Facebook Twitter

Two New Radio Programs Launch in Nigeria to Entertain and Educate

December 24th, 2013 | Add a Comment

Shelburne, VT – December 23, 2013

In Nigeria, most people turn to the radio for entertainment. This November, Population Media Center launched two new radio dramas in Nigeria that will air once per week for the next nine months. However, these soap operas bring something in addition to intriguing characters and lots of drama – these soap operas also educate.

“Two radio serial dramas, “Tafigawalo” (Working Towards Change) and “Hannunika Mai Sanda” (Power in Your Hands), are now at the broadcast stage,” says Ephraim Okon, Population Media Center’s country representative in Nigeria. “It has been challenging, but worth while as we hope to improve people’s health and well-being.”

Population Media Center is based in Shelburne, Vermont, but has worked in over 50 countries in its 15 year history. In every country, Population Media Center’s dramas are written, performed, and produced by locals.

“Characters and messages can only be meaningful if they’re defined by the culture,” says Kriss Barker, Population Media Center’s Vice President for International Programs. “That’s why we train and hire staff for each program. Each story has to be uniquely crafted to be effective.”

The new programs in Nigeria will be addressing a number of issues. “Tafigawalo,” which is in Pidgin, addresses family planning, safe motherhood, adolescent reproductive health, girls’ secondary education, and HIV/AIDS. “Hannunika Mai Sanda,” which is in Hausa, addresses early marriage, a health condition caused by early childbearing called obstetric fistula, family planning, reproductive health, and girls’ education. The programs will be broadcast in different regions of the country, aligning with the language and information needs identified by Population Media Center’s formative research.

“We impart information to people by creating believable characters dealing with regular issues,” says Barker. “When Dela pulls her 12-year-old daughter Aisha out of school to be married to a much older man for a dowry, our listeners will follow Aisha as she becomes pregnant before her young body is ready. We don’t need to preach messages because the consequences of different behaviors are clearly demonstrated. People are smart – they make connections for themselves.”

Population Media Center (PMC) 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.


Zimbabwe: Masvingo Suffers Crippling Water Shortages

December 23rd, 2013 | Add a Comment

Zimbabwe: Masvingo Suffers Crippling Water Shortages
See: http://allafrica.com/stories/201312210170.html

The town of Masvingo has had a water shortage for the last five days and most residents are now using water from boreholes and streams. The residents have expressed fears of a disease outbreak because of this.

The acting Town Clerk, Lovemore Tanyanyiwa, confirmed the shortages and said the pumping capacity has been adversely affected by the decreasing levels of water in the main supply dam, Mutirikwi.

The council uses two water pumps to draw water from Mutirikwi but the levels have so decreased that the other pump is no longer able to withdraw water. Tanyanyiwa told the media the remaining pump draws water at 50 percent capacity and could not meet demand.

Tongai Matutu, the former MDC-T MP for Masvingo Urban, told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the population of the town has increased while the water available has remained the same since the town was built.

The infrastructure in Masvingo was constructed to accommodate 50,000 residents only, but the oldest town in the country now has a population of over 200,000. Matutu said the population of the town has been increasing rapidly, putting pressure on available services and facilities.

Click here to read the full article: http://allafrica.com/stories/201312210170.html

Two Very Different Population Books

December 23rd, 2013 | Add a Comment

Two Very Different Population Books
See: http://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/population-books/

If you’re lucky enough to grow old, you have the privilege of being commented on by historians. That happened to me recently with the publication of “The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble Over Earth’s Future” by Yale historian Paul Sabin. Sabin has written a very readable, literate, and factual description of the bet that John Harte, John Holdren, and I made with Julian Simon a long time ago. I found it a very interesting read and especially liked Sabin’s attempt to put the bet into the political context of the time.

I thought it even might lead to some diminution of the right-wing habit of claiming that Simon was right and there are no serious population, resource, environment problems because we lost the bet. Sabin did point out that had the bet gone on a little longer we would have won, but somehow the reviewer in the Wall Street Journal seems to have missed that point, and said Simon’s view that resources are infinite has been “vindicated.” That reviewer complained because I have called people like Inhofe, Limbaugh, and the reviewer “morons” for working hard to kill my (and their) descendants while profiting themselves and their pimps. I apologize for my self-censorship, but the more accurate 7-letter and 12-letter descriptors are considered bad form by most editors.

Of course, being the focus of so much attention meant it was inevitable I’d find something about the book annoying. Amazingly, it was its much-praised even-handedness. Sabin seemed at pains to make the views of a professor of mail-order marketing, who believed that the only limit to the copper available to Homo sapiens is “the weight of the universe” and that humanity can enjoy economic growth for “seven billion years,” seem to be equivalent to those of the entire scientific community. It’s noteworthy that the truth in scientific disputes almost never lies in the middle. There is no “ether breeze.” Earth doesn’t circle the sun in spring and summer while the sun circles Earth in the other seasons. Plants evolve but animals are specially created. The book reminded me somewhat of an argument climatologist Steve Schneider and I had with the Washington Post’s famous editor Ben Bradlee, who claimed that he didn’t want his reporters to know anything about science so their reporting could be “balanced.” He largely succeeded there, but strangely he kept hiring sports reporters who knew a strike from a ball.

Read the rest of this entry »

Some English towns braced for a 20 per cent rise in population in just 10 years

December 23rd, 2013 | Add a Comment

The towns braced for a 20 per cent rise in population in just 10 years: Population boom looks certain to engulf South
See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2527251/The-towns-braced-20-cent-rise-population-just-10-years-Population-boom-looks-certain-engulf-South.html

Some towns will see their population soar by more than a fifth over the next few years, according to new estimates.

The Office for National Statistics says some areas will see expansion of more than 20 per cent between 2011 and 2021, in a population boom that looks certain to engulf much of the south of the country.

The forecasts come at a time of political concern over immigration – responsible for around two thirds of current population increase – and the need for large-scale housing construction.

The Government is also facing pressure from conservation groups led by the National Trust, which says councils are now aiming to meet the pressure for development by building on Green Belt land.

According to ONS projections, the population of England will rise from 53.1 million to nearly 58 million by 2021, up 8.6 per cent on 2011 levels.

Growth will be at its slowest in the north, it says, with an increase of 4.4 per cent in the North West and 4.9 per cent in the North East.

This contrasts with a projected 14.2 per cent rise in London; 10.2 per cent in the East region; and 9.3 per cent in the South East.

Population pressure will also be high in the East Midlands, which will have to make room for nearly 400,000 more people, an 8.6 per cent increase, and in the South West, where an expected extra 440,000 people will mean a 8.3 per cent rise.

Click here to see full article: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2527251/The-towns-braced-20-cent-rise-population-just-10-years-Population-boom-looks-certain-engulf-South.html

Dramatic decline in industrial agriculture could herald ‘peak food’

December 23rd, 2013 | Add a Comment

Dramatic decline in industrial agriculture could herald ‘peak food’
Most conventional yield projection models are oblivious to the real world say US researchers
See: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/dec/19/industrial-agriculture-limits-peak-food

Industrial agriculture could be hitting fundamental limits in its capacity to produce sufficient crops to feed an expanding global population according to new research published in Nature Communications.

The study by scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln argues that there have been abrupt declines or plateaus in the rate of production of major crops which undermine optimistic projections of constantly increasing crop yields. As much as “31% of total global rice, wheat and maize production” has experienced “yield plateaus or abrupt decreases in yield gain, including rice in eastern Asia and wheat in northwest Europe.”

The declines and plateaus in production have become prevalent despite increasing investment in agriculture, which could mean that maximum potential yields under the industrial model of agribusiness have already occurred. Crop yields in “major cereal-producing regions have not increased for long periods of time following an earlier period of steady linear increase.”

The paper makes for ominous reading. Production levels have already flattened out with “no case of a return to the previous rising yield trend” for key regions amounting to “33% of global rice and 27% of global wheat production.” The US researchers concluded that these yield plateaus could be explained by the inference that “average farm yields approach a biophysical yield ceiling for the crop in question, which is determined by its yield potential in the regions where the crop is produced.” They wrote:

“… we found widespread deceleration in the relative rate of increase of average yields of the major cereal crops during the 1990-2010 period in countries with greatest production of these crops, and strong evidence of yield plateaus or an abrupt drop in rate of yield gain in 44% of the cases, which, together, account for 31% of total global rice, wheat and maize production.”

To read the full report, please click here: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/earth-insight/2013/dec/19/industrial-agriculture-limits-peak-food

Water-sharing accord won’t solve overpopulation issue

December 23rd, 2013 | Add a Comment

Water-sharing accord won’t solve overpopulation issue
See: http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/70408/water-sharing-accord-wont-solve-overpopulation-issue/

Mideast observers were happily surprised to hear about a water-sharing agreement signed at the World Bank headquarters earlier this month between the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian governments.

Amid the media fanfare, it is important to distill what this new accord delivers and what it doesn’t.

The centerpiece of the agreement is a new desalination plant to be established on the Red Sea in Aqaba, Jordan, that will provide water for the city and its vicinity, including the neighboring Israeli city of Eilat. In addition, an estimated 100 million liters of the high-salt brine produced by the desalination plant is to be pumped annually via a conduit in Jordan and discharged into the Dead Sea, which has been shrinking steadily for decades. Farther north, Israel agreed to sell some 80 billion liters of water each year from the Sea of Galilee to the Jordanians and Palestinians.

The projected price tag for the entire initiative – $400 million – is a fraction of a much more ambitious, multibillion program to refill the Dead Sea that recently was endorsed by the World Bank.

As the first new agreement in many years that coordinates natural resource use between Israel and its neighbors, its very existence constitutes good news – as does the introduction of additional desalinated water into an increasingly parched region.

Yet, the 100 million liters of brine that is to reach the Dead Sea is only a 10th of the 1 billion liters that used to reach it naturally, flowing via the River Jordan. (During the past 50 years, most of the waters were diverted by Syria, Israel and Jordan.) This agreement in no way saves the Dead Sea from dying. The unique saline lake, located at the lowest place on Earth, will continue its alarming retreat each year with or without the new pipeline.

To read the full essay, please click here: http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/70408/water-sharing-accord-wont-solve-overpopulation-issue/

Population Institute Names 34th Annual Global Media Award Winners

December 23rd, 2013 | Add a Comment

Population Institute Names 34th Annual Global Media Award Winners
See: http://www.populationinstitute.org/newsroom/news/view/57/

Washington, DC -The Population Institute today is pleased to announce the winners of the 34th annual Global Media Awards competition. The recipients made a significant contribution to public discussion and understanding of population and family planning related issues. The Population Institute is proud to recognize these individuals and news outlets for their journalistic excellence and valuable insights.

Isaac Masingati, a reporter at Malawi’s The Daily Times, will receive the Best Article or Series of Articles award for “Too Many People, Too Few Resources.” His article examines how rapid population growth is impacting the provision of essential services in Malawi. The government is worried that population growth will undermine its efforts to provide quality health and education services, accelerate the depletion of forests and natural resources, and degrade the environment. It is hoped that the National Population Policy will address these challenges by promoting smaller families and increasing access to family planning, but the article questions whether government leaders will make the necessary commitments.

Alan Weisman, the author of several books, including the international best-seller The World Without Us, will receive the Best Book award for his book Countdown: Out Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth? Alan Weisman traveled to more than 20 countries to ask what experts agreed were the probably the most important questions on Earth and also the hardest: How many humans can the planet hold without capsizing? How robust must the Earth’s ecosystem be to assure our continued existence? And, how might we actually arrive at a stable, optimum population, and design an economy to allow genuine prosperity without endless growth? Weisman explores the burgeoning impact that we are having on planetary resources, but also examines the ancillary benefits that would flow from stabilizing population and reducing our consumption of natural resources.

East Los High will be recognized as the Best TV Show for a highly popular 24-episode made-for-television series that ran exclusively on Hulu. Co-created, co-written and directed by Carlos Portugal, East Los High is the first U.S. produced, English language series with an all Latino cast. The program dramatized the voices and stories of young Latinos living in the U.S. Featuring stories infused with love, jealousy, and revenge, the episodes also highlight the moral, sexual, and reproductive health issues facing Latino teens today.

Read the rest of this entry »

Cable And Broadcast News Hide The Economic Benefits Of Reproductive Health

December 23rd, 2013 | Add a Comment

Cable And Broadcast News Hide The Economic Benefits Of Reproductive Health
See: http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/12/16/cable-and-broadcast-news-hide-the-economic-bene/197290

Economic Benefits Mentioned In Only 4 Segments, Less Than 2 Percent Of Total Coverage. Of the total 255 broadcast and evening news segments that focused on reproductive health from June 24 to December 1, only four mentioned the economic benefits this health care provides for women, three on MSNBC and one on Fox News. All four segments focused on the role of contraception and abortion access in reducing economic insecurity for women.

Center for American Progress: Contraception Is An Economic Issue. In a blog discussing a surge of contraception news gaining mainstream traction, Sally Steenland and Jessica Arons of the Center for American Progress argued that contraception is inextricably linked to women’s economic well-being:

It’s not just the cost of contraception. Family planning allows women to control the timing of when they have children, which in turn allows them to pursue their education and career. Indeed, women now make up half of the nation’s workforce, and 60 percent of women are breadwinners for their family–in large part because of greater access to contraception.


Because family planning enables women to plan their pregnancies, it also leads to healthier mothers and babies. As a result, it reduces costs to individuals and families, to our health care system, and to society.


Bottom line: Pundits and politicians need to realize that contraception is not just a hot-button issue. It and other policies such as paid sick days and equal pay are integral to women’s economic security. [Center for American Progress, 4/2/12]

To read the full article, please click here: http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/12/16/cable-and-broadcast-news-hide-the-economic-bene/197290

What if there’s a bad snow year?

December 23rd, 2013 | Add a Comment

What if there’s a bad snow year?
By Allen Best, Aspen Journalism
See: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_24672753/what-if-theres-bad-snow-year

Skimpy-clothed people splashing amid the red sandstone canyons of Utah define our images of Lake Powell. But six months ago, engineers and water officials from the seven states of the Colorado River Basin quietly met in Santa Fe to consider a more serious possibility: Continued drought could leave too little water in the reservoir for the eight giant turbines in Glen Canyon Dam to produce electricity.

The turbines can produce great amounts of electricity, 1,320 megawatts at full throttle, or roughly twice as much as the Cherokee power plants north of downtown Denver. In practice, the volume runs half that. Most rural electrical cooperatives in the Rocky Mountains states buy power from Glen Canyon through their wholesale supplier, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, as does Xcel Energy.

The average $150 million in revenues from this power generation are a federal cash cow. The money paid for construction of Glen Canyon and other dams authorized by Congress in 1958, but also funds salinity control such as in the Paradox Valley west of Telluride and the endangered fish recovery program, including the 15-mile segment of the Colorado River from Palisade into Grand Junction.

What if the Colorado River Basin has another bum year for snow? Inflows into Lake Powell during the last two years were 25 percent and then 47 percent as compared to the rolling 30-year average. If the years 2001-2003 were about as bad, here’s the difference: in 1999, Lake Powell was full. In recent years, despite a few big snow years, the reservoir has often displayed big “bathtub rings.” Right now, it’s 43 percent of capacity. Drought has been our more steady companion of the 21st century.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_24672753/what-if-theres-bad-snow-year

Rapid Population Growth Imperils Egypt

December 23rd, 2013 | Add a Comment

Rapid Population Growth Imperils Egypt
Magued Osman, December 16, 2013
See: http://www.aucegypt.edu/gapp/cairoreview/pages/articleDetails.aspx?aid=484

The world’s population broke the 7 billion person barrier in 2011 and is projected to increase by 40 percent in the coming forty years. Population growth averages vary among the world’s nations, with the populations of developed nations expected to increase by just 10 percent, and the greater part of population growth expected to come from developing nations, especially the least developed, where population is expected to double in the coming four decades.

So what about Egypt’s population outlook? Egyptian census data shows that in 1948, Egypt’s population reached nearly twenty million, added another twenty million by 1975, twenty million more by 1994, with the populace reaching sixty million. Another twenty million over the next seventeen years means eighty million Egyptians by 2011. Egyptians needed thousands of years to reach the first twenty million, before managing to double several times in a few years, without creating a concomitant increase in agricultural land or available water to ensure securing the necessities of life. They also failed to achieve human development and the quality of life achieved by other developing nations.

The United Nations’ population department issues periodical projections for the world’s nations-based on different scenarios, according to those nations’ potential fertility and mortality rates in the coming years. The latest study indicates that even if Egypt follows a low fertility scenario, the population will continue to grow reaching 100 million by 2036, then hitting 105 million by 2050 and settling at that level.

If, however, fertility rates are high, Egypt will break 100 million by 2025, and reach 140 million by the year 2050- a scenario that can be described as the “national suicide.”

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.aucegypt.edu/gapp/cairoreview/pages/articleDetails.aspx?aid=484