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READING THE NUMBERS

February 21st, 2014 | Add a Comment

READING THE NUMBERS
BY MARGARET TALBOT
See: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2014/02/17/140217taco_talk_talbot

Last week’s report about the declining abortion rate in the United States was potentially good news for everyone, especially, one would think, for right-to-life groups. Most of them, though, weren’t cheering. A statement from Americans United for Life called the report “an abortion industry propaganda piece short on data and long on strained conclusions.” One problem was that the groups didn’t like the messenger. The report, which showed that between 2008 and 2011 the rate of abortions had fallen to its lowest level since 1973, came from the Guttmacher Institute. Guttmacher produces scrupulous research on reproductive health; it also supports abortion rights. But the bigger problem was the message itself, because the report made a persuasive case that the right-to-life movement cannot take credit for the decline in abortions.

Since 2008, states have enacted more than a hundred laws related to abortion, most aimed at limiting access to the procedure. The researchers, however, concluded that the new laws, with few exceptions, had had little impact on the number of abortions. Instead, much of the decline is probably attributable to more effective contraception, some of it available through the federal funding-”Uncle Sugar,” in Mike Huckabee’s creepy coinage-that Republicans like to rail against. Right-to-lifers could be promoting contraception and touting its success in averting unwanted pregnancies, but that doesn’t seem to be news that they want to hear, let alone spread.

In fact, nobody can say for sure why the rate is falling. But the report’s authors, Rachel K. Jones and Jenna Jerman, point to some key indicators. For one thing, there was a notable drop in the rates in several states, such as California, New York, and New Jersey, that had not enacted new restrictions. Indeed, rates dropped in all regions of the country, although the new laws are concentrated primarily in the Midwest and the South. Moreover, most of the restrictive laws were passed in 2011, and the decline was already under way in 2008. Finally, and critically, the decrease in abortions has been accompanied by a decrease in the birth rate, suggesting not that fewer women are choosing to terminate pregnancies but that fewer women are getting pregnant in the first place.

See: http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2014/02/17/140217taco_talk_talbot

Assume the worst when it comes to climate change and population, King tells KFU audience

February 18th, 2014 | Add a Comment

See: http://www.hpj.com/archives/2014/feb14/feb17/0203KFUConference1PIXsr.cfm

History has a way of repeating itself, which means that if military historians and strategists peer back far enough, certain precedents can be found to illustrate patterns and models useful for the prediction of the near-term future.

Unfortunately, as W. Chris King told members of the Kansas Farmers Union during their annual convention in Topeka on Jan. 4, there is no historical precedence for what the nation and the world face in the future from the combined forces of climate change, overpopulation and resource depletion. “We have nothing on which to base projections,” he said. “We have to assume climate change is going to make everything worse. And there’s no easy, immediate fix. It’s a really, really hard problem.”

King, chief academic officer for the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College, said that while the idea of climate change seems addressed to our times, it was already being discussed back in the 1970s and 1980s. The problem was, nobody was listening, least of all the U.S. military. Nor did the military consider them worthy of study.

“These subjects were not well received because [the authors] had patches on their sleeves and they didn’t get along with the military,” King said.

That began to change when one of the leading environmental scholars of the time, Norman Myers, characterized the impending shortage of resources as a national security issue on par with hostile nations. “It relates to watersheds, croplands, forests, genetic resources, climate and other factors that rarely figure in the minds of military experts and political leaders,” he wrote in The Environmentalist.

That assessment was mirrored in the latest National Security Strategy of the United States, dated May 2010, which declared “the danger from climate change is real, urgent and severe. The change wrought by a warming planet will lead to new conflicts over refugees and resources; new suffering from drought and famine; catastrophic natural disasters; and the degradation of land across the globe.”

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.hpj.com/archives/2014/feb14/feb17/0203KFUConference1PIXsr.cfm

Egyptian population explosion worsens social unrest

February 18th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Egyptian population explosion worsens social unrest
560,000 extra births in 2012, compared with 2010, in country already struggling with depleted resources and too few jobs

See: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/16/egypt-population-explosion-social-unrest

Egypt is struggling to contain a population explosion that has surged in the past three years, exacerbating many of the social tensions that indirectly led to the 2011 uprising.

The number of births in Egypt in 2012 was 560,000 higher than in 2010, according to the most recent statistics. It is the largest two-year increase since records began. The rise keeps Egypt on course to overtake countries such as Russia and Japan by 2050, when forecasters predict it will have more than 137.7 million people.

“It’s the highest spike ever in all Egyptian history,” said Magued Osman, director of Egypt’s leading statistics firm, Baseera, and former head of a government thinktank. “It’s unheard of to have such a jump in a two-year period.”

The rising population is seen as a social timebomb which, if untackled, will exhaust Egypt’s depleted resources, worsen a dire jobs market, and contribute to yet more social frustration. With 60% of Egyptians under 30 already, a bulging population will further reduce the limited opportunities for young people.

“You can’t maintain a good education system with this number of people,” said Osman. “If the population increases, you need a parallel increase in the number of classes. Between 2006 and 2012 there was a 40% increase in the number of births. This means you need 91,000 new classes just to keep the same average class size, which is already very high – at least 40, and in some governorates it’s at 60.”

Every year, more than 800,000 young Egyptians join the job market – which already has an unemployment rate of 13.4%. With an unchecked birthrate and a falling deathrate, joblessness is expected to rise quickly, inevitably leading to further public anger.

To read the full article, please click here:  http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/16/egypt-population-explosion-social-unrest

Kadaga calls on women to embrace family planning

February 17th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Kadaga calls on women to embrace family planning

See: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/652490-kadaga-calls-on-women-to-embrace-family-planning.html

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has called upon women to embrace family planning to curb the increasing population levels in the country.

According to Kadaga, the increasing population levels in the country are hindering development since majority of the population is unemployed.

“We are experiencing very high and unprecedented population growth rates. The fertility rate for a Ugandan woman is 6 to 7 children; this coupled with high mortality rates of both maternal and child deaths, Sub Saharan Africa is grappling with high unemployment rates and very young dependent population,” said Kadaga.

Kadaga made the remarks Wednesday while addressing African MPs at the ongoing Asian and African parliamentarian’s capacity development on integrations of political issues into national development frameworks at Lake Victoria Serena resort in Lweza.

She noted that the increasing population levels in a country like Uganda where majority of the people are youth, was creating a lot of dependency as a result of unemployment.

“We should encourage our people especially women in rural areas to embrace family planning to avoid unwanted pregnancies, it is through this program that we can control our population,” she added.

The team leader population and development United Nations population fund (UNFPA) Florence Mpabulungi said a total of 215 million women worldwide were not able to access modern forms of contraceptives to control unwanted pregnancies.

To read the full article, please click here: http://www.newvision.co.ug/news/652490-kadaga-calls-on-women-to-embrace-family-planning.html

Ghana: Health Minister Calls for Teaching of Family Planning in School

February 17th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Ghana: Health Minister Calls for Teaching of Family Planning in School

See:  http://allafrica.com/stories/201402102023.html

The Minister of Health, Madam Sherry Ayitey has stressed the need for the Ghana Education Service (GES) to introduce the teaching of family planning in schools to enable the adolescent to know much about their reproductive health.

According to her, the reported huge numbers of teenage pregnancy occurred as a result of lack of knowledge about the importance of family planning among the youth and that the teaching of the subject would help reduce the stigma associated with health education in the society.

Madam Ayitey, who was speaking at the National launch of the 2013 National Family Planning Week celebration in Ho, observed that the time had come for education on family planning to be regarded as a major development issue, because high population rate in the country would definitely have negative effect on national development.

She stressed that the theme for the Family Planning Week, “Your Future, Your Choice and Your Contraceptive” was timely, noting that the issues of girls’ education ought to be regarded more seriously, particularly when large numbers of abortion and maternal deaths are teenagers in the country.

Madam Ayitey said the teaching of family planning in schools ought to be seen as very important because it would go a long way to equip the youth particularly teenage girls to make an informed decisions concerning sex.

The Health Minister continued that traditional authorities and religious leaders should regularly invite expects in family planning in their communities regularly to educate the people on the need to produce the number of children that they could take care of.

According to her, in the world’s poorest countries, contraceptive health and family planning for adolescents have become a taboo, and in many parts of sub-sahara Africa, the issues of family planning and adolescents’ sexual health have been completely ignored, leading to pregnancy and childbirth complications.

To read the full article, please click here: http://allafrica.com/stories/201402102023.html

Big Fish Stories Getting Littler

February 17th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Big Fish Stories Getting Littler

See: http://www.radiolab.org/story/big-fish-stories-getting-littler_kw/

fishy1

For generations, tour boats have been collecting fishing enthusiasts in Key West, Fla.: taking them for a day of deep sea casting; providing them rods, bait, companionship; and then, when the day ends, there’s a little wharf-side ceremony. Everyone is invited to take his biggest fish and hook it onto the “Hanging Board”; a judge compares catches, chooses a champion, and then the family that caught the biggest fish poses for a photograph. The one up above comes from 1958. Notice that the fish on the far left is bigger than the guy who, I assume, caught it; and their little girl is smaller than most of the “biggies” on the board. Those aren’t little people. Those are big fish.

Here’s another one from the year before – 1957. Again, the fish loom larger than the people. Check out the guy in the back, standing on the extreme right, next to an even bigger giant.

fishy2

Click here to see all the picture and read the full article: http://www.radiolab.org/story/big-fish-stories-getting-littler_kw/

 

Why is Sustainable Management of Oceans, Forests and Biodiversity a Population Issue?

February 15th, 2014 | 2 Comments

Why is Sustainable Management of Oceans, Forests and Biodiversity a Population Issue?
See: http://populationaction.org/blog/2014/02/11/why-is-sustainable-management-of-oceans-forests-and-biodiversity-a-population-issue/

“We need to protect our oceans as if our lives depend on it, because they do.”

That was the message brought by Dr. Sylvia Earle from National Geographic to last week’s Eighth Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) at the United Nations, where governments of 69 countries came together to discuss the theme of “oceans, forests and biodiversity.”

The pollution of our oceans is growing and loss of forests and biodiversity is increasing. With 7 billion people living in this world, each requiring resources from nature, population dynamics need to be considered as a major factor when looking at responses to environmental degradation.

The presenters at the Open Working Group urged delegates to recognize that oceans, forests and biodiversity are not just resources to be used, but engines of sustainable development. Losing them would result in the end of humankind.

For me, the message echoed my firsthand experience. I live in Malawi, where the population has tripled over the past 40 years and 85 percent of people depend on natural resources for their daily needs. But over-exploitation of natural resources and environmental degradation is rapidly changing Malawi’s landscapes. Fish catches in Malawi’s lakes have been declining and over-fishing, compounded by increasing population, is part of the problem.

To read the full article, please click here:  http://populationaction.org/blog/2014/02/11/why-is-sustainable-management-of-oceans-forests-and-biodiversity-a-population-issue/

Hulu Announces Season Two of East Los High for Summer 2014

February 14th, 2014 | Add a Comment

SHELBURNE, VT – Hulu said it has ordered 12 new episodes of the English-language series “East Los High,” which features an all-Latino cast and explores such real-life issues as teen pregnancy. Last summer, the series consistently ranked among Hulu’s most popular programs.

“The show has this cool, contemporary feel, and feels like East Los Angeles,” Charlotte Koh, head of development for Hulu Originals, said in an interview. “The show will explore new issues this season — domestic abuse, coming out as gay in high school and bullying.”

“East Los High” is a project of Population Media Center, a nonprofit organization that produces dramas addressing health and human rights issues all over the world. It was Population Media Center’s first partnership with Hulu, and it was Hulu’s first and only series with an all Latino cast.

“We are excited for another season on Hulu. We were thrilled with the first season’s large and dedicated audience and the social impact,” says Katie Elmore Mota, Executive Producer.

The episodes were supplemented with video blogs by characters, key character social media profiles, and other transmedia elements where fans could interact with the program and be exposed to additional elements of the story. More than 98 percent of those who watched the episodes and used the transmedia elements said that they found East Los High’s resources incredibly helpful and 76 percent said they shared those resources with friends. In the first month, more than 30,000 people used the Planned Parenthood widgets on eastloshigh.com.

“We’ve had a role in entertainment programming that educates women and men about family planning and other health and social issues in more than 50 countries,” says Bill Ryerson, president of Population Media Center, “but we realized that some sections of LA have such high teenage pregnancy rates that half of the young girls are prevented from finishing high school. We realized we could and should be providing sex education in our own backyard.”

The East Los High team succeeded, with media outlets like Cosmopolitan saying “Escandalo in the best possible way,” and examiner.com saying “Finally, a Latino show we can be proud of.”

To learn more about East Los High season two or to watch season one, visit: www.eastloshigh.com.

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

ABOUT EAST LOS HIGH:

East Los High is Hulu exclusive programming. It is co-created by Carlos Portugal and Kathleen Bedoya, produced by Prajna Productions, The Alchemists, Into Action Films, and Population Media Center. More than 15 leading public health organizations advised on the scripts and content to address teen issues related to relationships and sexuality in a meaningful way. Season one, launched during the summer of 2013, featured 24 episodes. Season two in summer of 2014 will feature another 12 episodes.  www.eastloshigh.com

Family planning versus contraception: what’s in a name?

February 14th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Family planning versus contraception: what’s in a name?
By Marleen Temmerman, Dr María Isabel Rodríguez and Dr Lale Say
See: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(13)70177-3/fulltext

The 20-year anniversary of the 1994 International Conference of Population Development (ICPD) Programme of Action and the upcoming 15-year anniversary of the Millennium Development Goals provide an opportunity to think about the global development agenda, including progress made and any remaining challenges. Although development has been referred to as the best contraceptive, the reverse link is neglected-ie, that sexual and reproductive rights and health facilitate development.1

Reproductive and sexual health is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities. Contraceptive choice is essential to promote the health of individuals and enable development. Contraception has direct health benefits, such as prevention of unintended pregnancy and, subsequently, decreased maternal mortality and morbidity. Women with unintended pregnancies that are continued to term are more likely to receive inadequate or delayed prenatal care and have poorer health outcomes, such as low infant birthweight, infant mortality, and maternal mortality and morbidity, than have those with planned pregnancies.2-6 These risks of unintended pregnancy are increased for adolescents and girls.7, 8 Adolescents are at increased risk of medical complications with pregnancy, and are often forced to make compromises in education and employment, which can lead to poverty and low educational attainment.7,9-11

This information is not new. A large amount of the published work supports the fundamental role that sexual and reproductive health information and services have in the promotion of health, attainment of human rights, and sustainable development. However, poor sexual and reproductive health is a major component of global morbidity and mortality, and disturbing inequities exist in the burden of disability.12 Nearly 20 years after ICPD and 15 years after the Millennium Development Goals, the world lags far behind its objective of universal access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. A radical shift is needed to accelerate progress.

To read the full op-ed, please click here: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(13)70177-3/fulltext

4,000 Endangered Species Condoms Headed to Most Romantic U.S. Cities

February 14th, 2014 | Add a Comment

4,000 Endangered Species Condoms Headed to Most Romantic U.S. Cities
Valentine’s Day Campaign Highlights Connection Between Growing Human Population,
Plight of Endangered Species
See: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/endangered-species-condoms-02-12-2014.html

TUCSON, Ariz.- For Valentine’s Day the Center for Biological Diversity is sending 4,000 free Endangered Species Condoms to some of the most romantic getaway cities in North America. From Bar Harbor, Maine, to Santa Fe, N.M., the condoms will be given away by volunteers to raise awareness about how runaway human population growth affects endangered species around the globe.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to spread a message of love by speaking out about human population growth and endangered species protection,” said Taralynn Reynolds, population and sustainability organizer at the Center. “Endangered Species Condoms are a great way to start the conversation about how our actions have impacts on polar bears, panthers and other critically endangered species.”

The condoms – wrapped in colorful packages featuring six different endangered species – are being distributed by volunteers in cities recently ranked by USA TODAY as the most romantic getaway cities in the United States, including St. Paul, Minn.; Savannah, Ga.; Charleston, S.C.; New Orleans; Naples, Fla.; and Honolulu.

More than a half-million Endangered Species Condoms have been given away since 2009.

To read the full press release, please click here: http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/endangered-species-condoms-02-12-2014.html