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Pakistan: We Need to Apply the Brakes

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Pakistan: We Need to Apply the Brakes 

See: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/02/08/city/islamabad/we-need-to-apply-brakes/

Pakistan plans to slow South Asia’s fastest population growth rate through enhanced education for women to ensure sustainable economic expansion for the world’s sixth-most populous country.

The country will try to reduce its population growth to 1.2 percent a year by 2025 from about two percent now, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Ahsan Iqbal said in an interview with foreign media at his office in Islamabad. The nation of about 196 million people each year adds some 4.4 million more people, the equivalent of New Zealand’s population, he said.

“We actually need to apply brakes,” Iqbal said. “With the current two percent growth rate it has become very difficult to sustain your development,” he added.

“If we can give our young population the right education, right skills, it is a big demographic dividend for the next 10 to 15 years,” Iqbal said. “If it doesn’t happen it becomes a demographic disaster.”

The government will focus on making planning programs available to married couples and prioritising education for women, he said. Growth at the current rate will strain natural resources and hinder growth, he said.

Only about 30 percent of married couples use contraceptives in Pakistan, compared with 55 percent in neighbouring India and 73 percent in Iran, according to a finance ministry economic survey published last year. Pakistan’s population grew about two percent, compared with 1.3 percent in India and one percent in Iran, it said.

See: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2014/02/08/city/islamabad/we-need-to-apply-brakes/

The Cost of Area Population Growth

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

The Cost of Area Population Growth
See: http://www.dailyprogress.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/the-cost-of-area-population-growth/article_7915d508-9032-11e3-b737-0017a43b2370.html

The Feb. 2 Daily Progress reported that Neil Williamson of the Free Enterprise Forum (and no relation, familial or environmental, to me) believes that Albemarle’s rapidly growing population is a positive trend for the community and that the “…the added value of these new residents cannot be overestimated” (Area population increasing, UVa center says).

I suppose by “added value,” Williamson is referring to the dollars that will accrue to some in the development and other industries.

He neglects to mention, however, that this population increase comes with costs to the rest of us: increased traffic, crowding, the bit-by-bit obliteration of the functionality and beauty of our natural areas and either higher taxes or reduced services to meet the demand for additional infrastructure, fire, police, schools, etc.

Many of these services already are underfunded here.

In addition, repeated surveys of area residents consistently reveal their desire to see this community retain its small town character.

The elevation of economic gain as society’s primary and overarching value, coupled with the inability or unwillingness of too many of us to limit our numbers and to reduce the extraction and consumption of our natural resources, is creating a planet that is increasingly ugly, depleted and perhaps, in the not too distant future, if the climate and other scientists are to be believed, inhospitable to human life.

Jane Williamson

Albemarle County

 

Ptolemaic Environmentalism

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Ptolemaic Environmentalism

The ancient Greek word oecumene came into broad circulation in the Hellenistic era to refer to the inhabited world. It was a world that stretched from the Mediterranean basin to India, and from the Caucasus mountains to the Arabian Peninsula, encompassing diverse peoples and cultures connected via trade routes and empire, building alliances and conquests. By “the inhabited world,” oecumene of course meant the world inhabited by people. What the concept implied by exclusion, by what it passed over in silence, is that nonhumans do not inhabit. Only people are inhabitants, while animals, plants, and the natural communities they create merely exist in certain places—until they are forced to make way for, or be converted to serve, the oecumene.

See: www.eileencrist.com/images/pdf/Crist_PtolemaicEnvironmentalism_Final.pdf

British birth rate leaps by 18% in a decade

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

British birth rate leaps by 18% in a decade
See: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/british-birth-rate-leaps-by-18-in-a-decade-9107483.html

British women are having significantly more children than a decade ago, with birth rates for mothers in England and Wales up by 18 per cent, official figures show. Improvements in fertility treatments allowing people to start families later and a growing population of second generation migrants are amongst possible explanations for the rise.

More than a quarter of babies born in England and Wales are also now from mothers who arrived in Britain from other countries, according to an analysis of the latest census.

There were 724,000 births in 2011 – of which 26 per cent, 185,000, were to mothers themselves born abroad. At the last census in 2001, just 16 per cent of births were to foreign-born mothers.

Women born in Britain now give birth to more children, according to the UK’s total fertility rate (TFR), which is the average number of children a woman is expected to give birth to in her lifetime. It has risen from an average of 1.56 children to 1.84 in a decade.

See: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/british-birth-rate-leaps-by-18-in-a-decade-9107483.html

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/