The Reporter Population Connection
Volume 44, Issue 2 June 2012
Sustainable Development for the Bottom Billion (and a Half )
ype “sustainability” in Google, and you get 271,000,000 hits. If you spent just three minutes perusing each one, eight hours every day, you’d be done in just over 4,640 years. Of course, a few more articles might have popped up during the intervening 46 centuries. The task is impossible— just as it is impossible to imagine what the world will be like in the year 6652. Here’s what we already know: Barring some catastrophic global event, the world population will be much higher in 2050 than it is today. In the next 48 years, we’ll likely add more than 2 billion people to the planet, and perhaps as many as 4 billion. Africa’s population is likely to double to somewhere around 2 billion over the next four decades. That continent is already confronted daily by challenges from armed conflict to water and food shortages to health crises. Now imagine twice as many people struggling to survive. Look beyond 2050 and population numbers could soar higher, much higher, depending on what we do today and in the near future. It takes a long time for population growth to get sorted out even if family size declines. While the solutions to achieve sustainability are as complex and diverse as our planet itself, the math is fairly simple. The more people we have, the greater the challenge both to our ecosystems and to all creatures that inhabit them, ourselves included. When it comes to global warming, population growth is the single biggest slice of the carbon pie. Moving to a low population trajectory through access to voluntary family planning could reduce carbon emissions more than a world auto fleet powered entirely by electricity. And unlike the work being
done on many other sustainability fronts, we already know how to meet the population challenge. The longer I work on this issue, the more convinced I am that we must connect with the next generation. There is simply no way we can solve today’s mounting challenges overnight, or even over several decades. And then there is the pressing need to break the political logjam. If we can find enough bright, young minds and inspire them to tackle challenges like population growth, maybe we can end the current impasse. That’s why we held 544 Population Education workshops last year. Along with our network of 420 professional educators who serve as volunteer trainers, we conducted face-to-face programs for 11,300 teachers. We demonstrated how to incorporate population themes and activities into 11 different curriculum areas from kindergarten all the way up to Advanced Placement. Reaching 3 million students annually makes a real difference. We can train a teacher for about $50. The demand for our programs always exceeds the amount we can supply, based on our budget. A world without population growth won’t be a utopia. The fact that women in Iran now only have two children each has not magically resolved the political conflicts in that part of the world. But, when population pressures are reduced, the potential for crises and conflicts over scarce resources can be diminished. It offers hope for a better world. That may be the most important legacy one generation can pass on to the next.
John Seager email@example.com
Help Make the Population College Connection
It’s going to take an extended, concentrated effort to achieve population stabilization. That’s why we need the next generation. We’re already active on more than 100 college campuses, and we’re expanding our outreach. You can help. Just email Lee Polansky at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at (202) 974-7702 if you know of opportunities for us to make presentations on any campus across the country. There is never any fee or other cost involved since reaching young people is central to our grassroots mission. The Reporter — June 2012
The Reporter Volume 44, Issue 2 June 2012
8 Demographic Challenges for Sustainable Development
By a Global Expert Panel
Nine Population Strategies to Stop Short of 9 Billion
At the Mercy of Circumstance No Longer
Letters to the Editor
In the News
tax-deductible in accordance with current laws.
The President’s Circle
The Reporter (ISSN 0199-0071)
Field & Outreach
President and CEO John Seager
Editor and Designer Marian Starkey Contributors
Robert Engelman, Rebecca Harrington, Stacie Murphy, Shauna Scherer, John
Seager, Tess Shellard, Alex Starkey, Marian
By Robert Engelman
By Tess Shellard
Starkey, Pamela Wasserman
Overpopulation threatens the quality of life for
people everywhere. Population Connection is the national grassroots population organization that
educates young people and advocates progressive
action to stabilize world population at a level that can be sustained by earth’s resources.
Annual membership includes a one-year
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A mother and child fishing for octopus in Madagascar. Photo: Blue Ventures
June 2012 — The Reporter
io+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, will take place June 20-22 in Rio de Janeiro, site of the original Rio Earth Summit in 1992.
The UN has decided that conference attendees will focus on seven critical themes: jobs, energy, cities, food, water, oceans, and disasters. Population stabilization is paramount to achieving progress on all of these issues. However, the only mention of population in the zero draft (the pre-conference draft of recommendations) is this paragraph: We are deeply concerned that around 1.4 billion people still live in extreme poverty and one-sixth of the world’s population is undernourished, pandemics and epidemics are omnipresent threats. Unsustainable development has increased the stress on the earth’s limited natural resources and on the carrying capacity of ecosystems. Our planet supports seven billion people expected to reach nine billion by 2050. So how exactly are we to improve the quality of life for the 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty while at the same time avoiding environmental catastrophe? After all, the definition of sustainable development is “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Fortunately, coalitions and alliances have proposed adding language about population and reproductive health to the final outcome document of the conference, to supplant the deficient zero draft. One such alliance took the form of a global panel of 21 population and development experts. They gathered in Vienna in October to lay out recommendations for the revised outcome document. The experts settled on five points of action that they would like the conference agenda to address. Among them, “Invest in human capital—people’s education and health, including reproductive health—to slow population growth...” The complete statement of recommendations by the panel appears on page 8. At the same time that population advocates are disappointed population was left off the original conference agenda,
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politicians around the country are rallying against Rio because they find it too meddlesome. The Tennessee House recently voted to condemn Agenda 21, the nonbinding sustainable development plan drafted at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Lawmakers who voted for the resolution are concerned about a “socialist/communist redistribution of wealth” and believe that population stabilization will be achieved through forced abortion. This claim, which is of course ludicrous, is supported by the Republican National Committee. Georgia and New Hampshire are considering anti-Agenda 21 resolutions as well. One of the most trusted voices on population, sustainability, and women’s rights is Robert Engelman, President of the Worldwatch Institute. Bob allowed us to excerpt his chapter from the latest issue of State of the World, in which he outlines the steps necessary to achieve population stabilization. Population Connection members who join our Leadership Circle may receive a hard copy of State of the World. Details are outlined at the end of the article, which begins on page 12. To provide real world depth to this issue, Tess Shellard of Blue Ventures wrote a beautiful article which appears on page 20. Blue Ventures helps residents in poor, remote communities of Belize and Madagascar conserve their natural environments through sustainable livelihood practices, while simultaneously providing them with health—including reproductive health and family planning—services. Blue Ventures receives support from USAID, so serves as an excellent example of the type of organization that an increase in international family planning funding would benefit. With 1.4 billion people already living in extreme poverty, a population increase of billions more in the poorest places on earth would crush attempts to develop and improve the lives of the people living there. We must work toward universal access to family planning so that the most vulnerable people on earth have a chance to thrive.
Marian Starkey firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters to the Editor
ndence to mstarkey@popc onnect.org. Letters are also accepted via postal mail. Le tters may be edited for clar ity and length .
Attn: Marian St Population Co
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I found your magazine at my local library. I think your publication is very well put-together and very educational. More people need to know about these issues. Ann Solkowski Elgin,Texas The Editor’s Note was a powerful article. Keep up the good work! Susan Hollier The Woodlands, Texas PopEd Teacher Trainer I read your President’s Note in the February issue of The Reporter. I found it disconcerting. I know family planning and population control are important to the planet and posterity; however, I think your tone is too strident. You offend Catholics by talking about never-married men in Vatican robes, and you alienate moderate Democrats and Republicans by stating they wear Brooks Brothers suits and have twelfth century ideas. These statements will not change minds or achieve the need for common ground. I think it behooves you to talk about the positive benefits of population limitation and family planning for all members of the planet without the invective. Why not focus on the environmental issue, quality of life, and the need for humanity to work together. William Lemmey Astoria, New York Member since 1993 I am a new member and am VERY eager to see your latest issue of The Reporter, as my sister, a longtime member, has told me how amazing it is! Lisa Kemmerer Billings, Montana Member since 2012 www.popconnect.org
Kudos to your editor on the latest issue of The Reporter. The photos of the child brides were stunning. I hope to present them to our particularly conservative House Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle at some time. Keep up the good work. Joyce Homan Dewitt, New York Member since 1979, President’s Circle member I have just read my February issue of The Reporter cover-tocover for the second time. The content of your magazine is just excellent—from the President’s and Editor’s Notes and the articles on the International Conference on Family Planning, child brides, and the Tostan Community Empowerment Program to the updates on legislative issues and your education and outreach work. It is so heartening to learn that there is such a preeminent group called The Elders working on the issue of child marriage. Thank you for the hope, knowledge, and a connection to these truly inspiring initiatives, programs, and people. Cathy Kashanski East Calais, Vermont Member since 1986 Your article on the family planning conference in Senegal was well written, informative, and entertaining. Bud Wild Ft. Pierce, Florida Member since 2003 Congratulations on putting out such a beautiful publication. Dina McQueen Santa Fe, New Mexico Member since 2011 June 2012 — The Reporter
Construction of a permanent lavatory in a slum area of Tangra Colony, Kolkata, India. Improper sanitation and lack of awareness have endangered public health in this area, and now the government is working toward improvements in environmental pollution and health conditions. Photo: Gopal Bhattacharjee
• 2.7 billion people do not have clean cooking facilities.
—World Energy Outlook Children in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya collect charcoal dust that will be recycled into cleanburning fuel briquettes. Kenyan energy company Chardust Ltd. and community organization MUUM have partnered in this charcoal recycling effort that both improves the environment and generates income for local residents. Photo: S. Njuguna
The Reporter — June 2012
—Energy Access Situation
A woman in Kibera, Nairobi, Kenya operates a kiosk selling clean-burning fuel briquettes made from recycled waste charcoal dust. The kiosks are part of a charcoal recycling effort led by Chardust Ltd. and MUUM. Photo: S. Njuguna
• 1.3 billion people live without electricity.
• Despite progress, population growth means that 2.7 billion people will remain without clean cooking facilities in 2030.
To keep pace with population growth and maintain the 2008 level of electricity access in developing countries will entail providing access for an additional 350 million people by 2015. Keeping pace with population growth and maintaining present levels of developing-world access to modern fuels will require providing access to cleaner, more efficient fuels for some 200 million additional people by 2015.
Photos on these two pages courtesy of Photoshare
Plastic lines the beaches of the pristine waters along the Red Sea on the extreme southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula in Dodoba, Yemen. Photo: Micah Albert
More than 2 billion people worldwide gained access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2010. However, at least 11 percent of the world’s population—783 million people—are still without access to safe drinking water. Over 40 percent of all people globally who lack access to drinking water live in sub-Saharan Africa.
A mason makes toilet pans at a rural sanitary mart in West Bengal, India. Photo: Anil Gulati
Only 63 percent of the world population has access to improved sanitation, a figure projected to increase to only 67 percent by 2015. 2.5 billion people are without improved sanitation. —UNICEF and WHO
Workers at the Plastic Recycling Center in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso clean plastic waste in preparation for processing. Photo: Andrea Micconi
June 2012 — The Reporter
Abortion More Prevalent Where Restricted A new study, conducted by the Guttmacher Institute and WHO and published in The Lancet, found that the rate of abortion is higher in countries where it is illegal or highly restricted, and that abortions carried out in places where it is illegal tend to be unsafe (done by people lacking necessary skills or in places that don’t meet minimal medical standards). The highest abortion rates in 2008 were in Eastern Europe (43 per 1,000 women), the Caribbean (39), Eastern Africa (38), Central Africa (36), and Southeast Asia (36). (Abortion is legal in Eastern Europe, but modern contraceptive use is very low, leading to a very high rate of legal abortion.) The lowest rates were in Western Europe (12 per 1,000 women), Southern Africa (15), Oceania (17), Northern Africa (18), and North America (19). The global abortion rate fell from 35 to 29 per 1,000 women aged 15-49 between 1995 and 2003. But by 2008, the rate had only declined to 28 per 1,000 women. The decline appears to have stalled, due largely to an uptick in abortions in the developing world. Because of population growth and a slower annual increase in contraceptive use, the number of abortions went up by 2.2 million from 2003, to 43.8 million in 2008. In Africa, the rate of unsafe abortion was 28 per 1,000 women 15-49. The rate was 31 per 1,000 in Latin America. This compares with a rate of 0.5 per 1,000 in 6
The Reporter — June 2012
Western Europe and North America. The rate of unsafe abortion increased to nearly half (49 percent) of all procedures in 2008, from 44 percent in 1995. Unsafe abortion caused 220 deaths per 100,000 procedures in 2008. About 47,000 women died from unsafe abortions in 2008, and another 8.5 million women suffered serious medical complications. Gilda Sedgh, lead author of the study, commented, “Without greater investment in quality family planning services, we can expect this trend to persist.”
U.S. Teen Birth Rate at Record Low in 2010 Owing to delayed sexual activity and higher contraceptive use, especially of the most effective methods, the teen birth rate reached a new record low in 2010, according to new figures by the CDC. The rate is the lowest it’s been since 1946, just after records started being kept. The teen birth rate decreased 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, reaching an all time low of 34.3 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19. The downward trend is evident across ethnicities. While this is excellent news, the U.S. continues to have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the developed world, according to the CDC.
American Teens Ignorant About Risk of Pregnancy Researchers surveyed 5,000 teen mothers
in 19 states from 2004-2008 and found that half were not using contraception when they got pregnant. Of those not using contraception, 31 percent believed that they couldn’t get pregnant (a situation dubbed “magical thinking”). Another 13 percent said they had difficulty obtaining contraception. A quarter had partners who didn’t want them to use contraception. And 22 percent said they didn’t really mind if they got pregnant. Of the teens who were using contraception when they got pregnant, 20 percent were relying on the pill or the birth control patch. Another 24 percent were using condoms. CDC researchers believe that teens were not using the methods correctly or consistently, rather than that the methods themselves were faulty. About 400,000 teens give birth in the United States each year.
Obama Administration Can’t Please Bishops The Conference of Catholic Bishops lobbied for an exemption to the new health care rule that requires health insurance plans to cover birth control without copays. The exemption would have applied to all religiously affiliated employers that offer health insurance to their employees. The White House rejected the plea in January. After a month of negotiations, the White House issued a modification in February. Under the modification, religious organizations will not be required to cover contraception directly; rather, the insurance companies will be required
to offer contraceptive coverage without copays directly to employees in the case that the employee works for a religious institution.
disdain for how polarized the two political parties have become.
The modification ensures that women get the contraceptive coverage they need, while the religious institutions in question can avoid responsibility for covering contraception if they have objections to doing so.
The Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation announced in February that it would not renew grants to 17 of 19 Planned Parenthood affiliates for breast cancer screenings. The newly appointed (and since resigned) Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Karen Handel, is believed to have been the driving force behind ending the grants.
The Conference of Catholic Bishops and the Republican presidential frontrunners protested the modification, making clear that their problem is not with religious organizations being required to provide contraceptive coverage to employees, but, rather, with employees receiving contraceptive coverage from any source.
Blunt Amendment Defeated Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced an amendment to a highway funding bill in February that would have allowed any employer to refuse to provide insurance coverage for any medical procedure, based on moral or religious objection. The amendment was offered in response to the birth control coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act. It was narrowly defeated, largely along party lines, 51-48. Democrats Robert P. Casey Jr. (PA), Joe Manchin (WV), and Ben Nelson (NE) broke with their party and voted for the amendment, while Republican Olympia Snowe (ME) voted against it. Sen. Snowe announced her plans to retire the same week that the amendment was introduced, citing www.popconnect.org
Komen Foundation Media Nightmare
After a huge outcry by pro-choice Komen supporters, the foundation revised its policy to allow Planned Parenthood to apply for future grants (but did not say anything about whether the grants would be awarded).
VA Mandates Ultrasound Governor Bob McDonnell signed a bill in February to require women seeking an abortion in Virginia to obtain (and pay for) an ultrasound. The technician performing the ultrasound must display the monitor so that it faces the patient and also must describe in detail what is on the screen. The original bill would have required a transvaginal ultrasound, which is obtained by inserting a wand into the vagina. An abdominal ultrasound does not produce an image detailed enough to meet the requirements of the original bill. During the first trimester, when the vast majority of abortions are performed, the fetus is too small to be viewed in detail with an abdominal ultrasound.
After ridicule by women’s groups, Democrats in the Virginia legislature, and late-night comedy shows, lawmakers amended the bill so that the less invasive ultrasound procedure could be used. As a Washington Post editorial noted, the Republican party says that it’s unconstitutional to force Americans to buy health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, but apparently they don’t mind forcing women to pay for an unnecessary medical procedure.
TX Forfeits Medicaid Dollars to Avoid Funding Planned Parenthood A law passed last year by the Texas legislature bans Medicaid funding to organizations affiliated with abortion providers, even if the clinics themselves do not provide abortions. The move violates federal law, which states that Medicaid patients must be free to choose any qualified provider for their health care. As a result, the federal government announced in March that it would end funding to the Texas Medicaid Women’s Health Program. The program serves 130,000 low-income women. Texas is suing the federal government over the decision, and eight Planned Parenthood affiliates (none of which provide abortions) are suing Texas. A federal judge ruled in May in favor of Planned Parenthood, which the state immediately appealed. The fight continues. To read the original articles from which these summaries were taken, see www.popconnect.org/news June 2012 — The Reporter
Demographic Challenges for Sustainable Development
The Laxenburg Declaration on Population and Sustainable Development Statement of a Global Expert Panel location, and other socioeconomic characteristics. New evidence indicates that human capital, enhanced through education and health (including reproductive health), can make a substantial difference in people’s contributions to sustainable development and their capacity to adapt to environmental change.
Children attend class at a monastic school in Hlegu, Myanmar. When parents cannot afford education fees for their children, they send them to monastic schools where Buddhist monks and volunteers teach them for free. Photo: Khin Maung Win, Courtesy of Photoshare
onvinced by the need to integrate the three pillars of sustainable development (economic development, social development, and environmental protection), IIASA (with funding from the United Nations Population Fund) brought together more than 20 population and development experts to discuss how population factors promote or impede sustainable development. The experts conclude with five broad actions that they recommend to the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. Following are their conclusions and recommendations: “Human beings are at the centre of concern for sustainable development.” This was the view expressed in the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, which we reaffirm. Therefore, consideration of the changing numbers, characteristics, and distributions of human beings on the planet must
The Reporter — June 2012
be at the core of any serious analysis of challenges and opportunities for sustainable development. Any analysis of sustainable development must recognize the differences among people in terms of their impacts on the environment and their vulnerabilities to risk, which depend on their age, gender,
Only by accounting for and addressing demographic factors will it be possible to achieve sustainable development. Investments in human capital should be emphasized alongside other measures to promote sustainable development, a “green economy,” and adaptation to environmental change.
The Current Demographic Divide
Over the last half century, world population has more than doubled, from 3 billion in 1960 to 7 billion today. Because of the young age structure in low- and middle-income countries, continuing population growth in the coming decades is a virtual certainty, even in the unlikely event that birth rates fall precipitously in these countries. Consequently, the world’s population will very likely be between 8 and 11 billion by 2050, depending primarily on the speed of future fertility decline. But this population growth will not occur evenly across the globe. Indeed, traditional demographic groupings have broken down. While the population of sub-Saharan Africa is likely to increase by a factor of three to five over the course of this century, Eastern Europe is already on a declining trajectory. China, due to its very rapid recent fertility decline, is likely to reach
a peak population in 10–20 years and then enter an era of population decline. Along with China and other developing countries with low fertility, the industrialized countries face the challenges of population aging and changing living arrangements, including the adjustments that need to be made to social security and health care systems. Meanwhile, life expectancies are on the rise in most
Women and children enjoy electricity generated from windmill energy at their village hut in India. Photo: Abhijit Dey, Courtesy of Photoshare
countries, even those worst hit by HIV/ AIDS. Mortality decline is a long-term trend that research indicates will likely continue, both in countries where people now live the longest and in those where life expectancy is much shorter. Levels of mobility, urbanization, and education also differ substantially among and within regions, adding significant dimensions to the demographic divide. Nearly all of the world’s population www.popconnect.org
growth will occur in the cities and towns of today’s poor countries, primarily because of rural-to-urban migration combined with high national population growth. Meanwhile, the populations of many low-fertility countries will be declining. The demographic divide between rapidly growing urban populations in poor countries and slow growth or decline in industrialized countries is historically unprecedented. These demographic differences fundamentally affect people’s contribution to environmental burdens, their ability to participate in sustainable development, and their adaptability to a changing environment. Different demographic challenges require differentiated responses. The developmental challenges are by far the most significant where population growth and poverty are the highest, education is the lowest, and vulnerabilities to environmental change are the greatest. Negative impacts on the environment tend to be the most significant where people’s material consumption levels are at their highest.
Demographic Factors in the Transition to a Green Economy
Efforts to meet the legitimate needs and aspirations of rapidly growing populations in developing countries and to reduce poverty will entail higher consumption and production; if inappropriately managed, these efforts will further increase pressure on the natural environment. As well as increasing carbon emissions through fossil fuel combustion with current technologies, population growth also often contributes to depletion and degradation of essential life-support systems,
This expert panel convened at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna on September 30-October 1, 2011. Panel members, all of whom attest to this statement*, are: Wolfgang Lutz William Butz Marcia Castro Partha DasGupta Paul Demeny Isaac Ehrlich Silvia Giorguli Demissie Habte Adrian C. Hayes Leiwen Jiang David King Detlef Kotte Martin Lees Paulina Makinwa-Adebusoye Gordon McGranahan Vinod Mishra Mark Montgomery Keywan Riahi Sergei Scherbov Peng Xizhe Brenda Yeoh
*The views expressed in this document are those of the signatories; they do not necessarily reflect the views of their employers or the organizations they represent.
June 2012 — The Reporter
urban growth is most rapid, reducing vulnerability will require the urban transition to be achieved without the creation of undue environmental hazards or social inequality.
Investing in the Tide of Global Youth
A group of women living with HIV learn about sustainable farming and water in Northern Zambia. Photo: Nathaniel Segaren, Courtesy of Photoshare
including deforestation, depletion of aquatic resources, air pollution, loss of biodiversity, and degradation of agricultural lands. It is important to reduce such negative impacts on the environment and the global climate in order to
Research in the last decade suggests that education increases people’s life opportunities in general, greatly contributes to technological and social innovation, and creates the mental flexibility required for a rapid transition to a green economy. This
“Fertility decline in high-fertility countries, by slowing population growth, makes many environmental problems easier to solve and development easier to achieve.” derive multiple benefits for local as well as global sustainable development. Fertility decline in high-fertility countries, by slowing population growth, makes many environmental problems easier to solve and development easier to achieve. Some of these benefits operate through the changing age structure that declining fertility induces. If the number of children relative to the working-age population is reduced, the demographic dependency ratio falls, creating an opportunity to increase investments in health, education, infrastructure, and environmental protection. It has been shown empirically that this demographic bonus, if properly utilized, can help propel countries out of poverty. 10 The Reporter — June 2012
applies to both low- and high-income countries. Hence, the enhancement of human capital from early childhood to old age through formal and informal education and life-long learning is now known to be a decisive policy priority. The majority of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and urbanization is certain to continue. As recent research has affirmed, urbanization often improves people’s economic productivity and their access to education, health, and other services. However, urban population growth also presents challenges for urban planning and good governance: challenges that are especially acute in environmentally fragile locations. For the African and Asian countries where
A striking demographic challenge is the rapidly increasing tide of young people entering the labor markets of developing countries with high aspirations but limited opportunities to find productive employment. Globally, there are 1.2 billion young men and women aged 15–24, the typical age for entering the labor market. And there are many more young people to come. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, the population aged 15–24 will likely increase from its current level of 170 million to 360 million by mid-century. With youth unemployment rates already high, assuring proper education and creating jobs for those hundreds of millions of young people are top priorities. If not given the chance for a decent life, these masses of young people without much hope for the future can pose a serious threat to social and political stability. But if they are provided with education and appropriate jobs, the young possess enormous potential for innovation, including the ability to adopt new technologies that accelerate economic progress and speed up the transition to a green economy. With a long life ahead of them, young people are likely to have genuine interest in sustainability because they themselves would experience the repercussions of unsustainable trends. Ages 15-24 are when people marry and begin to have children. Increasing education and employment will have a predictably major impact on fertility decline through postponed marriage and childbearing, thereby reducing future population growth in the developing
world. Hence, ensuring appropriate investment in young people—which must begin in early childhood when the seeds of future development are planted—must be an essential component of broader policy packages to promote global sustainable development.
Differential Vulnerability of People Must Shape Appropriate Policy
Environmental degradation and climate change do not affect all countries and all geographic regions in the same way. Vulnerability also varies significantly among people living in the same region,
A young girl studies to secure a better future in India. Photo: Pawan Sharma, Courtesy of Photoshare
according to their socioeconomic circumstances. Even within a household, effects can differ importantly according to age and gender. Policies to reduce vulnerability must therefore focus on the most vulnerable segments of the population within countries and regions. Region-specific or even urban/ruralspecific policies alone no longer suffice. Ignoring the more particular demographic dimensions of vulnerability will misdirect the focus of policy and dilute its impacts. www.popconnect.org
The spatial distribution of populations among regions, between village and city, and across cities is a significant dimension of sustainable development. Migration within and between countries has always been an integral part of the human response to changing economic, social, and environmental conditions. This pattern is likely to continue, not only due to increased economic opportunities facilitated by improved information and transport systems and globalization of production and labor markets, but also exacerbated by population displacement and relocation due to environmental degradation and civil conflict. The principal demographic factors that increase vulnerability are poverty, poor health, low levels of education, gender inequality, declining family support for the elderly, and unfavorable geographic location. Populations with these characteristics also often lack a political voice, putting them at even greater risk. Within these populations, women and children are usually the poorest and least empowered. Vulnerability is reduced and adaptive capacity enhanced where there is investment in poor people’s human capital, particularly their education, and most particularly the education of girls
“Only by accounting for and addressing demographic factors will it be possible to achieve sustainable development.” and women, whose importance in these adoptive and adaptive processes is now known to be especially great. Policies that do not include features focused on these people will likely not succeed.
Five Action Implications for Sustainable Development 1. Recognize that the numbers, characteristics, and behaviors of people are at the heart of sustainable development challenges and of their solutions. 2. Identify subpopulations that contribute most to environmental degradation and those that are most vulnerable to its consequences. In poor countries especially, these subpopulations are readily identifiable according to age, gender, level of education, place of residence, and standard of living. 3. Devise sustainable development policies to treat these subpopulations differently and appropriately, according to their demographic and behavioral characteristics. 4. Facilitate the inevitable trend of increasing urbanization in ways that ensure that environmental hazards and vulnerabilities are under control. 5. Invest in human capital— people’s education and health, including reproductive health—to slow population growth, accelerate the transition to green technologies, and improve people’s adaptive capacity to environmental change. To see the online document, please visit www.popconnect.org/Laxenburg
June 2012 — The Reporter 11
Nine Population Strategies to Stop Short of 9 Billion By Robert Engelman
dozen years into the twenty-first century we have little time left to bring the world’s population—now 7 billion and counting— to a shared prosperity without bequeathing future humanity an overheated, resource-scarce, biologically impoverished planet. Yet even with the scientific evidence of our predicament now powerfully before us, governments have failed to develop policies that significantly limit environmental risk and spur equitable human development. At some point, greenhouse gas emissions will need to peak and begin falling. At some point, human fertility will need to fall below the level that spurs ongoing population growth. At some point, human development will need to reach thresholds at which all people can expect reasonable access to safe water, nutritious food, low-carbon energy, and decent health care, schools, and housing. After bold attempts in UN conferences to push governments toward strong action on the global environment and development in 1972 and 1992 (and at several points since), we can hope that the ideas for building sustainability have proliferated and ripened to the point where time and opportunity at last coalesce. We can hope that despite the many distractions and the pull of politics as usual, many in and out of government this year feel what Martin Luther King Jr. called, in a different but related context, “the fierce urgency of now” and can contemplate changing directions dramatically and fast.
12 The Reporter — June 2012
A nine-months pregnant Niruta Bahadur Balami, 14, carries grass to her familyâ€™s farm for the animals to graze on in Kagati Village, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal on Jan. 30, 2007. Photo: Stephanie Sinclair/VII
June 2012 â€” The Reporter 13
n 1992, governments at the Rio Earth Summit made a historic commitment to sustainable development—an economic system that promotes the health of both people and ecosystems. Twenty years and several summits later, human civilization has never been closer to ecological collapse, one-third of humanity lives in poverty, and another 2 billion people are projected to join the human race over the next 40 years. How will we move toward sustainable prosperity equitably shared among all even as our population grows, our cities strain to accommodate more and more people, and our ecological systems decline? The demographers who calculate the future size of world population are not so much wrong as misunderstood. Humanity may indeed grow to 9 billion people by the middle of this century from 7 billion today and then stop increasing sometime in the twenty-second century around 10 billion. But this outcome is far from inevitable. It is neither an estimate nor a prediction but merely a projection—a conditional forecast of what will come about if current assumptions about declining human fertility and mortality prove true. No one, however, can be certain where birth or death rates will go in the coming years. (Migration rates are even less certain, but they only influence global population if birth and death rates change because people move.) And although policymakers and the news media rarely mention the possibility, societies can do a great deal to prompt an earlier peaking of world population at fewer than the “expected” 9 billion. Ending population growth would accelerate population aging, which means a rising median age for people in a country or the world. That could challenge societies economically as smaller proportions of a population are working and contributing to the
14 The Reporter — June 2012
retirement and health care benefits of a growing number of older, non-working people. Yet that is all but certain to be a manageable trade-off in return for longer lives in a less crowded and environmentally stressed world.
Ending Population Growth
The contribution that an end to population growth would make to environmentally sustainable prosperity is straightforward. The future of wealth and its distribution will be closely linked to the future of the global climate, the health of nature, and the availability of key natural resources. Since all descendents of today’s low-income, low-consumption populations will anticipate and should expect consumption-boosting economic development, a lower future population would mean less pressure on climate, environment, and natural resources by future generations. It is a scenario without a downside for global well-being. No ethical person would want an early end to population growth through rising death rates, though such an outcome cannot be ruled out given current trends in climate change, food production, and energy supplies. Nor is there now, or for the foreseeable future, significant public support for policies that would impose reproductive limits on couples and individuals. Abundant experience from around the world, however, demonstrates clearly how to reduce birth rates significantly through policies that not only respect the reproductive aspirations of parents and would-be parents but support a healthy, educated, and economically active populace—especially of women and girls. This chapter describes nine strategies that collectively would be likely to end human population growth before mid-century at a level below 9 billion. Most of the policies are relatively inexpensive to put in place and implement, although some are culturally and
hence politically sensitive in many or most countries.
1. Assure Universal Access to a Range of Safe and Effective Contraceptive Options for Both Sexes. Demographic evidence is growing that if all women could time their pregnancies according to their own desires, total global fertility would fall below effective replacement levels (two-plus-a-fraction children per woman), putting population on a trajectory toward a peak and gradual decline before 2050.
2. Guarantee Education through Secondary School for All, with a Particular Focus on Girls. Education informs girls about healthy behavior and life options and hence motivates them to endeavor to postpone and minimize the frequency of childbearing so that they can more easily explore aspects of life beyond motherhood.
3. Eradicate Gender Bias from Law, Economic Opportunity, Health, and Culture. While universal access to good contraceptive services and secondary school education in combination would reverse population growth, active efforts to foster legal, political, and economic gender equality would make contraceptive and educational access much easier to achieve and would hasten the reversal of growth.
4. Offer Age-appropriate Sexuality Education for All Students. A major obstacle to the prevention of unintended pregnancy is ignorance by young people about how their bodies work, how to abstain from unwanted sex,
Fatima reads over a lesson in grade school Urdu in Fatehjang, Pakistan. In her village, there was no girlsâ€™ school for education, and the mentality was that girls do not need education because they would be married off to another family. This mentality is slowly changing, although many generations of women are still illiterate. Slowly, with the aid of adult teaching centers, women can finally have the ability to read and write. Photo: Jacob Simkin, Courtesy of Photoshare
June 2012 â€” The Reporter 15
16 The Reporter â€” June 2012
how to prevent pregnancy when sexually active, and how important it is to respect the bodies and sexual intentions of others. Education in all these matters would further reduce unintended pregnancies and hence slow population growth.
5. End All Policies that Reward Parents Financially Based on the Number of Their Children. Governments can preserve and even increase tax and other financial benefits aimed at helping parents by linking these not to the number of children but to parenthood status itself. A set benefit to all parents would allow them to decide for themselves whether another child makes economic sense given that the benefit will not growâ€”just as the environment and its resources do not growâ€”with any addition to the family.
6. Integrate Teaching about Population, Environment, and Development Relationships into School Curricula at Multiple Levels. In the United States, the organization Population Connection has an active
Photos on opposite page, from top to bottom: A maternal and child health (MCH) worker in Nepal educates mothers on family planning and MCH issues. The worker uses short folk songs and local examples to illustrate the contents of her health messages. Photo: Dushala Adhikari Members of Lhuhwahwa Poultry Farmers Association stand in front of the newly completed poultry house in Kisinga, Uganda. They hold 3-week-old chicks in their hands. Photo: Stephen Masereka A construction project next to a park in Makati City, Philippines. A precarious balance exists between urban development and maintaining the natural environment. Photo: Leonardo Coll Women use tools to learn about rural development at the Barli Development Institute of Rural Development, in India. Photo: Anil Gulati This page: A Mongolian herding family crowds onto a Russian motorcycle before speeding off across the steppe. For many herders, the motorcycle has replaced the horse as a means of transportation to the sum (district) centers to stock up on supplies. Photo: Carl Whetham All photos on these two pages courtesy of Photoshare
June 2012 â€” The Reporter 17
education program that provides curricular material and training to teachers interested in awakening students of all ages to the dynamics and importance of population growth.
7. Put Prices on Environmental Costs and Impacts. The rising financial costs of large families no doubt already discourage high fertility in countries where contraception is socially acceptable and readily available. If at some point governments opt to raise the costs of consumption that has negative impacts on the environment, couples and individuals will still be free to choose the timing and frequency of childbearing. Yet by translating into higher costs the impact of individuals, environmentally based pricing will tend to reduce fertility and birth rates as couples decide the cost of having an additional child is too high.
8. Adjust to Population Aging Rather Than Trying to Delay It through Governmental Incentives or Programs Aimed at Boosting Childbearing. Population aging is a short-term phenomenon that will pass before the end of this century, with impacts far less significant and long-lasting than ongoing population growth, a point policymakers need to understand better. Even if today’s policymakers could boost population growth through higher birth rates or
immigration, future policymakers would have to grapple with the problems of aging at some later time—when higher population density and its associated problems only make boosting population growth less attractive and feasible.
9. Convince Leaders to Commit to Ending Population Growth through the Exercise of Human Rights and Human Development. Speaking out on the importance of ending human population growth worldwide will be easier if leaders acquaint themselves with how the population field has evolved over the past few decades. They will then understand that human numbers are best addressed—in fact, can only be effectively and ethically addressed— by empowering women to become pregnant only when they themselves choose to do so.
The Impact of the Nine Strategies
To some extent most of these policies already are moving forward, albeit sluggishly, in different countries around the world. Powerful forces—in some cases religious and cultural, in others economic—oppose them, however. Sadly, it may be years or decades before increasing environmental deterioration and resource shortages in an ever more crowded world arouse the public so much that people demand governmental action on root causes. A powerful momentum
Receive a hard copy of State of the World! Population Connection is pleased to offer a free copy of State of the World 2012 to the first 100 respondents who join our monthly giving program, the Leadership Circle. The Leadership Circle provides Population Connection with a reliable revenue stream to strengthen and expand our advocacy, education, and field and outreach programs. To join, please contact Jessica Duarte, Membership Manager, at 202-974-7720. 18 The Reporter — June 2012
helps drive today’s population growth. As long as many more people are in or approaching their childbearing years than are nearing the end of their lives, as is the case today, humanity will increase for some time even if families are quite small. It will take time for the smaller generations of children to become parents themselves and produce even smaller generations as the larger, older generations pass on. The longer governments delay policies such as those described here, the more likely the world is to face large and denser populations or increases in death rates—or both. If, by contrast, each of these policies somehow could be put in place quickly and were well supported by the public and policymakers, population momentum itself would be slowed significantly, through later and fewer pregnancies, than ever witnessed in recorded history. Few demographers have attempted to quantify the population impact of various interventions beyond family planning access and education for girls on fertility. But based on what is known and can be logically conjectured, it seems likely that putting most of these policies together would undermine even population momentum and produce a turn-around in population growth—with the significant social and environmental benefits such a dynamic would offer—earlier than most demographers believe is likely or even possible. World population might indeed stop growing well short of the 9 billion so many believe is inevitable. The fertility declines that could bring a population peak at around 8 billion before the middle of this century, with no increases in death rates, are not unimaginable. If this were to occur, a truly prosperous and sustainable global society would be one long stride closer than ever before. Excerpted from State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity, a publication of the Worldwatch Institute.
The Population Connection President’s Circle
Recognizing Donors for Their Generous Contributions of $1,000 or More a Year By Shauna Scherer
oard of Directors Chairperson Marianne Gabel joined Population Connection (then ZPG) in 1997. Marianne supports Population Connection and leads the Board of Directors because she wants to help people to have “a wider lens to see problems, like climate change, that are accelerated by rapid population growth.” There are optimists, she says, who believe we can feed everyone as population continues to march upward, “but they don’t seem to foresee the infrastructure needed for all of these people,” such as more roads, fuel, buildings, and mineral resources. “I’m not confident that we can in fact feed 9 to 11 billion people and give them enough drinking water and enough water for crops,” she argues. “But even if we can, life would likely be dismal, brutal, and short for many or most in such a world.” Marianne attended Stanford University for her undergraduate degree from 19661972, during a time of great social and political upheaval (and our organization’s founding, in 1968). Despite ZPG cofounder, Dr. Paul Ehrlich, teaching on the Stanford campus during her time there, she didn’t become involved with ZPG until much later. The turmoil of the late 60s did shape her into an activist, though, and her activism led to her philanthropy. “I was supporting environmental causes, conservation, and human rights, and I ultimately realized that all of these puzzle pieces fit together. In fact, I realized that the one big puzzle piece connecting them all was population. Every one of my other concerns locked into population growth,” she said. After her graduation from Stanford, www.popconnect.org
Marianne returned to Pennsylvania, where she had grown up in the outskirts of Philadelphia. She worked for the Philadelphia Bulletin as a national news copy editor during the Pentagon Papers and Watergate years. Those were exciting times for someone interested in law, and Marianne pored over the news coming from the Watergate court hearings. After copy editing for four years, Marianne left journalism to pursue a career in the law. She attended the University of Pennsylvania Law School and graduated with her J.D. in 1977. Following a two-year judicial clerkship on the Pennsylvania Superior Court, she and her husband, Don, moved to Delaware, Ohio, where they made their home. Marianne is a family law attorney, an advocate for children, and a retired 16-year veteran school board member. But she is first and foremost an environmentalist. Population growth grabbed some headlines when it tipped past 7 billion late last year: “It may have woken a lot of people up,” Marianne said. “If you don’t know the rate of growth or the population projections, you’re not aware of
the impact.” That’s why Population Connection’s Population Education program for young people is so important, she says. “Once people break through the wall of what’s immediately around us, it enables them to see the entire planet.” Marianne points to Mexican immigration slowing to a near stop in recent years as one of the success stories from international family planning programs. In other countries, though, Marianne is concerned about the shortfall in available contraceptives. “The resulting generations of young people with no jobs and no futures threaten to destabilize global security,” she said. “I hope that as all of this information—climate change, international tumult resulting from jobless young people, and to some degree the War on Women here at home—comes together for people, it results in strong support for international family planning and pushback against the restrictive policies on women’s reproductive freedom we see coming from Congress and in some of the states.” Marianne is a proud Charter Member of the Population Connection President’s Circle because she believes making an investment in Population Connection will make a difference. “If you’re an environmentalist and passionate about human rights, dignity, and the right of all humans to live productive lives in a flourishing world of nature, it all comes together with population. Giving women the choice, access, and ability to plan their families goes a long way.” If you’d like to join the President’s Circle with your gift of $1,000 or more, please contact Shauna Scherer at email@example.com or (202) 974-7730. June 2012 — The Reporter 19
At The Mercy of Circumstance No Longer
An Award-Winning Population, Health, and Environment Program in Madagascar
aving slipped from the global agenda, the issue of population is once again drawing intense scrutiny. Given that total numbers have now soared past the 7 billion mark, it is perhaps not all that surprising that leaders find themselves troubled all over again. In planning for the future, the eyes of the world are looking to projections for some clue as to when this growth might slow. Countries at every stage of development are working on adaptation strategies in the face of overwhelming climate change evidence—but very few are joining all the dots. Population is still not always recognized as being central to a wider, more sophisticated question about what sustainable development will really look like in practice. As the interest of the global stage has ebbed and flowed, the
pressure on those living in the world’s poorest places has only intensified. Thomas, 35, has been a fisherman in Andavadoaka, in southwestern Madagascar, for as long as he can remember; it is all he knows. These days he fishes for himself, his wife Balbine, and their seven children. However, he finds it increasingly difficult to catch enough to feed them all. After fishing for an entire morning Thomas sometimes returns with only one fish. As a family they are left to wonder whether tomorrow will be the same. He remembers that it used to be easier than this—the fish were larger and more plentiful. His father tells him that years ago there was always more than enough to feed everyone. 20 The Reporter — June 2012
Madagascar rates as one of the ‘hottest of the hot’ in terms of global biodiversity hotspots, but it also has one of the world’s fastest-growing human populations. This growth rate has been one of the key drivers in the devastating loss of habitat. Although Madagascar is often held up as a success story in terms of increased access to family planning, this still hasn’t been felt in the remoter parts. Alarmingly, the population is doubling every 20 years. The country as a whole has a total fertility rate of 5 births per woman, but this is significantly higher in the remote villages of the southwest where it is closer to 6.7. Families with 10 children or more are commonplace. Thomas’s family understands only too
well the relationship between population growth and dwindling fish stocks, but until recently had no choice but to accept it as a fact of life. In these remote villages—as with all areas of extreme poverty—the delicate interplay of population and environment carries particular urgency. Far from the world of political and scientific abstractions, the real impact of a booming population is clear for all to see, with young lives lost and many more burdened by a fear of what the future may hold. Living in a small wooden hut, Thomas and Balbine’s family of nine are utterly dependent on the sea for their survival. However, living so close to the Indian Ocean only increases their vulnerability
By Tess Shellard Photos courtesy of Blue Ventures
Opposite: Going out to fish for octopus. The stick is placed in a hole on the reef flat. When an octopus wraps its tentacles around the stick, the woman pulls the octopus out. Left: Two boys rig their dugout canoe, or pirogue, before going fishing. Below: Fishing starts at a young age. Photos: Dr. Garth Cripps
to the destructive tropical storms to which Madagascar is prone. This area has recently suffered one of the worst cyclone cycles in living memory, with five cyclones in five weeks. During these times it is impossible to fish, as the sea is too rough. Their connection with their environment is powerful—the Vezo people of this region have always lived and died by their relationship with the sea, and consequently had almost nothing to fall back on when this relationship became strained. In addition to the problems of rapid population growth, their way of life had no resilience to the potential effects of climate change. Blue Ventures has been working in Andavadoaka to provide holistic www.popconnect.org
solutions to the challenges these families are facing. For instance, in collaboration with the community, reserves have been set up and education provided to prevent octopuses from being caught during their breeding season; just a brief annual hiatus can help to ensure sufficiency in numbers for years to come. It also means that when the villagers resume catching, the octopuses are worth more because they have had longer to grow. Balbine has made the most of this opportunity and provides much-needed income for the family by going out to catch them. Crucially, this endeavour has allowed her to have a say in how the family money is spent for the first time in her life. In order to create further options for
“Madagascar rates as one of the ‘hottest of the hot’ in terms of global biodiversity hotspots, but it also has one of the world’s fastest-growing human populations.”
alternative livelihoods, and to help alleviate some of the intense pressure on the coastal resources, Blue Ventures has also started sea cucumber farming. Balbine has been excited to hear lots of women from the village talking about how much money they are making from selling these sea cucumbers. She hopes this will provide another potential source of income for her family, too. For the first time, it feels to her that there are options for her and her family. They are now able to do so much more than merely wait and see what the catch brings in, always at the mercy of circumstance. While working in Andavadoaka, it became clear to Dr. Vik Mohan of Blue Ventures that part of any solution June 2012 — The Reporter 21
Clockwise, top left: 1. Vivienne catches an octopus. 2. Fishing for octopus. 3. Andavadoaka family planning clinic. 4. Girls and young women await a female peer educator, who will discuss contraception. 5. Vezo fishing. 6. Music and dance is a main sources of recreation, self expression, and community cohesion. 7) Returning home after a morning of fishing. 8) Remote island of fishermen off the coast of Andavadoaka.
for improving the quality of life for the Vezo people must include providing the family planning and education they had expressed a desire for. Without it, all the hard work that Thomas, Balbine, and their community were putting in would be for nothing—the sea could only provide so much. Before the first Blue Ventures clinic was opened in 2007—in a small hut by the beach—the villagers had no access to sexual and reproductive health services. The nearest clinic was an unfeasible 50 kilometers away, through dense, spiny forest. Nomeny, 30, is from the same community and is married with seven children. Two of her children have already died, but this is not uncommon; one in nine children in this area dies before his fifth birthday. Since the birth of her fifth child, Nomeny has felt exhausted. She had no access to contraception herself, and her husband wouldn’t use a condom—mainly because he didn’t really know what to do with it. 22 The Reporter — June 2012
Nomeny felt she couldn’t face having any more children and went to the clinic for help. Her husband was happy for her to go; he wants her to be healthy, and to be able to look after him and the children. Now, as far as he is concerned, exercising some control over his fertility brings lots of advantages for the family he already has. Like Nomeny, he doesn’t want to have any more children who might die. So how do these stories fit with the bigger picture? The medium variant for the latest UN figures projects that the global population will reach a plateau of about 10 billion by the end of the century. There are signs that many are prematurely choosing to view this stabilization as something of a fait accompli. And even if achieved, what does this really mean for Balbine and her family? Or Nomeny? Or the next generation in Andavadoaka? At the local scale, not very much at all, in truth. The projections will be cold comfort to Nomeny if the family planning
services she relies on dry up. The reality is that even the current populations in their villages may not be sustainable— it is clear they are already struggling to meet their needs with the resources they have. While there can be no argument that demographic projections are useful, there is always a temptation to infer too much from them. A projected plateau can all too easily be interpreted as evidence that the associated issues are resolved. If only it were this simple. The inherently probabilistic nature of projections, given the multitude of necessary assumptions and margins of error they involve, carries a responsibility to tread carefully. Areas of increasingly low fertility can mask ongoing population booms in farflung vulnerable places. Also, assumed levels of family planning provision in the future may not be fulfilled—especially if the problem is mistakenly deemed to no longer be a priority.
With the best will in the world, the science behind the projections could be great—and no doubt is—but degrees of error could still turn out to be larger than anticipated, simply because of the level of variation possible on a global scale. Even with total faith in the given margin of error, in this latest UN projection there is a difference of 2.5 billion lives between the low and high estimates for 2050. Two and a half billion. Clearly, it is much too soon to say the work here is done. It may be more helpful for us all to take our eye off the total for a moment and re-focus on what we can see happening in communities. So, with all this renewed focus on population, how seriously is it taken when planning for climate-compatible development in these communities? Recent research into National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) shows that the answer is still ‘not seriously enough.’ Karen Hardee and Clive Mutunga of Population Action International examined the NAPAs of 41 of the world’s least-developed countries. Of these 41, 37 highlighted population growth as a factor exacerbating the effects of climate change. Despite this, only 6 clearly stated that investments in family planning and reproductive health should be considered priority actions in adaptation strategies. A grand total of zero funded any family planning or reproductive health projects. The knowledge is clearly there, but the money remains slow to follow. This is difficult to swallow when you think of what family planning and education has meant to someone like Vivienne. She is only 17 but her life has already been transformed by access to these services. Previously, a lack of even the most basic sex education led to one child very early on for her—she simply didn’t know that when she had sex with an older boy it would make her pregnant. www.popconnect.org
She lives with her parents and has barely seen the boy since; he is too busy trying to earn a living fishing. Vivienne suffered an extremely traumatic birth. At times during those two days she felt sure she would die. The only people she saw during her labor were a couple of aunts—there were no doctors or nurses or midwives to help her. The experience left her terrified of leaving the house in case she met a boy and fell pregnant again. Vivienne could very easily have spent many a miserable year fearful of going through the same ordeal again. By means of such a cheap and simple intervention—providing access to basic family planning services and education—she is now able to make decisions about what happens to both her life and her body. And there are so many more Viviennes out there who have not yet been reached.
So as we write and debate on this topic over the coming months, Thomas will be heading out to fish for his family and sending us all a clear message from the other side of the world: the issue of population is critical to achieving sustainable development where he lives. We need only look to Nomeny to see that access to sexual and reproductive health services will always be vital to helping people find the right balance for themselves, their families, and their environment. Finally, Vivienne speaks volumes to us about the difference in quality of life these services can mean on an individual level. Without continuing to address the population issue, we have no hope of ensuring that in Andavadoaka, and in every village like it around the world, the next generation doesn’t just aim to survive, but instead has its opportunity to flourish.
Blue Ventures is an award-winning marine conservation organization, dedicated to working with local communities to conserve threatened marine environments. Their acclaimed conservation programs work with some of the world’s poorest coastal people to develop conservation and poverty alleviation initiatives that protect biodiversity and coastal livelihoods. In recent years, they’ve won international acclaim for their innovative approaches to addressing the challenges faced by coastal communities. Recent accolades include the Buckminster Fuller Challenge, the United Nations’ Equator Prize, and IUCN’s SEED Award—some of the most prestigious global awards for innovation in biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. Amongst other achievements, they have created the largest community-managed marine reserves in the Indian Ocean, and pioneered ambitious research programs tackling critical issues facing marine biodiversity conservation and resource-dependent coastal communities. Alongside their work in fisheries management and protected area development, their programs encompass marine and fisheries research, endangered species conservation, environmental education, and community capacity building. Beyond these more ‘conventional’ approaches to conservation, they also manage sustainable aquaculture initiatives and family planning and other community health projects. In the southwest of Madagascar, these initiatives form an integrated Population, Health, and Environment program. Taking an integrated approach has enabled Blue Ventures to achieve health and conservation goals more effectively than by using more traditional single sector interventions. Learn more about Blue Ventures at www.blueventures.org. June 2012 — The Reporter 23
1. Common byproduct of congested cities 5. “Are not” reply
9. Strongly dislike 13. French heads 15. Actual
16. Not ____ many words 17. Give ____ more try 18. Cover
19. North Pacific ____, home of a 100ton garbage patch 20. Although he earned the nickname “Rubbers” for his support for family planning early in his career, which included sponsoring Title X as a congressman, he took an antichoice stance as President 23. Informant
24. No alternative
25. Affirmative response 29. ____ we there yet?
31. Continental landmass that contains
24 The Reporter — June 2012
30. Poetic preposition
nearly 75 percent of the world’s human population 33. Gore, and others 34. Checks age 35. Langston Hughes poem 36. President who singled out a lack of family planning as one of four critical health problems facing the nation, he is the only U.S. president to be awarded the PPFA Margaret Sanger Award 40. Links 41. DPRK neighbor 42. Consume 43. Indonesia produces more of it for consumption than any other country 45. Sphere 46. Angry 49. Ford failure 50. Estimated world population in 1804 (in billions) 51. Renovate 52. President who first signed into law Title X a year after writing a
By Alex Starkey
message to Congress, saying, “It is my view that no American woman should be denied access to family planning assistance because of her economic condition.” 56. Emerson essay, ____-Reliance 59. Connecticut Congresswoman DeLauro, defender of federal funding for family planning 60. Vice President first name 61. Butter substitute 62. Either that ____ just going crazy! 63. Smoothing device 64. ____ Wars, grizzly conflicts in South Africa 65. Stinging insect 66. Plants grass Down 1. Mark of infamy 2. One potential population threat 3. The Lion in Winter star 4. Category 5. Orion, for one 6. Cat words 7. Swedish automobile company 8. Turkish gemstone 9. Pants cut 10. Whatever 11. Paving substance 12. Compass direction 14. Portion of a line (abbr.) 21. Polluted area, for one 22. Isaac Newton or Walter Raleigh 26. Comparing words 27. Large cat that lives in prides 28. Philosopher ____ Tzu 30. Aged 31. Tokyo, once 32. Escorted 33. Take responsibility 34. Alphabet sequence 36. Didn’t tell the truth 37. Affirmative votes 38. One way to show agreement
U.S. Presidents Concerned with Access to Family Planning 39. Catch 40. Mao ____ Tung 44. High priest of Shiloh 45. Highway entrance 46. Country that is home to North Americaâ€™s largest city 47. Loved 48. Givers 50. Desert haven 51. Morning show host, and others 53. One of a murder 54. Balkan circle dance 55. Agency that funds 20 percent of federally supported U.S. university research 56. Cry inconsolably 57. 1970s hit-making band from Birmingham (abbr.) 58. California Congresswoman Barbara, defender of federal funding for family planning
S E 21 G E 24 Y 30 O E L S D O 41 R 44 E E L 53 I C 59 R 62 O 65 W 14
A M S O 15 R E A L 18 C O A T H W B U E S 31 32 R E U 34 I D S 38 N J O H 42 O K E 45 D O R 50 O N E 54 H A R D O S A R I M A S P 5
H A T E 16 I N A S 19 G Y R E 22 S H 25 26 27 28 I W I L L R A S I A 35 I T O O 39 N S O N A T 46 47 48 B M A D 51 R E D O 55 N I X O N 60 S P I R O 63 F A C E R 66 S O D S 9
S M O G 13 T E T E 17 I T O N 20 G E O R 23 M O L E 29 A R E 33 A 36 37 L Y N 40 T I E S 43 S E A W 49 E D S E 52 R 56 57 58 S E L F 61 O L E O 64 B O E R
Birth control pills. Photo: Christy Thompson, Dreamstime.com. The White House. Photo: Alexirina27000, Dreamstime.com
June 2012 â€” The Reporter 25
Victories for Family Planning, but the War on Women is Far From Over By Stacie Murphy
amily planning opponents just won’t quit. Soon after our last issue went to press, new fronts opened in the War on Women.
More Attacks on Planned Parenthood
The ink was barely dry on our February issue when the news broke that Susan G. Komen for the Cure had decided to end grants to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings for low-income women. Although the organization insisted that the move was not political, critics noted that the decision came only after former Georgia gubernatorial candidate—and long-time Planned Parenthood critic—Karen Handel joined the Komen staff. And their claims were weakened by the appearance of emails from Handel that specifically singled out Planned Parenthood as a target for defunding. The decision touched off a firestorm. Komen’s donations plummeted, its Facebook page was inundated with shaming comments, and the press coverage was overwhelmingly negative for them. At least two Komen officials resigned in protest. The outrage had an effect: three days later, Komen reversed course and announced that Planned Parenthood would still be eligible for funding. Less than a week later, Karen Handel was gone. 26 The Reporter — June 2012
Blunt Amendment Fails in the Senate, but the Threat Remains
The dust hadn’t even settled from the Komen fight when opponents began attacking President Obama for the new contraceptive coverage policy. As a reminder, the policy originally called for all employers (except for a few explicitly religious institutions) to offer contraception without copays as part of their employee health insurance packages. In an attempt to appease religious employers not exempted by the original policy, the President offered a modification: the burden of providing contraceptive coverage was shifted from the employer to the insurance company. Under the modified rule, if a Catholic hospital, for example, objects to covering birth control, the insurance company will have to directly offer employees contraceptive coverage at no additional cost. The Catholic Health Association immediately endorsed the accommodation. In a good-faith negotiation with a rational opponent, this would be the definition of a win-win scenario: religious employers would not have to pay for birth control, but employees—who may not share their employers’ views—would not be penalized. Unfortunately, birth control opponents once again proved themselves to be anything but rational.
The reaction to the modification? Well, it’s not at all unfair to describe it as “unhinged.” Although opponents were careful to frame their objections as coming from concerns over religious liberty, rather than as overt opposition to birth control, they made statements that were offensive, dismissive, and grotesquely out of touch with the real needs and day-today lives of women. One pundit actually compared it to the kind of thing that might have happened in 1930s Germany and dismissed women’s need for birth control as “beside the point.” Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R/NE-1) opined on a talk-radio show that birth control was “unrelated to the basic needs of health care.” Rep. Tom Price (R/ GA-6) said that no woman in America had ever had difficulty getting birth control and challenged a questioner to “show me one!” The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Darrell Issa (R/CA-49), called a hearing that featured the now infamous panel made up of all men. Issa had rejected the Democrats’ effort to call Sandra Fluke, a student at Georgetown University, to testify about the impact of the University’s refusal to cover contraceptives under its student health plan. Despite the efforts by Issa and others to try to claim that the
debate had nothing to do with women’s health, the tenor of the debate and the personal assault on Fluke’s character belied their claims. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) immediately seized the nearest piece of legislation—a transportation bill, as it happened—and attached an amendment to repeal the contraceptive coverage requirement. That act alone would have been reason enough to oppose it. But the Senator’s amendment actually went much further than just repealing the mandate: it would have allowed any employer to refuse coverage for any essential health service to which it declared it had a “moral” objection. The implications of such a broad policy are staggering. Fortunately, after a contentious debate on the Senate floor, the Senate voted 51-48 to table (defeat) the Blunt Amendment. The only Republican to vote against the amendment was Olympia Snowe of Maine, who had announced earlier that week that she would not be seeking reelection. Three Democrats (Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, and Ben Nelson of Nebraska) voted in favor of the measure. At least one Republican regretted her vote; Senator Lisa Murkowsi of Alaska received so much constituent criticism www.popconnect.org
for her vote on the amendment that only days later she publicly apologized and stated that if she had it to do over again, she would vote “no.” And it’s not out of the realm of possibility that she may get her chance. While most legislators seem to have lost their appetite for this particular fight for the moment, there is a core of supporters who have vowed not to give up until the birth control benefit is gone.
Looking Ahead to the Budget Battle
In mid-February, President Obama released his draft budget for Fiscal Year 2013, which is the first step in what is likely to be a long and contentious appropriations process. His proposal calls for $642.7 million for international family planning, including a $39 million contribution to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). While these numbers are not as high as some of his previous requests, they still represent a significant increase over current funding levels, which stand at $610 million with $35 million for UNFPA. In early May, House Republicans pushed the annual foreign assistance funding bill, which, unsurprisingly, makes clear that they plan to continue targeting family planning at every possible opportunity. In addition to slashing family planning
funding by nearly $150 million, or about 25 percent, the House bill also bars any contribution to UNFPA and reinstates the odious Global Gag Rule, which was rescinded by President Obama in his first week in office. The final outcome will likely be the result of negotiations between the Administration, House, and Senate (which hasn’t yet released its proposal). We will update you as the appropriations process continues.
The Challenges Ahead
Family planning opponents are a tenacious group. Their actions over the past few months make it painfully clear that no aspect of women’s healthcare is immune from right-wing hysteria. From breast exams for poor women to birth control coverage without copays, they’ve made it clear that nothing is safe. If it has anything at all to do with women’s access to healthcare, it’s on the hit list. Contraceptive coverage here at home remains under threat, and the health and well-being of millions of women and families in the developing world depends on the outcome of the appropriations process. We’ve won (for the moment) the first battles, but we can’t afford to relax yet. It’s an election year, and that means anything goes. June 2012 — The Reporter 27
Field & Outreach
Capitol Hill Days 2012 By Rebecca Harrington Photos by Jonathan Look, Jr., Journeyman Images
n early April, 91 advocates from 14 states gathered in DC to attend Capitol Hill Days and put their commitment to international family planning programs into practice. Throughout the weekend, participants learned about a variety of topics, including restrictive U.S. family planning policies from Barbara Crane of Ipas; contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act from Nick Wunder of NARAL Pro Choice America; and the exciting international family planning programs of Marie Stopes International from Nomi Fuchs-Montgomery. Latanya Mapp Frett delivered an inspiring keynote talk about the Global program at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Armed with facts and skills learned over the weekend, which included a screening and discussion of the film Mother: Caring for 7 Billion and an interactive lobby training session, participants headed to Capitol Hill on Monday. Our advocates visited a total of 60 congressional offices. We sent 37 constituents to the office of Rep. Steve Stivers (R/OH-15) and 12 to the office of Rep. Dave Reichert (R/WA-08), each of whom represents one of the three target districts that are the focus of our Double the Money campaign. Members of our
28 The Reporter — June 2012
group also visited the offices of Speaker of the House John Boehner, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. In summing up her experience, Rachel Weber, an Ohio State University rising junior and Women’s and Gender Studies/Sexuality Studies double major said, “I was able to meet people from all over the country who are just as passionate as I am about these issues, and I have made great friends. The experience was challenging but extremely rewarding. I have never seen activism at that level, and being in the middle of political discourse was eye-opening. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to grow and advocate for important issues. I will be applying for a student scholarship again next year and hope to see you then.” Jean Perry-Jones, a longtime Population Connection member, teacher trainer, and Capitol Hill Days veteran, served as a great role model for newer activists. In reflecting on her experience, Jean said “As always, Capitol Hill Days is a great time for training and advocacy regarding the impact of our swelling population on our planet. It would be great to return to CHD and thank Congress for their insights and legislative changes, instead of asking for the same things year after year: a final end to the Global Gag Rule
(Mexico City Policy) and meaningful funding from the U.S. for UNFPA and international family planning.” Jean continued, “I get jaded and discouraged, and wonder if I should keep showing up and advocating. But then I do show up, and am reinvigorated by the training sessions, the group’s enthusiasm, the relentless hard work of the Population Connection staff, renewing friendships with prior attendees, and meeting new people. This year’s CHD was especially energized by the overwhelming participation of so many students: undergrads and grad students in medicine, law, and international studies, and their passion and understanding of issues should have left an impact on their legislators.” This year’s advocacy weekend augmented our expanded grassroots presence in communities and campuses around the country. We bolstered our relationship with the Global Health Initiative club at Ohio State University, with whom we work closely on a regular basis, and with the students of Seattle University, who have attended Capitol Hill Days for the past several years. The event also gave us the chance to build the foundation for networks with participants from future target suburban congressional districts in Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania.
June 2012 â€” The Reporter 29
Teaching Activity: In Search of Sustainable Life PopEd
By Pamela Wasserman
n our middle and high school curricula, we introduce the idea of sustainable development by having students consider what is meant by “quality of life” and what indicators define a healthy community.
We all want to live in a community that not only contains all the resources we need to survive, but also provides a high quality of life for residents now and in the future. But how can we tell if our quality of life has improved or deteriorated? Historically, governments have used an economic index known as the gross domestic product (GDP) to measure progress. GDP measures the value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given year. GDP is an indicator of economic activity, but does not account for many social and environmental factors that influence quality of life. There are many indicators of quality of life that are not measured in economic terms, such as personal safety, natural beauty, clean air and water, peaceful neighborhoods, and more. The purpose of this activity is to let students explore those factors that contribute to their communities’ quality of life and that many economists overlook in measuring our health and 30 The Reporter — June 2012
happiness—factors that address the concept of sustainability. A sustainable community is defined as one in which the needs of present generations are met without compromising the security of future generations. Together, students will exchange ideas and develop a class “Quality of Life Index” with 10 indicators. Each indicator can serve as a guidepost for their actions and for building stronger communities.
1. To begin the exercise, have students share their responses to: “The one thing I would like to add or eliminate from my life to make me happy would be...” and “The one thing I would like to add or eliminate from my community to benefit most residents would be...” After students have thought about this and heard what their peers value, ask how the concepts of quality of life and sustainability relate to their responses. 2. Divide students into small groups to brainstorm factors that they think contribute to a community’s lasting quality of life. In step 1, students may have thought of specific things to add to the community (like a movie theater or skateboard park) or to eliminate from the community (like gangs), but now they will be thinking in broader terms about the factors that comprise a healthy community
over a long period of time, such as a protected and adequate supply of drinking water and the availability of good jobs. 3. After students have brainstormed for several minutes, ask each group to select and rank the seven most important factors for a community’s quality of life. Possible ideas may include: walkable areas, bike lanes, good schools, public transportation, affordable housing, recreational areas, entertainment venues, safe neighborhoods, open spaces and parkland, employment opportunities, arts and culture, and community diversity. 4. An indicator is used to measure changes in a factor (e.g. a change in GDP indicates that our economy is growing or shrinking). In this step, students will develop indicators for each of the group’s seven factors. For instance, to measure crime (a factor), you can use the crime rate statistics from the police department as an indicator. Open space (another factor) can be indicated by the amount of public park land or forest. Remind students that the ability to measure a factor is important when making the index. 5. Have each group present its list of factors and indicators. Conduct a class vote to determine the top 10 indicators of a community’s health and sustainability.
indicator, what the status of that indicator is in their own community, and what can be done to improve it.
2. How will you measure each indicator?
Example: If students select â€œcrimeâ€? as one of the indicators, they could call the local police department to get statistics on the crime rate and how it is measured. They could also ask how this rate compares to that of neighboring communities. Has the crime rate gone up or down in recent years? Why might this be the case? Is crime a problem in and around schools? What are some proposals for making their area safer? Students can then outline their proposals for dealing with one of the indicators and send
1. Do you think each of these indicators should carry the same weight?
3. Would grouping these categories enhance the class index? 4. What name should the class index have?
1. Select one of the indicators for students to research for their own community. They should find out how to measure the
Metro near Washington DC. Photo: Kuosumo, Dreamstime.com
them to selected local leaders and government officials. They might also want to send the list of 10 indicators they developed as a class, so that city officials can determine what students care about in their community. 2. Share with the class that many governments (local, state, and national), as well as a number of nonprofit organizations have been developing new sets of indicators to measure quality of life. For homework or a computer lab activity, have students find information online about one of these new measures of sustainability and well-being and write 5-10 bullet points on the purpose of the index, which indicators are used, and which geographical areas have been included in the measurements.
New measures of sustainability:
Genuine Progress Indicator (used by the state of Maryland) Human Development Index (used by the United Nations) Gross National Happiness (developed by the King of Bhutan) Happy Planet Index (developed by the New Economics Foundation)
June 2012 â€” The Reporter 31
Used with the permission of Grimmy, Inc. and the Cartoonist Group. All rights reserved.
32 The Reporter â€” June 2012
New York, NY
It’s hard to pinpoint where the current upsurge in dismissive rhetoric about women’s rights began. Anti-abortion sentiment has long been a staple of right-wing politics, of course. But recently, conservatives have seemed particularly fixated on Planned Parenthood. Last February, congressional Republicans sought to eliminate funding for Title X, a federal grant program that provides HIV testing, contraception, and cancer screenings (through pap smears and breast exams). Title X, Republicans claimed, was funding abortions at Planned Parenthood, which Senator Jon Kyl said did little else.
An encouraging new report shows a big decline in the rate of teenage births. From 2009 to 2010, the birth rate among young women ages 15 to 19 fell 9 percent, to 34.9* per thousand, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is a record low for the 65 years that data have been available, and a remarkable 44 percent drop from the 1991 rate. This good shift is largely the result of an increase in teenagers’ use of birth control—a fact that Congressional Republicans ignore as they seek to dismantle reproductive health programs.
Obama preserved Title X during the budget showdown, but the administration’s attitude toward abortion and contraception has been muddled. In December, the Health and Human Services secretary overturned the Food and Drug Administration’s ruling making Plan B, commonly known as “the morning-after pill,” available to all women over the counter. A seventeen-year-old girl can get the morning-after pill without a prescription; a sixteen-year-old cannot. Increasingly, what we are seeing from the right when it comes to women’s issues is not conservatism but radicalism: a bid to roll back the gains and freedoms that feminism has managed to earn for women. During the various imbroglios over Planned Parenthood, for instance, why weren’t more conservatives making a principled case against abortion while also conceding—and applauding—the important role that the organization has played in allowing women to take control of their health and their lives? Unfortunately, this is not what we have heard from most conservatives. Instead, we have seen a rush to demonize Planned Parenthood wholesale, oblivious to the crucial work it does for women. —February 17, 2012
Some voices on the right unconvincingly assign credit for the latest change to abstinence-only sex education, even though the percentage of sexually active teenagers has remained fairly constant. Besides, some of the states with the highest teenage birth rates—like Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas—have policies that emphasize teaching abstinence over comprehensive sex education. While factors like shifting cultural attitudes and demographics play a role, the most recent birth rate decline is the result “almost exclusively” of an increase in contraceptive use, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Analyzing data from an earlier CDC survey, the institute found hormonal contraceptives were used by 47 percent of sexually active adolescents from 2008 to 2010, compared with 37 percent from 2006 to 2008. Teenagers’ use of dual contraceptive methods, generally condoms together with hormonal contraception, rose to 23 percent from 16 percent.
—April 18, 2012 * According to the CDC, the actual figure is 34.3
June 2012 — The Reporter 33
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