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PMC Articles Tagged 'development'

More Prime California Farmland Feared to be Lost

August 13th, 2012 by PMC | Add a Comment

July 2012 statements made by a representative of the California Department of Conservation.

More prime farmland feared to be lost to population growth

By STEVE ADLER/ Special from Ag Alert

Created:   08/05/2012 03:46:05 PM PDT

See: http://www.dailydemocrat.com/news/ci_21241505/more-prime-farmland-feared-be-lost-population-growth

New pressures from high-speed rail and solar-power development, added to California’s continued population growth, threaten to accelerate the loss of prime farmland, according to experts.

“California’s population is approaching 40 million people. Population growth in and of itself is one of the most significant forces in the quest to develop land for interests other than agricultural production and open space,” said John Lowrie of the California Department of Conservation at the July meeting of the California State Board of Food and Agriculture in Sacramento.

While California is the nation’s most populous state, because of its geographic size its overall population density is fairly low, he said, but because population is concentrated in a few areas, those locations feel the effects of urban growth more than other regions.

“One of the more alarming developments, at least to me, is the increasing density in the San Joaquin Valley, which is one of the major agricultural areas of the state,” Lowrie said. “The conversion of agricultural land to urban uses starts slowly; it doesn’t happen overnight. It can be driven by a number of forces and factors, many of which began as very localized and then expanded over time.”

Edward Thompson Jr. of American Farmland Trust told the board that 30 percent of the developed land in California was originally prime farmland. In the Central Valley, the percentage is even higher – more than 60 percent.

“Since most of the cities are located in the vicinity of the best farmland, if we are going to save farmland while cities continue to grow and accommodate more people and jobs, we need to think in terms of yield per acre the same way that farmers look at crops,” he said.

Statewide, there are just under 10 people for every developed acre of land and in the San Joaquin Valley it is about eight people per developed acre. This includes residential and commercial areas, such as shopping malls and parking lots, Thompson said.

“We are likely to lose another 2 million acres of prime agricultural land by mid-century,” he said. “While Southern California bears an enormous amount of that growth, again it is the San Joaquin Valley that is responsible for 60 percent of our agricultural production that is going to bear an equal amount of that growth.”

To read the full article, click here: http://www.dailydemocrat.com/news/ci_21241505/more-prime-farmland-feared-be-lost-population-growth

On the Use and Misuse of the Concept of Sustainability

March 6th, 2012 by PMC | Add a Comment

The following is an excerpt of a paper co-presented by Ed Barry and William Rees at the 8th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability. The conference was held in Vancouver in early January, 2012. To learn more about the next conference (2013), click here: http://onsustainability.com/conference-2013/

On the Use and Misuse of the Concept of Sustainability: Including Population and Resource Macro-Balancing in the Sustainability Dialog.

A paper for the 8th International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic, and Social Sustainability

Mr. Ed Barry – The Population Institute, Washington D.C., USA

Dr. William Rees – University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada

I. Resource overshoot – today’s global reality:

A. The current scale of human economic activity on Earth is already excessive; the human enterprise is in a state of unsustainable ‘overshoot.’ By this we mean that the consumption and dissipation of energy and material resources exceed the regenerative and assimilative capacity of supportive ecosystems. Many critical stocks of ‘natural capital’ are in decline and global waste sinks are filled to overflowing. Business as usual for today’s global human enterprise is clearly unsustainable. Any society that is living by depleting its capital assets is unsustainable by definition.

Resource overshoot can be demonstrated empirically in at least four ways:

1. Direct observation of the degradation of resource ecosystems (e.g., marine fisheries and tropical rain forests) and the depletion of non-renewable resources (e.g., conventional petroleum and various industrial minerals and metals);

2. Direct observation of the gross pollution of major ecosystems and the global commons (e.g., expanding ocean anoxic zones and the accumulation of atmospheric green-house gases [carbon dioxide is the largest waste product of industrial economies]);

3. Macro-economic analysis that compares traditional GDP with indicators that incorporate physical assessments and appropriate valuation of natural capital stocks and pollution damage costs (e.g., the ‘Genuine Progress Indicator’ or the ‘Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare’);

4. Ecological footprint analysis, a quantitative method that compares human demand for bio-capacity (ecosystem services) with sustainably available supply. The aggregate human eco-footprint is already approximately 50% larger than the available bio-capacity. Moreover, demand is increasing and supply is in decline. How is this possible? Remember, at present, the growth of the human enterprise is being unsustainably funded by permanently depleting critical natural capital stocks.

B. Climate change, fresh water shortfalls, biodiversity loss, food shortages (and price increases), and global oil supply ‘peaking’ along with increasing energy costs are all additional symptoms of ecological overshoot.

C. Achieving a positive balance between production in nature and consumption by humans is not merely one of many ‘options,’ it is an obligatory requirement for sustainability. We must eliminate overshoot as a prerequisite to preserving social justice, creating intergenerational equity and securing a future for global civilization. Otherwise we will continue to undermine the Earth’s natural resource assets, which will cause hardships and suffering for future generations of life on the planet.

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Consumption: the other side of population for development

February 13th, 2012 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Bill Ryerson for pointing out this recently published article, which appears in the January issue of Ethics in Science and Environmental Politics. Below is the abstract, and you can download the full paper here: http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/esep/v12/n1/p15-20/

ABSTRACT: World population is growing at an alarming rate, and thus population has become a major topic in sustainable development fora. In these debates, it is often asserted that developing countries with large populations pose a greater world environmental threat than developed countries with smaller populations. Because of this view, developed countries often appeal to developing countries to reduce their population growth. However, it is well known that developed countries have higher levels of consumption than developing countries and that consumption also exerts pressure on the environment. Although awareness of the importance of consumption for development and the recognition of the relationship between population and consumption are increasing, population still takes precedence over consumption as a major concern for sustainability.

Our objective here is to present the importance of consumption vis-à-vis population for development and to discuss their direct linkages. We draw on the work by Vallentyne (1978: Verh Int Verein Limnol 20:1-12; and 1982: Biol Int 5:10-12), and use his ‘demotechnic’ index to combine and inter-relate population and consumption. By doing so, we are able to adjust population by consumption, obtaining estimates that allow fair comparisons of countries in terms of their global environmental stress. The conclusions obtained from the estimates of population adjusted by consumption seriously question the assumption that countries with larger populations pose a greater environmental risk. Sustainable development is premised on a balance between population and consumption within the overall limits imposed by nature. Therefore, it becomes clear that not only population but also consumption have to be reduced if sustainability is to be achieved.

Deconstructing the Dangerous Dogma of Denial

May 18th, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Tim Murray for this article by Madeline Weld.  See http://candobetter.net/node/2373

Deconstructing the Dangerous Dogma of Denial:
The Feminist-Environmental Justice Movement and Their Flight From Overpopulation

Population growth, development, and stability: Egypt as an example

Reports on the upheaval spreading like wildfire across the Arab world overlook a crucial factor underlying the collapse of the old order: overpopulation. Given the pivotal role that Cairo has played in unleashing the current rage, it is perhaps ironic that, 16 years ago, it hosted a conference convened precisely to address that issue. In September of 1994, Cairo hosted the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) under the auspices of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with great fanfare and even greater expectations.

Let’s consider the situation in Egypt from a population perspective. In 1994, Egypt had 60 million people, now it has 85 million-a 42% increase in 16 years. The UNFPA projects 130 million by 2050. Rapid growth is fuelled by the youth of the population: one-third under 14 years of age, 20% between 15 and 29 years old, and only 5% over 65.

That Egypt can’t cope with this growth is reflected in its staggering unemployment rate (83% for those between 15 and 29), its inability to educate its people (the over-15 illiteracy rate is 25% for men and 42% for women), its inability to provide adequately for its people (40% at or below the poverty level) and its inability to feed itself (it imports about half of its staples). The 3% of its surface area consisting of arable land (nearly all around the Nile Valley) is being encroached upon by development. The Nile River that irrigates the fertile land no longer reaches the Mediterranean Sea, thanks to overuse by Egyptians and their southern neighbours. The building of the Aswan Dam-to provide energy for a growing population-has reduced the silting and therefore the fertility of the Nile floodplain.

Egypt’s population growth is destroying its ability to feed itself. In 1960, Egypt had 26 million people and was self-sufficient in almost all basic food commodities. In recent decades, it has depended on revenues from oil exports to import about half of the staple foods it needs. Now, with its oil reserves running dry (if you haven’t yet heard about “peak oil”, google it right after reading this article) and its growing population needing more oil for its own uses, Egypt is about to become an oil importer. But the oil exports paid for food subsidies which many Egyptians depended on, and the threat to discontinue the subsidies due to dropping oil revenues no doubt contributed to the unrest that eventually toppled the government. The fact that these biophysical realities are ignored in most reports about developments in Egypt does not diminish their importance or their consequences.

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Conference: Girls and Population, the Forgotten Drivers of Development

March 1st, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Ed Barry for information on a two-day conference of parliamentarians and experts scheduled for May 16-17 in Paris. The conference description can be downloaded at https://docs.google.com/document/d/16JvGQG9ix-QK_AhOGirfJZGaYvftpSG9L5QBuXjf0c8/edit?hl=en&authkey=CJjCkvwF

You may also visit the conference website here: http://www.epfweb.org/conferences/64/3585/g8-paris-france-2011-girls-and-population-the-forgotten-drivers-of-development/

Global Summit of Parliamentarians ahead of 2011 G8/G20 Summit in Paris – 16th & 17th May 2011
On 16th and 17th May 2011 around 60 parliamentarians from around the world will convene in Paris to discuss the vital, and yet forgotten, role that girls and adolescent women play in population and development issues. The conference will be hosted by French MP Danielle Bousquet, and is being organized by the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF) in collaboration with French NGOs Equilibres & Populations (E&P) and the French Movement for Family Planning (MFPF).

Population Explosion: Can the Planet Cope?

February 23rd, 2011 by joe | Add a Comment

Thanks to Scott Connolly for this population report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.  See http://www.imeche.org/news/archives/11-01-12/Population_Explosion_Can_the_Planet_Cope.aspx

World pressured by population growth – but Engineering Development Goals hold the key.


Wednesday 12 January 2011

A groundbreaking Population report (Wed 12 January) by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) has revealed the world is hurtling towards population overload placing billions at risk of hunger, thirst and slum conditions.

Population: One planet, too many people? is the first report of its kind by the engineering profession.  Unless the engineering solutions highlighted in the report are urgently implemented then the projected 2.5 billion more people on earth by the end of this Century (currently there is 6.9 billion) will crush the earth’s resources.

Urbanisation will soar. ‘Mega-cities’ of more than 10 million people will rise to 29 by 2025 and the urban population will increase from 3.3billion (2007) to 6.4 billion (2050).  Food will also become an increasingly precious commodity and developed areas such as the UK will be forced to stamp out its ‘throwaway’ lifestyle. Water consumption will increase by 30% by 2030 and there is projected to be a 50% hike in water extraction for industrial use in Asia. This, the report states, could create civil unrest and land battles for resources  as climate change looms.

For the full article navigate to: http://www.imeche.org/news/archives/11-01-12/Population_Explosion_Can_the_Planet_Cope.aspx

Papua New Guinea warned on population and development issues

October 18th, 2010 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

Papua New Guinea has been warned of the adverse impact the increase in the country’s population would have on the economy, education, health and other sectors. if the government did nothing to take control.

Obstetrician and gynaecologist, Professor Glen Mola sounded the warning when he gave a presentation on population and resources to the media in Port Moresby recently.

PNG’s population is now estimated to be more than 6 million.

For full article, visit:

Population taboo stokes doubt over development goals

October 8th, 2010 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

Thanks to Fred Stanback for this article.

Of all the issues that will be aired from the pulpit of the U.N.’s development summit this week, one is likely to stand out by its absence: What should be done about the world’s population explosion?

To many campaigners, demographic growth is the gorilla in the U.N.’s living room, a blindingly obvious problem interlinked with poverty and environment that gets carefully ignored whenever leaders meet.

“When the Millennium Development Goals were adopted, there was not a single target on population or family-planning access,” said Alex Ezeh, executive director of the Africa Population Studies and Health Research Center in Nairobi. “It was a huge mistake. The world is only now just waking up.”

For full article, visit:

Population growth key barrier in achieving MDGs

October 8th, 2010 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

Leading economists, educationists, health and environment experts and development planners have identified the uncontrolled growth of population as the number one problem in achieving the country’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Talking to The New Nation, they warned that all the development achievements would be gobbled up due to the increased population and the real development would not be possible without bringing down the size of the population to a tolerable level.

For full article, visit:

Declining Infrastructure, Declining Civilization

September 26th, 2010 by Chantelle Routhier | Add a Comment

Thanks to Leta Finch for this article.

For the 10th-anniversary issue of The Chronicle Review, we asked scholars and illustrators to answer this question: What will be the defining idea of the coming decade, and why?

Henry Petroski

The present state of the American infrastructure-roads, bridges, water supply, and the like-has been given an overall grade of D by the American Society of Civil Engineers, which regularly issues infrastructure report cards. The engineers’ estimate of how much it will cost to raise the grade from poor to acceptable is $2.2-trillion over a five-year period. Such a vast amount of money is unlikely to be available over the next decade.

For full article, visit: