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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

 

Shocking Photographs of People Lying in Seven Days Worth of Their Trash

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Shocking Photographs of People Lying in Seven Days Worth of Their Trash

See: http://www.boredpanda.com/7-days-of-garbage-trash-pollution-photography-gregg-segal/

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Keeping pace with population growth

July 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

Keeping pace with population growth 

See: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(14)61130-2/fulltext

By Vladimíra Kantorová, Ann Biddlecom, Holly Newby

July 11 marks World Population Day, calling attention to the crucial part that population growth plays in meeting the health needs of a global population projected to reach 7·3 billion people in 2015 when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) come to an end.1 The region of sub-Saharan Africa faces particular challenges, where the population is projected to nearly double from 510 million people in 1990 to 989 million in 2015, driven mainly by high fertility and large cohorts of women of reproductive age.
When compared to other regions, sub-Saharan Africa is often described as lagging behind in terms of MDG progress on reproductive health. Looking at the absolute numbers of people reached, however, reveals unrecognised efforts made by countries in the region. For example, the percentage of women who received at least four antenatal care visits during pregnancy from skilled health personnel increased minimally over the past two decades, from 48% in 1990 to 50% in 2012 (figure).2 However, the estimated number of births for which mothers had received four antenatal visits increased by 61%. Moderate progress in increasing coverage of skilled attendance at birth (from 40% in 1990 to 53% in 2012) also masks a substantial increase in the absolute number of births attended by a skilled health provider, doubling from an estimated 9 million births in 1990 to 18 million births in 2012.

Get Over the Growth Fetish

July 14th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Get Over the Growth Fetish

See: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/get-over-the-growth-fetish/article6182959.ece

Perpetual growth is a piece of nonsense. The focus should be on protecting livelihoods through sustainable means

Construct a building, demolish it, reconstruct, break it down again, and go on repeating this meaningless exercise. You will have economic growth, as currently measured. But no net gain in employment during the endless cycle of construction and demolition, no net increase in productive capacity, and no appreciable change in poverty levels.

Add to this the ecological cost of mining materials and using energy for the construction. And when the owners of the building decide it is more profitable to employ machines instead of people, you’ll have net loss of livelihoods.

India’s growth story is, of course, not as caricaturish, but it is not far off. Despite many years of a cracking pace of growth, net increase in employment in the formal sector has been insignificant in the last two decades.

See: http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/opinion/get-over-the-growth-fetish/article6182959.ece

FG targets 36% contraceptive rate through family planning

July 14th, 2014 | Add a Comment

FG targets 36% contraceptive rate through family planning

See: http://www.punchng.com/news/fg-targets-36-contraceptive-rate-through-family-planning/

The Federal Government will promote all family planning methods to achieve a contraceptive prevalence of 36 per cent by 2018, the Minister of  Health, Prof Onyebuchi Chukwu, has said.

The minister, represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Linus Awute, made the statement in Abuja on Thursday at the national family planning stakeholders’ consultative meeting.

Chukwu said the theme, ‘Reducing maternal deaths in Nigeria through healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies’, was appropriate given that family planning was relevant to safe motherhood.

“In repositioning family planning, the goal and commitment of government is to achieve a contraceptive prevalence rate of 36 per cent by 2018. To achieve this goal, there is the need to aggressively promote all family planning methods so as to meet the needs of women of reproductive age,” he said.

See: http://www.punchng.com/news/fg-targets-36-contraceptive-rate-through-family-planning/

Booming populations, rising economies, threatened biodiversity: the tropics will never be the same

July 14th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Booming populations, rising economies, threatened biodiversity: the tropics will never be the same 

See: http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0707-hance-the-tropics-changes.html

For those living either north or south of the tropics, images of this green ring around the Earth’s equator often include verdant rainforests, exotic animals, and unchanging weather; but they may also be of entrenched poverty, unstable governments, and appalling environmental destruction. A massive new report, The State of the Tropics, however, finds that the truth is far more complicated-and much more interesting.

Starting with Aristotle’s misguided belief that no civilization could thrive in the tropics, the region-which covers around 40 percent of the world’s surface-has long been defined by views from the outside. But, according to the report’s co-author Sandra Harding, that must change.

“At a time of increasing concern about social, environmental and economic sustainability, a different approach is long overdue,” writes Harding, Vice-Chancellor and President of James Cook University. “It is time to recognize and acknowledge the tropics as a region defined from within, rather than without, to embrace the wisdom and experience of its peoples.”

Compiled by 12 institutions, the 400-plus page report attempts to explore the full region of the tropics, including demographics, health, science, economics, biodiversity, and climate change, among other issues. It finds that major changes are afoot in the region, including incredible population growth, rising economic importance, clashes over land-use, imperiled biodiversity, and worsening impacts of climate change.

See: http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0707-hance-the-tropics-changes.html

Message for World Population Day, By Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin

July 11th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Message for World Population Day

By Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNFPA Executive Director

See: http://www.unfpa.org/public/home/news/pid/17697#sthash.srTzErxJ.dpuf

Today’s 1.8 billion young people are a powerful force, individually and collectively. They are shaping social and economic realities, challenging norms and values and building the foundation of the world’s future.

Governments and the international community are increasingly conscious of the importance of providing resources and opportunities for all young people to reach their full potential as individuals and citizens. They recognize that investing in young people and enabling them to exercise their human rights not only benefits young people themselves, but can also help their countries reap a demographic dividend.

We know that healthy, educated, productive and fully engaged young people can help break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and are more resilient in the face of individual and societal challenges. As skilled and informed citizens, they can contribute more fully to their communities and nations.

See: http://www.unfpa.org/public/home/news/pid/17697#sthash.srTzErxJ.dpuf

Global Poverty Levels Halved But More Africans In Extreme Poverty Than In 1990: UN Report

July 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Global Poverty Levels Halved But More Africans In Extreme Poverty Than In 1990: UN Report 

See: http://www.ibtimes.com/global-poverty-levels-halved-more-africans-extreme-poverty-1990-un-report-1621680

While the world has managed to slash the number of poor people by half in the last 20 years, more people in sub-Saharan Africa now live in a state of extreme poverty and hunger than ever before, according to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals report publishedMonday.

According to the 2014 edition of the report, the global target for reducing poverty by half was achieved five years ahead of schedule and the number of poor people — those living on less than $1.25 a day — had halved to 18 percent in 2010 from 36 percent of the population in 1990. However, the number of those people living in extreme poverty in the sub-Saharan region increased to 414 million in 2010 from 290 million in 1990.

“We know that achievements have been uneven between goals, among and within regions and countries, and between population groups,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said in a foreword to the report. The Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, signed by all UN member states in 2000, aim to reduce, among other things, world poverty and hunger to half of 1990 levels by 2015.

While the number of undernourished and stunted children below the age of five fell to 25 percent of the world’s population in 2010 from 40 percent in 1990, in sub-Saharan Africa, this number rose to 58 million from 44 million. The report warned that, owing to an increase in the poverty level in the region, sub-Saharan Africa is unlikely to meet any of its MDG targets.

See: http://www.ibtimes.com/global-poverty-levels-halved-more-africans-extreme-poverty-1990-un-report-1621680