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All About Population Media Center’s Weekly News Digest

Feb 03, 2022
digest snip

Each week, Population Media Center publishes the Population and Sustainability News Digest. This is a curated virtual newspaper that focuses on current events, news articles, and important research around the topics of global sustainability — especially the issue areas of human population size and growth, the rights, health and status of women and girls, and environmental (a.k.a. ecological) health.

This paper is free to view on the internet at any time, with new issues being published weekly on Thursdays. However, you can also choose to subscribe to a companion email from Population Media Center — also sent on Thursday, coinciding with the latest version of the Population and Sustainability News Digest. In the email, there are 3 highlighted stories, and one full-length featured article.

For example, on February 3rd, 2022, the following three article were highlighted:

Global wildlife population declines could be worse than we imagined – study

A study from Ben-Gurion University, just published in Nature, claims that the Living Planet Report may actually greatly underestimate global population declines.

Population growth, environmental degradation and climate change

Rapid population growth makes it more difficult for low-income and lower-middle-income countries to commit sufficient resources to improving the health and education of their populations.

Measuring Family Planning Norms in Zambia: A Mixed Methods Vignette Study

Social norms play a major role in family planning, with social and community-level factors creating expectations women feel compelled to follow.

Meanwhile, the featured article (Debunking Demographic Denialism) was from the pen of Joe Chamie, a former director of the United Nations Population Division and author of numerous publications on population issues. Whenever Joe Chamie is writing, you will likely not see an over-abundance of decorum — he is usually quite clear and forceful in his statements. In this particular essay, he takes direct aim at what he terms “demographic denialism,” as practiced non-stop by most government officials, politicians, business leaders, and media commentators. We agree with Joe that “Presenting demographic realities and likely future trends openly, accurately and objectively can contribute to debunking demographic denialism,” and are glad for his work to set the record straight.

Joe’s essay was in considerable contrast to the news article issued by Joe’s former employer, the United Nations Population Division, which published a much coyer and vacillating approach to the population issue. First, the essay seems to want to dismiss the global population issue vis a vis climate change. It dwells on the high-income and upper-middle-income countries of the world, which hold “50 per cent of the global population… [but] contribute around 85 per cent of global emissions of carbon dioxide.” Fair enough, but we disagree that this justifies a laissez-faire approach to creating the conditions for global population growth to stop as soon as possible. Thankfully, the essay does eventually concede that there are localized or regional challenges around rapid population growth that should not be ignored.

If you are interested in the issue areas of human population size and growth, the rights, health and status of women and girls, and environmental (a.k.a. ecological) health — especially as contributors (or lack thereof) to global sustainability, you might want to consider a subscription to Population Media Center’s Weekly News Digest.