Health care worker giving a young pregnant woman a birthing kit, in BangladeshSee more

A health care worker in Bangladesh gives a young pregnant woman a birthing kit for a safer delivery. It contains a sterile razor to cut the cord, a sterile plastic sheet to place under the birth area, and other simple, sanitary items - all which help save lives. The health care worker asks the young woman to come back with her baby for a post natal check after the birth. At that time, she asks the mom if she wants to have another child right away or if she wants to space her children. Usually the mom wants to wait, and gladly accepts contraception. The worker is prepared to give her pills, an injection, implants, or an IUD. The mother is instructed to come back if the baby shows signs of diarrhea or pneumonia, common infant killers.

50 years ago, here in the USA, I was given the same option to space my births after the birth of my first baby. I gladly accepted contraceptive pills (which was new to me) .. Karen Gaia

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Mother Caring for 7 Billion doc

If we don't halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity - and will leave a ravaged world. Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry W. Kendall

States Help New Mothers Get Birth Control Through Medicaid : Shots - Health News

July 23, 2014   By: Dana Farrington

New York has just joined five other states in making it easier for women to have access to the kind of family planning options she was seeking without worrying about the price tag. New York has changed its Medicaid reimbursement rules.

This will help the woman in this scenario: she is about to give birth to her second child, and she's not looking to have a third anytime soon. She's planning on breast-feeding so she doesn't want to take birth control pills which conflict with breast feeding. And condoms aren't as error-proof as she'd like. There are a couple of alternatives that are safe, effective and could work for years. She'll need a doctor to get those. But her Medicaid plan won't pay for contraception if she tries to get it while she's still at the hospital.

Medicaid will not reimburse the doctor for delivering a baby and giving a woman an IUD in the same visit. A mom could wait six weeks for a postpartum appointment to get an IUD from Medicaid. But women are much less likely to get contraception at that point

IUDs and implants are not popular with women in the U.S., despite being birth control. With the Affordable Care Act, new insurance plans should fully cover these methods, though there are exceptions.

An IUD is a T-shaped piece of plastic that is put inside the uterus by a health care provider. One type of IUD releases hormones to prevent fertilization and another uses copper to fight off sperm. The kind with hormones can stay put for 3 to 5 years; the one with copper lasts for about 10.

The hormonal implant is a flexible rod about the size of a match that goes just under the skin in the upper arm. It also uses hormones to prevent pregnancy. It works for three years.

If a woman decides she wants to have a baby, she can have a doctor take out the IUD or the implant at any time. doclink

Satanists Demand Religious Exemption From Abortion Restrictions, Cite Hobby Lobby Ruling

July 28, 2014, Think Progress   By: Tara Culp-Ressler

Much debate has been made over the recent Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court' allowed some for-profit companies to claim a religious exemption to Obamacare's contraception mandate.

An interesting point of is held by the Satanic Temple, a faith community that describes itself as facilitating "the communication and mobilization of politically aware Satanists, secularists, and advocates for individual liberty".

The Satanic Temple has launched a new campaign seeking a religious exemption to certain anti-abortion laws that attempt to dissuade women from ending a pregnancy.

The group says they have deeply held beliefs about bodily autonomy and scientific accuracy, and those beliefs are violated by state-level "informed consent" laws that rely on misleading information about abortion risks.

“Because of the respect the Court has given to religious beliefs, and the fact that our our beliefs are based on best available knowledge, we expect that our belief in the illegitimacy of state­ mandated ‘informational' material is enough to exempt us, and those who hold our beliefs, from having to receive them," said a spokesperson for the organization.

The Satanic Temple first made national headlines when members rallied in support of Florida Gov. Rick Scott for approving a bill that allows prayer in public schools, saying they're glad the new policy will allow children to pray to Satan.

“Informed consent" laws, which typically require women to receive biased counseling before being allowed to proceed with an abortion procedure, are now in place in 35 states. Many of those laws require doctors to tell their patients misleading information about abortion's potential link to mental health issues and breast cancer. Some of them put words directly in doctors' mouths, forcing them to refer to the fetus as an “whole, separate, unique, living human being."

All women who share their belief in medical accuracy are encouraging to seek their own exemption from these laws, even if they don't personally identify as Satanists. “Right to Accurate Medical Information" t-shirts are available for purchase. doclink

Most Catholics Reject Teachings on Birth Control Sex Says Vatican

The Vatican blamed its own priests for much of the problem
June 26, 2014, Toronto Star   By: Nicole Winfield

In June this year, the Vatican conceded that most Catholics reject its teachings on sex and contraception as intrusive and irrelevant. This October a debate will be opened on the topic of marriage, sexuality, abortion, and divorce, but core church doctrine isn't expected to change.

The Vatican sent out a 39-point questionnaire seeking input from ordinary Catholics around the world about their understanding of, and adherence to, the church's teaching on sexuality, homosexuality, contraception, marriage and divorce. Thousands of ordinary Catholics, clergy and academics responded.

A working document for the October synod discussions said "A vast majority" of responses stressed that "the moral evaluation of the different methods of birth control is commonly perceived today as an intrusion in the intimate life of the couple and an encroachment on the autonomy of conscience."

“Many responses recommend that for many Catholics the concept of ‘responsible parenthood' encompasses the shared responsibility in conscience to choose the most appropriate method of birth control."

Pope Francis is seeking to redirect his ministers to offer families, and even gays in civil unions, a “new language" that is welcoming and responds to their needs.

The document laments that the media and its own priests have failed to communicate the “positive" aspects of the Vatican's key document banning artificial contraception, the 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae. And it stresses that what is needed is better pastoral outreach and a “new language" to communicate the complete vision of marriage and family life that the church espouses.

“Some observations inferred that the clergy sometimes feel so unsuited and ill-prepared to treat issues regarding sexuality, fertility and procreation that they often choose to remain silent," the document said.

The document also acknowledged that the church had a credibility problem. “Responses from almost every part of the world frequently refer to the sexual scandals within the church (pedophilia in particular)," it said. “Sex scandals significantly weaken the church's moral credibility." doclink

Ancient Baby Boom Holds a Lesson in Over-population

June 30, 2014, Science Daily   By: Eric Sorensen

Washington State University researchers have found that, from 500 to 1300 A.D., southwestern Native Americans experienced a centuries-long baby boom due to success in farming and food storage. Birth rates likely 'exceeded the highest in the world today,' the researchers write.

The study looks at a century's worth of data on thousands of human remains found at hundreds of sites across the Four Corners region of the Southwest. The stone tools found there reflect an agricultural transition from cutting meat to pounding grain.

Maize, also know as corn, was grown in the region as early as 2000 B.C. But, probably because of low productivity, the population took awhile to realize the benefits, said co-author Tim Kohler, WSU Regents professor of anthropology. However by 400 B.C., the crop provided 80% of the region's calories. Crude birth rates consequently rose, mounting steadily until about 500 A.D.

Around 900 A.D., populations remained high but birth rates began to fluctuate. Then in the mid-1100s one of the largest known droughts in the Southwest occurred. The region likely hit its carrying capacity, with continued population growth and limited resources similar to what Thomas Malthus predicted for the industrial world in 1798.

By 1280 all the farmers had left but birth rates remained high, possibly because of the high amount of conflict. "Why not limit growth?," Kohler said. "Maybe groups needed to be big to protect their villages and fields."

"It was a trap," said Kohler. "A Malthusian trap but also a violence trap." doclink

Karen Gaia said: Malthus never predicted cataclysmic worldwide famine. He predicted regional periodic famine.

Invest in Adolescents and Young People

August 2014, Women Deliver

doclink

U.S.: Be Bold Road Trip - United for Abortion Coverage

August 02, 2014, All Above All

Crossing the country, young people, people of color, and others are standing up against the avalanche of attempts to disenfranchise them, take away abortion coverage and interfere with their personal decision-making.

At each stop, participants will rally with local and national leaders as they learn more about the issues, sign a wall of support, snap selfies, and hear abortion stories that bring the issues to life

The Be Bold Road Trip will finish on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, in mid-September, to commemorate the anniversary of the Hyde Amendment, which has withheld coverage for abortion services from women insured through the Medicaid program since 1976.

The Be Bold Road Trip will travel 10,000 miles to visit 12 cities for one purpose: to end bans on abortion coverage for low-income women.

The mission of the Be Bold Road Trip is critical to the work of reproductive justice organizations such as The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, which says: "Many of our hermanas are denied access to abortion care each year, simply based on their income. We believe that every woman, no matter how much she makes, should be able to get safe and affordable abortion care when she needs it." doclink

Sea Level Rise Causing Huge Increases in “Nuisance Flooding”

Roads that were once under water every 3 years are now under every 3 months.
July 30, 2014, Ars Technica   By: John Timmer

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has compiled data on what it calls "nuisance floods," cases where coastal communities have to deal with flooding as a result of high tides or minor storms.

Over the last 50 years, instances of these floods along the East Coast have gone up by anywhere from 300 to 900%. But there are minor flooding events that are much more common, such as high tides that cause roads and properties to be submerged by salt water. Although these nuisance floods don't cause widespread chaos, they do make areas inaccessible and cause damage to infrastructure that wasn't designed to deal with salt water. These events are often common at certain times of the year or become more common in cycles, as normal high tides interact with changes in the ocean circulation or events like El Niños.

The rates of nuisance floods have increased by 925%. New Jersey and Pennsylvania had rate increases in the 600s, while the nation's capital and San Francisco each saw the frequency rise by about 370%.

Regardless of the location, these nuisance floods will become increasingly significant, and sea level rise has a non-linear effect on their frequency. The reason for this is that the height of high tides is very variable, influenced by things like weather, orbital mechanics, and so on. But that variation is strongly grounded to a mean tide level. doclink

North American Waterfowl Are Newest Casualty of California's Drought

July 30, 2014   By: Matt Weise

As a result of the California drought, millions of migrating birds will be crowded into less habitat, significantly increasing the odds of botulism outbreaks, which spread rapidly and can kill thousands of birds in a matter of days. Officials also are concerned the drought could cause food shortages.

Already, at least 1,700 waterfowl have died at Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge near the Oregon border.

"We've got this perfect storm, if you will. And it's not going to be pretty," Mark Biddlecomb, Western region director of Ducks Unlimited said. "I think we're looking at the probability of a food shortage in addition to a disease outbreak. If they don't go back in excellent condition, they're not going to be breeding like they would normally, and that will affect the entire flyway from the boreal forests of Canada all the way down to Mexico, frankly." doclink

Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Other Cities Headed for Imminent Water Supply Collapse; Wave of Drought Refugees Now Inevitable

June 29, 2014, Natural News   By: Mike Adams

The 600,000 people of Las Vegas, Nevada depends almost universally on one lake - Lake Mead - for their water. That lake has dropped by 50%. Created in 1936, when the Las Vegas population was very tiny, Lake Mead has in recent years dropped by 50% and is receding with alarming speed. It is expected to be "bone dry" in less than 20 years.

Rob Mrowka, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity, says: "Truth be told, much of the Western USA is in the same dire situation as Las Vegas. Cities like Los Angeles were founded in the desert, then artificially supplied with water that's literally pumped over a mountain. If those pumps are halted for any reason, Las Vegas immediately reverts to a desert, and the city becomes a death trap for its millions of residents who rapidly discover they are living in a desert." doclink

Bangladesh: Food Security: the Challenge of a Growing Population

June 29, 2014   By: Mahabub Hossain

Bangladesh's progress in reducing population growth, from 3% at independence to about 1.2% now, is laudable. But there are indications that the progress made in fertility reduction has slowed down in recent years. In Chittagong and Sylhet divisions, the total fertility rate is still higher than three, while the national average is 2.3, and it is less than two in Khulna Division.

Each year rice production has to increase by 0.4 million tons to meet the need for staple food for a population that is increasing by 1.8 million every year.

With global warming and climate change, another one-sixth of the land may be submerged with brackish water over the next 40 years due to rising sea levels with adverse impact on soil salinity.

The good news is that, with economic progress people now have capacity to access a diversified diet with intake of less rice and more quality food. The per capita consumption of rice has been declining by almost 1.5 kg per person per year. Japan and South Korea had the same experience during their process of economic development.

However there is the problem of accelerating the growth in the production of non-rice foods, such as pulses, oils, fish and animal products.

Recently women's involvement in agriculture has been growing. Women's labour is an additional resource that can contribute to a substantial increase in the production of quality food. Women are already heavily engaged in homestead-based vegetable and fruit gardening, and subsistence-based poultry and livestock farming. doclink

Karen Gaia says: even if women work in agriculture, will there be enough land to grow the food?

Sea Level Rise Cuts Across Political Divide in Norfolk, Virginia

July 02, 2014, World Resources Institute - WRI   By: Christina Deconcini and C. Forbes Tompkins

The impact of sea-level rise cut across political divides at the "Rising to the Challenge" conference in Norfolk, Virginia, earlier this week. Members of Congress and Virginia mayors from both political parties joined military and state and local officials to discuss the challenges sea level rise presents to the Hampton Roads area, as well as how to promote federal, state and local action.

Coastal communities in southeast Virginia are at the front lines of sea-level rise. Sinking land and rising seas have combined to produce the fastest rates of sea-level rise along the U.S. East Coast for the Hampton Roads region, which is comprised of Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Hampton, and 14 other localities in Southeast Virginia. Sea levels have risen more than 14 inches since 1930.

Sea-level rise also threatens the region's numerous major military facilities, including Naval Base Norfolk, the world's largest naval base and the most vulnerable such base to rising seas, according to Rear Admiral Kevin Slates.

"This is a matter of national security," said the National Security Council's Hill. "It's a mission-readiness issue."

When pressed by panelists on how much sea-level rise the area will confront in the future, Rear Admiral John White explained that we can prevent the worst consequences if we address the root of climate change and “stop putting CO2 in the atmosphere." doclink

Is the Anthropocene a World of Hope Or a World of Hurt?

July 08, 2014, Grist   By: Nathanael Johnson

Anthropocene is a term denoting a new geologic epoch, dominated by human influence. Ethicist Clive Hamilton and the journalist Andrew Revkin, attended a seminar in Washington, D.C., on the Anthropocene. Hamilton was astonished and irritated that some of the participants seemed optimistic, even excited, about the advent of the Anthropocene. He had just written a book, Requiem for a Species, arguing that people squirm away from the bleak reality of climate change.

In a subsequent interview, Clive Hamilton (CH) said, "The only reasonable conclusion is that the world is in for a very bad time indeed."

Andrew Revkin (AR) agreed that the projections are grim. I've never said that this is a good moment in the history of the planet. What I've been trying to say, sometimes perhaps not specifically enough, is that it's possible to have a good trajectory in a turbulent time. You do the best you can, but you have to be realistic about what's possible given what we know about our species." ... "A third of us have had our fossil-fuel party and a third have not even begun. The primacy of energy access in most of the places in the world trumps long-term concerns about what we are going to do about greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere."

CH agrees but says: "In your view things can be good, where I said things can be better than they are otherwise going to be. But I cannot see how, in a world warmed by four degrees, anything can be described as good. So the question is, are we headed for four degrees or not. You have a kind of "oh shit" moment at some point. And you realize the way one used to think about how we could get out of this, how we could somehow muddle through, really won't do any more."

AR: "No one had any idea we were going to have a natural gas revolution and, for better or worse, here it is, reshaping global energy policies." .. "Things could end up worse than we thought, but they could also be better than a lot of scientists think."

CH: "I think when you have a bunch of environmentalists saying "we are optimistic, we think humans can solve this with technology, we are working with businesses to help come up with the solutions," it detracts from the urgency. That whole approach fails to grasp the seriousness of the situation." It stops governments from imposing policies that will facilitate the transition to the low-carbon future.

AR: "Is this a problem of big companies, or a problem of our attachment to cheap fossil energy?" .. "Ban Ki-moon has made the case beautifully for sustainable energy for all. It's just as much a moral imperative for people to have access to energy as it is for us to cut concentrations of greenhouse gases."

CH: "I don't accept this idea that we consumers in the West are irrevocably attached to cheap energy." .. "Some countries in Europe have less than half — a third — of our emissions per person." And countries like Germany have policies that cut emissions. "I think Western consumers can quite easily be weaned off high-polluting energy sources. The more that is done, the easier it is to free up the carbon budget for poor people who desperately need access to energy."

CH We can look at it with open eyes, and allow it to blast away all our utopian imaginings, and say, well, we are in really deep trouble, and it's extremely unlikely that we are going to get out of it unscathed."

AR: "There are paths that take us through that without a crash." ... "Population analyses that show many trajectories. Some are soft-landing trajectories around the year 2300 with 3 billion prosperous people on our planet, not through mass death, but just demographic transitions. I guarantee you that world would be able to deal with the rise in sea levels better than a world of 10 or 12 billion struggling people."

Follow the link in the headline for the entire article. doclink

Invertebrate Numbers Nearly Halve as Human Population Doubles

July 24 , 2014, Phys.org

Invertebrate numbers have dropped by 45% on average over 35 years - the same period in which the human population doubled, according to a study published in Science and led by UCL, Stanford and UCSB.

The decrease in invertebrate numbers is due to two main factors - habitat loss and climate disruption on a global scale.

In the UK alone, scientists noted the areas inhabited by common insects such as beetles, butterflies, bees and wasps saw a 30-60% decline over the last 40 years.

Invertebrates are important for our daily lives. For example insect pollination is required for 75% of all the world's food crops and is estimated to be worth approximately 10% of the economic value of the world's entire food supply. Globally, pollinators appear to be strongly declining in both abundance and diversity.

Native predators perform the useful service of pest control, valued in the US at an estimated $4.5 billion annually.

Insects and vertebrates (birds, for example) are important for cycling nutrients and moving them over long distances, without which the integrity of other ecosystem functions such as plant productivity could be compromised.

Declines in amphibian populations has led to increased algae and the biomass of waste matter, which in turn reduces nitrogen uptake, degrading the water quality.

The the impact the continuing loss of animals, including invertebrates, has on the spread of human disease needs to be better understood as a priority. doclink

Control Population Growth Cure Poverty

July 30 , 2014

While Uganda's poverty rate has decreased, the actual number of people in poverty, particularly with the huge projections of population growth the country is experiencing, will mean a tsunami of people that will overwhelm all the gains.

In 2000, the poverty rate was 33.8% or about 7,500,000 million Ugandans were living below the poverty line. In 2009, the poverty rate dropped to 24.5% with a but with more people, and the total number living below the poverty line was unchanged.

The middle class might be growing and others prospering. But, in education, healthcare, and jobs, Uganda can barely provide them now. Youth unemployment is at 70% or more, and rising.

If Uganda does not stem population growth, it cannot stop the growing tide of people living - and suffering and dying - in poverty.

"Poverty is the worst kind of violence," Gandhi said. doclink

Karen Gaia says: when the author says 'population control' I hope he means voluntary family planning. There are many proven ways to get fertility rates down without coersion, shaming, lying, propaganda, targets, incentives, or disincentives.

SWERUS-C3: First Observations of Methane Release From Arctic Ocean Hydrates

Just a week into the sampling program and SWERUS-C3 scientists have discovered vast methane plumes escaping from the seafloor of the Laptev continental slope. These early glimpses of what may be in store for a warming Arctic Ocean could help scientists project the future releases of the strong greenhouse gas methane from the Arctic Ocean
July 25 , 2014, SWERUS-C3

Note:SWERUS-C3 is a Swedish, Russian and US program investigating climate-cryosphere-carbon interactions in the Arctic Ocean.

Expdetion Chief Scientist Örjan Gustafsson (ITM Stockholm University) writes: "While there has been much speculation about the vulnerability of regular marine hydrates along the continental slopes of the Arctic rim, very few actual observations of methane releases due to collapsing marine hydrates on the Arctic slope have been made." He thinks that the mechanism behind the presence of methane seeps at these depths may have something to do with the "tongue" of relatively warm Atlantic water, presumably recently intruding across the Arctic Ocean at 200-600 m depths."

As this warm Atlantic water, the last remnants of the Gulf Stream, propagates eastward along the upper slope of the East Siberian margin, it may lead to destabilization of methane hydrates on the upper portion of the slope.

SWERUS-C3 scientists could determine the depth from which methane plumes were bubbling up and detect gas seeps in the water column. " Additional observations include the discovery of over 100 new methane seep sites in the shallower waters of the Laptev shelf (at 60-70m depth), a likely consequence of the thawing subsea permafrost. doclink

Karen Gaia says: "the comparative impact of CH4 on climate change is over 20 times greater than CO2 over a 100-year period." See http://epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/ch4.html

Killed by Stork

Family planning is vital for Pakistan's security
June 25, 2014, Newsweek Pakistan   By: Roshaneh Zafar

In 1978 Thomas Malthus predicted that the world population was bound to outstrip food production, leading to a state of "natural distress." To strike a balance between global natural resources and population, Malthus proposed family planning through "moral restraint," that is, rallying men to delay marrying until later. Malthus has been proven right on the significance of family planning, which is today inextricably linked with economic and security challenges in developing countries, like terror-stricken Pakistan.

The 2009 Failed States Index by the Fund for Peace showed that "failed" states had a total fertility rate -- the number of children per woman -- at five, while the global average was 2.6 at that time. The 2013 Failed States Index, where Pakistan is No. 13, connects the risk of radicalization to the lack of economic opportunities and unemployment. When states are unable to afford the basics for their people (schooling, nutrition, health care, etc.) the denudation of the state is hastened by the employment of its people for radical causes. It's also now evident that having more children results in more, not less, poverty.

The 18th Amendment to the Constitution keeps Pakistan from pursuing a cohesive national program for family planning. The amendment laudably recognized the socioeconomic rights of Pakistani citizens, including the right to an education, as a basic human right. However, it also devolved many previously federally-held responsibilities—including population planning and management—to the provinces.

Pakistan's children-per-woman figure has gone down from 6.7 in 1970-1975 to the present-day 3.3. In comparison, Bangladesh has gone from from 6.2 in 1970-1975 to 2.5 today.

On the bright side, the 2013 Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey shows that almost all married women and 95% of married men were aware of at least one modern family-planning method, and that between 20 to 25% of married women wanted to wait before having another child or even to limit the number of children. doclink

The Disaster We've Wrought on the World's Oceans May Be Irrevocable

July 02, 2014, Newsweek   By: Alex Renton

Rising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are causing global temperatures to rise, which is leading to the melting of the polar ice caps, which in turn has resulted in rising sea levels and a host of ecological issues.

On the fish counters of Barcelona's central market, thousands of sea creatures making up dozens of species are on display. But by the end of this century, many of these animals may be history due to man's reckless abuse of the planet. The oceans are taking up the greenhouse gases that we dump into the air, which turns the waters deadly to its inhabitants.

Many species on the market's fish counters are also on one or more European "at-risk" lists: under threat because of overfishing or changes in the chain of foods that supply them, or from the bigger threat of the changing ocean biogeochemistry. Bivalves such as clams, oysters and mussels use calcium carbonate to make their shells. However, in as little as 20 years they will be very different and, in some parts of the world, entirely gone.

Other sea creatures with shells don't make their shells the same way but the acidification appears to harm the working of the gills and change the behavior of the crustaceans when they are very young.

This acidification is the fastest change in the ocean's chemistry in 300 million years, according to scientists.

A significant amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from the burning of carbon fuels. Carbon dioxide is absorbed by seawater, lowering the pH level and increasing its acidity. "In preindustrial times the ocean's pH was 8.2. It has already gone down to 8.1," says Carles Pelejero, a scientist working in Barcelona. “Depending on what we do, it will reach an average of 7.8 or 7.7 by 2100. It hasn't been that low for 55 million years."

The ocean is a key food supply for more than 3 billion of us.

Along the coasts and out in the deep, huge “dead zones" have been multiplying. They are the emptiest places on the planet, where there's little oxygen and sometimes no life at all, almost entirely restricted to some unicellular organisms like bacteria. Vast blooms of algae—organisms that thrive in more acid (and less alkaline) seawater and are fed by pollution—have already rendered parts of the Baltic Sea pretty much dead. A third of the marine life in that sea, which once fed all of Northern Europe,

What worries Pelejero most is the rapidity of today's changes. The same shifts that happened over the course of a few thousand years during the PETM (Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum) are now due to happen over just a few centuries, counting from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and the widespread use of fossil fuels.

One ray of hope is that the Obama administration announced a series of measures aimed to conserve the ocean as a key food supply. These included more ocean sanctuaries to curtail overfishing, and new funds to research ocean biochemistry, including acidification. doclink

The Impossibility of Growth Demands a New Economic System

Why collapse and salvation are hard to distinguish from each other.
May 28, 2014   By: George Monbiot

According to Jeremy Grantha's calculations, if one cubic meter grew by a compounded 4.5% since 3030 BC, it would now occupy 2.5 billion billion solar systems. The point is that our target of 4.5% growth is unsustainable, especially if you begin with today's very large world GDP. Yet the economic model in today calls for continuous compound growth in the range of 4.5% throughout the world. That would be enough to support population growth and allow most people to live a little better each year. Considering this, we can quickly reach the paradoxical conclusion that we have based our economic model on a doomed formula. To fail is bad, but to succeed is to destroy ourselves. That is the bind we face. Ignore if you must climate change, biodiversity collapse, the depletion of water, soil, minerals, oil; even if all these issues were miraculously to vanish, simple math shows that endless compound growth is impossible.

Before we began using fossil fuels, every industrial growth spurt collapsed. But coal, oil, etc. broke this cycle and enabled - for a few hundred years - the phenomenon we now call sustained growth. Neither capitalism nor communism were responsible; they were mere ideological subplots. It was coal, followed by oil and gas - a carbon-fueled expansion. Now, as the most accessible reserves have been exhausted, we must ransack the hidden corners of the planet to sustain the momentum. We go on extracting fossil fuels and perusing our doomed growth strategy without considering where is headed. The scouring of the planet has just begun. As the global economy continues expanding, we will seek out every resource deposit, extract and disperse its treasure, and reduce that place to a potentially hazardous cleanup site.

Iron ore production increased 180% in ten years. Even paper consumption is at a record high level and still growing. If, in the digital age, we don't reduce paper consumption, what hope is there for using less fuels and other commodities?

The super-rich set the pace by consuming far more than they can use. Are their yachts and houses getting smaller? To supply this wasteful demand, we race to extract ever more of our non-replenishable resources.

As the philosopher Michael Rowan points out, continuing compound growth means that if last year's predicted global growth rate for 2014 (3.1%) is sustained, even if miraculously we were to reduce the consumption of raw materials by 90%, we delay the inevitable by just 75 years. The unavoidable failure of building a society on endless growth and the resulting destruction of the Earth's living systems are the overwhelming, yet rarely mentioned, facts of our existence.

The topic is guaranteed to alienate your friends and neighbors. People would rather focus on the standard middle class conversation topics: recipes, renovations and resorts. Talk of the obvious outcome of basic arithmetic is brushed aside, while the impossible proposition by which we live is regarded as so sane and normal and unremarkable that it isn't worthy of mention. You can measure the depth of this problem by our inability even to discuss it. doclink

Why Pope Francis is Wrong About My Child-Free Life

The pope may pooh-pooh the decision to remain childless, but the world needs more people who choose pets over kids.
June 06, 2014, Daily Beast   By: Amanda Marcotte

Pope Francis recently said: "This culture of well-being from 10 years ago convinced us: It's better not to have children! It's better! You can go explore the world, go on holiday, you can have a villa in the countryside, you can be care-free." ... "Maybe it is better, more convenient, to have a little dog, two cats; and the love goes to the two cats and the little dog."

“Then, in the end this marriage comes to old age in solitude, with the bitterness of loneliness."

The author's first instinct was to think, “If you think having children is so important, then why don't you go first?" But the question of whether or not having kids makes marriages happier or not is one that has been looked at again and again. Childless couples have happier marriages, on average.

Studies show that a marriage starts to decline rapidly when you have your first baby, goes up and down with the stresses of child-rearing, but it stays relatively low, only rising again after the kids move out of the house.

After surveying people ages 50 to 84, researchers found no difference in the loneliness rates of people with children and people without children. Relying on a phone call a week from your kids is hardly a panacea for loneliness. Non-lonely seniors are usually the ones with plenty of friends, and being able to make friends isn't dependent on your status as a parent or not.

Parents do tend to rate their work as highly rewarding. For those who want it, trading off daily happiness for the sense of satisfaction that comes from raising a child is usually worth it. And if having a child is the right choice for you, there's no reason to have your friends validate it by having kids of their own, regardless of what's best for them.

The pope should have been considerate of those who want very badly to be parents but, because of infertility, aren't able to. Hearing the pope claim that childless couples are doomed to misery, loneliness and broken marriages could cause them a lot of needless dread and heartache.

Society would benefit strongly if more people felt that childlessness was a legitimate life option.

Children don't benefit from being raised by parents who went into parenthood ambivalent about the whole endeavor and feeling like they had to do it for no other reason but to conform to social expectations (or the pope's scolding).

What the planet probably needs now is more people picking the childless lifestyle. The low estimate for expected population levels by 2050 is 9.3 billion and may be as high as 11 billion. “Under either forecast, scientists say, living conditions are likely to be bleak for much of humanity," writes Kenneth Weiss.

And if you're feeling like being one of those “carefree" people whose “love goes to the two cats and the little dog," don't let Pope Francis make you feel bad. The world needs more people like you. doclink

How Bangladesh's Female Health Workers Boosted Family Planning

Contraception delivered through female community health workers has helped to reduce birthrates and infant mortality
June 06 , 2014, Guardian   By: Kenneth R Weiss

This interesting article is somewhat long but worth reading in its entirety (by clicking on the link in the headline), so here is the gist of it:

Bangladesh established Matlab -- an experimental village -- in the 1960s and there trained a cadre of female community health workers who have been carefully maintaining one of the longest-running and most detailed health and population data sets in the developing world.

These health care workers make house calls to administer child and maternal health and are widely credited for demonstrating how poor Muslim women with little or no formal education can plan their families.

Ubaidur Rob, the non-profit Population Council's Bangladesh director said "Women were employed as field workers in the 1970s, when fertility was very high and female employment was virtually zero. This is where change began."

In the mid-70s researchers divided 149 villages into two groups. One half participated in the Matlab centre's maternal and child healthcare initiatives, including home delivery of modern contraceptives, while the other had access only to government services.

At that time, contraception was denounced by Islamic clerics. Dr Mohammad Yunus, who ran the Matlab centre for nearly 40 years said that what worked "was a comprehensive doorstep service with trained female health workers making regular follow-up visits to help mothers pick a method of contraception that was best for them, treat side-effects and provide basic maternal and child healthcare."

In the Matlab half, married women were more likely to use contraceptives and, over time, had an average of 1.5 fewer children than their counterparts in the comparison area. Their children were healthier, fewer women died of pregnancy-related causes, and child mortality fell. Parents accumulated more farmland, built more valuable homes and gained access to running water. Their children stayed in school longer, and women enjoyed higher incomes.

By the early 80s, when other areas using the Matlab approach had experienced a similar increase in contraceptive use, the government trained tens of thousands of female health workers using the Matlab model.

Since then, average birthrates have fallen from six children a woman to slightly more than two; projections for Bangladesh's population in 2050 (currently 160 million) have dropped from 265 million (forecast in 2000) to 200 million, and stabilizing soon after. Also Bangladesh has become one of the first impoverished countries to meet the UN millennium development goal of reducing child mortality by two-thirds. doclink

Karen Gaia says: one of the things that helped this program work was that new mothers were asked to come back after the baby was born, and during that visit, were asked if they wanted to have another baby soon. If the mother said 'No', the health care worker was prepared to give here one of an assortment of contraceptives.

Exhaustion of Cheap Mineral Resources is Terraforming Earth - Scientific Report

Soaring costs of resource extraction require transition to post-industrial 'circular economy' to avoid collapse
June 04 , 2014, Mail and Guardian   By: Nafeez Ahmed

A new report based on the work of the world's leading mineral experts shows that industrial civilization's extraction of critical minerals and fossil fuel resources is reaching the limits of economic feasibility, and could lead to a collapse of key infrastructures unless new ways to manage resources are implemented.

The peer-reviewed study is the 33rd Report to the Club of Rome and includes specialist contributions from fifteen senior scientists and experts across the fields of geology, agriculture, energy, physics, economics, geography, transport, ecology, industrial ecology, and biology.

Much of the report's focus is on the concept of Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI), which measures the amount of energy needed to extract resources. "We are not running out of any mineral," the report says; however "extraction is becoming more and more difficult as the easy ores are depleted. More energy is needed to maintain past production rates, and even more is needed to increase them."

Consequently, "The production of many mineral commodities appears to be on the verge of decline… we may be going through a century-long cycle that will lead to the disappearance of mining as we know it."

The world has shifted to more difficult to extract fossil fuel resources, in the form of unconventional forms of oil and gas, which have much lower levels of EROEI than conventional oil.

Fracking production may rise "rapidly to a peak", but then often declining by 80-95% within three years. "Several thousand wells" are often needed for a single shale play to provide "a return on investment."

The average EROEI to run "industrial society as we know it" is about 8 to 10. Shale oil and gas, tar sands, and coal seam gas are all "at, or below, that level if their full costs are accounted for… Thus fracking, in energy terms, will not provide a source on which to develop sustainable global society."

Using the EROEI analysis, the report found that world coal production will peak by 2050 latest, and could peak as early as 2020. Rising domestic demand from China and India could generate higher prices and shortages in the near future: "Therefore, there is definitely no scope for substituting for oil and gas with coal."

The report also found that current uranium production from mines is already insufficient to fuel existing nuclear reactors, a gap being filled by recovery of uranium military stockpiles and old nuclear warheads. A worldwide expansion of nuclear power would be unsustainable due to "gigantic investments" needed.

Of the large quantities of uranium in the Earth's crust, only a "limited numbers of deposits" are "concentrated enough to be profitably mined." Mining less concentrated deposits would require "far more energy than the mined uranium could ultimately produce."

The same problems will occur with the extraction of uranium from seawater.

The report also shows that chromium, molybdenum, tungsten, nickel, platinum-palladium, copper, zinc, cadmium, titanium, and tin will face peak production followed by declines within this century.

As for copper, although production has grown exponentially, the grade of the minerals mined is steadily declining, lifting mining costs. 'Peak copper' is likely to hit by 2040, but could even occur within the next decade.

Production of lithium, presently used for batteries electric cars, would not meet the demand of large-scale electrification of transport infrastructure and vehicles. Sustainable lithium production requires 80-100% recycling - currently this stands at less than 1%.

Reserves of phosphorous, which is critical to fertilize soil and sustain agriculture are not running out, however physical, energy and economic factors mean only a small percentage of it can be mined. Crop yield on 40% of the world's arable land is already limited by economical phosphorus availability.

In the Club of Rome study, physicist Patrick Dery says that several major regions of rock phosphate production - such as the island of Nauru and the US, which is the world's second largest producer - are post-peak and now declining, with global phosphorous supplies potentially becoming insufficient to meet agricultural demand within 30-40 years. The problem can potentially be solved as phosphorous can be recycled.

A FAO agronomist Toufic El Asmar, said that the decline in land productivity is accelerating due to industrial agricultural methods, which are degrading the soil by as much as 50% in some areas.

Study author Prof Ugo Bardi said: "Prices have gone up by a factor 3-5 and have remained at these level for the past 5-6 years. They are not going to go down again, because they are caused by irreversible increases in production costs. These prices are already causing the decline of the less efficient economies (Italy, Greece, Spain, etc.). We are not at the inversion point yet, but close - less than a decade?" doclink

Karen Gaia says: EROEI above is the same as EROI below:

Virginity Pledges Don't Work — Unless You're Super Religious

Surprise! Morality-based abstinence education only works for people with those beliefs (and it harms everyone else)
July 16, 2014, Salon   By: Jenny Kutner

A study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that virginity pledges don't work, unless signers are truly and deeply religious, virginity pledges don't work, and even if signers are deeply religious, abstinence pledges are likely to delay sexual activity a few years -- but usually not until marriage.

The study also found virginity pledges pose serious risks to young adults who go back on their word.

The study of 1,380 college students aged 18-24 asked participants whether they had previously signed a virginity pledge, their virginity status and how many past or present intercourse and oral sex partners they had, and also how religion or spirituality influence their daily lives, how often they seek spiritual comfort and how frequently they participate in religious events.

About 25% of respondents had previously made a virginity agreement; however 65% of signers were no longer virgins and 77% had engaged in oral sex at the time of the study.

Unfortunately most abstinence pledges take the place of comprehensive, medically accurate sex education; consequently young people who decide not to remain abstinent often do so with little to no knowledge of healthy sexuality. The study reports that sexually active signers tended to have oral sex with a greater number of partners (likely in an effort to "preserve their virginity"), putting them at risk for various diseases and complications. Abstinence-only sex ed does not teach students what they all need to know.

The study concludes that state and federal dollars are still funding inadequate, evangelical sex education and that we should reconsider the policy implications of this dangerous entanglement, as their efficacy findings make it "questionable" whether the government should be funneling money into something so overwhelmingly ineffective. doclink

Birth Control Saves Money. Lots of It.

July 09 , 2014, VOX Media   By: Ezra Klein

A simple fact about contraception seems to get lost in much of the coverage: A study of Medicaid found that contraceptive services saved $4.26 for every dollar invested.

Insurers pay $18,329 for the average vaginal delivery and $27,866 for the average C-section (prices for the uninsured are much higher: $30,000-$50,000). Nearly half of these pregnancies are unplanned — and direct costs from unintended pregnancies total more than $5 billion annually. On the other hand, contraception costs $100-$600 annually and cuts the risk of unplanned pregnancies to nearly nothing. Estimates of the savings vary: $6,000-$10,000 per person for every two years on contraception; another: $13,000 over five years of contraceptive coverage.

These estimates don't count how much more money a women made over her lifetime because her education or her career wasn't interrupted by an unplanned pregnancy. And they don't count, of course, the emotional benefits of being able to plan when to start a family.

A program in Colorado provided free contraceptive services to low-income women and teens resulting to a drop in teen births falling of 40%. Governor John Hickenlooper said the program saved Colorado millions of dollars and helped thousands of young Colorado women continue their education,.

A National Business Group on Health study in 2000 showed that employers who didn't offer contraceptive coverage spent 15-17% more because of the costs of pregnancy and reduced productivity. doclink

Karen Gaia says: I read somewhere that it costs around $200,000, on average, to raise a child.

Booming Populations, Rising Economies, Threatened Biodiversity: the Tropics Will Never Be the Same

July 07 , 2014, Mongabay.com   By: Jeremy Hance

The tropics cover around 40% of the world's surface. A 400-plus page report on the tropics, compiled by 12 institutions, found incredible population growth, rising economic importance, clashes over land-use, imperiled biodiversity, and worsening impacts of climate change.

The tropics are home to about 40% of the world's population, but house 55% of children under five. Within 40 years, it is expected that more than half the world's population will be in the tropics and a staggering 67% of its young children. According to the report, the region is expected to add another 3 billion people (or 42% of the world's population today) by the end of the century.

"Because most of the world's children will live in the Tropics by 2050, we must rethink the world's priorities on aid, development, research and education," author Sandra Harding, Vice-Chancellor and President of James Cook University said. For example, it is estimated that around 467 million people in the tropics lived in slums as of 2001, representing 46% of the region's urban population.

A booming population means increased demand for food, water, and other natural resources internally, even while many of these resources are already exported abroad to temperate regions.

Tropical economies are growing 20% more rapidly than in temperate regions, yet the tropics is still home to two-thirds of the world's population living in extreme poverty.

There is also good news according to the report: "The prevalence of undernourishment in the tropics has declined by one-third over the past two decades." And life expectancy is on the rise while maternal and child mortality has been slashed. Such changes could.

Unfortunately people in the tropics face especially challenging diseases rarely found in temperate regions such as dengue fever and malaria. And local people and indigenous groups are struggling to maintain control over their traditional lands as corporations -- often foreign -- seek out more land to grow crops, raise livestock, or extract commodities such as timber, fossil fuels, and minerals. Land-grabbing, as it is known, has become a significant political issue in places like Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, Kenya, and Cameroon.

At the same time, conservationists and environmentalists are fighting to preserve rainforests, coral reefs, and other vital ecosystems from destruction. Approximately 80% of the world's terrestrial biodiversity and more than 95% of its mangrove and coral reef-based biodiversity are in the tropics. doclink

16 and Pregnant: Bedsider Birth Control Campaign

The cast opens up about using birth control
July 22, 2014, MTV

doclink

Why the Next 20 Years Will Be Completely Unlike the Last 20

Presenting the 'Accelerated' Crash Course
June 20 , 2014, Peak Prosperity   By: Adam Taggart

Let's pull back for a moment and look at the Really Big Picture:

We're facing a future in which the economic growth the world has enjoyed over the past century can no longer continue.

Over-indebtedness, mal-investment, cronyism, manipulation, and misguided policymaking have all certainly contributed to our current predicament. But the principal causes are much bigger. And much harder to address.

Simply put, we're entering an era when it's becoming increasingly difficult to obtain the resources we need -- at the cost we need -- to power the economic activity we need.

The trends of resource depletion, escalating mining & drilling costs, species die-offs, emptying aquifers, declining energy yields and the like are increasingly pitting the world's 7 billion people (soon to be 9 billion before 2050) against each other in competition for the remaining biomass and minerals that make industry possible.

As a result, massive changes to our way of life are in store. No matter where each of us lives.

This brand-new video shines a bright light on these trends and the risks we face as a result. But it also offers hope. If we take action now, while there's still time, there's much we can do not only to reduce our personal vulnerability to these threats, but also to step into this new future with newfound optimism.

Length: Approx. one hour doclink

Karen Gaia says: everyone should see this video.

Is a Haber-Bosch World Sustainable? Population, Nutrition, Cereals, Nitrogen and Environment

July 01 , 2014, WOA website   By: Bernard Gilland

Note: The Haber-Bosch process has often been called the most important invention of the 20th century, driving the world's population from 1.6 billion in 1900 to 6 billion in 2000, according to Vaclav Smil in 1999. Under the procees, high temperatures and very high pressures push hydrogen and nitrogen (from thin air) to combine and produce ammonia; fertilizer generated from ammonia produced by the Haber process is estimated to be responsible for sustaining one-third of the Earth's population.

However, there are problems with fertilizers. Humans tend to use too much of them in the soil because they have to cater to the global demand of food. Synthetic or inorganic fertilizers contain components like nitrogen, potassium, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, which have their drastic side effects in the long run. Fertilizers in the soil can alter the fertility of the soil by increasing the acid levels in the soil. Fertilizers contain substances like nitrates and phosphates that are flooded into lakes and oceans through rains and sewage. These substances prove to become toxic for the aquatic life, thereby, increasing the excessive growth of algae in the water bodies and decreasing the levels of oxygen. The nitrogen and other chemicals present in the fertilizers can also affect the ground waters and waters that are used for the purpose of drinking, resulting in problems like the blue baby syndrome which occurs in infants whose skin tissues are low in oxygen. Lawn fertilizers and pesticides can cause health risks like cancer and chronic diseases in humans, especially in children. Finally, fertilizers consist of chemicals like methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and nitrogen, the emission of which has contributed to a great extent in the quantity of greenhouse gases present in the environment.

A satisfactory average food supply can be defined as 2750 kilocalories food energy per capita per day, including 40g (650 kilocalories) animal protein. The food supply in all African and many Asian and Latin American countries does not meet these criteria. Population growth makes food production increase necessary; economic growth increases demand for animal products and livestock feed. Since further increase of harvested areas is ecologically undesirable, it is necessary to increase crop yields by using more nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizers, despite the environmental problems which this would exacerbate.

Calculation indicates a satisfactory food supply and an environmentally benign agriculture worldwide cannot be achieved without reducing population to approximately three billion. The same applies to the restoration of carbon cycle equilibrium by phasing out fossil fuels. The UN "Low" population projection shows that this reduction could be achieved about 200 years from now - at a price.

An adequate diet must have both a sufficient number of calories (energy content of the food) and a substantial amount of animal protein daily per capita.

Animal protein is generally preferred: whereever people can afford it, per capita animal protein consumption exceeds 40g per day, which is a level midway between the averages in the developed and the developing countries.

Feeding cereal grain to cattle, pigs and poultry is a safety buffer in the event of a sudden fall in grain production. For example, almost all grain in China in the 1950s was consumed by humans; when grain production fell drastically in 1959-61, 30 million people died of starvation. In contrast, until 1991, over half the Soviet Union's grain was fed to livestock. When grain production in the former Soviet Union fell drastically in the 1990s, there was a decline in the consumption of animal protein, but only a slight fall in the consumption of vegetal calories; there was no famine.

Animal products contain on average three times as much protein per calorie as vegetal products, which makes them especially suitable for children; countries with a low intake of animal protein per capita have a high incidence of child undernourishment.

A 1994 study shows that half the protein should be of animal origin. A projection for 2050 is 3070 kcal, of which 550 kcal is of animal origin.

The global average food wastage is estimated at 12% of supply. However the biggest problem is not with food wastage.

Approximately one-third of global cereal production is fed to livestock. The crux of the population-food supply problem is the difference between the 61g average animal protein supply in the developed countries and the 24g average in the developing countries. There is no prospect of a major reduction of this difference, as the developing countries have 12 inhabitants per hectare cereal growing area and the developed countries only 6. The difference in population per hectare is increasing due to the difference in population growth rates; in 2050 the developing countries are almost certain to have at least 15 inhabitants per hectare cereal area, while the developed countries will remain the same.

Only about 25% of the world's population live in countries in which the supply of animal protein exceeds 40g per capita per day. Iceland has the world's highest supply of animal protein per capita: 96g per day. The expectation of life (83 years) is among the highest, and infant mortality is the world's lowest.

Proteins from animal products have an amino-acid composition closer to human requirements than vegetal protein, and thus have a higher uptake efficiency (one g animal protein is worth 1.4 g vegetal protein). Animal foods have higher biologically utilizable contents of minerals (including calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, and iodine) and vitamins of the B group than most plant products; livestock products are the primary source of vitamin B12 excessive consumption of oils, fats and sugar.

The Economist Intelligence Unit has assessed the level of food security in 109 countries by developing a Food Security Index (FSI) based on affordability, availability and quality. The top twenty countries all have a daily animal protein supply exceeding 50g per capita. They include major food exporters and countries heavily dependent on food imports. The EIU considers that a high degree of dependence on food imports is compatible with a high level of food security. This view is not shared by several Asian countries (including China) which have leased tracts of land in Africa. In countries with a low level of food security, diets are quasi-vegetarian and from 30 to 90 percent of the labour force is in agriculture; the average size of agricultural holdings is such that even a tripling of crop yields would not bring the peasants out of poverty. (The average size of agricultural holdings in India is 1.3 ha; the EU-27 average is 14 ha, in France and Germany it is over 50 ha and 130 in the UK 90 ha). Transfer of roughly 90 percent of the peasants to the industrial and service sectors would take a century or more. Of the twenty countries with the lowest FSI, all but three are in Sub-Saharan Africa.The population of Sub-Saharan Africa, 926 million in 2013, is projected to be 2185 million in 2050. If fertility in the region does not decline more rapidly than assumed in the projection, a rise in mortality is virtually certain, as the countries in question will be unable to pay for the imports needed to compensate for their grain production shortfalls.

China and India are Nos. 42 and 69 respectively in the FSI table. Food availability in China is 3074 kcal/capita/day, including 38 g animal protein; in India it is 2459 kcal and 12 g animal protein. The number of children under age 5 who are moderately or severely wasted in China is estimated at 2 million; in India the number is 25 million. China's economic growth since 1980 is unprecedented; few economists would have believed it possible. In 1984, environmentalist Lester Brown stated : "In China, which has only one-tenth of a hectare of cropland per person, there simply is no room for cars"; by mid-2011, the number of passenger cars in China had reached 68 million.

An analysis of Grassini in 2013 shows that wheat, rice and maize yields have plateaued or shown an abrupt decrease in the rate of yield gain on areas that account for 31% of global rice-wheat-maize production, and conclude that a linear extrapolation of the 1961-2012 rate of global yield increase to 2050 is too optimistic.

Note: There is much, much more to be found in this article. Please read the entire article at http://www.overpopulation.org/pdf/Haber-Bosch_June2014.pdf, if you are interested, and send me (karengaia4329@karengaia.net) any highlights missed above. This is a very worthwhile article. doclink

Watch 220 Years of US. Population Growth

July 1 , 2014, Blog on MyLife - 220 Years of US Population Growth   By: Christian Neeser

Using the population data of every Census since the first, which occurred in 1790, we've put together an animation showing the growth of every state's population from then till now. The states are in order of the date they became admitted, and you may notice that some were being counted prior to statehood. These states were at the time either U.S. territories, or part of another state.

Click on the link in the headline or image above to see the growth of US population. doclink

U.S.: California Farms Are Sucking Up Enough Groundwater to Put Rhode Island 17 Feet Under

July 16, 2014, Mother Jones   By: Julia Lurie

According to Julia Lurie, nearly 80% of California is experiencing "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, and that is hitting the nation's largest agriculture producer exceptionally hard. California grows nearly half of the nation's fruits, nuts, and vegetables and is a leading crop exporter. Four-fifths of the world's almonds ship from California. The state now faces its third driest year on record and the "greatest absolute reduction in water availability" it has experienced. Most years, about two-thirds of California's irrigation water comes from rivers and reservoirs, and one-third comes from wells. This year, the state cannot deliver about one-third of its surface water supply, so farmers who stand to lose whole orchards if they cannot get enough water, are hitting the groundwater supply so hard that thousands of wells must be deepened to work.

The hardest hit area is a normally fertile inland region called the Central Valley. The Colorado River does not feed that area, as it does further south, and groundwater is harder to pump there than on the coasts. Farmers who can fallow their land without losing orchards have put 410,000 acres to rest.

A report prepared by UC-Davis scientists for the California Department of Food and Agriculture used current water data, agricultural models, satellite data, and other methods to predict the drought's economic and environmental toll through 2016. It concluded that, in addition to the loss of groundwater and agricultural production, the drought will cost the state $2.2 billion this year. That includes $810 million from lower crop revenues, $203 million from livestock and dairy losses, $454 million from well drilling and pumping costs, and most of the rest from lost earnings. Up to 17,100 seasonal and part-time jobs will be lost. And, since this is the third consecutive year of below average rainfall, even if 2015 brings an El Niño with above average rainfall, next year will not restore normalcy.

California is the only western state without groundwater regulation or measurement of major groundwater use. It may not be fair or equitable, but those who can drill deep enough to reach the ever deepening water table may take what water is there. This year, by pumping 62% more groundwater than usual, they are projected to drain 13 million acre-feet ̶ enough to cover Rhode Island 17 feet deep. According to Richard Howitt of UC-Davis, who co-authored the report, "A well-managed basin is used like a reserve bank account." With those who can drill deepest pumping all they want, they may deplete the entire reserve. doclink

New Contraceptive Shot Being Released in Africa

July 14 , 2014, New York Times   By: Donald G. Mcneil Jr.

Pfizer will release an injectable contraceptive in four African countries this year, including Burkina Faso, where it was recently introduced, followed by Uganda, Senegal and Niger. A single-injection plastic capsule contains a three-month dose of Depo-Provera Sayana Press. Women often prefer injectable contraceptives in Africa and other places where they may not want their husbands to know they use birth control.

Sara Tiff is Associate Director of Global Reproductive Health for PATH, a Seattle-based organization that develops health technology for the poor. She hopes the short, thin needle that slides beneath the skin, rather than into muscle, makes injection so easy that women will eventually be able to inject it themselves.

Although many in poor countries are familiar with Depo-Provera, a spokesman said Pfizer chose the name Sayana Press because you press the plastic bubble to inject the drug, and "sayana" has a good feminine sound.

The Pfizer spokesman would not reveal the cost, but Burkina Faso will initially get 250,000 doses. The country's health ministry hopes to make contraception available to 25% of married women by next year. doclink

Art says: The efficacy rate for injections exceeds other methods. About 9% of women using pills become pregnant each year largely because they don't always take them as directed every day. About 18% of condom users become pregnant each year.

The Crusade Against Reproductive Rights

July 18, 2014, Moyers & Company

Note: this is a summary of the Bill Moyers interview with Cecile Richards. For the complete article, click on the link in the headline or watch the video.

BILL MOYERS (M): In the 40-plus years since the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision, conservatives and the religious right have tried to overturn it. Several states have effectively restricted access to safe, legal clinics. More than half the American women of reproductive age now live in states hostile to abortion access.

NANCY NORTHRUP: During those four decades, there have been terrorizing physical attacks, clinics bombed, vandalized and torched, doctors and clinic workers murdered, and clinics blockaded. … States are passing laws that single out reproductive health providers for excessively burdensome regulations ….

M:..Since Cecile Richards became president of the Planned Parenthood Federation in 2006, the number of its supporters doubled to seven million. Cecile, An impartial observer … could conclude that you're losing the political battle over abortion.

CECILE RICHARDS (R): … "The Tea Party swept into the U.S. House of Representatives and took over state legislatures (with) a very clear agenda … to roll back women's access. But whenever these issues are actually on the ballot," for example in Mississippi, where "the far right tried to push … a bill that would've outlawed abortion in that state. The voters of Mississippi …. overwhelmingly rejected that. … I do think the state legislatures have moved dramatically to the right." … Unfortunately, an extreme wing of the Republican Party seems to be in charge of the primary process."

M: "Is it conceivable to you that your opponents have … convinced enough people in conservative circles that abortion is morally wrong, leaving politicians that you talk about no choice but to go where the voters lead?"

R: … “We at Planned Parenthood talk to voters a lot, talk to the public a lot. People in this country believe that abortion is a very personal and often complex issue. … The last thing they want is politicians making the most personal decisions for a family." Across party lines, “young people in this country can't imagine going back to a time where abortion was illegal and not available."

M: 68% of young Americans believe abortion services should be available where they live. Why doesn't that translate into political success?

R: … In the last presidential election Mitt Romney wanted to overturn Roe and get rid of Planned Parenthood, while President Obama strongly supported women's rights. “We had the biggest gender gap ever in polling in a presidential election." And in the Virginia governor's race, Terry McAuliffe supported women's access to birth control and Planned Parenthood, while Ken Cuccinelli, the sitting attorney general, opposed basically all of women's rights. ... Women decided that election. “ There was a nine point gender gap for Terry McAuliffe." … Women can determine pretty much any election in the country.

M: Texas Governor Rick Perry wants to make abortion, “a thing of the past."

R: … “He's making safe and legal abortion a thing of the past". … These regulations fall disproportionately on low income and rural women. … “Women now go across the border to Mexico because they can't access legal abortion in the state of Texas." …

When the governor and legislature ended the women's health program, “dozens of health centers that didn't provide abortion services had to shut down because they served low income women and they didn't have the funds to continue. … Women (are) trying to figure out how to get around the country because there are increasingly states where you may have a legal right to an abortion, but effectively you have no access.… The impact is certainly on the ability to access abortion services, but it also has been devastating on women's ability to even access family planning and basic preventive care. … State legislatures are hollowing out the rights under Roe in every conceivable way," and this court has been more sympathetic to those efforts _ not only to safe and legal abortion, but to birth control as well.

M: “Do you think that Women's Health Protection Act (WHPA) that was debated this week could undo some of the damage being caused by this onslaught of regulations?"

R: Absolutely. … Essentially the WHPA says you have to treat women's reproductive health care and abortion access like you do all other medical procedures.…99% of women in this country use family planning." … and 98% of Catholic women have used it at some point. “So for women, birth control is not a moral issue. It's not a social issue. It is a basic healthcare issue. It's an economic issue." And women, men, the majority of this country supports Roe. I guarantee they don't want politicians making their most personal, private decisions.

M: “What is your response to what some of your opponents say that abortion … needs higher medical standards? Is there any merit in that argument?"

R: "Absolutely none. … Abortion is one of the safest medical procedures. … I talk to doctors who were around pre-Roe who said, you know, routinely young healthy women were dying in emergency rooms across this country simply because they had no access to terminate a pregnancy in a medical setting." … Abortion opponents claim they're for women's health and safety, but they're not. …

M: … Why can't hospitals start taking up the slack?

R: …"Many of the hospitals in this country now are owned by the Catholic Church or have Catholic affiliation. They not only will not provide abortion services, they will not provide a whole host of reproductive healthcare." We need a public health care system that “will ensure that women can get access to the care that they need regardless of religion. And that is becoming increasingly a problem .. across the country."

M: … The Hobby Lobby decision says, in effect, that … Capital has religious rights, labor doesn't. Where's this going to take us?"

R: … “ I was actually there for the Hobby Lobby argument, and it was stunning to see the lack of regard for women." But from that and other decisions, it seems “better to be a corporation today than to be a woman in front of the Supreme Court. … How could the rights of one CEO … trump the right of thousands of women to make their own decision?" … “The future and the healthcare of millions of women are at stake." … When Congress passed this law, the Supreme Court overstepped their bounds. …

M: Have we opened another stage in the old debate … over religious liberties?

R: … “We believe in religious liberties, but not the right to … enforce your religion, your religious beliefs on someone else. … When they heard that the Supreme Court had said that there were women who couldn't get birth control from their employer, I think people were just in shock. … It's 2014 and we are still arguing about women being able to access birth control? It just doesn't make sense. Again, you have every woman in the country virtually using it. They don't see this as a controversial issue."

M: … “How do you explain the passion that enters into this debate?"

R: … Toleration of extremist remarks from people and some elected officials invites people to put women and doctors in a certain place. “The Massachusetts buffer zone was passed" … because “women and doctors and clinicians were under enormous personal safety risks. And—“

M: “The two people were murdered there. … Have you received any death threats?"

R: … “I don't fear for myself. But I take very seriously the safety of our doctors and our clinicians and our patients. And that's foremost in my mind all the time." doclink

New Study Documents Reasons Married Women in Developing Nations Who Wish to Avoid Pregnancy Do Not Use Contraceptives

More than One-Fourth Are Concerned About Side Effects and Health Risks
June 17 , 2014, Guttmacher Institute

Increasing women's access to modern contraceptive methods alone will not satisfy their unmet need for contraception, according to a study from the Guttmacher Institute.

Among married women who were not using contraceptives, on average 4-8% of those in Asia, Africa and Latin America attributed their non-use to lack of access. However, in a few countries, lack of access was a significant barrier: in Benin, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d'Ivoire and Guinea, and by 17% of women in the Philippines (more than twice the proportion of women in any other Asian country).

23-28% of married women in Asia, Africa and Latin America who had an unmet need for contraception said they were not using a method because they had experienced or were worried about side effects or health risks.

Approximately one-third of married women seeking to avoid pregnancy in Latin America and Asia and one-fifth of such women in Africa reported that infrequent sex was a primary reason for nonuse. In Asia, nonuse for this reason is becoming more common and was especially prevalent in Nepal (73%) and Bangladesh (58%). The authors suggest that an increase in the number of couples who live apart because of labor migration might help explain this phenomenon.

"There is a pressing need to further strengthen family planning services to ensure that they provide women with counseling on their risk of pregnancy, with information on possible side effects and health risks of specific methods, and with a wide range of methods to choose from," said study author Sedgh. "The findings also highlight the need for investment in new technologies that better address the concerns and needs of women—including methods with fewer side effects that are easily used by women who have sex infrequently."

A substantial number of women across the developing world (an average of 14-19% in the three regions) reported that they were not using contraceptives because they had recently given birth or were breast-feeding. Exclusive breast-feeding is considered an effective method of contraception if the woman has given birth within the last six months and has not resumed her menstrual cycle. However, in 43 of the countries studied, fewer than half of the women who cited breast-feeding as their reason for nonuse met these conditions. doclink

Getting Family Planning and Population Back on Track

May 13, 2014   By: Malcolm Potts

Can the world's people live within ecologically sustainable limits? Can they resolve the growing inequities between the least developed countries and the more developed countries? Can they create a more stable, less violent world?

Family planning (FP) is only one factor in addressing these questions, yet it is a prerequisite for any solution to the world's most complex problems. Women want FP assistance; there is no need to force it on them. The Family Planning 2020 (FP2020) partnership wants to bring another 120 million women access to voluntary FP within the next six years. After a generation of declining interest, this partnership is an important step toward a more balanced and evidence-based approach to population and FP.

Following the 1994 United Nations (UN) International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo, family planning budgets fell and the urgent need for new family planning initiatives, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, was set aside. Today, there are approximately 424 million African children aged 14 or under. In 2050, Africa could have 770 million children, allowing a great deal of demographic momentum to build up. It is questionable whether some economies in sub-Saharan Africa will be able to benefit from the demographic dividend in the way that much of Asia did. These were costly mistakes that will help shape the remainder of the 21st century.

Family planning is vital to reaching other goals for several reasons: First, FP has reduced maternal deaths 40% over the last 20 years. Second, FP reduces infant mortality. A child conceived within six months of a previous birth is 60% more likely to die than a child conceived two years after a previous birth. Third, by making the per-child cost of child services more affordable to government, FP advances educational, health care and economic development, so it pays for itself in reducing these costs. Fourth, FP eliminates the motive for an estimated 47,000 deaths from unsafe abortions each year -- which shows that millions of women who want fewer children lack realistic access to modern contraception. Fifth, by aiding economic development, slowing birth rates through FP can preempt conflict and instability.

When people suggest giving incentives, e.g., transistor radios or, worse, adding hormones to the drinking water or compulsory sterilization, the author considers such ideas not just unnecessary, but counterproductive. Making FP voluntary invites less resistance. We can gain more acceptance for slowing population growth when we promote human rights.

Those working to raise status of women should join with those concerned about the capacity of the biosphere to sustain human activity. The investments and policies needed for both groups are identical: To reverse the trend in population growth, we must advance girls' education and meet the unmet need for FP. Without reducing birthrates, we may find it impossible to achieve a biologically sustainable economy. For the individual, the family, society, and our fragile planet, it is imperative to get voluntary FP and a commitment to slowing rapid population growth back on the same track. doclink

Florida Governor Signs Bill Further Restricting Later Abortions

June 16, 2014, RH Reality Check and MoveOn.org   By: Teddy Wilson

Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill into law Friday that places additional restrictions on abortions performed in the third trimester, and bans abortions at any point in a pregnancy if a doctor determines the fetus could survive outside the pregnant person's body.

HB 1047 passed the state legislature mostly along party lines.

Jessica González-Rojas, executive director of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH), said the law places unnecessary restrictions on women's access to later abortion care, without taking into consideration the woman's unique and complex circumstances. doclink

House GOP Again Targets Birth Control

June 19, 2014, Population Connection   By: Brian Dixon

The House bill would slash funding for family planning programs in the developing world where there are already a quarter billion women who want to prevent or delay pregnancy but have no access to affordable, appropriate birth control. Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX), who chairs the subcommittee that wrote the bill and who calls herself a supporter of family planning, is proposing a 25% cut in overall funding that would help women in the poorest countries take control of their own lives and futures.

The bill would also ban any aid to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) despite its work to expand access to birth control, to prevent and treat obstetric fistula, to eliminate female genital mutilation, to ensure access to basic reproductive health care to women in emergency situations, to end the practice of child marriage, and to eliminate coercive practices in China.

Granger's bill also calls for a reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule, one of the most misguided policies ever created. It bans family planning aid to foreign health care agencies that use other, private funding to provide legal abortion, or to offer counselling or referrals on legal abortion, or that publicly support a policy of legal abortion within their own countries. It effectively disqualifies the most effective, experienced, and respected family planning providers in the developing world from receiving U.S. aid.

The same bill would block U.S. funding to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

We'll be working hard to make sure that this bill never becomes law. Please join us in that fight. Click on the link in the headline to send a Thank You note to Senator Jeanne Shaheen for sponsoring a bill to permanently repeal the Global Gag Rule. doclink

High Water Stress Jeopardizes One-Third of World's Corn Crop

June 11, 2014, World Resources Institute - WRI   By: Francis Gassert and Andrew Maddocks

The $65 billion U.S. corn industry faces a range of water-related risks that could disrupt production of this key crop: unchecked groundwater withdrawals, nutrient pollution, shifting precipitation patterns from climate change, and increasing demand from cities and industries.

Corn is one of the largest sources of food calories, feeds the world's livestock, and is used extensively for ethanol production. The world produces more corn than any other crop, making it is essential for economies and livelihoods.

WRI's analysis of corn production and water stress shows that China, Mexico, and India have the largest portions of their corn production coming from highly water-stressed areas. In highly water-stressed areas, more than 40% of renewable water supply is withdrawn for human use, leaving little buffer for inevitable dry years. Stress in the United States and China in particular will have an outsized impact on global corn markets.

Major South American producers, on the other hand, are not currently as limited by water supply. Only 1% of Brazil's corn crop and 7% of Argentina's face high water stress.

WRI also recommends that water stakeholders engage in participatory watershed development, practice conservation agriculture, reduce food waste, reduce corn demand for biofuels, and invest in increased agricultural productivity. By taking these steps, actors across the world can help realize a more food-secure future. doclink

Eugenics and Overpopulation

July 14, 2014, WOA website

Reponse to the video titled Interview 917 - Truth Over Comfort: The Truth About American Eugenics. Click on the link in the headline to see it.

The video: James Corbett joins Carlos Morales on the Truth Over Comfort podcast to discuss the history and development of eugenics. From its ideological origins in the 19th century British gentry to its adoption and application in the United States in the sterilization laws of the 20th century, we discuss the past, present and future of the eugenics-obsessed elite.

WOA!!s response: You don't have to go into the past to find involuntary sterilization. Christian missionaries do it to hilltribe women in Thailand. A doctor did it to indigenous women in Peru a couple of years ago. Women in California prisons were involuntary sterilized over the last several years by one doctor.

Modern day population-concerned activists do not believe in involuntary family planning. Times have changed. They realize that voluntary is the best and only way to achieve a sustainable population. Because they believe that women should have children if they want them, they campaign mostly for contraception that is temporary, rather than for sterilization which is permanent, or reversible sterilization. Fifty percent of pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended. The average woman spends 30 years of her life trying not to get pregnant. Today's population concerned understand that the most effective effort towards reducing population growth lies with concentrating on unintended pregnancies.

The benefits of family planning (usually a form of contraception) far outweigh some of the abuses (usually involving sterilization) that occur. 98% of American women have used contraception. Families, their communities, and the country benefit economically from the ability to control their own family size. In fact, which is worse: involuntary sterilization, or forcing women to have children when they do not want them?

The connection between eugenics and family planning made in this video is extremely tenuous. One might as well use a similar argue to try to prove that, because eugenicists advocate breathing clean air, that breathing clean air is bad.

Eugenics is practiced by many American women today when they have an amniocentesis to check for birth defects. If they don't want to raise a severely handicapped child, they have an abortion. Thomas Edison practiced eugenics when he warned deaf parents not to have children. Edison himself was deaf.

You cannot apply a narrow definition of eugenics (i.e. Hitler's definition) to people who fall under a broader meaning of the term.

Abortion? What is wrong with abortion? One third of pregnancies are ended in abortion. Black women have more abortions because they don't have access to effective methods to contraception. They are the ones seeking abortion. No one is forcing them. In Cuba and some East European countries, abortion is the number one form of family planning.

As for blacks, was Martin Luther King Jr. stupid when he made the following speech in acceptance of the Margaret Sanger award from Planned Parenthood?

"There is no human circumstance more tragic than the persisting existence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily available. Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is possible, practical and necessary.

"Unlike plagues of the dark ages or contemporary diseases we do not yet understand, the modern plague of overpopulation is soluble by means we have discovered and with resources we possess.

"What is lacking is not sufficient knowledge of the solution but universal consciousness of the gravity of the problem and education of the billions who are its victims."

Lastly, little or nothing is said in this video -- or by like-minded people who try to connect family planning with eugenics - - about resource depletion. Apparently they are so blinded by the ugly spectre of supposed eugenics and racism, that they reject the claims of resource depletion based on the fallacy that -- "if it is racist, then nothing they say can be right." But to ignore resource depletion is the most unjust act of all. Without sufficient liquid fuel to grow food, or without adequate per-capita water, or without sufficient per capita arable land, how will we feed expanding populations? doclink

Scientists Vindicate 'Limits to Growth' - Urge Investment in 'Circular Economy'

Early warning of civilisational collapse by early to mid 21st century startlingly prescient - but opportunity for transition open
June 04 , 2014, Mail and Guardian   By: Nafeez Ahmed

A new landmark scientific report by the Club of Rome, drawing on the work of the world's leading mineral experts, forecasts that industrial civilization's extraction of critical minerals and fossil fuel resources is reaching the limits of economic feasibility, and could lead to a collapse of key infrastructures unless new ways to manage resources are implemented.

Its latest report conducts a comprehensive overview of the history and evolution of mining, then applies an EROEI (Energy Returned Over Energy Invested) analysis to mineral extraction, and argues that the increasing costs of extraction due to pollution, waste, and depletion of low-cost sources will eventually make the present structure of industrial civilization unsustainable.

It tells how fracking can rise production "rapidly to a peak, but it then declines rapidly, too, often by 80% to 95% over the first three years." ... "Several thousand wells" are needed for a single shale play to provide "a return on investment."

The average EROEI to run "industrial society as we know it" is about 8 to 10. Shale oil and gas, tar sands, and coal seam gas are all "at, or below, that level if their full costs are accounted for… Thus fracking, in energy terms, will not provide a source on which to develop sustainable global society."

World coal production will peak by 2050 at the latest, and could peak as early as 2020. US coal production has already peaked, and future production will be determined largely by China. But rising domestic demand from the latter, and from India, could generate higher prices and shortages in the near future: "Therefore, there is definitely no scope for substituting for oil and gas with coal."

Current uranium production from mines is already insufficient to fuel existing nuclear reactors, a gap being filled by recovery of uranium military stockpiles and old nuclear warheads. While the production gap could be closed at current levels of demand, a worldwide expansion of nuclear power would be unsustainable due to "gigantic investments" needed.

Nickel and zinc, which are used to combat iron and steel corrosion and for electricity storage in batteries, also could face production peaks in just "a few decades" - though metals specialist Philippe Bihoux claimes nickel might be extended some 80 years.

Phosphorous is a mineral which is critical to fertilize soil and sustain agriculture. While phosphorous reserves are not running out, physical, energy and economic factors mean only a small percentage of it can be mined. Crop yield on 40% of the world's arable land is already limited by economical phosphorus availability.

"Prices have gone up by a factor 3-5 and have remained at this level for the past 5-6 years. They are not going to go down again, because they are caused by irreversible increases in production costs. These prices are already causing the decline of the less efficient economies (Italy, Greece, Spain, etc.). We are not at the inversion point yet, but close - less than a decade?" doclink

A Darker View of the Age of Us - the Anthropocene

June 18, 2014, New York Times   By: Andrew C. Revkin

According to those best placed to make projections, a world 4 degrees C. warmer would be a very different kind of planet, one unsympathetic to most forms of life, including human life. Apart from climatic change, other manifestations of human impact in the Anthropocene, from interference in the nitrogen cycle to plastics in the oceans, only add to the grim outlook.

Psychologist Shelley Taylor claims humans can benefit from "benign fictions", unrealistic stories about the world that lead us to predict what we would prefer to see, rather than what is objectively most likely to happen. Yet these healthy illusions that can spur us on against the odds can become dangerous delusions when they continue to be held despite evidence from the outside world telling us we must change course.

Personally, when I think about those toiling, vulnerable masses who are going to suffer the worst consequences of a warming world, I find it offensive to hear a comfortable, white American say, "We are going to do OK."

Eco-pragmatists say that “Humans have solved these sorts of problems before" and “Technology will always provide a solution. It is not surprising that they attract support from conservatives who have doggedly resisted all measures to cut greenhouse gas emissions, defended the interests of fossil fuel corporations, and in some cases worked hard to trash climate science. These are the same people now drawn to geoengineering, especially solar radiation management, as a substitute for reducing emissions.

Things are bad, and if we carry on as we are things will be very bad. It is the possibility of preventing bad turning into very bad that motivates many of us to work harder than ever. But pretending that bad can be turned into good with a large dose of positive thinking is, even more so than denying things are bad, a sure-fire way of ending up in a situation that is very bad indeed.

In the end, grasping at delusions like “the good Anthropocene" is a failure of courage, courage to face the facts. The power of positive thinking can't turn malignant tumors into benign growths, and it can't turn planetary overreach into endless lifestyle improvements. doclink

Karen Gaia says, the same case can be made for the impacts on our lives from resource depletion.

How Has Birth Control Developed? a Brief History of the Pill, by the Decade

May 09, 2014, Bustle   By: Camille Bautista

It has been 54 years since the Food and Drug Administration first approved the birth control pill, forever changing the lives of women across America. 80% of American women take the Pill. Though the Pill has maintained its controversial status over the decades, it has also established itself as a symbol of women's freedom and rights.

In 1960, the FDA approved the new oral contraceptive Enovid, the first drug given to a healthy person for long-term use, launching a cultural shift in family structure and attitudes toward sexual health. A year after the Pill was approved, 400,000 women in the United States were taking it — a number which increased to 1.2 million by 1962.

By 1965, the Supreme Court, in the Griswold decision, struck down the legislation mandating that "any person who uses any drug, medicinal article or instrument for the purposes of preventing conception shall be fined not less than forty dollars or imprisoned not less than sixty days." The Court found that the law violated the "right to marital privacy" and couples were allowed access to birth control, including the Pill.

In the 1971 Eisenstadt v. Baird case the Supreme Court struck down a state ruling, allowing unmarried citizens to have all the protected sex they wanted.

While 6.5 million American women were on hormonal birth control by 1965, studies started to reveal medical concerns with the Pill. Word of serious side effects started to spread, including blood clots, heart attack risk, and weight gain. As a result, birth control pill sales dropped 24% in the late 70s. Some Black women were urged not to take the Pill after powerful African-American leaders criticized the contraceptive as contributing to "black genocide."

Then in 1968, Mircette became one of the first oral contraceptives to offer a low estrogen dose coupled with progestrin.

In 2000 a ruling from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission required employers to provide contraceptive coverage as part of their health plans. The sentiment would reemerge in 2012 with President Obama's similar mandate at no cost.

While it's been a long and controversial road for the Pill, one thing is clear: birth control is here to stay. doclink

GOP Lawmaker's Bill Would Outlaw Abortion Before Some Women Know They're Pregnant

June 13, 2014, Huffington Post   By: By Kate Abbey-lambertz

Introduced in the state House this week by Rep. Thomas Hooker (R-Byron Center) and more than a dozen cosponsors, HB 5643, 5644 and 5645 would require women seeking abortions to get ultrasounds and offer them the choice to hear evidence of their fetus' heartbeat, prohibit doctors from performing abortions after a fetal heartbeat has been found, and make violating that law a felony.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, a heartbeat can be detected by vaginal ultrasound as soon as 6 weeks into pregnancy -- before some women know they are pregnant. That means that a woman could be banned from having an abortion before she knows she is pregnant and elects to have one.

In 2012, lawmakers passed legislation that requires screening for coercions and tighter regulations for abortion clinics. Last year, 22 states enacted 70 anti-abortion measures and the majority of women now live in states -- including Michigan -- that are hostile to abortion rights, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit organization that tracks abortion policy and advocates for sexual and reproductive health. "Abortion opponents have a long-term strategy to restrict abortion access in the states, which is reshaping the abortion policy landscape state by state," Guttmacher state issues manager Elizabeth Nash said in a statement. "There has been a widespread assault on abortion rights and access at the state level." doclink

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