THE REPORTER POPULATION OPULATION C CONNECTION ONNECTION
Volume 43, Issue 2 May 2011
OUR WORLD OF 7 BILLION
e know the story. Confronted by the highest deficits in our history, the U.S. has suffered casualties in war and dealt with a severe economic downturn. A Democratic President must negotiate with Republicans who have taken control of the House. That was precisely the situation in 1947. In the aftermath of World War II and the Great Depression, our national debt was slightly higher as a percentage of GDP than it is today. What happened? Under President Truman’s leadership, we embarked on the Marshall Plan, the most ambitious foreign assistance program in history. Facing the devastation of a postwar world, we stepped forward. Named for Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the Marshall Plan provided $115 billion (in today’s dollars). The result? Among other things, Western Europe embarked on an unprecedented period of peace and prosperity leading to the creation of the European Union. Times change, but some things remain the same. We are embroiled in a national debate about the size and role of government—about which programs are essential and which can be slashed, even eliminated. It is all too easy to allow foreign aid to be placed on the chopping block, especially since polling indicates it is the only federal funding that most Americans favor cutting. A December poll revealed that Americans believe foreign aid makes up 27 percent of the federal budget. The actual figure is less than 1 percent. The Reporter — May 2011
Today’s challenges are, of course, not identical to those faced 64 years ago. The federal budget is now much larger. We are dealing with domestic health costs that are daunting in their size and complexity. But every generation is convinced that it faces unprecedented challenges. In 1947, we stood at the doorstep of the Cold War. The Korean War was just around the corner. The fight for civil rights loomed. And we were struggling to deal with our new role as a global superpower. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. That’s why we’re not backing down from our campaign to seek $1 billion a year for international family planning programs. Tea Partiers can rant about slashing foreign aid, but the complicated, confounding, crowded world is not going away. We have the opportunity to move toward population stabilization. This will help build a more secure and stable world—a world where abject poverty is abolished, a world where every woman and every couple are free to make their own reproductive choices. President Truman was not universally beloved. But nobody ever accused him of backing down. Not when he desegregated the Armed Forces. Not when he advocated for universal health care. And not when he sought, successfully, to save millions of people in other nations from starvation and despair. It is a lesson worth remembering.
John Seager firstname.lastname@example.org
The Reporter Volume 43, Issue 2 May 2011
Lady Health Workers Promote Small Families in Pakistan
Smart Planning for the Global Family
Our Profound Choice: 7 Billion Reasons to Invest in Family Planning
Letters to the Editor
In the News
A Lasting Legacy
(202) 332-2200 (800) 767-1956 (202) 332-2302 fax
Field & Outreach
Board Chair Dianne Dillon-Ridgley President and CEO John Seager Editor and Designer Marian Starkey Contributors Lester R. Brown, Martha Campbell, Cathleen Miller, Stacie Murphy, Lee S. Polansky, Malcolm Potts, Shauna Scherer, John Seager, Marian 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 subscription to The Reporter. Annual membership, $25. All contributions, bequests and gifts are fully tax-deductible in accordance with current laws. The Reporter (ISSN 0199-0071) Population Connection 2120 L Street, NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20037
www.populationconnection.org www.populationeducation.org www.worldof7billion.org www.facebook.com/PopulationConnection Follow us on Twitter! http://twitter.com/popconnect
By Cathleen Miller
By Lester R. Brown
By Martha Campbell and Malcolm Potts
32 Cartoon 33
Assorted colors at a wholesale flower market in the early morning rush during festive season in India. Photo: Nilanjan Bhattacharya, Dreamstime.com
Printed on recycled paper
May 2011 — The Reporter
f you have been a regular subscriber to The Reporter, you will probably notice that this issue looks a bit different. The biggest change is that this issue is 32 pages rather than our usual 24. While striving to keep our facts and topics current, we try to keep our “look” fresh as well. That’s why we’ve upgraded to a new format—one that incorporates elements of the old layout that worked, and adjusts the elements that didn’t work as well. I hope you like it. This year marks an important milestone. This fall, the earth’s human population will cross the 7 billion mark. It took only 12 years for the global population to increase from 6 billion in 1999. And only 12 years before that to increase from 5 billion in 1987. Compare that with the length of time it took for the human population to jump from 1 billion in 1804 to 2 billion in 1927 (123 years!) and you’ll see that we are experiencing a period of rapid population growth like the world has never seen. Following this rapid population growth and a rise in the middle class demanding more resource-intensive lifestyles, the natural systems that we rely upon for our survival are being swiftly and severely disrupted. Rains that replenish lakes and aquifers and water crops are no longer reliable. Trees that once shielded us from flood waters and strong winds are gone and replaced by barren, dusty landscapes incapable of supporting life. Peak oil is in our past, threatening the agricultural systems that feed us and our livestock, not to mention our highly motorized way of life. Fish stocks are disappearing and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing each day as our discarded waste is sucked in by the swirling gyre.
The Reporter — May 2011
Many social problems are exacerbated by rapid population growth as well. It is very difficult for families to climb out of poverty when couples begin childbearing early and have more children than they can afford to educate. And to complete the cycle, less educated children tend to grow up and have their own large families. Demographers project that world population will reach 8 billion between 2025 and 2042. The wide range is due to the unpredictable fertility rate of women over the next 15-30 years. If the current trend continues, we’ll cross the 8 billion mark before 2025. If fertility falls, starting now, the population will stabilize and then begin to decline mid-century. To illustrate the dependability of population projections on fertility rates (the most important independent variable), here’s an example for this year’s particular milestone. In 1999, when the world population reached 6 billion, the UN projected that world population would reach 7 billion in 2013. In reality, we got there two years earlier. If we want to have the next 30 years to prepare for the next billion, family planning programs must be scaled up. There is no more time to waste. In population projections, timing is everything.
Marian Starkey email@example.com
Send correspo ndence to mstarkey@pop connect.org. You may also su bmit letters Attn: Marian Starkey via fax (202) 33 Population Co 2-2302 or nnection 2120 L St. NW, postal mail. Ste. 500
Letters to the Editor
Washington, D C
Thank you very much for your recent publication, The Reporter. The work you are doing toward encouraging smaller populations around the world is outstanding. It is also badly needed. Civil conflict, or any type of warfare, is a waste of life and property. I wish we had more peace everywhere. Thanks again for the publication. May God continue to bless your hard work and comprehensive outreach. Cynthia Sexton Pilewski Latrobe, PA I was going to discontinue my membership because I never see any progress made on this issue, but The Reporter always makes me want to be a member. Beverly Minn Sitka, AK First of all, I’d like to compliment Population Connection for yet another superb issue of The Reporter. I look forward to receiving each issue, and I read it cover to cover. I’m writing to question the motives behind the photograph on the January cover. The message that overpopulation, especially in third world countries, has profound implications for international stability and potential civil conflict comes through loud and clear. But why show a photo of young Arabs running from Israeli gunfire? On an almost daily basis, Islamic fundamentalists in overpopulated countries of the Middle East wreak havoc with suicide bombing and improvised explosive devices. Moreover, the youth “bulge” in many developing countries has created an entire generation prone to radical behavior. www.popconnect.org
But rather than use a cover photo more germane to your subject, you have decided to perpetuate the stereotype of aggressive Israeli soldiers shooting at unarmed Arab civilians. This is unfair and only serves to alienate many of your readers who expect better from Population Connection. Jonathan M. Vapnek New York, NY Editor’s response: We considered the possibility that readers might interpret our January cover photo as expressing a point of view on the Arab/Israeli conflict. We decided the photo illustrated one outcome of rapid population growth. Our focus is on population challenges wherever they occur; we do not generally pass judgment on other matters, however compelling. We sought to depict chaos exacerbated, in this case, by rapid population growth among young Palestinians. (Gaza has a Total Fertility Rate of 4.74, and the West Bank has a TFR of 3.05.) Unemployed and frustrated, they see no promise of improvement in their quality of life in the near future. The young men fleeing gunfire in that photo are just one part of a hugely complex situation for which no resolution is yet apparent. Conflicts such as this one—much like the global demographic situation—reflect the impact of decades, even centuries, of actions and decisions. Rapid population growth only makes it harder to resolve this and other perennial disputes around the world. May 2011 — The Reporter
A shepherd stands on a hillside overlooking the Blue Nile Falls in the highlands of northern Ethiopia. More than 90 percent of the water that ordinarily feeds the falls is now diverted into a new hydroelectric power generation scheme on weekdays, leaving a trickle where once stood a mighty icon of the country. As Ethiopiaâ€™s energy needs grow, views such as this one become increasingly scarce. Photo: Faraz Naqvi, Courtesy of Photoshare
Worldwide demand for water is projected to rise 30 percent by 2030, this in a world of shifting rainfall patterns due to global warming-induced climate changes that are difficult to predict.
The Reporter â€” May 2011
Non-permanent structures account for 18 percent of all urban housing units, and one-third of the world’s urban population live in appalling slum conditions with little or no access to clean water, sanitation or energy infrastructure. All facts on these two pages from the report Population: One Planet, Too Many People? (Institution of Mechanical Engineers, London, January 2011). Available at www.imeche.org/ knowledge/themes/environment/Population Kids and sewage, Kenya. Photo: John Wollwerth, Dreamstime.com
“Population increase is likely to be the defining challenge of the 21st century, a global issue that will affect us all regardless of whether the countries in which we reside become more crowded or not.” www.popconnect.org
May 2011 — The Reporter
U.S. Census Results Although population growth in the United States during the past decade was the slowest since the Great Depression, it still increased 9.7 percent. The total number of people living in the U.S. is now 308.7 million.
Teen Births Decline Preliminary figures from last December have been confirmed. The teen birth rate in 2009 dropped by another 6 percent and is at an all-time low of 39.1 births per 1,000 girls ages 15-19. However, the U.S. rate remains as much as 9 times that of other industrialized countries.
Refusal Clause Lifted The Obama Administration rescinded the regulation that allowed health care workers to deny care based on “moral” or religious grounds. The regulation was put in place just days before President Bush left office in 2009. Supporters of the regulation said that it would protect health care workers from being forced to perform abortions, even though providers have long been protected by law to opt out of directly providing abortions and sterilizations. In reality, the regulation 6
The Reporter — May 2011
allowed providers to refuse to dispense emergency contraception, fill birth control prescriptions, provide fertility treatments, provide end-of-life care, and treat patients with HIV/AIDS.
Mississippi Sex Ed Public schools in Mississippi will now be required to teach some form of sex education. Gov. Haley Barbour signed the bill into law in March. It will become effective on July 1, and curriculum proposals will be due in time for approval before the 2012/13 school year begins. Abstinence-only and abstinenceplus (which includes information about contraception) programs are both considered acceptable curricula. The program will run for five years and will then be evaluated for effectiveness.
Child Marriage Bill Republicans in the House of Representatives killed a bill that would have incorporated the prevention of forced child marriage into U.S. foreign policy. The International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2010 required a twothirds majority to pass because
then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) introduced it under “suspension of the rules,” in order to avoid amendments to the bill. An hour before the vote, House Republicans received an alert saying, “There are also concerns that funding will be directed to NGOs that promote and perform abortion and efforts to combat child marriage could be usurped as a way to overturn pro-life laws.” As a result of this bogus claim, 166 representatives voted against the bill and it failed to pass. In sharp contrast, the bill had already passed unanimously in the Senate.
Catholic Hospitals Refuse RH Care As economic pressures force secular hospitals to merge with religious ones, Church directives are being applied—to the dismay of many health care providers. Catholic hospitals are guided by the Ethical and Religious Directives, which prohibit abortion (even if the mother’s life is in danger), tubal ligations, and the termination of ectopic pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancy is a life-threatening situation for the woman and one in which the
fetus never survives. Doctors are only permitted under the Ethical and Religious Directives to terminate ectopic pregnancies by removing the entire fallopian tube, which is an invasive surgical procedure and greatly reduces a woman’s fertility.
Wisconsin Reform The income maximum for Wisconsin’s free family planning program was raised in December, allowing more low-income people to benefit from the program. The federal health reform law permits states to raise income limits up to 300 percent of the federal poverty limit (a salary of $32,490). Wisconsin is the first state to take advantage of the new law.
Stall in Abortion Rate Decline The latest data from the Guttmacher Institute show that the decline in the abortion rate in the U.S. stalled from 2005 to 2008. The rate had been dropping consistently since 1981. Researchers suspect that the recession might have something to do with the slight increase in the total number and rate of abortions during that three-year period, as couples lost health www.popconnect.org
insurance (and contraceptive coverage) due to layoffs and felt less equipped to take on the expenses of an unplanned child.
Teens Abstaining A national survey by the Department of Health and Human Services, using data collected from 2006-2008, found that 27 percent of young men and 29 percent of young women (15-24) had never had a sexual experience. This is compared with 22 percent for each group in 2002. Ironically, while abstinence was increasing, the teen birth rate was increasing as well.
Postpartum IUD The Uganda Ministry of Health has introduced a new program to prevent unplanned pregnancy after birth in three government hospitals. Women will now be educated about the non-hormonal IUD, which lasts for up to ten years, while still in the hospital after delivery. They will have the opportunity to receive an IUD before they leave the hospital, freeing them from the necessity of a separate postnatal contraceptive visit to the hospital in the weeks following the birth.
By the end of the year, the service will be available in all government hospitals in Uganda. The Association of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Uganda and the Ministry of Health are lobbying to have the approach written into health policy at the federal government level.
Kenya Condom Shortage A shipment of 35 million condoms reached Mombasa in April after public outcry over a shortage of free condoms from UNFPA. Another 39 million condoms are expected to arrive in May. According to the Kenyan Ministry of Public Health, men in Kenya use an average of 20 million condoms per month. “We have a shortage of free condoms and the key reasons being that the population is growing at three per cent per year and there is also growing demand due to enough AIDS education,” said Deputy Representative of the UNFPA Country Office, Alexander Ilyin. To read the original articles from which these summaries were taken, see http://tinyurl.com/PopConnectNews May 2011 — The Reporter
a lasting legaCY: three MeMBer tales
By Shauna Scherer and Lee S. Polansky
gunther FonKen and agnes hughes Gunther and Agnes have the kind of partnership many people dream about, and their mutual interest in population is just one of the many things that bind them together. Married nine years this June, the two octogenarians live in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Gunther performed pharmaceutical research at The Upjohn Company, retiring as a vice president. Agnes was the Human Resources Director for the City of Kalamazoo, as well as an artist specializing in watercolor, oil stick, and pastel landscapes. She has held 16 oneperson shows and sold over 175 paintings. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring triggered Gunther’s “insight into the environmental problems facing the world.” Both Agnes and Gunther believe that population growth is the largest underlying factor in many of the world’s environmental and social problems. Agnes told us “there are too many people and not enough resources.” They believe in “stopping at two,” and had a total of four children in their previous marriages. 8
The Reporter — May 2011
The couple stays active. They love to hike and have traveled to far-flung places like the Southern Andes in Chile and Argentina, the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, and the Sierra Nevadas in the western United States. They make a nightly toast to each other, reciting their personal motto, “life, love and laughter.” For their respective 80th birthdays, they took their entire extended families first to a rainforest compound on Maui and then to a vineyard villa in Italy. They live frugally so they can afford to be generous when it comes to the people they love and the causes they support. Their concern for the environment and the future of this planet led them to establish a charitable gift annuity with Population Connection.
Born in 1944, Ken Johnston grew up in Southern California and witnessed the explosive population growth that replaced orange groves with houses throughout the Los Angeles and Orange County region. Yet, like many of us, despite his early exposure to population growth, he didn’t think much about it for many years. In fact, quite the opposite: he marveled at earth’s abundance during a 1967 sailing trip from Honolulu to San Francisco. Helping a French couple and their nephew navigate a 45’ sailboat across the ocean for 28 days and 2,800 miles, Ken was struck by the earth’s vastness. After this stint, Ken joined the U.S. Air Force Reserves and flew 1,500 hours. He moved to New Jersey, and, as Ken notes, he “got a job and thought a little about the earth and a lot about himself.” It wasn’t until 2001 when he and his sister, Gail, took a memory tour of their three childhood homes in California that he could see overpopulation firsthand. He laments that today, “LA meets San Diego.”
Agnes Hughes and Gunther Fonken
Paul and Barbara Gerhardt
Since retiring from a high-tech consulting career in 2003, Ken has evolved into an ardent environmentalist and advocate for stabilizing population. In his spare time, he has also turned an avocation for creating stained glass windows to outfit his home, LogHaven, into a second career. He now commissions handmade windows and hosts clients in his workshop, helping them to craft their own stained glass windows.
management while raising their two children.
Paul and Barbara have published several books individually. During the past year, they coauthored a book, Choice Matters, available at http://gerhardtbooks.com. Covering a range of thought-provoking topics, it is dedicated “to all sincere people who want to make this country and world a better place to live and who choose to be part of the solution and not a part of the problem.” They write, “Overpopulation cannot dignify anyone. It is at odds with the value of every human being.”
Because of his desire to help achieve a sustainable balance between people and our planet, Ken has designated Population Connection as a beneficiary of his will and his charitable trust.
Paul and BarBara gerhardt Paul and Barbara were born and raised in Chicago and both attended the University of Colorado. They spent two years in Germany during Paul’s service with the U.S. military and then returned to their hometown. Back in Chicago, Paul became the Executive Director of the American Accounting Association (AAA), a position he held for 30 years. Barbara worked in real estate sales and property www.popconnect.org
Long-time supporters of ZPG/ Population Connection, the Gerhardts’ travels strengthened their belief in the necessity of achieving a sustainable population. In 1992, they traveled to Indonesia, where Paul was speaking at four different universities across Java. A young woman named Ipung served as their guide. As they drove from place to place, Barbara noticed blue signs, which Ipung translated to mean “Kids Bah.” “As in, bah-humbug,” Barbara explained. These signs indicated birth control clinics, a heartening sign for Barbara, who was appalled by the traffic congestion and pollution of Jakarta. “It was 1992, and people in the city were wearing masks because the air pollution was so bad,” Barbara recalled. In 1971, the Gerhardts moved with the AAA to Sarasota, Florida, where they would retire in 1995. Since then, they have spent many summers in the mountains of North Carolina where they read and write—pastimes made easier by not having cable TV.
Members since 1999, the Gerhardts established a charitable gift annuity with Population Connection that supports our mission while providing them with a reliable income stream for life. Through their generosity, the Gerhardts hope to help women around the world achieve their own fertility preferences.
If you would like to join The ZPG Society by including Population Connection in your will or estate plans, please contact Shauna Scherer, Director of Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-974-7730. May 2011 — The Reporter
Lady Health Workers Promote Small Families in Pakistan By Cathleen Miller
ooming down the freeway from Islamabad, we pass beneath a sign on the overpass that reads: “Life is precious: do not risk it.” This seems an appropriate message for the morning, and I will think about that slogan many times in the hours to come. I am with Pamela Sequeira, a native Pakistani who works in the UNFPA Country Office in Islamabad. Our driver, Monabar, has radioed in our whereabouts,
destination, and estimated arrival time. We are heading 135 kilometers south to the city of Chakwal, where we will see the UN program to improve maternal health in the district. After visiting the overwhelmed maternity hospital at district headquarters, where about 150 babies are born each month, we drive through the hilly green countryside, sparsely dotted by dusty acacia trees. The Kalar Kahar Mountains rise blue and
hazy in the distance. Leaving the freeway, the SUV bounces along the cratered roads, passing numerous examples of “truck art,” Pakistan’s mobile gallery of buses, vans, and trucks trimmed with metal filigree and decorated with ornate paintings. When we reach the village of Tetral, Monabar slows to the pace of the rickshaw in front of us, which is carrying two women in burqas. Winding into the heart of this village of 5,000 people, the
Patients wait outside a USAID-funded Pakistan Initiative for Mothers and Newborns (PAIMAN) clinic. Photo: PAIMAN, Courtesy of Photoshare
10 The Reporter — May 2011
FAMILY PLANNING AT THEIR DOORSTEP The Lady Health Worker Program was created in 1994 by the Pakistani Ministry of Health to incorporate family planning into the door-todoor provision of primary health care. There are approximately 100,000 Lady Health Workers (LHWs) who reach 90 million women in rural communities and urban slums across Pakistan. LHWs operate out of their own homes, eliminating the need for a separate facility. They visit 5-7 women a day and serve a client base of 1,000. LHWs receive a stipend of about $570 per year, and provide over 20 services pertaining to maternal and child health.
Samina became a Lady Health Worker in 1996 and is now a master trainer. Photo: Jamshyd Masud, Flickr
driver squeezes the 4x4 down tiny alleyways formed by walls of sundried bricks. We arrive at the home of Asiya Rajput, a Lady Health Worker. She has placed a circle of chairs around her front room, a space with a cement floor, beamed wooden ceiling, and plaster walls covered by posters illustrating the female reproductive system. It is a darkened oasis compared with the www.popconnect.org
bright sunlight outside. With traditional Pakistani hospitality, our hostess serves candies, cookies, fruit, and Coca-Cola. Seated in the circle are about 20 women of all ages, and the atmosphere is brightened by the lively colors and sparkling whites of their fashions. They wear a humbler version of the same outfit urban women wear in Islamabad and Karachi: the shalwar kameez.
With family planning provided free to consumers, LHWs dispense 50 percent of the reversible modern methods used by people in the served communities. Since the program began, LHWs have enabled communities to increase contraceptive use 3-4 fold—a larger improvement than the national average (although still short of the government’s goal of achieving universal access to modern contraception by 2010). Despite the gains made since the program’s inception, problems with underfunding and contraceptive stockouts persist. At the time of writing, the LHWs were on strike because of undelivered wages. The Pakistani government is the primary funder of this program, with assistance from USAID and other donors. —Marian Starkey May 2011 — The Reporter 11
This garment consists of loose trousers covered by a long blouse extending below the knees; it’s modestly cut with a high neck and long sleeves. The shalwar kameez is usually covered by a voluminously draped scarf, a hijab, which hides the woman’s glory—her hair—a treasure so valuable that only her husband may appreciate it. Precious little skin is visible: their hands, their feet peeking out of sandals, and their faces, unless wearing a burqa. I am surprised to see that few women in Tetral have covered their faces, as many do in the city. None is wearing a hint of makeup. A few men from the health care agencies are there and they are all wearing Western shirts and ties. With Pamela translating, I ask the women about their experiences with childbearing and they shift uncomfortably in their chairs. I worry that I’ve gone too far, expecting them to open up and talk to a stranger about such a personal subject. Then I notice a few women glancing nervously at the men in the room. On impulse I ask them to please leave us alone, and suddenly the room emits a collective sigh of relief. The women begin to chatter in Urdu and giggle. Ah ha. I have turned the key in the conversational lock and we launch into a session of multilingual girl talk. I ask how many children the women have and Rubima, a woman draped in a dark hijab says 12 The Reporter — May 2011
she has nine. When I ask if she would like to move outside so we can speak about her family life in private, she replies, “No, we are all women here.” With that, she launches into her story, and I marvel at Rubima’s presence. She exudes great strength, and as she talks she looks me in the eye with an intense, confident manner, her large brown eyes fixing me with the keen, unblinking stare of a hawk. Rubima, a farmer, thinks she is 32 or 33, but as in many parts of the developing world, the need to keep track of age is absent. I am surprised to hear her estimated age, as I would have placed her around 50. She’s at least six feet tall and has broad shoulders. The strong hands of a worker are resting on her lap, their orange fingers offering telltale signs of henna. But in contrast to her domineering appearance, this woman is dressed in the most feminine costume in the room—an embroidered pinkstriped shalwar kameez. Rubima says she married at approximately 14, and was 16 when she had her first baby. She worked all day in the field, and then gave birth to her baby at home, the labor lasting only half an hour. An unskilled, untrained older woman delivered all her babies, until the last two, who were born in the community hospital. She made the switch to giving birth at the hospital rather than at home because she had begun to
feel weak, a common symptom of anemia from leaving only one year between pregnancies. Rubima says about her family life, “My husband is a good man, he takes care of me and the kids, takes us to the doctor when we need it. Along with our children we run a farm growing carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, and okra. We raise livestock, cows and buffalo, and we own a horse that we use to take our vegetables to market.” I ask Rubima why she had nine children. “My husband was supportive of the idea of birth control,” she says in her husky voice. “But I tried an IUD and it had lots of side effects like cramping and bleeding. Then my husband used condoms for a while, but we decided we wanted to have a boy.” From this point on, Rubima tells a common story found in many parts of the world where boys are preferred. “We had five daughters first before we got a son. Then we wanted our son to have a brother and I became pregnant again, but this one was also a girl. Then the last two children were boys.” She had a tubal ligation after her ninth baby. All her kids are in school now, except for her two eldest daughters, ages 17 and 18, who just finished high school. Both of them are engaged to be married. Although they want to continue their studies, Rubima wants them
daughters will start their families right away. By contrast, her eldest son is in tenth grade, studying to become an electrician.
A Greenstar clinic for maternal and child health. USAID funds the social marketing Greenstar program through Population Services International. Photo: PSI, Courtesy of Photoshare
to wed now. “It’s according to Islam. Girls must marry before they’re 20,” Rubima declares. Her
“Would you have so many children if you had it to do over again?” I ask her. “No, I would only have two or three. However, the best part about so many kids is that they are all around you. I prefer my daughters, because they do more work and they listen to their parents.” I ask Rubima for her advice to young women like her daughters who are just starting their married lives. “Take care of your husband,
your parents, and your home,” she replies with that same intense stare, “and have two kids.” Epilogue With more education, earlier access to family planning information and services, and exposure to the idea that daughters are just as valuable as sons, Rubima might have chosen to “have two kids,” instead of nine. And even though her daughters won’t continue on to college, their secondary educations and access to Lady Health Workers will help them have small families if they choose to heed their mother’s sound family planning advice.
Male participants in the USAID-funded Mohalla Sangat family planning outreach program display informational cassettes they received. The community-based behavior change project aims to encourage birth spacing through contraceptive use. A survey in 2007 found that 47 percent of women or their husbands were using a contraceptive method prior to attending a meeting. This figure rose to 64 percent after attending a meeting. Photo: Farah Riaz, Courtesy of Photoshare
May 2011 — The Reporter 13
Smart Planning for the Global Family By Lester R. Brown
Flood-affected people wait for relief in the form of food and fresh drinking water in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Photo: Monirul Alam, Courtesy of Photoshare
hen it comes to population growth, the United Nations has three primary projections. The medium projection, the one most commonly used, has world population reaching 9.2 billion by 2050. The high one reaches 10.5 billion. The low projection, which assumes that the world will quickly move below replacement-level fertility, has population peaking at 8 billion in 2042 and then declining. If the goal is to eradicate poverty, hunger, and illiteracy, then we have little choice but to strive for the lower projection. 14 The Reporter — May 2011
Slowing world population growth means ensuring that all women who want to plan their families have access to family planning information and services. Unfortunately, this is currently not the case for 215 million women, 59 percent of whom live in subSaharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent. These women and their families represent roughly 1 billion of the earth’s poorest residents, for whom unintended pregnancies and unwanted births are an enormous burden. Former U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) official
J. Joseph Speidel notes that “if you ask anthropologists who live and work with poor people at the village level…they often say that women live in fear of their next pregnancy. They just do not want to get pregnant.” The United Nations Population Fund and the Guttmacher Institute estimate that meeting the needs of these 215 million women who lack reproductive health care and effective contraception could each year prevent 53 million unwanted pregnancies, 24 million induced abortions, and
A group of Maasai children at school. Photo: Carolyne Pehora, Dreamstime.com
1.6 million infant deaths. Along with the provision of additional condoms needed to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, a universal family planning and reproductive health program would cost an additional $21 billion in funding from industrial and developing countries. Shifting to smaller families brings generous economic dividends. In Bangladesh, for example, analysts concluded that $62 spent by the government to prevent an unwanted birth saved $615 in expenditures on other social www.popconnect.org
services. For donor countries, ensuring that men and women everywhere have access to the services they need would yield strong social returns in improved education and health care. Slowing population growth brings with it what economists call the demographic bonus. When countries move quickly to smaller families, growth in the number of young dependentsâ€” those who need nurturing and educatingâ€”declines relative to the number of working adults. At the individual level, removing the
financial burden of large families allows more people to escape from poverty. At the national level, the demographic bonus causes savings and investment to climb, productivity to surge, and economic growth to accelerate. Japan, which cut its population growth in half between 1951 and 1958, was one of the first countries to benefit from the demographic bonus. South Korea and Taiwan followed, and more recently China, Thailand, and Viet Nam have been helped by earlier sharp reductions in birth rates. May 2011 â€” The Reporter 15
Although this effect lasts for only a few decades, it is usually enough to launch a country into the modern era. Indeed, except for a few oil-rich countries, no developing country has successfully modernized without slowing population growth. Though many developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America were successful in quickly reducing their fertility within a generation or so after public health and medical gains lowered their mortality rates, many others did not follow this path and have been caught in the demographic trap—including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, and Yemen. (Large families are a greater financial burden on both parents and governments, and more impoverished people and societies tend to produce larger families. Thus they become “trapped” in a cycle of poverty and high fertility.) Countries that do not succeed in reducing fertility early on face the compounding of 3 percent growth per year or 20-fold per century. Such rapid population growth can easily strain limited land and water resources. With large “youth bulges” outrunning job creation, the growing number of unemployed young men increases the risk of conflict. This also raises the odds of becoming a failing state. Put simply, the costs to society of not filling the family 16 The Reporter — May 2011
planning gap may be greater than we can afford. The good news is that governments can help couples reduce family size very quickly when they commit to doing so. My colleague Janet Larsen writes that in just one decade Iran dropped its near-record population growth rate to one of the lowest in the developing world. When Ayatollah Khomeini assumed leadership in Iran in 1979 and launched the Islamic revolution, he immediately dismantled the well-established family planning programs and instead advocated large families. At war with Iraq between 1980 and 1988, Khomeini wanted to increase the ranks of soldiers for Islam. His goal was an army of 20 million. Fertility levels climbed in response to his pleas, pushing Iran’s annual population growth to a peak of 4.2 percent in the early 1980s, a level approaching the biological maximum. As this enormous growth began to burden the economy and the environment, the country’s leaders realized that overcrowding, environmental degradation, and unemployment were undermining Iran’s future. In 1989 the government did an about-face and restored its family planning program. In May 1993, a national family planning law was
passed. The resources of several government ministries, including education, culture, and health, were mobilized to encourage smaller families. Iran Broadcasting was given responsibility for raising awareness of population issues and of the availability of family planning services. Television was used to disseminate information on family planning throughout the country, taking advantage of the 70 percent of rural households with TV sets. Religious leaders were directly involved in what amounted to a crusade for smaller families. Some 15,000 “health houses” or clinics were established to provide rural populations with health and family planning services. Iran introduced a full panoply of contraceptive measures, including the option of vasectomy—a first among Muslim countries. All forms of birth control, including the pill and sterilization, were free of charge. Iran even became the only country to require couples to take a course on modern contraception before receiving a marriage license. In addition to the direct health care interventions, Iran also launched a broad-based effort to raise female literacy, boosting it from 25 percent in 1970 to more than 70 percent in 2000. Female school enrollment increased from 60 to 90 percent. Women and girls with more schooling are likely to
A farmer and his daughter carry firewood back to their village in Myanmar. Photo: Kyaw Kyaw Winn, Courtesy of Photoshare
have fewer children, making their education a smart investment. As a result of this initiative, family size in Iran dropped from seven children to fewer than three. From 1987 to 1994, Iran cut its population growth rate by half, an impressive achievement. The bad news is that in July 2010 Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared the country’s family planning program ungodly and announced a new www.popconnect.org
pronatalist policy. The government would pay couples to have children, depositing money in each child’s bank account until age 18. The effect of this new program on Iran’s population growth remains to be seen. Nevertheless, Iran’s history shows how a full-scale mobilization of society that incorporates public outreach, access to family planning resources, and gender equality in education can accelerate the shift to smaller families.
Adapted from Chapter 11, “Eradicating Poverty, Stabilizing Population, and Rescuing Failing States” in Lester R. Brown, World on the Edge: How to Prevent Environmental and Economic Collapse (New York:W.W. Norton & Company, 2011), available online at www.earth-policy.org/books/wote
May 2011 — The Reporter 17
Our Profound Choice: 7 Billion Reasons to Invest in Family Planning By Martha Campbell and Malcolm Potts
A family in Dili City, East Timor. Photo: Arturo Sanabria, Courtesy of Photoshare.
18 The Reporter â€” May 2011
As the global human population reaches 7 billion later this year for the first time in world history, there are several simple things we can (and should) be doing to slow population growth and get on a path toward stabilizing our numbers at 8 billion.
Above, left: A health care provider examines a pregnant woman in a rural shelter in Myanmar. Photo: Aung Kyaw Tun, Courtesy of Photoshare Above, right: A Maasai man in Arkaria, Tanzania and his five children stand by the corral where the family keeps the valuable cattle that provide them with nutrition, wealth, and insurance for the future. Photo: Peter Verbiscar-Brown, Courtesy of Photoshare
emographic projections are not predictions. They tell us what can happen if we make a variety of policy choices and investments, most of them pertaining to family planning. The UN high variant projection for the world population in 2050 is 10.5 billion. The low variant is 8 billion. The difference between these two numbers—2.5 billion—is equivalent to the population of the entire world in 1950. With 2.5 billion more people come farms and factories, mines and ports, and schools and hospitals that must be built and maintained—and energy that must be consumed. It took nearly 130 years for the world population to grow from 1 to 2 billion, but the recent growth from 6 to 7 billion has occurred in only 12 years. Will the next www.popconnect.org
billion be added so quickly or will we slow the tide toward a more sustainable peak figure?
Martha Campbell is a Lecturer in the
Since the mid-1990s, international attention has shifted away from family planning. Unless critical changes are made as rapidly as possible, even the high projection of 10.5 billion people in 2050 could be exceeded. In fact, business as usual has us on track to surpass 11 billion in 2050.
gram at the David and Lucile Packard
ost specialists outside the population field, such as agriculture and climate change experts, assume that world population will reach 9 billion (the UN medium projection) in 2050 and little or nothing can be done to alter this path. This is the wrong approach and every sensible person must ask: Is human population growth some phenomenon beyond our control, or are there policies and
Malcolm Potts is an obstetrician and
School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. In the 1990s she directed the population proFoundation. In 2000 she founded and became President and CEO of Venture Strategies for Health and Development, a nonprofit organization that works to help facilitate large-scale health and reproductive health change where it is wanted in low resource countries.
reproductive scientist. He is the first Fred H. Bixby Chair of the Population and Family Planning program in the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley and has developed the Bixby Center with a team of young experts. He was the first Medical Director of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, a position he held for a decade. He has published ten books and over 200 scientific papers. May 2011 — The Reporter 19
investments that would enable global population to stabilize at the lower projected number? It is a genuine, dramatic, profound choice. Early in the Second World War, when England stood alone against Nazi Germany, Winston Churchill made his famous “their finest hour” speech. He posed that the world could “move forward into broad, sunlit uplands” or, alternately, that it could “sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age…” Today, Churchill’s stirring words apply not to two nations at war, but to a decision about human population that the whole planet must make. A difference of 2.5 billion will have a huge impact on
whether we can feed and employ rising numbers of people while also switching to an ecologically sustainable economy. It is a challenge as formidable as any war and the choices are as stark as those between the broad, sunlit uplands of the civilized world and an abyss of a new Dark Age. Demography is an unforgiving taskmaster. Many of those who will be parents in the next 40 years are already born and enumerated. Even if they have fewer children than their parents, global population will continue to grow. We can see the consequences of this type of demographic momentum in China. Although the average 20 The Reporter — May 2011
Chinese couple now has fewer than two children, as a result of rapid population growth in the past, China’s population continues to increase by 7 million every year. Whatever we do, global population will continue to grow for another generation or two. The key issue is, at what rate?
decades—provided that population and family planning are given the priority they deserve.
ortunately, we know a great deal about how to make family planning available without infringing on any human rights. In nearly every setting where couples, and particularly women, have been provided with the means and correct information they need to manage whether or when to have
Demographers used to believe that once a country’s fertility rate began to decline, it would continue to do so automatically. For example, Kenya made a modest but consistent investment in voluntary family planning in the 1970s and 1980s and as a result, the average family size fell from 8 to 5. Later, the focus was taken off family planning, and the naïve assumption that birth rates would go on declining proved sadly wrong. In 1998, demographers projected that the population of Kenya in 2050 would be 51
another child, birth rates have fallen rapidly. There is no reason then—other than lack of political will—that the world population should not stabilize at 8 billion.
million. As a result of the loss of attention to family planning and a consequent stall in fertility decline, the population in 2050 is now projected to be 85 million.
Half the world’s women have already reached replacement level fertility, which is an average of 2.1 births. (Demographers use 2.1 because some children die before they are able to reproduce.) Another third of the world’s women have between 2.1 and 4 births. These women live mainly in countries where family size has been falling in recent decades. There is reason to believe that they will move to replacement level fertility in a few more
orty years ago, population growth caught media attention and inspired scientific endeavors the way climate change does today. Why have media voices grown silent on this issue? Why do many people, including those representing a variety of advocacy groups, avoid talking about population? If people think that bringing down average family size involves telling people what to do, or at
A social worker with the Veerni Project discusses the benefits of small families, encouraging the adoption of modern family planning methods, with an extended family in a village outside Jodhpur, India. Photo: Rose Reis, Courtesy of Photoshare
worst, coercive family planning, then they are unlikely to want to talk about population. In contrast, when people learn that reducing average family size depends on fulfilling an unmet need for family planning, then suddenly they can see that it’s acceptable to talk about population. In short, family planning means listening to what people want, not telling them what to do. The low birth rate in the United States isn’t due to someone telling us to have fewer children; rather, we have achieved small families because we could. In 1994, the UN International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) in Cairo www.popconnect.org
drew attention to the many needs of women (some of which had been overshadowed by demographic targets), especially in Africa. Unfortunately, coming out of that conference, some groups began to view the issue of ‘population’ as politically incorrect. Family planning budgets collapsed, while HIV/AIDS budgets ballooned. The term ‘family planning’ was replaced by the broader phrase ‘reproductive health,’ triggering numerous pilot projects, few of which were brought to scale. Further hurting the cause, low fertility in countries such as Russia and Japan suggested the ‘population explosion is over.’
n virtually all societies couples have sexual intercourse frequently. This means that women cannot limit family size unless they have access to contraception and accurate information about how to use it. The Demographic and Health Surveys, conducted in nearly every developing country, show that 215 million sexually active women do not want another child in the next two years, or ever, yet they are not using a modern method of contraception. Holding global population at 8 billion depends on a reasonable level of access to a variety of contraceptive methods made May 2011 — The Reporter 21
available through a range of distribution channels and backed up with reliable information. Making family planning readily available means changing policies, increasing modest budgets to subsidize the very poor, and overcoming bottlenecks in the supply line. Family planning is a choice, not a diagnosis, and communities must be empowered to help themselves. In Ethiopia, Venture Strategies and the Bixby Center, working with local leaders, have shown that community volunteers (including, in one case, two Ethiopian priests) can safely dispense the injectable contraceptive Depo-Provera. Such task shifting
is key to addressing unmet need for family planning because the demand is so great. There is simply no time to wait for doctors and nurses to tackle the problem single-handedly. Other trained community members must be part of the solution. Over the decades, family planning has been unnecessarily over-medicalized. In Tanzania, women are refused the Pill if they have five children; in Madagascar, if they have none. There is no scientific justification for either rule. Dispelling misinformation is another necessary step. Some clinic providers give misleading 22 The Reporter â€” May 2011
advice or are unwilling to prescribe adolescents contraceptives. Perceived dangers of using contraception are highly prevalent and may be one of the most stubborn barriers to family planning. In many countries, women think the Pill is more dangerous than childbirth, whereas the risks are literally a thousand times in the opposite direction. Reliable ways of dispelling misinformation exist, however, such as the use of community theater and popular radio and television soap operas.
o country has achieved replacement level fertility without access to safe abortion. This is true even
of Catholic countries such as the island of Malta, where abortion remains illegal but statistics show many women travel to neighboring countries to terminate unintended pregnancies. The world is most likely to maintain a population of 8 billion if safe abortion is made universally available. This is not because more abortions will be performed, but because those women who have abortions will receive contraceptive counseling. Studies show that after an abortion, a woman is more likely to adopt a method and use it consistently than in any other situation. In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the TFR is now 1.6. The most plausible explanation
for this uniquely low TFR is that Marie Stopes International provided comprehensive abortion care, including postabortion contraceptive care, for well over a decade before the recent liberalization of the abortion law. Safe abortion (using manual vacuum aspiration, which can be done in low-resource settings by non-physician providers) and medical abortion (using the drugs mifepristone and misoprostol) are transforming womenâ€™s health. In Tigray, a remote part of Ethiopia, 70 percent of the hospital beds were once given to women suffering from botched abortions. Once community health workers
were taught how to provide medical abortion, this suffering was virtually eliminated, and women gained from being exposed to modern contraceptive choices.
ithout doubt, the greatest challenge of the 21st century will be to move to an ecologically sustainable global economy. If we fail to meet that challenge, then we will irreversibly damage the planet with the most massive extinction of plants and animals since the asteroid that eliminated the dinosaurs. Some who deny the importance of human numbers point to the
Village actors in Malawi perform a play in which two brothers in a family of 12 children fight over clothes to wear because there are not enough resources to feed and clothe all the children. The Adventist Health Service of Malawi supports a community-based family planning program with the aim of increasing access to family planning and promoting birth spacing. Photo: Virginia Lamprecht, Courtesy of Photoshare
Netherlands as a prosperous, small country with almost 17 million people. They ask why the world can’t accommodate a few billion more people at the European standard of living? The problem, as ecologist Mathis Wackernagel points out, is our footprint. The Netherlands imports food, timber, and other resources from around the world. The greenhouse gases it puts into the atmosphere spread from the Arctic to the Antarctic. The footprint of the 17 million people in the Netherlands is eight times the actual area of the country. The exact worldwide figures are open to debate, but there is www.popconnect.org
legitimate concern that by 2050 the planet’s water, land, and atmosphere will no longer be able to support the population’s needs in a sustainable way. Given time and a great deal of scientific ingenuity, we might still be able to reduce our consumption and create an ecologically sustainable economy. But the more we impoverish the earth in the short term, the more difficult the task will be.
on the planet contribute 3 percent of the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Cruelly, the adverse impacts of global warming will be greatest on those who have contributed least to the problem. Global warming will increase the number of people exposed to malaria. In a country such as Bangladesh, a small rise in sea level could inundate vast areas of rich agricultural land.
Well over 95 percent of the population growth between now and 2050 will be in the least developed countries—those that are also the least able to feed, educate and employ their burgeoning numbers. The poorest 2 billion people
Even at a population of 8 billion, it will be difficult to feed everyone, as nearly all the good agricultural land in the world is already farmed at moderate intensity. As the emerging economies in Asia and Latin America consume more May 2011 — The Reporter 23
animal protein, that livestock will be fed the same grain that will be needed for African villages facing starvation. The absurdity of converting grain to ethanol will be responsible for leaving more children malnourished in the least developed countries. Some of the countries in subSaharan Africa, especially those making up the Sahel, face particularly grave challenges. They have average family sizes of 5 or more. In Niger, the rate of population growth exceeds the rate of economic growth. More than one quarter of women over age 40 have 10 or more children, and only 1 in 1,000 women completes
secondary school. Approximately 10 percent of children under five in Niger suffer from acute malnutrition and 44 percent of children suffer from chronic malnutrition. If the TFR falls from the current 7.4 to 3.8 by 2050, the population will still expand from 16 million today to 58 million by 2050. If the TFR does not fall so fast, then the population could reach a totally unsustainable 80 million.
he history of family planning is one of missed opportunities. When the World Health Organization (WHO) was established in 1948, the first Director General, a Canadian named Brock 24 The Reporter — May 2011
Chisholm, saw reducing mortality and slowing population growth as synergistic goals. However, the Vatican and some Catholic countries ferociously opposed giving any assistance for family planning to countries such as India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), which requested it in the 1950s. The Catholic minority went as far as to threaten to destroy the fledgling WHO and create a new world organization. Chisholm was forced to back down at a time when death rates were falling in a spectacular way. Vaccination, DDT to control malaria, and relative peace in much of the world had a tremendous impact on death rates. It was at this time that
o keep world population at 8 billion we need a sense of scale and a sense of urgency; the confidence that population growth can be slowed within a human rights framework; the political will to make it happen; the investments necessary to make family planning options universally available; the courage to fight patriarchy so that women are free to make the best decisions for themselves; and a burning desire to bequeath our children and grandchildren a sustainable, peaceful and prosperous world rather than a hungry, angry world riven by conflict over resources and a slew of failed states—some perhaps
a small but sensible investment in family planning in countries such as those lining the Sahara would have had the greatest leverage.
armed with nuclear weapons. Stabilizing the population at 8 billion requires adopting win-win policies that benefit women and their families and help make the world a safer, less divided, more sustainable place.
From the 1970s to the 1990s considerable progress was made in making voluntary family planning available in East Asia and Latin America, but a highly reprehensible episode of coercive family planning in India in the 1970s, the Chinese one-child policy that was initiated in 1980, and Peru’s forced sterilizations in the 1990s set progress back a second time. And, as we have mentioned, the ICPD often focused on women’s empowerment at the expense of population and family planning.
Population is only one factor among many in health and development outcomes, educational attainment, food and water security, and political stability. It is only one factor, but it’s a critical one. Attention to population will not solve the world’s problems alone, but without it, the world’s problems will not be solved.
Across 1. Storage unit 6. Gone by 9. Power alternative to fossil fuel 14. Species thriving with human population growth 15. Level status 16. Part of a play 17. Follow 18. Pro golf org 19. Deprives 20. Isaac Asimov quote (part 1) 23. “I smell _____” 24. Prefix meaning bad 25. U.S. Fed. Dept. that manages the most land 26. Cloth for Tarzan 28. Legendary King of Ithaca 30. Just created 33. _____ Wonderful Life 37. _____ Wee Herman 38. Eat away 40. Isaac Asimov quote (part 2) 44. Normandy Beach code name 45. Congressman Faleomavaega from American Samoa www.popconnect.org
46. May need to be brushed regularly 47. Short for refusal 48. Soy harvest? 52. Immense 53. Once around 54. PhDs 57. Jackson 5 do 60. Isaac Asimov quote (part 3) 63. Schedule 65. Like Howard Beale, in Network 66. Resembling 67. Country with highest total fertility rate 68. Anger 69. Dark 70. Tosca or Rigoletto 71. Dishonorable individual 72. Alleviates Down 1. Might be light or heavy 2. World’s largest motorcycle manufacturer 3. Painter’s prop 4. Foul film 5. _____ Couple 6. One who informs
7. Infatuated 8. Provider of divine answers 9. Compass direction 10. Indian, for one 11. Tragic Celtic King 12. _____ and the King 13. Relax 21. Semi-aquatic rodent of South America 22. Second person personal pronoun 27. “Got it” 28. Pledge 29. Population milestone soon to be reached (in billions) 30. Massive nuclear explosion 31. Place of origin, to some 32. “What _____ we thinking?” 33. Embodiment 34. Domesticate 35. Catch 39. Frolic 41. Island home of the highest point in Kingdom of Netherlands 42. Brought in 43. Some infections 49. Sixth sense 50. Infinitesimal 51. Not clear 52. One of 42 percent of U.S. citizens in Nov. 2010 54. Calls 55. O’Donnell or Perez 56. Irritated states 57. “_____ other could” 58. Toss 59. Fury 61. Prefix for beside 62. Species threatened by overfishing 64. Could be geological or cosmological Answers will be published in the next issue of The Reporter.
May 2011 — The Reporter 25
Washington View 26 The Reporter â€” April 2011
Cry Me a River By Stacie Murphy
Design by Rebecca Dodelin www.popconnect.org
May 2011 â€” The Reporter 27
Field & Outreach
Capitol Hill Days 2011 By Lee S. Polansky
Gloria Feldt, keynote speaker at Capitol Hill Days, was the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America from 1996‐2005.
t was the perfect weekend to be in Washington, D.C.— with sunny skies and the cherry blossoms in bloom—for lobbying on Capitol Hill in support of international family planning programs. Seventy-eight people, including 42 students, sacrificed their weekend to come to D.C. and learn the fine art of lobbying to “Double the Money” for international family planning. Participants went from viewing The Edge of Joy, a documentary by Dawn Shapiro about maternal health in Nigeria, to a variety of informational sessions and advocacy training. Then, on Monday and Tuesday, they rounded out their visit by meeting with their senators and representatives. We spoke to several students over the busy weekend. Bradley Jackson, a sophomore attending Seattle University, hails from Denver, Colorado and is a History major. Some friends came to Capitol Hill Days last year, he told us, and learned so much that
28 The Reporter — May 2011
he was quick to seize the opportunity to come to Washington this time around. “It’s a great opportunity to learn about the issues,” he said, “and to speak with members of Congress. International family planning is an investment in the future, and I hope that Congress listens to us.” Lily Post flew in from the University of San Francisco. A Sociology major, Lily said that the weekend reinforced for her the fact that “women are the vital life source of the world but it’s unacknowledged.” Along with her fellow students, she looked forward to lobbying her elected officials. Ayla Cash traveled from Columbus, Ohio with a contingent of 12 Ohio State University (OSU) students, recruited by National Field Coordinator Rebecca Harrington through her outreach work in Columbus. Ayla, as President of the student-led group Global Health Initiative, which works on “increasing
awareness and providing educational opportunities related to global health issues,” started working on this topic as a freshman. In fact, she told us, she’s always been “interested in public health care.” A junior majoring in Molecular Genetics, Ayla plans to attend graduate or medical school with a future in women’s health care policy. While Ayla has previously lobbied state legislators, this was her first Capitol Hill Days—but she spoke like a professional in the mock lobbying advocacy training session. She said her actual meetings, with the offices of Sen. Sherrod Brown, Sen. Rob Portman and Rep. Steve Stivers were “a really great experience.” Her weekend in Washington, which included “checking out the cherry blossoms,” went so well that she plans to come again next year, bringing even more OSU students. Tiffany Wang, who, like Ayla Cash is an OSU Molecular Genetics junior, is also a member
Photos by Jonathan Look, Jr.
of the Global Health Initiative. The Initiative, which piqued her interest in population, has led to her interest in attending medical school. She would eventually like to work on maternal and child health issues that are “seldom addressed by mainstream medicine.” Her weekend in Washington went as well as that of the other students; she especially “enjoyed hearing from the advocacy veterans.” Every student in the OSU contingent was assigned something specific to say in their lobby meetings, with Tiffany requesting that members “commit to $1 billion in funding for international family planning.” Tiffany, too, is “looking forward to coming back next year” to join her fellow supporters of international family planning.
Clockwise from top left: 1) (back to front) OSU student Annum Yasin, Lasell College student Sarah Main, and Pacific Lutheran University students Paige Griffith and Bethany Petek. 2) Member Bob Norman, OSU student Ayla Cash, and recent Oregon State graduate Megan Johnson during advocacy training. 3) Seattle U. students Bradley Jackson (foreground) and Eric Chalmers (background) during advocacy training. 4) Seattle U. student Marie-Therese Senecal with University of San Francisco students Lily Post, Kailey Duffy, and Ashley Ommen. 5) OSU students Ayla Cash, Nicole Swartz, Olga Borodulin (foreground), Meredith Albright, Brandon Beck, and Katie Ferman (background). 6) Oregon State student Jannae Parrot and Georgetown student Priscilla Tu. 7) Member Denis Rydjeski. 8) Rebecca Harrington.
You can sponsor a student for Capitol Hill Days 2012! Contact Shauna Scherer at 202-974-7730 or email@example.com for more information. www.popconnect.org
May 2011 — The Reporter 29
The 7 Billion Mark: A Teachable Moment Pop. Ed.
By Pamela Wasserman
he global spotlight will shine briefly on world population issues later this year as we reach a new milestone—7 billion people inhabiting the earth. In our Population Education Program, we approach such benchmarks as opportunities to introduce more teachers and students to the fundamentals of human ecology, building awareness of the consequences of continued population growth. Twelve years ago, we launched our “Countdown to Six Billion” campaign with a wall chart, activity guide, and library exhibits around the country. Interest in the materials was so high that we reprinted them several times over the next few years. It taught us that educators are inspired by these “teachable moments” on world events, and will make room in their crowded curriculum for timely, innovative lesson plans. Note paper. Melisende, Dreamstime.com
30 The Reporter — May 2011
ur came across yo Just randomly sle looking for e il h w , te si eb w th. ulation grow sons on pop es rc teacher resou WOW!!!! Your e the web. They ar are the best on p to read, low su interactive, easy to and READY plies, adaptable k an , thank you, th use. Thank you an using these in you!!!! I will be n. ta s in Afghanis Adult ESL clas ls cess to materia With limited ac ternet acceso in and little or n e great ways to ar sibility, these t topics. cover importan preciation, With much ap ard Pamela Brouss
Creating Moving Messages Fast forward to last fall when we debuted our “World of 7 Billion” campaign with a new website, www.worldof7billion.org, containing resources for teachers and an exciting video contest for high school students. Back in 1999, there was no YouTube or Facebook or Twitter. Today’s media landscape provides us with more ways to connect with teachers and their students directly, and to engage them in population education.
Video production is now accessible to the masses— most teens can create movies on their cell phones, iPods and digital cameras, and create professional-looking pieces with readily-available software.
Their assignment: Create a 30-second PSA that links the “7 billion milestone” with one of five topics (water, energy, land use, economics or public health). By the March 1 deadline, we had received over 600 entries from 36 states and four Asian countries. At press time, we were still reviewing the entries and preparing to send the top contenders to our guest judges—experts in the fields of entertainment, advertising, environmental and population issues. Winners will be announced in mid-May with prizes awarded in two categories (9-10th graders and 11-12th graders). First-place winners will receive $1,000, second-place $500,
and two honorable mentions in each category will receive $250. Winning entries will be viewable at www.worldof7billion.org.
The World of 7 Billion project is made possible by grants from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund, The Erik E. and Edith
H. Bergstrom Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, and our members.
Classroom Connections to 7 Billion Over the coming months, we will continue to add new content to the website for teachers to create meaningful lesson plans and school-wide events. The curricula is targeted at middle and high school teachers and covers a myriad of population-related themes, including human impacts on oceans and climate change, the importance of girls’ education around the world, and understanding the wealth gap among nations. Ideas for involving an entire school and grabbing headlines in the local media include a global simulation on food distribution and a “Pop Tweet” contest. This fall, we will be sending a colorful wall chart to social studies teachers across the country, examining how we got to 7 billion and where we might be headed. www.popconnect.org
Carol Bliese, Teacher Tra ining Manager, at the National Science Teache rs Association (NSTA) Convention in San Franci sco in March.
May 2011 — The Reporter 31
32 The Reporter â€” May 2011
Salt Lake City, Utah
Activists for retrograde social policy live in a world where if you don’t tell teenagers about contraception, they won’t have sex. But that world is not reality, and that fantastical view of human behavior should not dictate sex education policy in Utah public schools. Yet it does.
A spending bill, H.R. 1, includes a provision that would strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funding, which comes to $330 million a year in Title X and Medicaid funds. A second provision would zero out all Title X funding—$317 million—that goes to local family planning clinics, including Planned Parenthood.
In a rational world, Utah schools would advocate for contraception. They would emphasize that it is a personal moral choice, but even couples who want to have large families are going to need to know at some point in their sexual lives how to prevent conception. Abstinence from sexual intercourse is the most effective method, but there are others, with various risks of failure and health side effects. Utah parents who live in the real world and realize that their children are going to have sex should not allow this kind of perversion of education to continue. —March 26, 2011
An unwanted pregnancy in a poor household often becomes a public burden down the road. Studies show that a public investment of $1 for family planning saves $4 in future costs like food stamps and other public assistance. Title X provides care for five million people every year through 4,400 clinics in about 75 percent of the nation’s cities. Some of the providers are Planned Parenthood clinics, some are not. But they all serve a smart, cost-saving purpose. There is nothing budget-worthy about these two provisions. If allowed to stand they will target not abortions, but the health of poor women and teenage girls. Is this how Congress intends to deal with the budget deficit? By going after low-income families? These provisions should end up in oblivion in the U.S. Senate. —March 1, 2011
May 2011 — The Reporter 33
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Your legacy...people and the planet in balance Have you considered leaving a legacy gift, ensuring that your commitment to zero population growth continues well into the future? By remembering Population Connection in your will or estate plan, you can make a meaningful contribution to stabilizing population and improving the quality of life for everyone, everywhere. We also offer charitable gift annuities, which provide guaranteed life income and significant tax advantages. For more information, please contact Shauna Scherer, Director of Development at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) POP-1956.
Population Connection members Katharine and Julian Donahue, visiting Iguazu Falls in Brazil.
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34 The Reporter â€” May 2011
World of 7 Billion