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Population bomb may be defused [sic], but research reveals ticking household bomb

February 13th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Population bomb may be defused [sic], but research reveals ticking household bomb
See: http://phys.org/news/2014-02-population-defused-reveals-household.html

After decades of fretting about population explosion, scientists are pointing to a long-term hidden global menace.

The household. More specifically, the household explosion.

In this week’s Early Online edition of Population and Environment, Jianguo “Jack” Liu, director of the Michigan State University Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability, and former students Mason Bradbury and Nils Peterson present the first long-term historical look at global shifts in how people live. One large household sheltering many people is giving way across the world to households comprised of fewer people – sometimes young singles, sometimes empty nesters, and sometimes just folks more enamored with privacy.

In the late 1960s, ecologist Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University sounded the alarm about population growth. Now, Liu and his colleagues are pointing out that even though population growth has been curbed, the propensity to live in smaller households is ratcheting up the impact on the natural resources and the environment worldwide.

“Long-term dynamics in human population size as well as their causes and impacts have been well documented,” said Liu, who is the Rachel Carson Chair in Sustainability. “But little attention has been paid to long-term trends in the numbers of households, even though households are basic consumption units.”

To read the full article, please click here: http://phys.org/news/2014-02-population-defused-reveals-household.html

New York Times Publishes Discredited Arguments About Emergency Contraception

February 12th, 2014 | Add a Comment

New York Times Publishes Discredited Arguments About Emergency Contraception

See: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/02/10/new-york-times-publishes-discredited-arguments-emergency-contraception/

Last week, CVS Caremark, the 7,600-store pharmacy chain, announced it would stop selling tobacco products. CVS took this step in large part because it wants to become more of a health-care provider, and the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products made for some “awkward conversations” with doctors and hospitals, according to various reports. By adding more in-store clinics, CVS may increase access to preventive screening and management of chronic illnesses, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, to many people in need.

In response, the New York Times asked four individuals to write short pieces on “other unhealthy products CVS should stop selling.” And for some reason, they gave one of those four spots to Donna J. Harrison, executive director of the Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, who wrote a deeply flawed piece entitled “Dangers of Emergency Contraceptives.” The piece called for—you guessed it—CVS to abandon sales of both Plan B One-Step over the counter and ella by prescription.

It’s a mystery why the Times asked Harrison to write this piece, since it is composed of three outright false claims, all of which have been previously debunked by the New York Times itself.

First, Harrison argues that “the over-the-counter availability of Plan B, and the prescription distribution of Ella, are … incompatible with health care provision.”

Contraception is primary health care, so contrary to Harrison’s assertion, increased access to emergency contraception (EC) is a critical public health intervention. Whether it is intended or unintended, any pregnancy carries far more risk than the use of hormonal contraception; what would be “incompatible with health care provision” would be to force a woman to undergo the risks of an unwanted pregnancy when it could be prevented through access to EC.

To read the full essay, please click here: http://rhrealitycheck.org/article/2014/02/10/new-york-times-publishes-discredited-arguments-emergency-contraception/

It Takes a Generation

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

It Takes a Generation (Excerpt)

By David Brooks
See: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/24/opinion/brooks-it-takes-a-generation.html

…children need parents who are ready to care for them. But right now roughly half-a-million children are born each year as a result of unintended pregnancies, often to unmarried women who are not on contraception or are trying to use contraceptives like condoms or the pill. As the University of Pennsylvania’s Rebecca Maynard and Isabel Sawhill and Quentin Karpilow of the Brookings Institution have argued, if these women had free access to long-acting reversible contraceptives like I.U.D.’s, then the number of unintended births might decline and the number of children with unready parents might fall, too…

Morgan Freeman Speaks Out on Population

February 11th, 2014 | 1 Comment

Morgan Freeman on God, Satan, and How the Human Race Has ‘Become A Parasite’
See: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/28/morgan-freeman-on-god-satan-and-how-the-human-race-has-become-a-parasite.html

Now, if you were a God-or a wizard-what would be the first actions you’d take? What do you feel really needs fixing in this crazy world?

Oh, man! One of them is the tyranny of agriculture. We’re turning everything on the planet into food for humans so we’re cutting down the rainforests, displacing all of the animals, and we’re doing all this to feed humans. That all started with the advent of agriculture. When we were hunters and gatherers, the population could only go as far as the food could go. Scientists did an experiment once and they came up with a very clear answer to this: you put five mice in a cage and you give them enough food for five mice, guess what? You’ll only have five mice. If you put enough food for ten mice, you’ll have overpopulation. And we’re already there. We have 7 billion people on this planet. It’s not that there’s not enough room on this planet for 7 billion people, it’s that the energy needs for 7 billion people are 7 billion people’s worth of energy needs, as opposed to, say, 2 billion. Imagine how much pollution would be in the air and the oceans if there were only 2 billion people putting it in? So yeah, we’re already overpopulated.

So what do we do?

My theory, personally, is that the intelligence in the universe is not human intelligence. We’re just here like everything else, and eventually, it will level itself out. The planet has more to say about it than we do. Nature will survive.

That’s a bit daunting.

Well, it is. I agree. But I feel we’ve become a parasite on this planet. That’s like saying you don’t believe in God, but yes, if this population keeps growing, we’ll just keep devouring the planet, and I don’t think it’s going to stand for that very long.

 

 

 

See: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/28/morgan-freeman-on-god-satan-and-how-the-human-race-has-become-a-parasite.html

Bringing the beats to reproductive health

February 11th, 2014 | Add a Comment

Bringing the beats to reproductive health
See: http://www.gazette.uottawa.ca/en/2014/01/bringing-the-beats-to-reproductive-health/

Recent studies have shown that reproductive and sexual health problems affect youth significantly, yet youth are missing from the debate on these issues. The question is how to get young people engaged in a meaningful way.  Jillian Gedeon, a master’s student in health sciences, believes the answer lies in “artivism,” combining art and activism, and using music and dance to get important messages across. According to Gedeon, art speaks to everyone and provides a vital tool to transcend borders established by culture and other differences…

…For Gedeon, it’s not enough to talk the talk – she is rapping the talk and putting into practice what she believes is the most effective way to reach youth. Her rap “Family Planning Saves Lives,” recorded with the help of the Beat Making Lab (which teaches people from all over the world how to create hip hop tracks), discusses the importance of family planning. It won her the opportunity to go to Ethiopia to attend the International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP).

The rap is filled with lyrics such as this:

There are two-two-two million women in the world
Who have an unmet need for the one thing that could
Save their lives, space their births, and give them the freedom that they need
To keep going to school or have a business on the street

See: http://www.gazette.uottawa.ca/en/2014/01/bringing-the-beats-to-reproductive-health/

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/