and Socioeconomic Effects of Population Growth: a Fundamental but Fading Issue in Modern Scientific, Public, and Political Circles
ABSTRACT
Reversing ongoing declines in human welfare and biodiversity is at the core of human development. Although numerous institutions and avenues are in place to reverse such trends, there seems to be limited consideration of population growth as an ultimate driver. I review recent studies showing how the issue of population growth has been downplayed and trivialized among scientific fields, which may in part account for the reduced public interest in the issue and in turn the limited will for policy action. Different sources of evidence suggest that population growth could fundamentally affect society, nature, and the climate. Although tackling the issue of overpopulation will suffer from major impediments including scientific motivation, public scientific illiteracy, religion, and media attention, ongoing neglect of this issue will increase not only the extent of anthropogenic stressors but also the struggle associated with strategies to reverse biodiversity loss and improve human welfare.

INTRODUCTION

Two of the greatest concerns of our generation are to improve human welfare (Kollodge 2011) and to prevent the ongoing loss of biodiversity (Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity 2006, Hails 2008).