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

Population & Sustainability News Digest

July 02, 2015

Population Connection Twitter Chat - July 8th 1:00-2:00pm EST

To view the chat, you must have an account on Twitter. You can create an account by clicking here https://twitter.com/

Once you are logged into your account, use the search bar to search for the hashtag WorldPop between 1-2pm EST on July 8, 2015. Then, you can join the conversation by including "#WorldPop" in a tweet. You can also retweet and favorite tweets from @popconnect and other participants as much as you would like!

Get started today by logging into Twitter and following the account @popconnect. doclink

Karen Gaia says: WOA! also has a twitter account; follow WOA @WoaPop

Uganda on Track to Have World's Highest Population Growth

June 23, 2015

A report produced by the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), a D.C.-based research and advocacy group and summarized by Eye on Earth predicts that during the next 35 years, Uganda is likely to have the world's second fastest population growth. With a growth rate of 3.6% per year, the French island nation of Mayotte, located in Africa's Comoros chain, has the highest annual rate. Growing at 3.1%, Uganda's current 27.7 million people will expand nearly five-fold to 130 million by 2050. According to PRB demographer Carl Haub, "No one would consider such a rate of growth to be sustainable."

Haub credits this extraordinary population growth mostly to8 Uganda's disregard for family planning. The PRB study indicates that only 20% of married women between the ages of 15 and 49 have access to contraception. Women have an average of 6.9 children, compared with a global average of 2.7 and an African average of 5.1. President Yoweri Museveni called the nation's population explosion a "great resource." But Haub believes run-away growth will exacerbate the nation's current problems with poverty and instability. doclink

Senate Takes Aim at Family Planning, Teen Pregnancy Prevention

June 25, 2015   By: Laura Bassett

A week after the House of Representatives proposed eliminating the entire Title X federal family planning program and Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative, the Senate decided instead to just cut funding for the programs. Although Federal law prohibits direct funding for any abortion services, conservatives oppose Title X because some of its funds go to clinics that also perform abortions. Lila Rose, president of the anti-abortion group Live Action, said. "The proposed budget that cuts Title X funding is a welcome reform to those who do not want their tax dollars going toward killing pre-born children and underwriting the abortion industry." (

The Title X program subsidized 4,100 health clinics nationwide and provided no- or low-cost family planning services to individuals who earn less than about $25,000 a year, including HIV testing and sexually transmitted disease screenings and treatment to about 4.6 million low-income patients nation-wide. Since 2011, when House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) threatened to shut down the federal government to force more cuts, House Republicans have worked to kill funding for these programs. Now that Republicans control the Senate, supporters feared that both chambers would try to kill Title X. But a Senate appropriations subcommittee bill instead cut $28.7 million from the family planning program (to about $258 million) a year and $81 million (80%) from the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. While House Republicans have not killed Title X outright, they have cut services to about 700,000 patients, according to the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association.

When the House and Senate pass their respective budget bills, they will have to decide in conference how to reconcile their differences on Title X. Obama, a strong supporter of the family planning program, would likely veto any bill that completely axed the program. doclink

Climate News is Getting Hot!

Click on a red arrow to summarize an article (You may have to register with WOA! first). I give "Global Demographic Trends and Future Carbon Emissions" the highest priority.


  • UC Davis Study Finds Dry Weather Threatening California Wildflowers doclink

    Dry, hot weather has reduced the diversity of California's beloved native wildflowers, perhaps irrevocably, according to a new study from University of California, Davis researchers. California is home to thousands of native wildflower species, which have been threatened for decades as non-native species, development and agriculture have encroached on their habitat. The drought and climate change pose new challenges. The period between Decemb... June 22, 2015, Sacramento Bee   By: Phillip Reese


  • Top Doctors' Prescription for Feverish Planet: Cut Out Coal doclink

    Some top international doctors and public health experts have issued an urgent prescription for a feverish planet Earth: Get off coal as soon as possible. Substituting cleaner energy worldwide for coal will reduce air pollution and give Earth a better chance at avoiding dangerous climate change, recommended a global health commission organized by the prestigious British medical journal Lancet. The panel said hundreds of thousands of lives each ye... June 22, 2015, HTC News   By: Seth Borenstein


  • The West Coast's Massive Algal Bloom Could Be the Toxic Wave of the Future doclink

    Toxic algae are growing along the West Coast in greater quantities than ever, wreaking havoc on marine life and forcing the closure of Washington's $20 million Dungeness crab fishery, along with mussel, clam, sardine, and anchovy fisheries in Oregon and California. The massive algae bloom has been detected as far south as Santa Barbara, California, and as far north as Alaska, and it could continue to limit the seafood supply. ADVERTISEMENT O... June 19, 2015, Take Part   By: Taylor Hill


  • How Climate Change Deniers Got it Right — but Very Wrong doclink

    It turns out the climate change deniers were right: There isn't 97% agreement among climate scientists. The real figure? It's not lower, but actually higher. The scientific "consensus" on climate change has gotten stronger, surging past the famous — and controversial — figure of 97% to more than 99.9%, according to a new study reviewed by msnbc. James L. Powell, director of the National Physical Sciences Consortium, reviewed more t... June 16, 2015, MSNBC.com   By: Tony Dokoupil


  • Global Demographic Trends and Future Carbon Emissions doclink

    Substantial changes in population size, age structure, and urbanization are expected in many parts of the world this century. Although such changes can affect energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, emissions scenario analyses have either left them out or treated them in a fragmentary or overly simplified manner. We carry out a comprehensive assessment of the implications of demographic change for global emissions of carbon dioxide. Using an ene... June 17, 2015   By: Brian C. O'neilla,1,2, Michael Daltonb, Regina Fuchsc, Leiwen Jianga, Shonali Pachauric, and Katarina Zigova


  • High Carbon Levels Can Make it Harder for Plants to Grow doclink

    In contrast to a popular conservative argument, a new study has found that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide isn't necessarily a boon to plant growth — instead, it causes plants to have a more difficult time absorbing nitrogen, a nutrient critical to plant growth and health. Published in the journal Global Change Biology, the study found that as carbon dioxide levels in the air increase, the concentration of nitrogen in plants decreases, t... June 13, 2015, Think Progress   By: Natasha Geiling


  • 6 Climate Triggers That Could Completely Change Our World doclink

    One of the biggest fears about climate change is that it may be triggering events that would dramatically alter Earth as we know it. Known to scientists as "tipping events," they could contribute to the mass extinction of species, dramatic sea level rise, extensive droughts and the transformation of forests into vast grasslands — among other upheavals our stressed world can ill afford. Here are the top six climate events scientists worry abou... June 09, 2015, MSN News   By: Ilissa Ocko


  • Texas & Alaska Floods: El Nino & Hot Oceans Start a Year of Hellish Weather. it Will Get Worse. doclink

    Global CO2 levels have rapidly risen above 400ppm causing a large imbalance between incoming and outgoing radiation levels. Almost all of the difference between incoming and outgoing amounts of energy has gone into heating the oceans. The warm subtropical waters of the global oceans expanded, the Indian ocean warmed and a large, deep pool of hot water grew around the Philippines. But then three supertyphoons rocked the Pacific in late fall 2013. ... May 27, 2015, Daily Kos   By: Fish Out of Water

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Karen Gaia says: Meeting the unmet need for family planning can achieve 29% of our carbon reduction goal

Top 10 Greenhouse Gas Emitters: Find Out Which Countries Are Most Responsible for Climate Change

June 24, 2015, EcoWatch   By: Johannes Friedrich, Mengpin Ge and Thomas Damassa / World Resources Institute |

In the past couple of weeks, leaders of the G7 agreed to a decarbonization of the global economy over the course of this century, Pope Francis released his long-awaited encyclical on climate change, and Morocco and Ethiopia joined the U.S., European Union and other countries in putting forward its plans for post-2020 climate action. More countries are expected to release their own post-2020 climate commitments in the coming months, and all of these actions set the stage for a new international climate agreement to be finalized at the COP 21 climate summit in Paris in December 2015.

The top 10 emitters contribute 72% of global greenhouse gas emissions (excluding land use change and forestry). On the other hand, the lowest 100 emitters contribute less than 3%. While universal climate action is necessary, significant mitigation actions are needed by the largest emitters, taking into account that they have different capacities to do so. doclink

Amazon Deforestation Takes a Turn for the Worse

A new report reveals an uptick in the destruction of Brazil’s rainforests
May 19, 2015, Scientific American   By: Richard Schiffman

In Brazil, the problem of deforestation had plummeted because of environmental regulations and a ban on the sale of soyeans gown on rainforest cleared land. Between 1990 and 2010 clearing of tropical forests had increased 62% worldwide, but in Brazil, such destruction plummeted from 2004 to 2011

But after 2011, deforestation has come back, according to a satellite analysis of the Amazon.

Most of the increase is due to cattle grazing land spurred on by higher prices for beef. The new president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, has called for new hydroelectric dams and a new highway which would cut through the heart of the Amazon.

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research has shown that atmospheric moisture has migrated to the south. Scientists say that the change is a possible factor in a severe drought that has necessitated rationing of water in Brazil's largest metropolis, São Paulo.

Phillip Fearnside, a biologist at Brazil's Amazon research institute INPA says that, if clearing of the Amazon continues, says , "you will end up with a permanent drought, not just a one-year thing." doclink

A Seattle High School is Taking Birth Control Access to the Next Level

May 27 , 2015, Grist   By: Eve Andrews

Chief Sealth International is a Seattle public school is in a diverse neighborhood on the southwest end of the Seattle. In the school-based health center students can get treatment for sore throats bandages for sprained ankles, and IUDs, as well as other forms of birth control .

The American College of Obstretricians and Gynecologists formally recommended LARC's -- Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives -- as the best ways for teen girls to avoid unwanted pregnancies. And Seattle's public health department decided these should be available in school based medical clinics.

LARC's are the most costly of birth control. These are made possible by a state medicaid program to be available to minors.

In-school LARC placement was made possible in part by Take Charge, a Washington State Medicaid program that's specifically targeted toward minors seeking contraceptive services. Because of Take Charge, girls under 19 who don't want to use their parents' private insurance to get birth control have a way to get contraception in school at no cost.

The clinic as a very supportive, confidential environment where students can come in on their own terms and get counseling for birth control methods based on efficacy and what makes sense for their own bodies.

One of the greatest benefits of the clinic is the degree to which it's opened up the conversation around birth control in the school. Girls will openly trade stories about what kind of contraception they're using. doclink

Ocean Acidification, Global Warming's ‘Evil Twin'

May 29 , 2015, Earthzine   By: Osha Gray Davidson

When people hear "climate change," they think of the gases surrounding our planet. But the surface of the ocean and the atmosphere interact to form a single system. We now produce about 10 billion tons of CO2 per year, about 40% of which stays in the air, with the rest split about equally between land and the ocean.

Dr. Richard Feely -- senior scientist at NOAA's (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle -- has made more than 50 voyages in three years to chart how humans are altering the ocean's chemistry. He calls ocean acidification (OA) global warming's Evil Twin. The term first turned up in scientific literature in 2001. It became more widespread in 2003 when a paper in the journal Nature ran with this stark prediction: "The coming centuries may see more acidification than the past 300 million years."

But our understanding of OA and its effects on sea life is still rudimentary. In a 2004 cover article for Science, Feely and his co-authors for the first time presented an overview of OA's impact. Feely says we are lowering the ocean's pH (increasing it acidity) about 100 times faster than at any time in the last 800,000 years. Since humans first began burning fossil fuels on a large scale, the ocean has increased its acidity by 30% and the rate of increase is accelerating. "If we continue on the same trajectory," he cautions, by 2100 we will see a 100-to-150% increase in ocean acidity.

Some species, like sea grasses, could benefit from the change. But the situation is very different for corals, snails, clams and oysters. These organisms produce a calcium carbonate shell. Acidity makes it harder for marine creatures like oysters to build and maintain their shells, a change that threatened to wipe out the oyster industry in the Pacific Northwest. This was first noticed in 2006, when oyster larvae in hatcheries had difficulty producing shells and often died within their first two days of life.

By 2009, the problem became a crisis for the Washington's shellfish industry, with sales of $100 million per year. After U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Washington, obtained $500,000 to find out what was killing the larvae, researchers traced the cause to high acidity and fixed the problem by adding sodium carbonate to the water. Feely called this a "stopgap measure" because enclosed hatcheries can control water chemistry. This solution does nothing to help the shellfish farmers who work in the wild.

Coral reefs won't stand a chance. The combined effects of warming and acidity are worse than either one on its own. Researchers have found that acidity makes corals more prone to rapid bleaching, a potentially fatal condition in which the coral polyps expel their food-producing symbiont. Acidity also appears to affect the neurotransmitters of some fish, causing changes in behavior responses that make them more vulnerable to predators.

OA also impairs reproductive success in other marine creatures, and it interferes with respiration in squids. In their first year of life, fish such as salmon rely on a diet that includes pteropods, tiny marine snails, to survive. Pteropods build calcium carbonate shells so delicate that they're transparent and are tremendously sensitive to acids. Their shells are already dissolving. “That," says Feely, “doesn't bode well for the entire food chain in the ocean."

Ocean chemistry, including pH level, varies depending on several factors including water temperature and salinity. For example, cold water more readily absorbs CO2, so pteropods and other creatures at high latitudes are affected sooner than similar organisms in warmer waters. The Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON) is a recent internationally coordinated effort to monitor levels of carbon in the ocean around the world.

Scientists have been coordinating ocean observations since the U.N. Intergovernmental Conference on Oceanographic Research, held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1960. Roger Revelle, then-director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, stressed the need for such an international effort. More than two decades before anthropogenic climate change entered public discourse, Revelle called for international cooperation and coordination in taking the observations and recording the results.

Revelle wanted to learn whether the absorbed CO2 remain in the surface layers or spread throughout the debths. By 2010, researchers like Feely were recording 1 million measurements a year. Today, participants use sensors on ocean buoys, dedicated research vessels, and ships to collect daily readings from several countries.

Feely directs the U.S. West Coast monitoring system for NOAA, working with states and eight federal agencies while also working to expand monitoring efforts internationally. But many regions still lack the necessary infrastructure to monitor acidity. “That's the next big push," says Feely. And the stakes, Feely emphasizes, couldn't be higher. “One in seven people on the planet depend on seafood for protein." doclink

Speaker at Vatican Climate Change Rollout Said Earth Was Overpopulated at 6 Billion

June 14 , 2015, Newsmax

Hans Schellnhuber, a climate scientist who spoke when Pope Francis unveiled his climate change encyclical on June 18, once said the world is overpopulated by 6 billion people.

Schellnhuber is the Founding Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Chairman of the German Advisory Council on Global Change. He once called for an Earth Constitution that would transcend the U.N. Charter and a "Global Council … elected by all the people on Earth" and a "Planetary Court … with respect to violations of the Earth Constitution."

At the 2009 Copenhagen climate conference, Schellnhuber said: "In a very cynical way, it's a triumph for science because at last we have stabilized something - namely the estimates for the carrying capacity of the planet, namely below 1 billion people." He also said that if greenhouse gas buildup caused a rise of 9° F of global temperatures, six billion people would die and much life on earth would be threatened.

Skeptics of man-made climate change have critical concern about the encyclical, in part due to Schellnhuber's role. But many on the left hoped Pope Francis' encyclical would link the global warming fight to religious obligation, Breitbart.com notes. With Schellnhuber, one of the world's most aggressive climate change scientists, the left may be getting what it hopes for. doclink

Art says: Other population writers (e.g., Ehrlich and Weisman) have estimated the Earth's sustainable carrying capacity in the range of 2-3 billion people.

Affordability is Key to Access to Contraception

June 14 , 2015, Los Angeles Times

Employers who provide prescription drug coverage were not compelled to cover prescription birth control before 2000. Since then the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enacted a mandate requiring insurers to cover birth control with no co-pay.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said in 2012 that oral contraceptives are safe enough to be available over the counter because they carry less medical risks than pregnancy and have fewer side effects than many medicines already available over the counter at grocery stores. New laws already enacted in a few states allow women to buy some oral contraceptives without a prescription. That would seem to improve access except where women must buy them without insurance.

Senate Bill 1438, introduced by U.S. Sens. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) would incentivize drug companies to apply for FDA permission to make their prescription contraceptives available over the counter by giving the drugs priority review and waiving the fee to apply. But the bill would also repeal the ACA's ban on using a flexible spending account for non-prescription medications. The problem is that ACA only requires insurers to cover prescription drugs, not over-the-counter medications. After having to pay nothing for contraceptives under ACA, many -- if not all -- women would have to pay out of pocket. If the FDA approves making oral contraceptives available over the counter, Congress should continue to require insurers to cover its cost.

Opponents of the bill, including the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, have pointed out that affordability is necessary to make birth control truly accessible. Oral contraceptives can cost the uninsured as much as $600 a year. Furthermore, the bill would bar anyone younger than 18 from purchasing the pills over the counter (although they could still get them with a doctor's prescription).

To resolve such problems, Senate Bill 1532, introduced by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) calls for complete insurance coverage of any oral contraceptive after it goes from prescription to over the counter, and it sets no age requirement for purchase. The Senate should enact this bill. If the FDA approves making oral contraceptives available over the counter, Congress should continue to require insurers to cover the cost. doclink

A Third of Global Groundwater Basins Are Overstressed

June 16, 2015, New York Times

Two studies published by Water Resources Research and the Journal of the American Geophysical Union indicate that population growth and climate change have caused over-pumping of vital aquifers. People are overdrawing water from some of the world's largest groundwater basins that serve more than 60 million people.

Measurements taken by NASA's twin Grace satellites indicate that the most stressed groundwater basins are found in the driest regions. The Arabian Aquifer System in the Middle East is considered the world's most stressed aquifer followed by the Indus Basin aquifer of northwestern India and Pakistan. The farm-rich Central Valley in California is also highly stressed. Researchers from the University of California, Irvine say it's unclear how much water remains in these aquifers. doclink

It's Not Just Hobby Lobby: These 71 Companies Don't Want to Cover Your Birth Control Either

April 02, 2014, Mother Jones

When the Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby chain (with 22,000 employees) went to the Supreme Court over the ACA's (Affordable Care Act) mandate requiring insurance policies to cover birth control without a copay, it was not the only company to sue.

According to the National Women's Law Center (NWLC), since 2012 seventy-one other for-profit companies have challenged the mandate. Most of these cases are still pending. NWLC's Gretchen Borchelt says that the outcomes of many of these cases may hinge on the pro-Hobby Lobby verdict. The ruling could have a far-reaching impact, potentially dismantling corporate laws that have long shielded CEOs and board members from lawsuits or paving the way for companies to claim religious exemptions from other federal regulations.

Some of the suing companies had already covered birth control under their insurance plans, but they oppose the ACA's drug Plan B, which they say supports abortions. The Thomas More Law Center, a law firm "dedicated to the defense and promotion of the religious freedom of Christians," has filed 11 cases on behalf of 33 plaintiffs. The center asserts in an amicus brief supporting Hobby Lobby that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects employers fighting the mandate "from being 'forced,' under threat of ruinous government fines, to fund products and services that violate their sincerely held religious beliefs." (The term "forced" overlooks the fact that employers can provide no employee health insurance if they pay a tax that helps to subsidize employee coverage obtained through the exchanges or Medicaid.)

On a list of other cases, NWLC's Borchelt was surprised to see the Michigan-based Eden (organic) Foods listed because of its outstanding record of social and environmental responsibility. The company eventually lost its case at the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey wrote in her opinion that the owner's "deeply held religious beliefs more resembled a laissez-faire, anti-government screed." Reporter Irin Carmon interviewed CEO Michael Potter last April. Calling the mandate government over-reach, he said, "This lawsuit does not block, or intend to block, anyone's access to health care or reproductive management. This lawsuit is about protecting religious freedom and stopping the government from forcing citizens to violate their conscience. Borchelt sees it differently. "These companies are not hiring based on the religious beliefs of the workers. Imagine … applying for a warehouse position at an organic food company. Why would you ever think, 'Oh, I need to research this owner's religious beliefs to know whether or not I'm going to get access to birth control insurance'?"

The Michigan company Trijicon makes optics equipment for weapons and holds at least $8.9 million in active military contracts. In its August 2013 lawsuit, Trijicon claimed that the company "and its shareholders have a deeply held religious belief that life begins at conception/fertilization." The company's website states: "We believe that America is great when its people are good. This goodness has been based on biblical standards throughout our history and we will strive to follow those morals." The outcome of Hobby Lobby could mean no more birth control coverage for the company's 212 insured employees.

Two Catholic Gilardi brothers, Philip and Frank Jr., who hold controlling interests in the Ohio-based produce processor Freshway Foods and produce distributor Freshway Logistics, say "they conduct their businesses in a manner that does not violate their sincerely-held religious beliefs or moral values, and they wish to continue to do so." In 2011 a former Freshway employee first complained, then later sued the company for sexual harassment. She was suspended then fired after injuring herself at work. Freshway denied the sexual-assault allegations but settled the case with an undisclosed payout. doclink

Abortions Declining in Nearly All States

June 07, 2015, Washington Post   By: David Crary

Whether in states where abortions are difficult to get, or in states where abortion rights are protected, the number of abortions are down since 2010.

Charmaine Yoest, president of Americans United for Life suggested that the broad decrease in abortions reflected a change in attitudes among pregnant women. "There's an entire generation of women who saw a sonogram as their first baby picture," she said. "There's an increased awareness of the humanity of the baby before it is born."

The teen pregnancy rate in 2010 reached its lowest level in decades. The teen birth rate has also continued to drop.

A total of 267 abortion restrictions have been enacted in 31 states since 2011. Among them are measures that ban most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, impose hospital-like physical standards on abortion clinics, and require doctors who perform abortions at clinics to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, according to Elizabeth Nash of the Guttmacher Institute.

Abortions increased in only two states: Louisiana by 12% and Michigan by 18.5%. These two states have passed laws intended to restrict abortion. In both states, the increases were due in part to women coming from other states where new restrictions and clinic closures have sharply limited abortion access. Many Ohio women were going to Michigan and many Texas women to Louisiana.

A Michigan Planned Parenthood representative argued that one factor in Michigan's increase was inadequate public funding for family planning.

Hawaii saw the biggest percentage decrease - 30% - in abortion. A representative from Planned Parenthood in Hawaii, said more women there were getting access to health insurance and affordable contraception. She also credited the state's policies on sex education in public schools, which includes information to help teens avoid unplanned pregnancies.

Judy Tabar, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Southern New England, said the declines in Connecticut and Rhode Island were due in part to expanded access to long-lasting contraception methods that are now fully covered by health insurers under the federal Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expansion and other initiatives.

Planned Parenthood says its nationwide health centers report a 91% increase since 2009 in the use of IUDs and contraceptive implants.

"Better access to birth control and sex education are the biggest factors in reducing unintended pregnancies," said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. "More restrictive abortion laws do not reduce the need for abortions."

Advocates for abortion rights said the figures demonstrate that restrictive laws are not needed to reduce the number of abortions significantly. That can be achieved, they said, by helping more women obtain affordable, effective contraception, including long-lasting options such as IUDs and hormonal implants. doclink

Using Physics and Estimation to Assess Energy, Growth, Options

July 04 , 2011, Do The Math blog   By: Tom Murphy

The US has increased its use of energy at a rate of 2.9% per year since 1650. Continuation of this energy growth rate in any form of technology will lead to an unbearable heating of our planet in just a few hundred years.

GWP (gross world product) grew at a rate consistent with that of energy growth -- 2.9% -- until 1950, after which the economy has outpaced the energy growth rate at 5%. The increase is attributed to non-manufacturing activity: finance, real estate, innovation, and other aspects of the "service" economy.

This brings up the question: Will this type of economic growth last? From 1950 to the present is too short a period to be an indicator of the future.

Does the impossibility of indefinite physical growth (i.e., in energy, food, manufacturing) mean that economic growth in general is also fated to end or reverse?

Exponential economic growth means that a 5% growth in any given year will have an economy 5% larger than the year before. Such growth would eventually use so much energy that we will have a thermal reckoning in just a few hundred years. If we tried to make our growth linear instead, so that we increase by a fixed absolute amount every year, the percentage of growth would go down every year, until, after a century, our economic growth would be only 1%, which would "starve the economic beast, and would force us to abandon our current debt-based financial system of interest and loans".

We could make our energy production and usage more efficient, with the goal to allow continued economic growth even given a no-growth raw energy future. The idea is to come up with efficiency improvements which would allow us to drive further, light more homes, manufacture more goods than the year before -- all on a fixed energy income. Because market forces favor greater efficiency, we are already enjoying the constant drum-beat toward higher efficiency. If we could continue this trick forever, we could maintain economic growth indefinitely, and all the institutions that are built around it: investment, loans, banks, etc.

However, except for heat pumps and perhaps, if ever a perpetual motion machine is invented, we must always settle for an efficiency of less than 100%. If a device starts out at 50% efficiency, there is no way to squeeze more than a factor of two out of its performance. For example, refrigerators use half the energy that they did about 35 years ago. The family car that today gets 40 miles per gallon achieved half this value in the 1970′s. This figures to be a 2% per year improvement. On the other hand, the Boeing 747 established a standard for air travel efficiency in 1970 that has hardly budged since.

Electric motors, pumps, battery charging, hydroelectric power, electricity transmission are already at near perfect efficiency (often around 90%). Power plants that run on coal, natural gas, or nuclear reactions have seen only marginal gains in efficiency in the last 35 years: well less than 1% per year. This all adds up to about only 1% a year or the equivalent of doubling every 70 years.

Many of our large-scale applications of energy use heat engines to extract useful energy out of combustion or other source of heat. These include fossil-fuel and nuclear power plants operating at 30-40% efficiency, and automobiles operating at 15-25% efficiency. Heat engines therefore account for about two-thirds of the total energy use in the U.S. Doing the math shows that a heat engine operating between 1500 K (hot for a power plant) and room temperature could at most achieve 80% efficiency, so doubling efficiency for heat engines is not possible.

On the other hand, heat pumps - such as air conditioners, refrigerators, and some home heating systems -- which uses a little bit of energy to move a lot, can theoretically achieve 1100% efficiency. Lighting has dramatically improved in recent decades, going from incandescent performances of 14 lumens per Watt to compact fluorescent efficacies that are four times better, at 50-60 lumens per Watt. LED lighting currently achieves 60-80 lumens per Watt.

Effective efficiency for gasoline-powered vehicles can be improved significantly by transitioning to electric drive trains. While a car getting 40 mpg may have a 20% efficient gasoline engine, a battery-powered drive train might achieve something like 70% efficiency. But only if the input electricity does not comes from a fossil-fuel power plant.

Given that two-thirds of our energy resource is burned in heat engines, and that these cannot improve much more than a factor of two, more significant gains elsewhere are diminished in value. For instance, replacing the 10% of our energy budget spent on direct heat (e.g., in furnaces and hot water heaters) with heat pumps operating at their maximum theoretical efficiency effectively replaces a 10% expenditure with a 1% expenditure. A factor of ten sounds like a fantastic improvement, but the overall efficiency improvement in society is only 9%. Likewise with light bulb replacement: large gains in a small sector. The most we might expect to achieve is a factor of two net efficiency increase before theoretical limits and engineering realities clamp down. At the present 1% overall rate, this means we might expect to run out of gain this century.

There may be new technology to come along that will substitute for less efficient energy, but there are still the show-stopper thermodynamic limits: The continued growth of any energy technology -- if consumed on the planet -- will bring us to a boil.

Why can't we consider solar, wind and other renewables to be more efficient than fossil fuel power, since the energy has free delivery? We have to look at the energy returned on energy invested when the panels were made with fossil fuels. Fossil fuels still have a higher EROEI (20) than solar (10) or wind (18), and solar panels are only 15% efficient.
. . . more doclink

Empower Women for the Health of the Planet

June 08, 2015, New York Times   By: Carmen Barroso

We cannot deny that environmental and reproductive justice are intertwined, or that reproductive justice has influence on the quality of life of women and families and on the sustainable health of the entire planet.

Providing family planning for those who want it could result in up to 29% of needed reductions in carbon emissions, scientists say. Voluntary family planning would also help our planet be more sustainable. However 225 million women lack access to modern methods of contraception.

Empowering women and promoting their right to choose what is best for them and their families is also one of the most effective pathways to reduce unintended pregnancies and improve maternal and child health. Providing access to [and information about] contraception would reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies by 70%, according to the Guttmacher Institute.

A woman who is able to decide if and when to have children and how many, tends to go further in school, is empowered as a decision-maker in her household and is more adaptable and resilient during times of hardship. She is more likely to invest money back into her family, her family is more likely to prosper and her community and our planet thrive because of it.

Investments in these sexual and reproductive health services have been slow in coming from the international community, even though the cost would be low. For example, in Latin America and the Caribbean only $31 per year would provide a woman with these needed services.

Upholding the human rights of women is essential in balancing both fears of so-called overpopulation and underpopulation. doclink

US Oil Rig Count Falls for 26th Straight Week

June 05, 2015   By: Akin Oyedele

The number of U.S. oil rigs in operation fell to 868, the lowest level since January 24, 2003, according to data from driller Baker Hughes.

Combined oil and gas rigs fell to 875.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil traded at around $57.92 per barrel. The US benchmark slid this week from above $61.

Goldman Sachs had identified $60 per barrel as a price level around which producers would ramp up production, as they are "increasingly comfortable at the current costs/revenue/funding mix."

On Friday, Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali Al-Naimi confirmed that the 12-member oil cartel OPEC is maintaining its production target at 30 million barrels per day. doclink

Karen Gaia says: Today's oil and gas rigs are operated for a much shorter period before they produce so little that it is not profitable. Ramping up production usually means that they start drilling in another well. Obviously this hasn't happened.

Climate Change: Calling Planet Birth

Family size has become the great unmentionable of the campaign for more environmentally friendly lifestyles
February 12, 2010   By: Oliver Burkeman

When, over a decade ago, American author Bill ­McKibben published a short book entitled Maybe One: A Personal And Environmental Argument For Much Smaller Families, he was trying overly hard to be tentative, emphasising that he isn't seeking to dictate other people's choices, and doesn't think he has all the answers. The "maybe" is right there in the title, after all. With the reaction that he got, he might as well have called for the enforced sterilisation of all men and women of procreating age, along with the outlawing of Father Christmas and the Tooth Fairy. The New York Times called him "sanctimonious" and the Wall Street Journal labelled him an "extremist."

Much has changed since then, in terms of the consensus on the threat posed by climate change, and our willingness to make sacrifices in the face of it. But you still won't hear any major environmental group arguing that, in addition to flying less and recycling more, middle-class westerners should be having fewer children to save the planet. Family size has become the great unmentionable of the campaign for more environmentally friendly lifestyles.

The basic facts are clear. If you live in developed countries like the U.S. or Britain, there is nothing you can do to reduce your impact on the environment that even comes close to the effects of having one fewer child.

In 2009 Paul Murtaugh and Michael Schlax, researchers at Oregon State University, set out to quantify the idea of "carbon legacy." If a woman and a man have a baby, they're each responsible for 50% of that child's lifetime carbon dioxide emissions; and if that child has its own child, the original two parents each bear 25% of the responsibility for their grandchild's emissions, and so on down the generations.

For how many tons, on average, would each original parent end up being responsible? For fertility rates, they used UN population predictions. For per capita emissions, they used three different scenarios: an optimistic one, in which per capita emissions fell, a pessimistic one in which they rose, and a compromise one, in which they stayed constant.

Under the constant scenario, an American who forgoes having a child would save 9,441 tons of CO2 - almost six times, on average, the amount of CO2 they would emit in their own lifetime, or the equivalent of 2,550 roundtrips flying between London and New York. If the same American drove a more fuel-efficient car, drastically reduced his or her driving, installed energy-efficient windows, used energy-efficient lightbulbs, replaced a household refrigerator, and recycled all household paper, glass and metal, he or she would save fewer than 500 tons.

Under the ­"optimistic scenario" - an American could still save 562 tonnes of CO2 by having one fewer child, while a Japanese person could save 233 tons.

John Sauven, the executive director of Greenpeace UK, concedes that it's a "no-brainer" that a smaller population would place a smaller burden on the planet. But Greenpeace did not run a smaller family campaign because among environmentally conscious people in his demographic, "nearly all of us have had two children or fewer". Also "10:10 is a populist campaign. It's about doing the easy things first."

If you try to talk about population levels with people who don't believe in climate change, then your actions would appear to be busybodyish meddling. If you talk to people who are strongly committed to reducing their own environmental impact, it's awkward, because raising the issue seems to shift responsibility from the developed countries, which bear most historical responsibility for climate damage, to the develop­ing world, where population growth is most rapid

Family size seems such an intensely personal matter, beyond the legitimate scope of politics or public campaigns. Just mentioning it feels somehow inappropriate.

There's another awkward truth: predictions of catastrophic population explosions have gone wrong in the past, from Malthus in the 1700s, to Paul Ehrlich in the 1960s, to the UN Population Fund, which predicted in 1987 that a world population of 5bn would mean the world "could degenerate into disaster."

Coercion is another troubling matter: China's "one-child policy", has resulted in numerous reports of forced sterilization and abortion. And on the other side, trying to achieve a sustainable population by voluntary means, by making family planning more widespread, draws attacks from pro-life campaigners, who fear a surge in abortions.

A study by the Optimum Population Trust (now Population Matters) estimated that saving a ton of CO2 costs only $7 if the money is spent on family planning; to achieve the same with solar power would cost $51.

Prejudice remains against the idea of having only one child, even though McKibben's book is at its strongest in his tour of the research that shows no evidence that a singleton childhood is detrimental.

It is possible that, in Britain at least, the issue will resolve itself naturally, since both no-child and one-child families are becoming much more common: a record one-fifth of all women turning 50 in Britain in 2010 have no children, while the percentage of children without siblings was 26% in 2007, having steadily increased from 18% in 1972.

In Alan Weisman's 2007 bestseller, The World Without Us, he argues that the world would easily heal, if each person brought a maximum of one child into it. By 2075, the human presence on earth would have been reduced by half. doclink

Karen Gaia says: This article was written in 2010. At that time, we still didn't know that 50% of pregnancies in the U.S. were unintended, and 40% were unintended in developing countries.

We wrote off entire regions where patriarchial tradition kept women - and even girls - from having a say in their own reproduction. We thought the Pill was the best thing since slice bread.

Now we have found ways to empower women to take control of their bodies and their family size. We have re-discovered effective methods of contraception. We have started to uncover some of the barriers to accessing effective contraception, including mis-informed or prejudiced doctors.

Now if we can just win back our sexual freedom that we had for such a relatively short time. Access to contraception and abortion is being threatened by a small minority of people who believe it is wicked to have sex outside of marriage, or even to have sex without procreating, and that having a baby only to give it up because you can't take care of it, is 'getting what you deserve' for having illicit sex.

Methane Hydrates and Contemporary Climate Change

June 03, 2015, Nature magazine   By: Carolyn D. Ruppel

Some scientists raised an alarm that large quantities of methane (CH4) might be liberated by widespread destabilization of climate-sensitive gas hydrate deposits trapped in marine and permafrost-associated sediments

Even if only a fraction of the liberated methane were to reach the atmosphere, its potency as a greenhouse gas and the persistence of its oxidative product (CO2) heightened concerns that the disassociation of gas hydrate (an ice-like substance formed when methane and water combine at low temperature and moderate pressure) could represent a slow tipping point for Earth's contemporary period of climate change.

An estimated 99% of gas hydrates in the world occurs in the sediments of marine continental margins at saturations as high as 20% to 80% in some formations; the remaining 1% is mostly associated with sediments beneath areas of high-latitude, continuous permafrost. Warming a small volume of gas hydrate can liberate large volumes of gas.

Methane is twenty time more potent that carbon dioxide. But after ten years in the atmosphere, it will oxidize into carbon dioxide.

CH4 concentrations have risen by ~150% since pre-industrial times. Present-day methane emissions are dominated by wetlands, ruminants, fossil fuel production, and rice cultivation.

Methane emitted at the seafloor only rarely survives the trip through the water column to reach the atmosphere. Only 5% of subsea methane is expected to reach the surface. doclink

With House Passage of Extreme 20-week Abortion Ban, GOP Continues Assault on Reproductive Rights

May 19, 2015   By: Amy Goodman

Republicans continue to seek the erosion of reproductive rights with a series of measures at the federal and state level. Last week the Republican-controlled House approved a bill that would ban most abortions after 20 weeks. The vote came months after Republicans were forced to withdraw their initial version following dissent from women in their own party.

The new revised measure drops a requirement that rape and incest survivors who seek an exemption must first report to police. But it instead imposes a mandatory waiting period for such women of at least 48 hours before they can have an abortion. The so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act is based on the medically debunked contention that fetuses can feel pain after 20 weeks of pregnancy.

According to The New York Times, 11 states have passed at least 37 new anti-abortion laws in the first five months of this year. doclink

Global Land Cover Change From 8000 BP to -50 BP

June 2011, Arvegroup

This animation shows the global pattern of human land use over the last eight thousand years, a time when human populations began expanding following the origins of agriculture. The earliest areas of human land use are in Mesopotamia and the Fertile Crescent areas of southwest Asia, followed by increasing areas of land use in China, India, and Europe.

Watch for the areas of intensive land use developing in India, especially along the Ganges River plane, and in Northern China along the lower Yellow and Yangtze rivers.

As time goes on, you will see areas of land use developing in South America, along the Andes, and in Africa, especially in the Sahel region.

By classical times, land use in Europe is very intense with up to 60% of the land under human uses, but we start to see fluctuations around this time too, with some areas abandoned corresponding with wars, famine, and other historical events that affected human populations. As time continues through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, land use in Europe and Chine increase greatly following the development of cities and towns.

Now pay careful attention to South America. Following the first contact with Europeans around 1500, nearly 90% of the indigenous people of the Americas were killed, mainly by disease. This collapse in populations led to massive regrowth of natural vegetation, especially forests in the Amazon, Andes, and Mesoamerica.

As we race towards modern times we see the settlement of the Americas and Australia by Europeans spreading across the continents, and the development of the human-dominated world we have today. doclink

Science Publishes New NOAA Analysis: Data Show No Recent Slowdown in Global Warming

June 04 , 2015, NOAA

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, released in stages between September 2013 and November 2014, concluded that the upward global surface temperature trend from 1998­­-2012 was markedly lower than the trend from 1951-2012. This apparent observed slowing or decrease in the upward rate of global surface temperature warming was nicknamed the "hiatus."

However, NOAA scientists have since made significant improvements in the calculation of trends and now use a global surface temperature record that includes the most recent two years of data, 2013 and 2014--the hottest year on record. Their finding shows an increase in global warming in the last 15 years.

There has been an improvement in measurements and a correction from data from buoys and on site data. incomplete spatial coverage, particularly in the Artic, also led to underestimates of the true global temperature change previously reported in the 2013 IPCC report. The number of weather stations available for analysis has more than doubled. doclink

House Bill Slashes Family Planning

June 11, 2015, Population Connection Action Fund

Today the House Appropriations Committee completed work on the Fiscal Year 2016 State Department and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill.

In it, funding for family planning programs in the developing world were cut by almost $150 million, leaving funding for international family planning programs to "not more than $461 million.

The bill also bans any U.S. contribution 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.

In addition the bill calls for a reinstatement of the Global Gag Rule, which bans family planning aid to foreign health care agencies that use other, private funding to provide legal abortion, to offer counselling or referrals on legal abortion, or that publicly support a policy of legal abortion within their own countries.

This, in effect, disqualifies the most effective, experienced, and respected family planning providers in the developing world from receiving U.S. aid. The results are disastrous. When it was in effect from 2001 to 2009, clinics were forced to close, services had to be cut back, and contraceptive supplies ran dry. AS a result, abortions in several African countries affected by the policy doubled, according to researchers from Stanford University.

The bill is now on track to go to the House floor for a vote by the full chamber. doclink

With New Study, New Mothers Seeking IUDs Are No Longer Urged to Wait

June 08, 2015, New York Times   By: Catherine Saint Louis

Some women ask their doctors to provide reversible contraception, like an intrauterine device right after childbirth. But normally they are told to return for contraception six weeks after giving birth — after fully half of them have already resumed sexual relations.

Recently a study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that women who received IUDs during cesarean sections were far more likely to be using them six months later than women who were told to return to the doctor's office to receive one.

Receiving the IUDs after birth could reduce unintended pregnancies and the number of babies conceived within 18 months after a previous birth, thus mitigating a number of infantile risks, including prematurity.

Even though participants in the study received free IUDs and were paid nominally for visits, a quarter of women assigned to get an IUD at six weeks never showed up, probably because the months after childbirth are "an intense, busy, hard time for most women," according to Dr. Erika E. Levi, the study's lead author.

A study published in the journal Fertility and Sterility recently found in-hospital insertion of an IUD prevented an estimated 88 unintended pregnancies per 1,000 women over a two-year period, compared with routine placement between six and eight weeks.

A 2010 review of nine randomized trials in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that immediate insertion of an IUD after both vaginal and cesarean deliveries appears to be safe and effective. But a higher percentage of those IUDs are expelled, compared with those placed later.

In the new trial, 8% of women who got IUDs in the hospital during their cesareans lost the devices, compared with only 2% of women who got an IUD later.

Nevertheless, nearly 20% more of the in-hospital group still had IUDs at six months.

The biggest barrier to getting an IUD just after delivery remains a lack of reimbursement. Delivery costs are bundled in a package, so hospitals are not paid for implanting an IUD, which can range from $625 to $900.

In the past few years, at least 12 states, including California, have changed their Medicaid policies to allow hospitals and physicians to be reimbursed separately for in-hospital IUDs. Most private insurers have yet to follow suit.

While use of IUDs has increased nationwide, only 8.5% of women ages 15 to 44 used them in 2009, says the Guttmacher Institute.

Of mothers who have one or two children: 15% of them used IUDs in 2009, compared with just 6% in 2007. doclink

Improving Nutrition and Food Security Through Family Planning

June 2015

The goal of "Improving Nutrition and Food Security Through Family Planning" is to raise awareness and understanding among decision makers about how family planning can help improve key measures of nutrition for mothers, infants, and children, as well as improve food security on a broader scale. Ultimately, the aim is to start a critical policy dialogue to encourage integration of family planning into nutrition and food security policies, strategies, action plans, and programs throughout the world, particularly in Asia and Africa. As such, this presentation can be used as a tool to not only raise awareness, but also to mobilize political commitment and resources.

Developed under the USAID-funded Informing DEcisionmakers to Act (IDEA) project, this presentation is part of a series of ENGAGE presentations that examine the relationship between family planning and the Millennium Development Goals in developing country contexts. doclink

Fossil Fuels Subsidised by $10m a Minute, Says IMF

‘Shocking’ revelation finds $5.3 trillion subsidy estimate for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments
May 18 , 2015, Guardian   By: Damian Carrington

Fossil fuel companies are benefiting from global subsidies of $5.3 tn a year - 6.5% of global GDP. - according to the International Monetary Fund. The figure is an "extremely robust" estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels, IMF says. The subsidies are largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. These include the harm caused to local populations by air pollution as well as to people across the globe affected by the floods, droughts and storms being driven by climate change.

Ending subsidies for fossil fuels would cut global carbon emissions by 20%, slash the number of premature deaths from outdoor air pollution by 50%, eliminate the need for subsidies for renewable energy, and, by freeing resources, drive economic growth and poverty reduction through greater investment in infrastructure, health and education.

Coal, the dirtiest fuel due to local air pollution and climate-warming carbon emissions, is the greatest beneficiary of the subsidies, with just over half the total. Oil, heavily used in transport, gets about a third of the subsidy and gas the rest.

China, with its large population and heavy reliance on coal power, provides $2.3tn of the annual subsidies. The US is the next at $700bn. Russia, the EU, India,and Japan follow.

The costs due to climate change driven account for about a quarter of the IMF's total. The direct subsidizing of fuel for consumers, by government discounts on diesel and other fuels, account for just 6% of the IMF's total. Other local factors, such as reduced sales taxes on fossil fuels and the cost of traffic congestion and accidents, make up the rest. The IMF says traffic costs are included because increased fuel prices would be the most direct way to reduce them.

Reform of the subsidies would increase energy costs but existing fossil fuel subsidies overwhelmingly go to the rich, with the wealthiest 20% of people getting six times as much as the poorest 20% in low and middle-income countries. With oil and coal prices currently low, there is a "golden opportunity" to phase out subsidies and use the increased tax revenues to reduce poverty through investment and to provide better targeted support.

Subsidy reforms are beginning in dozens of countries including Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Morocco and Thailand. In India, subsidies for diesel ended in October 2014. Coal use has also begun to fall in China for the first time this century.

David Coady, the IMF official in charge of the report, said: "If we get the pricing of fossil fuels right, the argument for subsidies for renewable energy will disappear. Renewable energy would all of a sudden become a much more attractive option."

Shelagh Whitley, a subsidies expert at the Overseas Development Institute, said: “Compounding the issue, our research shows that many of the energy subsidies highlighted by the IMF go toward finding new reserves of oil, gas and coal, which we know must be left in the ground if we are to avoid catastrophic, irreversible climate change."

Vitor Gaspar, the IMF's head of fiscal affairs and former finance minister of Portugal, said that each nation will directly benefit from tackling its own fossil fuel subsidies. “The icing on the cake is that the benefits from subsidy reform - for example, from reduced pollution - would overwhelmingly accrue to local populations," he said.

“By acting local, and in their own best interest, can contribute significantly to the solution of a global challenge," said Gaspar. “The path forward is clear: act local, solve global." doclink

Karen Gaia says:

US oil rig count falls for 26th straight week http://www.businessinsider.com/baker-hughes-rig-count-june-5-2015-6#ixzz3cUHcaHm3

World Energy Production at 18 Terawatts and Still Rising

June 07 , 2015, Facebook   By: Bodhi Paul Chefurka

In ultra-high-power groups like human civilization, with our related activities of politics and economics., everything we do bears the imprint of the Maximum Power Principle, and supports its operation either directly (e.g. through energy companies) or indirectly through such activities as our political and legal systems. any society that does not (or cannot) follow this law will in the long run be swept away by its neighbours that do. this is, in fact, the mechanism by which higher-powered empires succeed lower powered ones - as the sails of the Spanish gave way to British coal, which yielded in turn to American oil and nuclear power.

In the end all that matters is power mobilization; all else is window dressing. At 18 Terawatts of total power production and climbing, I'd say Homo colossus is doing just fine in the world MPP sweepstakes. With that kind of power production it's scant wonder that the world's wild species don't stand a chance against us. doclink

Karen Gaia says: How can we expect to keep up the pace with 80% of our energy still supplied by fossil fuels and fossil fuels taking more and more energy to get them out of the ground?

See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_8b6ej0U3g Growth Cannot Go On Forever

U.S.: Birth Control That Works Too Well

May 20 , 2015, Nation (US)   By: Katha Pollitt

In 2009, the Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation donated over $23 million to the Colorado Family Planning Initiative, a five-year program that offered 30,000 participants low-income teenage girls and young women long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) -- IUDs or hormonal implants -- at no cost.

These devices have a 1% failure rate because they no further action once inserted and remain effective for years. The Pill failure rate under real use is 10 times higher. Unfortunately, the upfront cost of a LARC can be as high as $1,200. Two other barriers: 1) many teens fear the insurance claim forms sent to their parents would reveal they are sexually active, 2) many women don't know about LARCs and assume the cheaper pills available at clinics are their only option.

The participants in the Initiative, where they were given the opportunity to make an informed decision at no cost, chose LARCs. This resulted in a 40% decline in teen births, and a 34% decline in teen abortions. And for every dollar spent on the program, the state saved $5.85 in short-term Medicaid costs, in addition to other cost reductions and the enormous social benefit of freeing low-income teens from unwanted pregnancies and what too often follows: dropping out of school, unready motherhood, and poverty.

Because Colorado's state government was in Democratic hands when the program began, and the initiative enjoyed some bipartisan support, the foundation picked Colorado for its pilot program. The idea was that the state would take it over if the initiative showed positive results. But Republicans won control of the State Senate last November and GOP lawmakers killed it. So much for the party of fiscal responsibility.

Republican State Senator Kevin Lundberg said using an IUD could mean "stopping a small child from implanting."

Dr. David Turok, a leading expert on the IUD, said that a massive amount of scientific evidence shows that the devices work by preventing fertilization. It is "theoretically possible" that IUDs can prevent implantation, Turok said, "but the chances are infinitesimally small."

"We're providing this long-term birth control and telling girls, ‘You don't have to worry. You're covered,'" said Representative Kathleen Conti. "That does allow a lot of young ladies to go out there and look for love in all the wrong places."

Has the fear of pregnancy worked well enough to keep girls virginal?

Others claimed: IUDs cause breast cancer (unproved). STD rates are up (actually, they've stayed the same, which strongly suggests LARCs don't increase sexual activity). Republican Senator Ellen Roberts wanted to know why -- since no-cost birth control is already provided by the Affordable Care Act -- should the state pay for the program? Because the ACA doesn't cover everyone; it doesn't guarantee teens' privacy; and the fine print has allowed insurance companies to refuse to cover the more expensive, more effective methods.

"The place where efforts to provide LARCs get distorted is that you have to acknowledge that human beings have sex, and some are young and some are not married," said Turok.

The problem with LARCs may be that they work only too well. doclink

Karen Gaia says: Also doctors often stand in the way of teens getting LARCs, saying they shouldn't have one if they have never had a child, or that the LARC would lead to slutty behavior.

Why 'The Population Bomb' Bombed

June 01 , 2015, Bloomberg View   By: Justin First

Note: earlier WOA carried a story from the New York Times titled 'The Unrealized Horrors of Population Explosion' ( http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-06-01/why-paul-ehrlich-s-population-bomb-finally-bombed ) which disparages Paul R. Ehrlich and his 1968 book, "The Population Bomb," for having predictions that did not come true. The following is the latest of a series of replies to the NYT article.

Since it is difficult to make predictions, we should cut some slack for Paul Ehrlich, who forecast the imminent breakdown of the world's ability to feed itself.

"Not that Ehrlich himself makes this easy to do." ... "The now-83-year-old Stanford biologist says insufferable things like, "One of the things that people don't understand is that timing to an ecologist is very, very different from timing to an average person." Uh, then why did you write a book clearly aimed at average people that confidently predicted that in the 1970s hundreds of millions would die of famine?," Justin First writes. First decided to finally read Ehrlich's book and was surprised to find that half of Ehrlich's prediction came true. He forecast that population would double by 2005, and, indeed, it went from about 3.5 billion in 1968 to 7 billion in 2011 -- he was only 6 years off.

But Ehrlich turned out to be wrong when he said that the planet's carrying capacity would not be enough to feed the world's people. Just as Ehrlich was finishing his book per-acre grain yields went up much faster due to the Green Revolution came along. Ehrlich was aware of the new technology, and he was "hopeful" about the prospects for an "agricultural revolution," but there were all kinds of things that could go wrong, so he didn't think anybody should bank on it. Productivity bursts, in agriculture as in other economic endeavors, have always been hard to predict.

While Ehrlich dismissed the possibility that populations might start shrinking in the absence of government coercion, but those population declines have been swamped by increases elsewhere, so overall Ehrlich still got it right.

When it came to people and their reproductive rates Ehrlich went over the edge "Population control, of course, is the only solution to population growth," he wrote. Slowing population growth in a few developed countries was nothing more than "short-term fluctuations". He endorsed forced sterilization of fathers of three or more children in India, adding, "Coercion? Perhaps, but coercion in a good cause."

United Nations' latest population projections show that, if high fertility rates continue, global population will pass 10 billion in 27 years and 15 billion in 73 years. It is only if the trend toward having fewer children continues and spreads to many more countries that population will stabilize or even drop.

This means that, instead of coercion, we can rely on college tuition and expensive urban real estate to keep fertility rates in check. Will it turn to out to be any more accurate? Not sure. Predicting is hard. Especially about the future. doclink

Karen Gaia says: we cannot rely on college tuition and expensive real estate to keep fertility rates in check. We can rely on most people to make the right decision to keep their family size in check depending on their economic situation, their health, their ability to take care of children, and their genuine desire to have children, but only if they can get unimpeded access to effective contraception at a price they can afford, a choice from a full range of contraceptive methods and sufficient scientific information about each method.

Can we rely on policy makers to make sure people get the contraception they need to control their own fertility? That is where the problem lies.

If we did have to rely on people getting rich and having big estates, wouldn't we have a big problem with over consumption? The author does not seem to understand finite resources and does not seem to realize that consumption is every bit as important as population.

Collapse of the World's Largest Herbivores

May 01, 2015, Science magazine   By: William J. Ripple, Thomas M. Newsome, Christopher Wolf, Rodolfo Dirzo, Kristoffer T. Everatt, Mauro Galetti, Matt W. Hayward, Graham I. H. Kerley, Taal Levi, Peter A. Lindsey, David W. Macdonald, Yadvinder Malhi, Luke E. Painter, Christopher J. Sandom, John Terborgh, Blaire Van Valkenburgh

Sixty percent of large wild herbivores (body mass ≥100 kg) are threatened with extinction. Nearly all threatened species are in developing countries, where major threats include hunting, land-use change, and resource depression by livestock. Loss of large herbivores can have cascading effects on other species including large carnivores, scavengers, mesoherbivores, small mammals, and ecological processes involving vegetation, hydrology, nutrient cycling, and fire regimes. The rate of large herbivore decline suggests that ever-larger swaths of the world will soon lack many of the vital ecological services these animals provide, resulting in enormous ecological and social costs.

The combined impacts of hunting, encroachment by humans and their livestock, and habitat loss could lead to the extinction of a suite of large herbivores relatively soon.

According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 44 of the 74 largest terrestrial herbivores are listed as threatened with extinction (including 12 critically endangered or extinct in the wild), and 43 ( 58%) have decreasing populations.

The most-threatened large herbivore species are found in southern Asia, throughout much of extreme Southeast Asia, as well as Ethiopia and Somalia of eastern Africa. The ecoregions with seven threatened large herbivore species are the Himalayan subtropical broadleaf forests, the Sunda Shelf mangroves, and the peninsular Malaysian rain forests. Hunting for meat is the predominant threat in all ecoregions containing at least five threatened large herbivore species. These ecoregions fall mostly within the tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests biome (20 of 30 ecoregions), but biomes containing combinations of grasslands, shrublands, savannas, mangroves, or other forest types represent the other 10 ecoregions with at least five threatened large herbivore species.

The white rhinoceros follows one of the greatest success stories in the history of modern conservation: the recovery of the southern white rhino from a single population of fewer than 100 individuals in the early 1900s to about 20,000 today. Even with the current crisis of rhinoceros poaching, this illustrates that, with sufficient protection, recovery is possible for relatively slow-breeding species that are highly prized by poachers.

Many of the largest herbivore species have ranges that are collapsing. On average, these species currently occupy only 19% of their historical ranges. This is exemplified by the elephant, hippopotamus, and black rhinoceros, all of which now occupy just tiny fractions of their historical ranges in Africa. Many of these declining species are poorly known scientifically, and badly in need of basic ecological research. Scientific research effort has been much greater for nonthreatened than threatened species, and greater overall for species in developed countries. Indeed, those that have been most studied are primarily game species in wealthy countries.

The main threats to large herbivores are hunting, competition with livestock, and land-use change such as habitat loss, human encroachment, cultivation, and deforestation. Extensive overhunting for meat across much of the developing world is likely the most important factor in the decline of the largest terrestrial herbivore. Slow reproduction makes large herbivores particularly vulnerable to overhunting. The largest- and slowest-to-reproduce species typically vanish first, and as they disappear, hunters turn to smaller and more fecund species. In synergy with changes in land use, hunting for meat has increased in recent years due to human population growth, greater access to wildlands due to road building, use of modern firearms and wire snares, access to markets, and the rising demand for wild meat. Demand for wild meat is intensifying, supply is declining, and protected area management budgets for protecting wildlife from overhunting are often inadequate, particularly in developing nations.

Hunting large herbivores for body parts is also driving down populations of some species, especially the iconic ones.

Livestock continues to encroach on land needed for wild grazers and browsers, particularly in developing countries where livestock production tripled between 1980 and 2002. There are an estimated 3.6 billion ruminant livestock on Earth today, and about 25 million have been added to the planet every year for the last 50 years. This upsurge in livestock has resulted in more competition for grazing, a reduction in forage and water available to wild herbivores, a greater risk of disease transmission from domestic to wild species, and increased methane emissions. In central Asia, the expansion of goat grazing for cashmere wool production for international export has reduced habitats available to large herbivores with consequent impacts on their predators including snow leopards.

In many pastoral settings in Africa, domestic livestock are abundant but not regularly consumed for subsistence, and are instead kept as a means of storing wealth, as a status symbol, or for consumption on special occasions. Livestock is a private good, and so, people invest significant energy to protect it, whereas wild herbivores are typically a public good, often resulting in weak incentives for their conservation and in many cases open access to the resource, both of which commonly result in overuse.

Habitat loss is a significant threat to large herbivores in parts of Latin America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. The causes of this threat have important drivers originating in developed countries due to demand for agricultural and other products. Southeast Asia has the highest rate of deforestation among tropical regions, and if trends continue, Southeast Asia could lose 75% of its original forests and nearly half of its biodiversity by the end of this century. Habitat loss is typically asymmetrical with respect to quality, with remaining habitat generally being less productive. Additionally, the greater area requirements of larger species make them unable to persist in smaller fragments of habitat, which may still support smaller herbivores. Their larger area requirement also makes larger species that persist in fragments increasingly susceptible to conservation challenges that affect small populations. This suggests a greater likelihood of extinction among the larger rather than smaller herbivores.

Other threats to large herbivores include human encroachment (including road building), cultivation of crops, and civil unrest, all of which contribute to population decline.

There are much more items of interest in this article.
. . . more doclink

Pro-Lifers Change Their Minds When Abortion Gets Personal

May 19 , 2015, Cut   By: Alex Ronan

Tennessee representative Scott DesJarlais opposes abortion, has run repeatedly as a pro-life candidate, and routinely votes in favor of restricting reproductive rights. In early May DesJarlais voted in favor of the 20-week abortion ban. Yet in 2012 a tape surfaced of a conversation DesJarlais had recorded between himself and his mistress back in 2000 where he pressured her to get an abortion. This raised a scandal which coincided with his reelection campaign. DesJarlais denied that there was a pregnancy.

A divorce trial transcript from 2001 demonstrated that DesJarlais had also supported his ex-wife's decision to get two abortions before their marriage. The first was a "therapeutic" abortion because she was on medication that could cause birth defects and retardation. The second was because "things were not going well between us" and the abortion was a "mutual decision."

Polls have shown repeatedly the same sort of dynamic, where people who identify as pro-life support abortion when it's discussed as an individual decision rather than an abstract judgment between right and wrong. When Jon Pennington interviewed people while working on his Ph.D. on the pro-life movement: a woman he interviewed said, “Most pro-life women oppose abortion with four exceptions: rape, incest, the life of the mother, and me." doclink

In the Space of Only One Year, 276,000 Under-Age Girls Were Married and 109,000 Teenagers Gave Birth in Iran

January 14 , 2015, Justice For Iran

The number of Iranian girls who got married between the ages of 10 and 14 reached its highest level in 2013-2014 after the country saw a continuous growth in under-age marriages during the previous five years.

More than 8% of women who gave birth during the last five years ( 2009-2014) were between 15 and 19 years of age.

The number of girls who became mothers while younger than 15 also rose. The last official statistics published in Iran reveal that 10% of the babies born to mothers between 10 and 12 years of age die. Also the last official census in Iran shows that the mortality rate of babies born to mothers younger than 15 is higher than for all other age groups in Iran.

1,289 mothers gave birth at age 14 during 2012-2013. There were another 275 births to 13-year-old mothers.

During 2013-2014, the number of girls who got married between the age of 10 and 15 accounted for 5.44% of all marriages in Iran.

Two bills currently in the parliament whose generalities have been approved are: "The Bill to Increase Fertility Rates and Prevent Population Decline" and "The Comprehensive Population and Exaltation of Family Bill“ contain laws which would potentially directly violate the right of women to gain access to information on temporary and permanent methods of contraception, family planning services, legal and safe abortion and follow-up care.

The side effects of these strict rules place women from the poorest households at greatest risk, including many young brides, who will be denied access to free contraception pills and general education.

Any activity including education and consultancy in the sphere of family planning and promotion of contraceptive devices can be regarded as a crime.

Stopping or limiting family planning programs will affect hardest those young girls who, when entering early marriages, have little knowledge about contraception and insufficient control over the arrangement of sexual relations related to the spacing of pregnancies. More than other women, they are at risk of unwanted pregnancies and repeated childbearing. In addition to bearing the social and psychological consequences of early and repeated births, their physical health will be at risk during the time of giving birth and in the long term as well.

The funding for the Family and Population Planning Programme has already been eliminated from the March 2012-2013 budget. Free family planning services, which included free distribution of condoms and contraception pills, were stopped and the majority of health centres and pharmacies refrain from presenting condoms as the easiest and safest method of contraception.

On the eve of the second session of the Universal Periodic Review on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, which took place on 31 October 2014 at the headquarters of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Justice for Iran asked other countries to present recommendations aimed at stopping early marriages in Iran.

Despite eight countries -- Germany, Italy, Israel, Sierra Leone, Poland, South Korea and Montenegro -- providing recommendations for the Islamic Republic of Iran during this session to reform the law on forced and early marriage, the Islamic Republic failed to accept any of these recommendations.

The Universal Periodic Review of Human Rights in Iran is an important mechanism of the United Nations within which each country is obliged to present a report to the international community on its situation of human rights. All other countries then participate in a session held at the headquarters of the UN Human Rights Council and provide their recommendations to the country under review.

Iran is a member of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Charter on Civil and Political Rights. Both of these forbid early marriage as well as marriages without real consent. The UN rapporteur on slavery described forced marriage as a form of modern slavery. However, Article 1041 of the Iranian Civil Code determines the age of marriage for girls as 13 years or even lower on condition that the father or the paternal grandfather win the approval of a judge. doclink

Rapid Arctic Ice Loss Linked to Extreme Weather Changes in Europe and US

Arctic warming appears to be the prime reason behind fluctuations in the polar jet stream that is causing unusual weather, study says
June 01, 2015, Mail and Guardian   By: John Vidal

While the rapidly-thawing Arctic cannot be held responsible for specific weather events like the "snowmageddon" in 2009, Hurricane Sandy, or European heat waves, researchers at Rutgers university said it appears to be a prime reason why the polar jet stream gets ‘stuck' with increasing frequency. They say that the string of massive snowstorms and bone-chilling cold on the US east coast, as well as flooding in Britain and record temperatures in Europe, are linked to rapid ice loss in the Arctic.

The researchers called the phenomenon of enhanced sensitivity of high latitudes to global warming "Arctic amplification."

"The Arctic is warming faster than elsewhere. The whole lower atmosphere is heating up but the sea ice is the most observable. This is having this effect on the jet stream, making it extend further south and stay longer," said co-author Jennifer Francis.

When the temperature difference between polar and mid northern latitudes becomes smaller because of global warming, "this has the effect of weakening the jet stream , allowing it to be deflected more easily and to meander more. It's a combination of natural conditions being intensified and global warming," said Professor Francis.

The impacts could be substantial, they warn. "This new manifestation of of global warming ... may have substantial societal impact as more frequent extreme weather events in mid latitudes will affect billions of people directly through damage to property and infrastructure and indirectly through farming and water supplies," the authors wrote.

A slower jet stream takes a more meandering path as it encircles the northern hemisphere. Other studies have linked ice loss in the Barents and Kara seas to the north of Russia with extremely cold winters in central Asia.

According to the US Snow and Ice data centre, Arctic sea ice extent last month averaged 5.4 million square miles, the second lowest April ice extent in the satellite record.

The study was published in the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A. doclink

'No Más Bebés' Exposes Sterilization Abuse Against Latinas in L.A.

June 01, 2015, ColorLines   By: Miriam Zoila Pérez

"No Más Bebés," a new documentary about Los Angeles County General Hospital's sterilization abuse against Latinas in the early '70s, is set to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival this month. The film tells the story of 10 Mexican-American women who had been sterilized after having emergency Cesarean sections. This year is the 40th anniversary of the lawsuit - which was filed in 1975.

Some of the women didn't know that they'd undergone tubal ligations until Antonia Hernandéz, a Latina lawyer just one year out of law school, began contacting them. She'd gotten their names from a young white L.A. County resident who witnessed and condemned the abuse.

The most important point of the film is the idea of the framework of reproductive justice, that a woman has a right to not have children if she chooses, or to have a child and raise that child in dignity. We need to make sure that people listen to the needs and the voices of poor women, women of color and immigrant women who've been marginalized.

The documentary will also air on PBS' Independent Lens sometime this year. doclink

Karen Gaia says: This type of 'Population Control' seems to be quite common. It is our job to make sure women are not abused or shamed when they make reproductive choices. Women almost always make the right choice, and no government, religion, or doctor is in a better position -than the woman - to make it for her.

California Senate Committee Would Boost Medi-Cal, Including for Undocumented

May 22, 2015, New America Media   By: Viji Sundaram

State Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) introduced the Health for All bill (Senate Bill, or SB 4) that will allow low-income immigrant families in California to get medical care through the state's health insurance program for low-income people called Medi-Cal (California's name for Medicaid). Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California. "It will make a big impact on our health care system and on our economy."

The bill would also allow undocumented immigrants whose incomes are above the Medi-Cal eligibility limit to purchase insurance through Covered California, the state's online marketplace.

About one-third of California's estimated 500,000 undocumented residents can afford to purchase insurance through the marketplace on their own, according to Lara.

If SB 4 is signed into law, the state would seek a federal waiver to allow undocumented immigrants to purchase insurance on the marketplace, but without providing them the federal subsidies now available to documented consumers.

The $40 million approved by the Senate Budget Subcommittee Thursday represents only a fraction of what it would need, but it would help get SB 4 off the ground.

SB 4 is currently in the Senate Appropriations Committee and is likely to come up for a vote on May 28. If it passes, it would go before the full Senate in early June and from there on to the Assembly.

Follow this bill: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id1520160SB4 doclink

Karen Gaia says: Integrated health care is the best way to deliver reproductive health care and family planning methods. Without it people fall through the cracks.

Burma's Birth Control Law Exposes Buddhist Fear of Muslim Minority

Nationalist monks are behind new powers enabling authorities to ‘organise’ family planning among groups with high birth rates such as Rohingyas
May 24, 2015, Mail and Guardian   By: Sara Perria

Burma has introduced a birth control law to "organise" women to have a gap of 36 months between births. The laws was driven by nationalist Buddhist monks who fear that the Muslim population is growing too quickly.

Muslim and non-Buddhist communities have been subject to birth-control policies in the past.

The Health Care for Population Control act does not identify any specific group within Burma's web of ethnic communities and religions. But as the plight of thousands of Rohingya Muslim fleeing persecution unfolds, the US and human rights organisations have stepped up their criticism.

US deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken said the population law could be enforced in such a way as to undermine the reproductive rights of minorities.

Members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy opposed the bill.

Extremist Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu said "If the bill is enacted, it could stop the Bengalis that call themselves Rohingya, who are trying to seize control." “[The bill] was drafted for healthcare. The World Health Organization also advised a three-year interval between each child."

The three other laws would impose restrictions on religious conversion and inter-religious marriage and prohibit extra-marital affairs.

"ctivists with a racist, anti-Muslim agenda pressed this population law so there is every reason to expect it to be implemented in a discriminatory way," Human Rights Watch Asia director Brad Adams said.

Rights groups complain that they have not seen the final text of the law but earlier drafts instruct authorities in designated “health zones" to “organise" married couples to practise birth spacing. The bill does not contain explicit guarantees that contraceptive use should be voluntary with consent of the user. It does not specify punishments either, nor does it mention abortion.

The hardline minority of Buddhist monks say that the ancient religion of Burma must be defended against an advancing tide of radical Islam, with the Muslim population growing more swiftly within the country and entering as illegal immigrants from without.

A 2013 report commissioned by the government concluded that “the extremely rapid growth rate of the Bengali population also contributed to fear and insecurity ... The growth was not only due to high birth rates, but also to a steady increase of illegal immigration from neighbouring Bangladesh".

Khon Ja, a member of the Kachin Women's Peace Network said “The target is the Rohingya," referring to the Muslim minority. “But the law could affect anyone," she added.

Activists still hope that even after becoming law the government will fail to follow up with the specific directives that would activate the population controls. If Aung San Suu Kyi's party wins the elections in November and is allowed to form a government they could then influence that process and clarify the law. doclink

The Unrealized Horrors of Population Explosion

May 31 , 2015, New York Times   By: Clyde Haberman

Note: WOA does not agree with this article from New York Times, however, if you look at the video that accompany the article, it does show lowering fertility by voluntary family planning.

In 1966 a science fiction novel titled "Make Room! Make Room!" sketched a dystopian world in which too many people scrambled for too few resources. Later the book became the basis for a 1973 film about a hellish future, "Soylent Green." However, no one was more influential than Paul R. Ehrlich, in his 1968 book, "The Population Bomb," which said that humankind stood on the brink of apocalypse because of human overpopulation. He later went on to forecast that hundreds of millions would starve to death in the 1970s, that 65 million of them would be Americans, that crowded India was essentially doomed, that odds were fair "England will not exist in the year 2000." He warned in 1970 that "sometime in the next 15 years, the end will come," with “an utter breakdown of the capacity of the planet to support humanity."

Population is twice what it was when the book was written yet humanity has managed to hang on.

Dr. Ehrlich still asserts that the end is still nigh, and still insists that 'population control' is required, preferably through voluntary methods. But if necessary he would endorse eliminating “tax benefits for having additional children." Allowing women to have as many babies as they wanted, he said, is akin to letting everyone “throw as much of their garbage into their neighbor's backyard as they want."

Stewart Brand, founding editor of the Whole Earth Catalog said, “How many years do you have to not have the world end" to reach a conclusion that “maybe it didn't end because that reason was wrong?"

The world figured out how to feed itself despite its rising numbers, thanks to Norman E. Borlaug, whose breeding of high-yielding, disease-resistant crops led to the Green Revolution [which saved millions of lives].

Julian L. Simon, an economist who established himself as the anti-Ehrlich, argued that “whatever the rate of population growth is, historically it has been that the food supply increases at least as fast, if not faster."

Fred Pearce, a British writer who specializes in global population, is worried about population decline.

Because of improved health standards, birthing many children is not the survival imperative for families that it once was. In cramped cities, large families are not the blessing they were in the agricultural past. And women in many societies are ever more independent, socially and economically; they no longer accept that their fate is to be endlessly pregnant. If anything, the worry in many countries is that their populations are aging and that national vitality is ebbing.

Pearce blames overconsumpton. “Let's look at carbon dioxide emissions, the biggest current concern because of climate change," he continued. “The world's richest half billion people — that's about 7 percent of the global population — are responsible for half of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. Meanwhile, the poorest 50 percent of the population are responsible for just 7 percent of emissions." doclink

Karen Gaia says: While I disagree with Ehrlich's solution, especially "'Allowing women to have as many babies as they wanted' is akin to letting everyone 'throw as much of their garbage into their neighbor's backyard as they want,'" author Clyde Haberman has not been informed that the Green Revoultion is petering out, just as Norman Borlaug, predicted, saying that it would only 30 years and warning that population growth will cause demand will exceed the supply of food. Today, while the rate of crop production is still rising, its rate of increase is slowing. In the meantime, the technology of the Green Revolution is wrecking havoc on farmland, making it unsuitable for generations. The Green Revolution relies on irrigation, while water per capita is declining and wells are being drawn down faster than they are replenished. Also irrigation and fertilizers cause salinization, which is poison to most crops. In addition, climate change has made for unpredictable planting times, flooding and drought. The waters that supply India are from glaciers that melt in the Himalayas. Then the glaciers are all melted, where will the water come from?

Studies have shown that meeting the unmet need for family planning will lessen carbon emissions by about 20%. But family planning also makes families more resilient in the face of climate change.

In the meantime, India still has not solved the problem of 40% of its children being undernourished, while Thailand, Iran, and Vietnam can feed its people - most likely due to their voluntary family planning programs. When India's water runs out, what technology is going to save the people of India?

The video that accompanies the article ends with an alarm that, with population decline, we might not have enough people. Unfortunately, that is a problem with having large families to begin with. In the process of bringing the population down to a sustainable level, you end up with a very large number of old people who were part of that baby boom generation. It is like a Ponzi scheme to grow more people to take care of these old people. When that older generation is gone and the younger generation grows up, who will take care of them?

Schuyler Null of New Security Beat says: ( http://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2015/06/paul-ehrlich-missed-and-does-population-challenge-rights/ )

The reason that [ Ehrlich's ] remark is so reflexively offensive to most people - besides the fact it compares human beings to garbage - is the same reason forced sterilization is: it treats people like numbers and assumes they're not capable of making "good" decisions on their own. Of all the ideas about population espoused during this time, this might be the most important fallacy.

People - and not just women - have proven that given a choice and the means to exercise that choice, most will choose to have fewer children than the very high rates of fertility being experienced during the 1960s. Fertility rates in North America, Europe, Latin America, North Africa, and Asia have declined to near or under two children per woman. And even in sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, where fertility rates remain highest and population-scarcity concerns are still very real, they are also trending down.

Contemporary conversations about global population and the environment therefore tend to focus on ensuring that people in fast-growing areas are able to exercise their reproductive rights and sustainably manage local natural resources.

Child Marriages, Trafficking Will Soar After Nepal Quake - Charity

May 19 , 2015, Thomson Reuters Foundation   By: Emma Batha

With more than 8,500 fatalities, the two earthquakes that struck Nepal on April 25 and May 12 have yielded catastrophic repercussions that many overlook. Due to criminals seeking to take advantage of orphans and increased rape, there will be a significant surge in child marriage and trafficking rates, which are already high in Nepal.

According to Anand Tamang, the director of CREHPA, a Nepalese organization against child marriage, children will become more vulnerable in the aftermath of the earthquakes. "Rape is taking place. Almost every week we have a case of a young girl being raped… Parents who have young girls… will think the best way to ensure her safety will be to marry her," he said. In addition to concerns about safety, families will also marry off young girls with the expenses or destruction of schools.

Child marriage increases the probabilities of childbirth complications and sexual and domestic abuse. Tamang describes child marriage as "a social evil [that deprives] the chance to enjoy the life of an adolescent… of her education and her aspirations." This is not only an issue in Nepal; throughout the world, more than 700 million women today were married before they were 18, with one in three girls in developing nations married before the age of 18.

To combat this problem, almost 300 delegates are attending the three-day meeting in Casablanca hosted by Girls Not Brides (GNB) doclink

Heejin says: Although many do not think of the issue of child marriages and trafficking as one of the more major ramifications of the Nepal earthquake, it is essential for people to recognize this problem, as this directly affects future generations.

Karen Gaia says: Trafficking is a big problem in Nepal. Not only trafficking of sex, but also of body parts. Most of it is to India. Children are also given into slavery to a neighboring, more well-off, family.

'So What If I'm on the Dole'?' Mother of Ten Children by Five Fathers Now Wants 50 Grandchildren to Keep Benefits Rolling in

May 19, 2015, Daily Mail   By: Martin Robinson

A single mother with ten children by five fathers has said she wants 50 grandchildren so they can become Britain's biggest benefits family. Mandy Cowie, 49, has lived on benefits for 30 yr., and her own children have been following the same jobless path. She receives about £22,000-a-year in government handouts and encourages her children to have 5 babies each so the checks will keep pouring in.

Ms Cowie has spent £2,000 on tattoos, including one that says: "Only God can judge me." In a recent TV show, her children describe how to milk the system to gain as much cash from the state as possible. doclink

Art says: Fear that welfare was becoming a way of life lead the Clinton administration to introduce TANF (a.k.a. Welfare to Work). An additional safeguard (not in use) would provide benefits more directly to children (through the schools and health insurance) without handing any checks to parents. Section 8 housing would allow parents to house their children and themselves, but since all other benefits would go directly to the children, parents would need to fend for themselves.

Karen Gaia says: there is plenty to be gained by focusing on meeting the unmet need for contraception in the U.S. (and probably in the U.K.) 50% of pregnancies are unintended, and many of these can be prevented by making long-acting reversible methods free and available.

Let's focus our efforts in developed countries on the unmet need, rather than on shaming people for how many children they have.

The Amazing, Surprising, Africa-Driven Demographic Future of the Earth, in 9 Charts

July 16 , 2015, Washington Post   By: Max Fisher

The United Nations Population Division has dramatically revised its projections for the next 90 years. The new statistics, based on in-depth survey data from sub-Saharan Africa, tell the story of a world poised to change drastically over the next several decades. Most rich countries will shrink and age, poorer countries will expand rapidly and Africa will see a population explosion nearly unprecedented in human history.

Here is the story of the next 90 years as predicted by UN demographic data and explained in nine charts. The charts are interactive. Click on the link in the headline to see the charts.

In 2100 today's dominant, developed economies will be increasingly focused on supporting the elderly and Africa, for better or worse, will be more important than ever.

In Africa there will four times the workforce, four times the resource burden, four times as many voters. The rapid growth itself will likely transform political and social dynamics within African countries and thus their relationship with the rest of the world.

Nigeria will have almost a billion people by 2100 and will be within range of surpassing China in population. Nigeria is only about the area of Texas and the country is already troubled by corruption, poverty and religious conflict. The government that can barely serve its population right now. How will it respond when the demand on resources, social services, schools and roads increases by a factor of eight. The country's vast oil reserves could certainly help - the rapidly growing workforce could theoretically deliver an African miracle akin to, say, China's.

Right now, many African countries aren't particularly adept at either governance or resource management. If they don't improve, exploding population growth could only worsen resource competition -- and we're talking here about basics like food, water and electricity -- which in turn makes political instability and conflict more likely. The fact that there will be a "youth bulge" of young people makes that instability and conflict more likely.

Tanzania, one of the poorest countries in the world, went from 34 million people in 2000 to 45 million today. By 2100 it is projected to reach 276 million. Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have similar projections.

If Tanzania remains as poor and troubled as it is today, water and food resources will only get scarcer as it's divided among more and more people, as will whatever money the government makes exporting natural resources. That typically leads to instability and a higher risk of conflict. But if Tanzania puts its growing population to work building the economy, its future in 2100 could be promising.

The "dependency ratio" is the ratio of people under age 15 or over age 64 to the number of people age 15 to 64. The idea is that people who are very young or very old are dependent on others to provide for them. In Africa only 56% Africans are working-age, and the dependency ratio is 80%. That's a huge burden on society and a big contributor to poverty. But as the birth rate slows and those young dependents enter the work force, the dependency ratio is going to fall, dropping to 60% by 2055. There will be a lot of young men who could be employed, (creating a 'demographic dividend') but if resources are scarce, this can create political instability.

Europe, as it continues to shrink, will get the worst of the economic problems, with the average dependency ratio hitting an Africa-style 76% in 2055.

South America is expected to reach a deeply worrying 82% dependency ratio by 2100. Its population will rise until about 2050, at which point it will begin its own gradual population decline.

Asia's population growth, already slowing, is expected to peak about 50 years from now then start declining. Its dependency ratio, currently low, will stay low until it starts to rise around 2050.

In China, when the current generation retires, there will be a rapidly growing pool of retirees just as the workforce starts to shrink. Those aging retirees will be an enormous burden on the Chinese economy, which is just beginning to slow down.

North America continue to grow at a slow, sustainable rate, surpassing South America's overall population around 2070.

Because the United States can expect healthy, sustained growth, mostly due to immigration, it will continue to be a leader economically. Immigration helps the U.S. to do what very few other countries, including China, has yet figured out: how to be a rich country with a growing population. doclink

Art says: The article text concludes that population growth is the best assurance of economic growth. It never suggests that nearly doubling our existing population might have any bad consequences - only that some African nations might have adjustment problems due to population increases. It strongly advocates the dependency ratio theory which says that low fertility rates lead to economic decline.

However, the Washington Post author may not be representing the UN data correctly. His twist that dependency ratio is the major problem of concern when the population nearly doubles may not represent the views of UN demographers who gathered the data.

Karen says: The author seems to think that improved governance or resource management are going to be enough to overcome resource depletion, which, if you do the math, means that by 2100 the resources per person are going to be 1/8 of what they are today, unless something is done. This something has got to be very miraculous, such as pulling rabbits out of a hat, as Paul Ehrlich said. There aren't any more rabbits.

The author says "Even if too-high fertility might be bad for the region, individual families have every economic incentive to have lots of children." This statement is utterly false. In rural areas, large families outgrow their farmland. The grown or teen children, and sometimes the entire family, have no choice but to move to the city where they can possibly get work. If the economy is poor, there is no work. In the city, the child is even more of a financial burden. Often the children end up in the streets or given into slavery, or child labor, or - in the case of girls - married off early. Often the father has to seek a job overseas. If he is lucky, he can make enough to send money back to his family. In many cases, such as in Qatar, he becomes an indentured servant, and receives no payment.

The author asks: "How do you sustain your economy if the average worker spends a third of his or her life on retirement?"

First of all, people that can afford good medical care are the ones that live the longest. They are better off financially, and have been able to save for their retirement because they had fewer children to support.

Second, the fallacy of that logic is that, the reason that the U.S. has a high dependency ratio is because the current generation of retirees were baby boomers, resulting from a time when the U.S. fertility rate was 3.7. If a country increases its birth rate, or has high immigration to 'support' those retirees, then there will be another baby boom which will result in the same situation 20-30 years later, and even more people will be needed to support retirees and the economy. This perpetuates a vicious cycle of ever-increasing population, which will always and increasingly outstrip resources.

Third, often ignored is the fact that one of the contributors to population growth is people living longer, so that more generations are alive at one time. We older Americans often expect to be kept alive at great costs to society. Is it fair to younger generations to expect them to support us as we prolong our lives beyond natural limits, and in the meantime consume more of our world's stores of depleting resources? Wouldn't be better if us retirees help insure that our grandchildren have a future?

Art adds: Spain and Italy have nearly the world's highest dependency ratios, yet unemployment was 30% in 2013 and youth unemployment was 50%. Perhaps birthrates plummeted in part because they couldn't find enough jobs for those "scarce" workers. At any rate, immigrants are risking their lives to get to Italy to compete for work with this unemployed group. According to the dependency ratio theory, Italy should have a surplus of jobs, but it doesn't seem to work that way.

Calif. Law Could Improve Birth Control Access; Oregon Considers Similar Measure

May 21, 2015, National Partnership for Women and Families

Effective in June, a 2013 California law (SB 493) lets any pharmacist write prescriptions for contraception and sell the prescription without involving a physician. When women request contraception, the pharmacist must follow a protocol filed with state regulators by the California Board of Pharmacy. Before receiving the contraception a woman must complete a health questionnaire, undergo a blood pressure test, and consult with the pharmacist on dosage and other information.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other medical groups support over-the-counter contraception. A study published last year in Contraception found that the practice could cut unintended pregnancies by 25%. For uninsured women, dealing only with a pharmacist's is likely to cost less and take less time than physician visits. For those insured under the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148), insurers must cover all forms of FDA-approved contraceptives, including those prescribed by pharmacists.

California Pharmacists Association CEO Jon Roth noted that while major retail chains can advertise the service, consumers may take a while to notice how the pharmacists' role has changed.

Similarly, the Oregon House Rules Committee has revived a proposal that would allow women to obtain contraception without a physician's prescription. doclink

Art says: It was not stated whether the Oregon measure requires a pharmacist prescription.

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