Page 1

The Reporter



February 2010 VOL. 42, ISSUE 1

Gorillas on the List Special interview with Jack Hanna A revolutionary organization in Uganda helps people in order to help gorillas

from the president


pecies evolve as their world

stabilization? One part seems easy, in

restoration of UN family planning

changes. So do organizations.

theory. Just get 218 members of the

funds, and a remarkable 40% increase

Founded in 1968 as ZPG, our

House and 60 members of the Senate

in congressionally-appropriated interna-

mission has evolved from “stop at two”

to pass bills addressing various aspects

tional family planning funding.

children to its present form:

of the issue with funding and programs.

I have a certain fondness for those

President Obama signs them into law.

early “glory days” of ZPG. Times

Mission accomplished.

change, though. Today, we measure

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

Watching the Senate debate health

success in terms of training 11,000

care provided a sense of just how excru-

teachers annually on hundreds of cam-

ciating that process is these days. As

puses and elsewhere.

Teddy Roosevelt said, politics is “the art

to stabilize world population at a level that can be sustained by Earth's resources.

We also measure it in terms of getting

of the possible.” Alas, it demands com-

legislation through the labyrinthine cor-

promise that’s often hard to swallow.

ridors of Congress, where awkward

As for the still-relevant goal of “zero

At Population Connection we work

compromise lurks around every corner.

population growth,” will the earth be

on solutions. We reach three million

Thanks to your support, we can tell leg-

sustainable if population stabilizes at

students each year. We painstakingly

islators that people “back home”

nine or ten billion? I think not.

correlate our curricula with thousands

expect them to take action. That mat-

of state and national standards.

ters a great deal.

ZPG played that early role urging Americans to “stop at two” children. It

We work with Congress, which is

Population Connection will continue

worked. Currently, our two biggest

besieged on all fronts by groups, each

to evolve as circumstances change and

challenges are unplanned births and net

convinced that its own issue—from

new opportunities present themselves.


farms to schools, from energy to cities

Evolution is essential.

Global population growth is different.

—is most important. We work with pro-

Unless one believes that extraterrestrials

choice legislators who carry the banner.

walk among us, no one is migrating

We also work with legislators who

to—or from—Planet Earth. Addressing

oppose abortion, but support family

the unmet need for contraception of


200 million women worldwide is the top priority these days.

All things considered, 2009 was a very good year for our cause with the

How can we move toward population

John Seager john@popconnect.org

rescission of the Global Gag Rule,

John and Elizabeth (Libby) Morse were a remarkable couple. Loyal members of Population Connection/ZPG, they shared a lifelong commitment to making the world a better place. They had big ideas and even bigger hearts. While they passed away just weeks shy of their 75th wedding anniversary, John still called Libby his “bride.” They were truly smitten with each other. At Population Connection we place great focus on securing “the quality of life.” John and Libby Morse gave texture to their own quality of life and they worked even harder to promote and improve the quality of life for people the world over. —Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, Chair, Board of Directors

Volume 42, Issue 1 February 2010

Cover: Close-up of a big female gorilla Photo: © Eric Gevaert, Dreamstime.com

Pg. 7 Book Review: A Pivotal Moment:

Population, Justice & the Environmental Challenge

Pg. 8 All-in-One Health for an Interconnected World

Pg. 12 Comprehensive Conservation By Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka

An interview with Jack Hanna

By Marian Starkey





18 Washington View


In the News

20 Field & Outreach


Editor’s Note

22 Pop. Ed.

24 Remark

Printed on recycled paper

Endangered Siberian tiger © Helen E. Grose, Dreamstime.com

The latest update of the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species™ shows that 17,291 species out of the 47,677 assessed species are threatened with extinction. The results reveal 21 percent of all known mammals, 30 percent of all known amphibians, 12 percent of all known birds, and 28 percent of reptiles, 37 percent of freshwater fishes, 70 percent of plants, 35 percent of invertebrates assessed so far are under threat. www.iucnredlist.org


Greater bamboo lemur, critically endangered and endemic to Madagascar © Davthy, Dreamstime.com


The Reporter — February 2010

The Siberian tiger population has dropped 41% in the past 12 years. Logging, infrastructure development, and poaching are the main causes of the decline. Scientists estimate that humans cause 65-80% of tiger deaths.

Critically endangered black rhinoceros © Brooke Lewis, Dreamstime.com

Wildlife Conservation Society

Species are estimated to be heading towards extinction at a rate of about one every 20 minutes—a pace a thousand times faster than the norm during Earth’s history. Conservation International

Critically endangered hyacinth macaw © Chris Lorenz, Dreamstime.com

At last count, Australia’s mainland koalas numbered between 43,000 and 80,000, down from over 100,000. Researchers blame development, bushfires, and global warming as the main culprits. Scientists estimate that the species could be extinct in 30 years.

Australian Koala Foundation

Critically endangered African wild ass © Smellme, Dreamstime.com www.popconnect.org

February 2010 — The Reporter


In the News Kenya Fertility Stall Ending? Volume 42, Issue 1 February 2010

The Final Report for Kenya’s 2008/2009

Parents of teens over 15 will no longer

Demographic and Health Survey was pub-

have the ability to elect to remove them from

Executive Editor Marian Starkey

lished in November. The previous survey

sex education classes in public schools. The

found that the fertility rate rose from 4.7 in

newly mandatory classes will include discus-

Contributors Dianne Dillon-Ridgley, Jack Hanna, Rebecca Harrington, Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Stacie Murphy, John Seager, Marian Starkey, Pam Wasserman

1998 to 4.9 in 2003. Demographers have

sion of contraceptives.

Graphic Artist Marian Starkey

been researching the causes of the fertility

The UK has the highest teen pregnancy

“stall” ever since. Dwindling family planning

rate in Europe, although it is half the rate of

funding was identified as one likely factor,

the United States.

causing an increase in unwanted births. The new survey results place the current fertility rate at 4.6, which implies that the

Population Connection

stall may be reversing. More data, however,

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.

are needed to confirm that the fertility rate is,

The Reporter (ISSN 0199-0071) Population Connection 2120 L Street, NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20037 Phone: 202-332-2200 or

indeed, declining. Only 32% of married women in Kenya use modern contraception. This percentage varies by region from 4% in the northeast to 67% in the central province. The Population Reference Bureau estimates that 24% of women in Kenya have an unmet need for contraception.


Another Point for

Fax: 202-332-2302

Comprehensive Sex Ed

Email: info@popconnect.org Website: www.popconnect.org Board Chair Dianne Dillon-Ridgley President John Seager

Congress is considering President Obama’s call to shift federal funding from abstinenceonly programs to programs that have been proven to curb teen pregnancy. The Task Force on Community Preventive Services, an independent CDC panel that issues public health recommendations, concluded in November that sex education programs that encourage abstinence but also teach contraception are more effective at reducing risky behavior and increasing condom use. Hopefully this new study will be taken into account when choosing programs that will receive the new funding.


Sex Ed Required in England

The Reporter — February 2010

Copenhagen Conundrum President Obama attended the long-anticipated UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in December. For the first time, he announced his administration’s goal for reducing carbon emissions in the United States. Mr. Obama stated that the U.S. would reduce emissions 83% by 2050. Currently, the annual per capita carbon emissions level in the U.S. is 5.43 tons. Taking 1% annual population growth into account, that means reducing per capita emissions to 0.63 tons by 2050. Countries in that range of current carbon emissions include Botswana, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. The conferees did not decide how a reduction in global emissions would be achieved.

Population Education Goes National in Rwanda Thanks to a grant from UNFPA, population education will now be part of Rwanda’s national public school curriculum. The Ministry of Health has also ensured that family planning services and supplies are available at every health clinic across the country.

Guatemala Seeks to Keep Pace with Neighbors In Guatemala, a new law dictates that sex education will now be required in primary school. This is important since only 41% of girls go on to secondary school. The law also mandates that family planning for men and women will be available at health centers across the country. The Catholic Church has staged a strong opposition effort, which has been successful at stalling the implementation of the law since it was first passed in 2005. Guatemala has the highest fertility rate

in November to end the practice of providing contraception to students at the high school health clinic. Students accessing contraception at school must





Methods offered include emergency contraception (the morning after pill). The policy was approved in February after a behavior risk survey found that 54% of students at the high school were sexually active. The vote to end the policy was defeated 3,404 to 2,695.

(4.4) and one of the lowest life expectancies

More People Require More

in Latin America/Caribbean. High rates of


infant and maternal mortality contribute to the low life expectancy.

Food production will have to increase 70% by 2050 because of population growth and rising incomes, the FAO said in October.

Wisconsin Insurance Must Now Cover Contraception Beginning January 1, commercial health insurance plans in Wisconsin are required to cover prescriptions for contraceptives. Several employers associated with the Catholic Church have moved to self-insure in order to “avoid cooperation with sin.” Three Catholic dioceses and numerous Catholic hospitals will switch from commercial plans.

Adding climate changes and biofuel production to the equation will likely make this goal more difficult to achieve. If production doesn’t increase, 370 million more people could face famine in 2050. The plan requires $83 billion a year for modernizing agriculture in developing countries, according to the FAO.

Pill Without Prescription

This means that even secular employees of

Teenagers over 16 will now be able to pur-

those employers will not have the same cov-

chase birth control pills in three South

erage as the rest of the state.

London (England) pharmacies without pre-

Currently, about 30% of the state’s popu-

scription. The pilot program aims to lower

lation is covered by commercial plans. The

the teen pregnancy rates in Southwark and

rest are either privately insured or have no

Lambeth, which have almost twice the

insurance at all.

national teen pregnancy rate. In Southwark, one in thirteen girls under

Access and Choice Revered Voters in Revere, Massachusetts declined www.popconnect.org

18 becomes pregnant each year. Around half of national teen pregnancies end in abortion.

February 2010 — The Reporter


editor’s note


’ve always been an animal lover. When I was growing up

and it benefits the gorillas, who can easily contract human

in Maine, my family had lizards, gerbils, hamsters, rabbits,

diseases from the densely populated and impoverished settle-

cats, and a Siberian husky. I am now the doting owner of

ments. CTPH also delivers family planning services to park

two spirited beagles. One of the consequences of population

dwellers, helping couples to achieve their desired family size

growth that saddens me most is the break-neck speed of

and reducing strain on the forest and other resources.

habitat loss for the billions of animals that share our planet.

Last spring, I saw Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka speak at the

Like the iconic dodo in the 17th century, species are vanishing

Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. She

every day, many before scientists are even able to catalogue

is a humble woman with an easy laugh who truly loves what

their existence.

she does. She became the country’s chief veterinarian at a

As the human population grows, more land is transformed from its original landscape to cropland and urban spaces

mere 26 years old and in her early thirties founded CTPH. You’ll find Gladys’s engaging story on page 12.

(houses, public and commercial buildings, roads, parking lots,

Some people will never comprehend that what they see as

etc.). This means that animals get pushed out of their homes

empty space awaiting human exploitation is actually home to

in forests, swamps, and plains and have to survive on ever-

the millions of species that make earth such a unique planet.

smaller tracts of land.

They think that animals will just move to a new area as

I’ve heard so many people say after taking a transcontinen-

they’re forced out of their habitats to make way for farms (to

tal flight, “It’s amazing how much empty space is down

feed our ever-growing population), subdivisions, and shop-

there.” As you and I know, it’s not just empty space out the

ping malls. The insightful members of Population Connection

airplane window. That land is home to the flora and fauna

are certainly not among this group though, and therefore, I

that are essential for our biosphere to function and thrive.

hope you enjoy the engaging articles within.

It’s been three years since an issue of The Reporter has

The only dodos left on earth now are us—the people who

focused on animals, so, for this issue, I contacted two leaders

keep expanding our territory with no regard to the wildlife

in conservation who understand the pressure a growing

residing in the habitats we’re destroying. Among the many

human population places on wildlife habitats. Jack Hanna

benefits of population stabilization, I believe halting the loss

retired from his decades-long position as director of the

of wildlife habitats to be one of the greatest.

Columbus Zoo in order to do full time zoological advocacy

As Jack Hanna retorted when I ask him about releasing

and education. He hosts an unscripted television show called

captive animals back into the wild, “Where is the wild? The

Into the Wild and he leads educational talks around the

wild isn’t such a beautiful place anymore for animals.” Let’s

country. You’ve probably seen him on various talk shows, as

work together to end population growth so that “the wild”

he has been a favorite guest for years. He managed to

can once again be a beautiful place.

squeeze me into his busy schedule for a phone interview, which is transcribed on page 8. Our other featured contributor joins us from the opposite side of the globe, in the East African country of Uganda. Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka founded and directs the organization Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH). She and her staff work on the borders of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, providing veterinary care to the mountain gorillas who live there. They also run a public health program


for the humans who live on the park borders. This benefits

Marian Starkey

the people (they get sick less often and heal more quickly)


The Reporter — February 2010

Book Review: A Pivotal Moment: Population, Justice & the Environmental Challenge Island Press. 2009. Pp413. US$ 30.00. ISBN 1597266620.

By Marian Starkey

“If we take seriously the twin imperatives of sustainability and equity, it becomes clear that it would be easier to provide a good life—at less environmental cost—for 8 rather than almost —Mazur, 2009 11 billion people.”


aurie Mazur contributed to the

from young professionals on the issues

conceptual framework of the

she planned to cover in her book. She



sought a fresh perspective to the

Population and Development (Cairo

decades-old discourse, typically domi-


nated by professionals nearing or past


Conference her


Beyond the Numbers: A Reader on Population, Consumption, and the Environment, published in the spring of

the end of their reproductive years. Unfortunately,

I found


amongst only a few true population

1994. This year, as “Cairo at 15” events

activists. Jacqueline Nolley Echegaray, a

take place around the world, she gives

fellow attendee, who contributed two

tends to dampen frank discussion of

us A Pivotal Moment: Population,

chapters to the book, was among the

demographic reality.

Justice & the Environmental Challenge,

naysayers. She implies that any popula-

Former Senator Tim Wirth stated in

an updated account of how far the pop-

tion framework that aims to achieve

his introduction, “A smaller world pop-

ulation movement has come and where

social or environmental goals is inher-

ulation is not a panacea for the environ-

success is still elusive. The compilation

ently abusive. And she mentions sever-

mental and social problems before us—

from a rights-based perspective. This

showcases the intellectual talents of a

al times that climate negotiations must

but it will lower the hurdles we must

diverse array of professionals who work

not include demographic targets and a

leap.” That the president of the United

on population as it relates to reproduc-



Nations Foundation—a charity dedicat-

tive health and rights, poverty, and the

Thankfully, to my knowledge, such a

ed to helping the UN solve global prob-


proposal is not being considered.

lems—sees the importance of stabilizing



We hear from legends Joel Cohen,

We all know that population pro-

population to meet the UN’s goals

Lester Brown, Steven Sinding, and John

grams have had a contentious past.

encourages me to believe that deniers

Bongaarts, and also from newer influ-

Human rights abuses did occur in Peru,

will eventually see the light.

entials like Brian O’Neill, Bob Engelman,

as her chapter describes, and continue

Much of the volume’s content was

and Roger-Mark de Souza.

to occur in parts of China. But most pro-

fresh and highly educational. Although

But before chapter topics were even

grams operate with the best intentions

probably not the most engaging book

assigned to writers, a lot of research

and greatly improve the lives of millions

club read, this anthology does have a

was done to make this book as current

of people.

rightful place in any university course


and multifaceted as possible.




on women’s studies, public health, or

issues—she makes that clear in her

environmental sciences. Sadly, it takes a


introduction and in the book’s title.

special kind of professor to understand


Some contributors to the volume,

and embrace the obvious population-

Environment” in February 2008. Laurie

though, seem to believe that it is impos-

health-environment connections, so it

assembled the meeting in order to hear

sible to address population stabilization

will be read by fewer than it should be.

I was among the attendees at the “New







February 2010 — The Reporter


While tracking mountain gorillas in Rwanda, this little one scampered right past Jack!

“One of Rwanda’s most invaluable resources is the endangered mountain gorilla. Poachers, disease, and destruction of habitat have put these incredible creatures high on the endangered list. With the people of Rwanda struggling, they’ve had to turn to the only resources they have to survive. It has taught us that in order to save the animals, you have to save the people who live there first. With worldwide conservation efforts—for both the people and the animals of Rwanda—we’ve begun to see some progress in the reversal of that effect.” —Jungle Jack: My Wild Life, Hanna 2008

This baby elephant was orphaned and is now being rehabilitated to the wild at the Sheldrick Trust Elephant Orphanage in Kenya.


The Reporter — February 2010

Bmm.jo.pof ifbmui gps bo joufsdpoofdufe xpsme Photos by Rick A. Prebeg, World Class Images, copyright 2009 Interview conducted on November 12, 2009

ack Hanna has endeared himself to American children (and young-at-heart adults) for decades as the candid, adventuresome, animal-loving zoological expert. His rapidfire but casual manner of speech, combined with a thick Tennessee accent, just add to his charm. He has shared his love for animals with the nation through two syndicated television shows: Jack Hanna's Animal Adventures and Into the Wild. He also makes frequent appearances on late night and morning talk shows. He never shows up to be interviewed empty-handed—he learned early in his career the value of bringing furry, scaly, and slimy special guests with him that inevitably steal the show every time.


Jack’s professional career with animals started at the Columbus Zoo, where he was director from 1978-1992. He

Jack explains the relationship between human population growth and habitat loss

completely transformed the zoo from a shabby, sparsely

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out as far as

inhabited animal holding tank to a gleaming, world-class

human population growth is concerned. A lot of folks talk

educational and breeding facility. In fact, Jack says that

about global warming, we talk about loss of rainforest, we

behind every zoo exhibit and television appearance, educa-

talk about loss of water, we talk about loss of clean air, we

tion and conservation are his main goals.

talk about the glaciers melting, we talk about all this. But

One of his credos is that population growth is the number

because it’s a touchy subject or a subject people don’t want

one threat to animals facing the world today. When he

to talk about, people keep avoiding it. But we all know what

speaks to groups and interviewers, he often closes with a

the problem is, and that’s overpopulation. It’s overpopulation.

statement about the dire threat of human encroachment on

When I was raised on my farm in Tennessee, the world was

wildlife habitat and how it is fueled by population growth.

huge. I looked at the world as the universe, that’s how big it

Jack owns a home in Rwanda and is on the Board of

was to me as a young boy. But then as I traveled every con-

Directors of the Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project, which

tinent of the world from the North Pole to the South

is headquartered there. The organization offers healthcare

Pole—and all of them at least twice and Africa 70-something

services to park employees and their families, which helps to

times—I see that the world really isn’t that big, believe it or

keep human-to-gorilla transmission of diseases in check.

not. It’s not that big at all. It’s just a little thing. It’s what we

MGVP also disseminates public health messages to the

all exist on here. And when I say we all, we all are in this

greater communities surrounding the Virunga Mountains.

together. I don’t care if you live in Asia, or the United States

I was lucky to have the opportunity to speak with Jack on

or wherever you live—we all live on the same planet. We

the phone from his base in Columbus, Ohio, where he is still

consume the same air, we consume the same water, and

director emeritus at the zoo. Following are relevant excerpts

that’s what supplies life. We can never solve global warming,

from our conversation.

we can never solve a lot of these problems as long as the


February 2010 — The Reporter


ino was This baby rh is being d an ed orphan the Lewa cared for at in Kenya. y Conservanc

“Since the early 1900s, animal habitats have been rapidly disappearing all over the world. It is common knowledge that man’s progress poses the greatest threat to the animal world, which is now losing species at a very alarming rate.” —Jungle Jack: My Wild Life, Hanna 2008

population keeps increasing. What we might be able to do is

It’s not just that, it’s education as well. That’s the number

control it somewhat. I don’t think we’re ever gonna reverse

two thing. Let’s say overpopulation is first, the next thing is

everything that’s been done. I hate to be a pessimist because

education. Educating folks about the environment and what

I’m really an optimist. I’m really a person that looks at things

they can do to help. And that gets into all the other stuff we

getting better as far as the animal world is concerned. I think

know about today: population growth and species endanger-

it’s getting somewhat better in many areas.

ment. Obviously, if people keep multiplying, we’re gonna

I think if the world population could be controlled, there’s no doubt about it, we could really improve things. But there’s

keep losing land. We lose habitat, then we lose animals. So it’s as simple as that.

no way we can keep increasing population and think it’s all gonna work out. That’s just a simple fact.

The Mountain Gorilla Veterinary Project

Take the island of Hispaniola. You know Haiti and

All-in-one health is what it is. When you go in to help the

Dominican Republic? It’s one island. If you look at that island

mountain gorillas, you also know that you have to help the

from space, you’ll notice that one half of the island has noth-

people. That wasn’t the way it was when the program first

ing—it’s totally bare and brown. And that’s Haiti. How come

started. And now we realize that we have to work with the

the other half of the island is green and kind of prosperous?

people there as well, with their health, because whatever dis-

You know, they have trees, they have farms… Why is that?

eases they have are what the mountain gorillas could have.

Why all of a sudden is one island different? One island. It just

Because, obviously, they’re so susceptible to everything

shows you what I’m talking about. It shows you that if this

humans have. A lot of our money goes into working with

one country, Dominican Republic, is succeeding and then it’s

people: hygiene, clean water. You know, it all starts with

the same land, right? Sure it’s the same land, it’s the same

clean water anyway, and of course in Rwanda, they’re going

island! It’s not like the Galapagos Islands where they’re all dif-

to get water every three days in these big ol’ pots on top of

ferent, this is one same island. That tells you the answer.

their heads, and I say to myself, my god, look at this. So that’s just one little thing. This “one health” thing, it’s work-

Total Fertility Population Rate Growth Rate Haiti Dominican Republic


The Reporter — February 2010



ing because it teaches people about their health. They don’t get sick as often, they help conserve resources as well. There’s all sorts of reasons why we do it. I’m involved with the country of Rwanda with President



Kagame, who’s a good friend of mine. His number one priority is education and family planning. He knows. Rwanda is a

magnificent country—probably one of the greatest turn-

ly putting animals back in the wild. Maybe someday we can

arounds of any country in the world. It’s beyond comprehen-

put them all back in the wild.

sion what’s happened there. In downtown Kigali, if you saw

But that’s not the main purpose of a zoo. The main purpose

it in the 70s and early 80s like I did, and you saw genocide,

of a zoo to me is education. Educating folks about how they

and then you see it now, you can’t even believe what he’s

can conserve the wild. The whole key is, in the United States

done. Education is his number one priority for the country

or Rwanda, I don’t care where it is, unless you understand

because with education you can teach health, birth control,

why animals are important, then it does you no good to

and family planning all together.

breed anything in the zoo. So that’s the whole purpose of what we do at the Columbus Zoo.

Zoos as endangered species lifelines

If it’s done right, like our zoo, it’s a fun place. The key to a

“Frozen zoos” very much can be a major player in the

good zoo is when folks have had fun, they’ve left the zoo

future of the animal world. We collect sperm, we collect all

learning something. They’ve had a blast seeing the ele-

sorts of things from animals now. So that’s one thing we’re

phants, seeing the giraffes, they’ve said, “Oh my gosh, I did-

doing in the animal world because we obviously can’t pro-

n’t know the elephants bonded, the elephant’s foot’s really

vide a home for all the animals in the world going extinct, it’s

soft. I didn’t know the giraffe had seven neck vertebrae like

impossible. The zoos can only do so much. But yes, the zoos

a human being. I didn’t know the elephant had 30,000 mus-

are gonna be a major player, if not the most important play-

cles in his trunk.” That’s how you educate—in a fun way. But

er, in the future of animals throughout the world.

then they leave going, “Boy, I really loved the elephant.

You gotta remember something: 99% of the animals in

Maybe I can help somehow with conservation. Maybe I can

zoos are from other zoos, not from the wild. Would every-

see where I can send some money.” That’s what it’s all about.

body like to see animals in the wild? Sure they would. That’d

A lot of people are ignorant toward animals. In Nepal,

be great, wouldn’t it? But that’s not what exists anymore. I

where I was filming one morning at about 6:00 am, I was at

always ask people, “Where is the wild? Can you explain to

the ranger’s station and a young boy had just shot an Asian

me where the wild is?” The wild is basically the North Pole,

rhino. And they brought him in while I was filming. He was

parts of the Amazon jungle, parts of Central Africa, and

like 16 years old with handcuffs and chains, in the back of a

Antarctica, that’s where the wild is. People say “Oh Africa is

pickup truck. That boy was crying. He went to prison. Who

the wild, the Serengeti plains.” That’s not really wild. It’s wild,

knows if that boy is alive today? The point is that why did

yes, but it’s also a national park. Go back to our country.

that young boy do that? I found out that he had ten people

What’s the wild here in our country? It’s Yellowstone, the

in his family and they needed the money.

Great Smoky Mountains, it’s some of our wilderness areas

People there have lived off the forest for thousands of

we’ve set aside. Now, is that wild? Yes it is. But is that pro-

years. We can’t run into these places with our NGOs and our

tected? Yes it is. It’s boundaried, you follow me? They’re all

programs and say, “Hey you can’t kill this.” We’ve got to

boundaried areas. Everybody says, “Just throw them back out

educate them and tell them why they shouldn’t do it:

in the wild.” Well, it’s not that easy anymore. The wild isn’t

because it’s gonna affect their country and their lives later on.

such a beautiful place anymore for animals.

It takes time to tell people this. And it takes education, it

You’ve got to be very careful releasing animals into the wild because of what I just said: where’s the wild left? I

takes a lot of work. I think some people just don’t know any better, ‘cause that’s the way they’ve always done it.

remember these two jaguars back in the 1970s from the Knoxville Zoo and Central Florida Zoo. They were both

Jack’s closing remarks

poached in less than five weeks. There’s been other instances

I appreciate what you all do and just hope that the world

like that, but we have also had successes with certain types

can sustain all the life on it. If it can, that’s great. I want to be

of birds, some gorillas. Yes, we’ve had some successes recent-

a part of it. I want to be here.


February 2010 — The Reporter


Gladys at the hard edge of the forest and cropland in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

Comprehensive Conservation By Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, Founder and CEO, Conservation Through Public Health


ixteen years ago, I visited Bwindi Impenetrable

the first scabies outbreak in mountain gorillas (resulting in the

National Park in southwestern Uganda for the first

death of an infant gorilla), which was eventually traced to

time. The grass-thatched roofs of people’s small homes

people living near Bwindi. Humans share more than 98% of

dotted the landscape of banana plantations and lush tropical

their genetic material with the great apes, so many diseases

forest. The poverty was dire but people were hopeful about

can “jump” between the species.

new livelihood opportunities being created by gorilla tourism.

Human settlements around Bwindi have one of the highest

I had no idea that that first visit would set the course for my

population densities in Africa: 200-300 people per square

life’s work.

kilometer (compared with 140 people per square kilometer in

My mission as a student of veterinary medicine at the time

Uganda as a whole). Because Bwindi is so remote, these peo-

was to conduct a survey to compare parasites in mountain

ple have very limited access to basic modern health services

gorillas visited by tourists with those of gorillas not visited by

and health education, including how to prevent and control

tourists. My goal was to determine whether tourism was hav-

infectious and zoonotic diseases. They typically bathe only

ing a negative impact on the health of the gorillas.

once a week at most and are not accustomed to using pit

Unsurprisingly, the results showed that the tourist-visited

latrines. Poor hygiene and close living quarters are a perfect

gorillas had a higher parasite rate.

recipe for rapid disease transmission and were the likely caus-

The park is home to an estimated half of the world’s 720

es of this particular scabies outbreak.

critically endangered mountain gorillas. I was immediately

At the same time, people in the neighboring country of the

struck by the clearly defined hard edge between the forest

Democratic Republic of Congo were getting sick with Ebola

and the human-inhabited land just outside. It was visibly evi-

after eating infected bush meat. Men there sometimes poach

dent that the people and the gorillas sharing this divide had

primates to feed their large families who would otherwise go

no buffer zone to keep both species safe from each other’s

hungry, and the results can be deadly for the humans as well

communicable diseases. I knew that there had to be a way

as, obviously, for the gorillas.

for both stakeholders in this stunningly beautiful, yet fragile, ecosystem to coexist.

The seeds of thought that were planted during the survey

It was an exciting time to be there because Bwindi

study in 1994 and in my job at UWA led me on a solution-

Impenetrable National Park had just begun to solicit gorilla

seeking journey during which my concern for animal welfare

ecotourism, which was transforming the surrounding com-

grew to include the welfare of the people of the marginalized

munities. Mud huts selling banana beer were being turned

communities bordering the national park. It was this concern

into flourishing trading centers; over 90% of the park staff

that led me to found a Ugandan-based grassroots non-gov-

had been recruited from the community, providing new jobs

ernmental organization (NGO) in 2002 called Conservation

for locals; the community was beginning to use tourism rev-

Through Public Health (CTPH). The mission of CTPH is to

enue to build schools, clinics and roads; and local entrepre-

promote wildlife conservation by enabling wildlife, livestock,

neurs were providing low budget accommodations and meals

and people to safely co-exist, by improving human and ani-

for tourists, as well as selling them locally made crafts.

mal public health in and around protected areas in Africa.

Already, the people were able to see how protecting gorillas

CTPH prevents and controls disease transmission where

in their natural habitat could create satisfying and lucrative

wildlife, people, and their animals meet, while cultivating a

employment for themselves.

winning attitude toward conservation and good public health in local communities.

After graduating from The Royal Veterinary College at the University of London, my first job was as Veterinary Officer

After working with the communities on improving hygiene

for the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA). We investigated

and sanitation and treating common diseases for a couple of


February 2010 — The Reporter


“ Basically, the bigger the families, the worse the pressure on the forest.” years, my staff and I realized that reproductive health must

about the illusions people had about contraception. Both

also be an intrinsic part of our “public health meets conser-

groups came up with similar survey results—that the commu-

vation” program. Uganda has one of the highest population

nity believed many myths and misconceptions about family

growth rates in the world at 3.3% per year, as well as one of

planning; couples did not typically talk to each other about

the highest fertility rates at 7 births per woman (the fertility

family planning; and the average family size was between 9

rate is closer to 10 for women in Bwindi). Population growth

and 10, where many couples said that one of the reasons

places increased pressure on natural resources, and high pop-

they had many children was because half of their children

ulation density threatens community health by allowing dis-

were for going to school and the other half were for chasing

eases to spread more rapidly in cramped quarters. Basically,

wildlife away from their gardens.

the bigger the families, the worse the pressure on the forest.

This gave us a logical place to start developing education-

As the population grows, people cut down more of the for-

al materials for couples and programs for the community. If

est for cropland and firewood, encroaching on wildlife habi-

people believed that they needed to have children solely for

tat. Gorillas roam the newly cleared land, believing that it’s

keeping wildlife from destroying their crops, perhaps a more

still part of their normal range, and there they come into con-

organized system of “pest” control could be put in place.

tact with dirty clothes and garbage, which can expose them

Since then, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has trained groups

to a variety of traditionally human diseases.

of adult villagers to chase gorillas out of plantations without harming them, freeing children to attend school. The volun-

When we expressed an interest in establishing a family

teers who make up the Human and Gorilla Conflict (HUGO)

planning program, the United States Agency for International

team receive incentives such as livestock, but are not paid.

Development (USAID) offered to help. Together, we started

That way, the program is more sustainable because it does

a community based family planning program around Bwindi,

not rely on donor funding.

in the Kanungu District, to build on the community based

In spite of the many fallacies people believed, we found

tuberculosis (TB) program we had started two years earlier.

that there was a great unmet need for family planning.

Community based health care is the revolutionary concept of

Through educational dramas, village health talks, and home

training local volunteers who speak the regional dialect to

visits by peer educators, CTPH began to change minds about

provide health services to their neighbors who trust them,

family planning. Within one year of project implementation,

rather than bringing in professionals who are strangers and

during which we focused on couples, we saw a four-fold

require salaries and interpreters. The low cost of providing

increase in new family planning users, who were sustained

training and supplies to volunteers makes the projects more

into the second year.

sustainable, especially in remote areas that are difficult to reach from outside.

these educational endeavors to start using contraception. She

Since our team was new to family planning, the USAID

opted for a five-year implant, which she received from a

technical advisor to this initiative, Dr. Lynne Gaffikin, gave

provider in our PHE community volunteer network. Though

invaluable input on the project design, based on her experi-

she experienced some side effects, which a CTPH nurse-mid-

ences with Population, Health and Environment (PHE) proj-

wife helped her manage, she was not discouraged, and was

ects around the world. (You can learn more about PHE pro-

willing to be interviewed on the radio with her husband and

grams by visiting http://www.ehproject.org/phe/phe.html.)

community volunteer to talk about how liberating it was to

Before developing the family planning program, we did


One local leader who had nine children was convinced via

finally be in control of her reproduction.

research with the help of an independent Ugandan company

The most popular method proved to be the Depo-Provera

and students from Mbarara University Medical School to

injection. Only requiring one shot every three months, Depo

determine community family planning needs and to learn

is a more private method than most others, with no pills or

The Reporter — February 2010

A woman living on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park receives an injection of Depo-Provera from a community based volunteer


February 2010 — The Reporter


Clockwise from top left: PHE volunteer meeting; mother and baby from the Rushegura gorilla group; landscape on the edge of Bwindi Impenetrable National Park; silverback from the Rushegura gorilla group

condom wrappers to hide. We’ve also found that women are

also working to train traditional healers as volunteers since

becoming more interested in longer-term methods such as

they are trusted in their communities and already have

implants and intrauterine devices (IUD).

patients that they regularly serve.

We then approached Family Health International (FHI)—a


United States-based organization that was looking for pilot

One early concern with the program was how long the vol-

projects in and around Uganda—to strengthen the case for

unteers would be willing to provide contraceptive services to

integrating community based Depo injections into the

their community without a salary. This topic came up several

Ministry of Health policy. We chose 12 people from our exist-

times during monthly meetings with the PHE volunteers.

ing network of PHE community volunteers and trained them

Eventually the solution to the problem came from the com-

using funding from FHI on how to give injections and how to

munity volunteers themselves, who asked CTPH to support

counsel patients on possible side effects. Using volunteers to

them with livestock income-generating projects.

deliver health services traditionally only provided by profes-

After three years of running the community based family

sionals is a good way to assist the poorly resourced govern-

planning program in two high-human-and-gorilla-conflict

ment health center at Kayonza (which serves the people liv-

parishes on the edge of Bwindi, we are proud of the results

ing near Bwindi’s main gorilla tourism site). Community vol-

that we have achieved. The volunteers have conducted more

unteers are now giving 75% of the injections there. We are

than 2,000 home visits, 600 of which were to homes where

The Reporter — February 2010

“ Many couples said that one of the reasons they had many children was because half of their children were for going to school and the other half were for chasing wildlife away from their gardens.” the residents often see gorillas on their property. Most homes

tion to further reduce the disease threats to the mountain

have been visited more than once in each of the 22 partici-

gorillas when they pass through this village.

pating villages. Couples are accepting modern contraception with impressive enthusiasm and as a result, shrinking the

Rather than create parallel programs in the same commu-

average family size in Bwindi. Furthermore, other health and

nities, we would like to scale up existing conservation pro-

conservation benefits have been realized.

grams to become more comprehensive and include family

In addition to speaking with couples during village health

planning and general public health. We’re actively working to

talks and home visits about the benefits and methods of fam-

influence government health and conservation policy

ily planning, the PHE volunteers also talk about prevention

through successful pilot projects. Bwindi Community Hospital

and control of TB, HIV/AIDS, and diseases caused by poor

has replicated our model in four other parishes in Kanungu

hygiene and sanitation, including scabies and dysentery. They

District that don’t border the park and have no human-goril-

also talk about how family planning, health, and hygiene

la conflict, and are therefore not a focus of CTPH. We are

affect gorilla health, ecotourism, and sustainable livelihoods.

instead venturing across the forest to Kisoro District to two

Because we taught the volunteers how to identity TB sus-

parishes where the gorillas spend over 50% of their time out-

pects in the community while conducting health talks and

side the park foraging in people’s gardens. We would like to

visiting couples in their homes, they managed to identify 11

replicate our groundbreaking model there, find suitable part-

times more people with chronic coughs, of which one out of

ners, and hopefully bring similar benefits to another area

four typically have TB. These people are being referred to the

where intervention is greatly needed.

Community Based Direct Observation of TB Treatments Short Course Therapy program, which has become Ministry of Health policy, particularly in rural Uganda.

My original preoccupation was with animals and their health and welfare. I’ve been lucky to live my passion for over 20 years. But I was also fortunate to have my focus

When we delivered a report to the Kanungu District

expanded through my early work in Bwindi when I was a vet-

Medical Officer and District Public Health Nurse about the

erinary student. Working with marginalized people is reward-

impressive number of home visits conducted by the commu-

ing for me and truly makes a difference in their lives and the

nity volunteers, they were pleased, but still wanted to know

lives of their gorilla neighbors. No child should be born for

whether the hygiene and sanitation in these homes was

the purpose of chasing wildlife and no gorilla should die for

improving. So we went back to the volunteers and they told

coming too close to people with infectious diseases. Our pro-

us that hygiene appeared to be improving with each home

gram works to ensure that both scenarios become history as

visit, but that there was no formal way of measuring it. This

soon as possible.

shortfall prompted us to design a project, which was generously funded by the Whitley Fund for Nature and World Wildlife Fund UK, to measure this parameter. As part of the project, we conducted a survey, which was led by the Kanungu District health inspector, who visited all 2,246 households in his district. What worried us most was that the homes with the worst hygiene and sanitation were those closest to the park, in an area where the Rushegura gorilla group often ranges on their way to and from the Democratic Republic of Congo. This prompted us to recruit a

Learn More • Check out the CTPH website: www.ctph.org • Watch Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka’s presentation at the Woodrow Wilson Center in May 2008: http://tiny.cc/SMjSG • Watch the PBS video Uganda: Out of the Wild, featuring Dr. Kalema-Zikusoka and CTPH: http://tiny.cc/8C5pP

second volunteer in that village, which needed special attenwww.popconnect.org

February 2010 — The Reporter


Washington View

Looking Back: Victories in 2009 Policy and funding successes, both foreign and domestic By Stacie Murphy, Policy Associate


amily planning proponents entered 2009 with an ambitious to-do list. With a support-

ive president-elect about to take office and overwhelming majorities in Congress, advo-

cates were energized and ready to set about repairing the damage of the previous eight


We haven’t gotten everything we wanted, and we’ve certainly experienced some moments of frustration. But in looking back at 2009, it’s clear that it was a remarkably good year for us. The victories continued all the way to year’s end. In early December, Congress consolidated several previously-stalled spending bills into a larger appropriations package, which President Obama signed mid-month. Family planning advocates scored huge wins on both foreign and domestic issues. On the international front, the spending package included $648 million for international family planning—$55 million more than the President’s original request and an increase of $103 million from 2009 and $173 million over 2008 funding levels. The new amount includes $55 million for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). That level of new investment has a real impact on the lives of women in the developing world. Compared to the previous year, 2009 saw an estimated 6 million more women with access to contraception, 3.6 million fewer unintended pregnancies, and 7,000 more maternal deaths averted. The domestic achievements are no less exciting. After years of struggle against the abstinence-only approach, 2009 finally saw the end of the Bush-era Community Based Abstinence Education (CBAE) program, which for years had fed lies and stereotypes to teens in place of real information. Instead, Congress appropriated $114 million for President Obama’s new Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, which will fund grants to programs that are medically accurate and based on a model that has been proven effective. Congress also approved a $10 million funding increase for Title X, the nation’s family planning program for low-income women, raising its overall funding level to $317.5 million. Finally, the bill contained a measure lifting a longstanding ban on the use of public funds for abortion services in the District of Columbia. While states have the right to decide how to use their own tax dollars, the District’s budget, which is controlled by Congress, had been subject to restrictions. The new rule is subject to a review period, but although Conservative members of Congress have vowed a challenge, the change is expected to be upheld. There’s still plenty to do, as the 2010 “resolution” list on the facing page proves. But overall, there’s no denying that 2009 was a banner year for family planning.


The Reporter — February 2010

Looking Ahead: Our 2010 Priorities This isn’t an exhaustive list of what we’ll be working on in the new year—there are always unexpected threats and opportunities, and we try to be flexible enough to respond to them. But we thought you would like to know where we think the fight will be in 2010. We will be reaching out to you for your help, and we hope we can count on your support. 1) $1 billion for international family planning. The funding increases of the last two years were a welcome beginning, but overall funding for international family planning is still far below what is needed to meet current unmet demand. More than 200 million women worldwide want to plan their families but lack access to modern methods of contraception. This unmet need has a devastating impact on the lives of women and families, the natural environment, and the international community. Population Connection will continue in 2010 to call on the United States to contribute its fair share of the funding needed to address global unmet need: $1 billion. 2) A permanent repeal of the Global Gag Rule. President Obama may have repealed the notorious Global Gag Rule when he took office, but it remains a threat nonetheless. Although NGOs overseas are safe until at least 2012, a hostile president could reinstate the policy just as easily as this president removed it. And even when it isn’t applied, the Gag Rule has a dampening effect on our ability to fund family planning groups overseas. Many aid agencies award their grants on a multi-year basis and are reluctant to fund groups that may become ineligible for aid before the cycle ends. The problem isn’t just on the donor side, either. Groups on the ground are often hesitant to build their programs around money that may disappear after the next U.S. election. The answer is a legislative ban on the unilateral imposition of the policy by any future president. 3) Removal of restrictions on U.S. funding for UNFPA. Under current U.S. law, UNFPA funding is subject to restrictions: no U.S. funds are to be spent on programs in China, and the U.S. contribution is to be reduced by whatever amount UNFPA does spend on programs in that country. The restriction is meant to prevent any association between U.S. funds and the Chinese government’s coercive one-child policy. However, UNFPA’s China programs are specifically designed to show the Chinese people that voluntary measures work best. And the organization has a track record of success in doing so. The best way for the U.S. to help end abuses in China is full-throated support for UNFPA, without restriction. 4) Health care reform that respects women’s access to reproductive health care. As this issue went to press, the House and Senate were in the process of negotiating a final version of the package, with an eye towards having the bill on the President’s desk in early February. By the time you read this, the bill might already be law, or it might have hit an unexpected roadblock and come to a halt. It seems likely, however, that some version of health care reform is going to happen. And we know that it’s going to be important that we protect women’s access to reproductive health care. While the ultimate outcome remains in doubt, we have already seen both victories and setbacks in the process. The House-passed bill included an amendment offered by Rep. Bart Stupak (D-1st/MI) imposing new restrictions on insurance coverage of abortion services. The Senate rejected an attempt to add the Stupak language to their bill, but did agree to allow states to opt out of covering abortion and segregate the portion of premiums that would pay for services. The Senate did pass, by a vote of 61-39, an amendment from Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), guaranteeing that women’s preventive care would be covered under the new system. We will be monitoring all phases of the legislative process, always looking for ways to protect and improve women’s access to reproductive health care and services. www.popconnect.org

February 2010 — The Reporter


Field & Outreach

We Can’t Grow on Like This

“Thunder is Not Yet Rain” Documentary draws crowd and sparks discussion By Rebecca Harrington, National Field Coordinator


merican women are right to be enraged about the possibility that

the new law went into effect. Two young,

health reform may further restrict the

single women who became pregnant after

availability of abortion. Although the proce-

being raped were shy and softspoken at the

dure has been constitutionally protected since

beginning of the film, describing the context

1973, finding a clinic and a provider can still

of their pregnancies and explaining that there

be difficult in some areas. And finding the

was nobody to take care of them. At the end

money to pay for the procedure can be even

of the film, they were visibly relieved and

more difficult, especially for low-income

confidently talking about how their abortions

women (it has been illegal since 1976 for

had given them a chance to get on with their

Medicaid to cover abortion costs).

lives after their traumatic experiences with

Still, for 37 years, American women have

Russell also spoke with two women who

terminate unwanted pregnancies. In Ethiopia,

had devastating experiences with unsafe

women have only been so lucky for five

abortion before the new law. They demon-

years. In 2005, the Ethiopian parliament

strated the lengths women will go to procure

enacted one of the most progressive abortion

an abortion themselves when they are left

laws in sub-Saharan Africa. Now, women can

with no other options. A security guard

legally access safe abortion, often free of

detailed how she had induced many abor-


tions using a plant called abawela. She inserted the cut roots into her uterus while hitting

with a background in public health, wanted

her stomach to make herself bleed. A deeply

to educate Americans about how the law has

wrinkled woman reminisced about her



daughter who died after receiving an unsafe

Ethiopian women so she, in partnership with

abortion. Fifteen years later, she still couldn’t

Ipas—an American based group working to

recall the event without sobbing.




ensure access to safe abortion throughout the

The new law was inspired by the fact that

developing world—created the short docu-

Ethiopia loses thousands of women each year

mentary Not Yet Rain.

to maternal mortality, with a third of the

On the heels of the repeal of the Global

deaths resulting from botched abortions. In

Gag Rule, Not Yet Rain is a timely production

fact, the second leading cause of death for

that emphasizes why safe abortion must be

women of reproductive age in Ethiopia is

an integrated part of comprehensive repro-

unsafe abortion. In this mostly rural (84%)

ductive health care.

country, only 14% of women use modern

The film chronicles several women’s experiThe Reporter — February 2010


not had to rely on illegal, unsafe abortions to

Lisa Russell, an independent filmmaker


ences with abortion, both before and after

contraception and 34% of women admit to

having an unmet need for contraception.

Population Connection staff.

Recognizing that something had to be

Many attendees signed our petition to U.S.

done, the Ethiopian government reached out

Representatives Mary Jo Kilroy and Pat Tiberi.

to advocates, providers, and lawmakers to

The petition asked both lawmakers to sup-

seek solutions. In 2005, the Ethiopian

port $1 billion for international family plan-

Parliament voted in favor of the new law,

ning assistance. It also asked them to vote for

which allows abortion to protect a woman’s

a measure that would prevent imposition of

health; in cases of rape, incest, and fetal

the Global Gag Rule in future presidential

abnormality; and for minors.


While the film makes clear that the prob-

The Global Gag Rule prevented foreign

lem of unsafe abortion has by no means dis-

groups that provide safe abortion from

appeared in Ethiopia, it shows that the new

receiving U.S. assistance, even if they used

law has knocked down barriers faced by pre-

their own separate funding to do so.

vious generations of women there.

After seeing with their own eyes how safe abortion can change lives, the audience was

Columbus, Ohio Screening

eager to do what they could to ensure that

We have started to screen Not Yet Rain in

organizations that provide safe abortion con-

our three target congressional districts.

tinue to receive funding, even in a future

Hosting a local event like a film screening is

anti-choice administration.

an effective way to create a presence in our

Following the event, we sent complimenta-

target regions because it allows for face-to-

ry copies of Not Yet Rain to several people

face interaction with the community on its

who requested them, including a physician’s

own turf. The film, which we first showed at

assistant student in Cleveland who wanted to

the 2009 Capitol Hill Days in Washington,

share the film with her classmates, and a pro-

DC, has so far proven very popular with our

fessor in Tennessee who wanted to incorpo-


rate the film into her courses.

Our first community screening took place

Over the next few months, we will contin-

in October in Columbus, Ohio, at the Studio

ue to share Not Yet Rain with interested audi-

35 Cinema and Drafthouse. Studio 35 was

ences. On January 28, we will show the film

the perfect venue for our event. It is located

in the suburbs of Minneapolis, and in the

in Clintonville, a progressive neighborhood in

spring we will screen it in Seattle. We’ll post

northern Columbus that is home to many

time and location details on our website and

area activists. The Columbus International

will also send out reminders via our Email

Film and Video Festival and the local chapter

Action Network. To sign up to receive email

of the Sierra Club cosponsored the event. The

from us, go to our homepage and enter your

screening drew 70 guests, including film

email address in the “Stay Updated!” section

buffs, environmentalists, and women’s rights

at the upper right.

advocates. An enthusiastic crowd, the atten-

To view the documentary Not Yet Rain and

dees asked thought-provoking questions

to learn more about Ethiopia’s abortion law

throughout the evening. Afterward, the

and the filmmaker behind the project, visit

guests mingled with one another and with



February 2010 — The Reporter



Classroom Connections on Population and Wildlife Pop. Ed. has animal habitat lesson plans for all ages By Pam Wasserman, Vice President for Education


nderstanding the causes of species

students in “The Web of Life,” a hands-on,

loss and its impact on human well-

role-playing simulation to explore how ani-

being is central to the study of

mal and plant species depend upon each

human ecology, and human ecology compris-

other and the right environmental conditions

es much of population education. While there

to thrive. Sitting in a circle with an unfurled

are many valuable environmental education

ball of yarn, students listen to a story about a

programs around the country that explore

woodlands ecosystem. When their “charac-

nature and teach conservation, few strongly

ter” is called (sun, rain, tree, worm, rabbit,

make the population connection.

soil, ant, bee, people, etc.), they connect the

Teaching students about threats to the world’s rich biodiversity can be aided by a

by one child is felt by the others in the group,

simple mnemonic device—HIPPO (Habitat

illustrating interdependence in nature.

Destruction, Invasive Species, Pollution,

By upper elementary grades (3-5), students

Population, Overharvesting). E. O. Wilson,

are ready to learn about the causes and con-

perhaps our greatest living biologist, writes,

sequences of habitat loss with activities from

“The prime mover of the incursive forces

Counting on People. Pretending to be giant

around the world is the second P in


HIPPO—too many people consuming too

“Pondering Pandas,” even as their habitat

much of the land and sea space and the

(desks in the room) is incrementally taken

resources they contain.” (The Future of Life,

away. In “Wanted Alive,” they play “species


sheriffs” and must create informational

The Reporter — February 2010






Over the years, the Population Education

“wanted” posters for their assigned animal or

Program has developed many teaching

plant, building a case for why their species

resources to help students understand the

should be protected.

importance of biodiversity and how our

Middle schoolers work on their math skills

growing population threatens it. These

while learning about the rich biodiversity of

resources are designed to be age-appropriate,

the tropical rainforest. They calculate the

addressing topics that are relevant to stu-

probability of eliminating a rare species as

dents’ life experiences.

acres are cut down for grazing and farmland

Beginning with our early childhood educa-

in “A World of Difference” (Multiplying


People, Dividing Resources). In a lesson on

(Sharing a Small World), we engage young

carrying capacity, they become mountain

tion curricula for pre-K through 2


yarn from one to the other. A tug on the yarn


“The prime mover of the incursive forces around the world is the second P in HIPPO—too many people consuming too much of the land and sea space and the resources they contain.” E. O. Wilson, biologist

lions, trying to amass enough prey to survive

Woodland Park Zoo, and the Melbourne

All of the teaching resources

(“Cougar Hunt,” People and the Planet).

Museum in Australia.

referenced in this article can

For our high school lessons, we incorporate

Through our teaching resources and train-

be ordered through our

more research and writing skills. In one of our

ing workshops, we emphasize why popula-

program website:

classic activities, “Bye, Bye Birdie,” students

tion education needs to be part of conserva-


research specific endangered species and


develop criteria that ecologists, wildlife man-

Population Education staff and our network

agers, and public officials might use to make

of trainers work with naturalists and marine

decisions about which species to protect. One

educators to help them make the population



connection to the public. By minding their

Extinction,” takes students on a journey

“P’s”, especially the second “P” in HIPPO,

through geological history to determine how

they can introduce critical human ecology

our current period of mass species loss differs

concepts to nature lovers of all ages.









from the five that preceded it, and how it can be stopped. “Like Water and Oil,” a handson lab, helps students understand the effects of oil spills on marine animals. All of these activities plus readings and case studies on human/wildlife interactions are found in the newest edition of our secondary resource, Earth Matters. Education about these human ecology concepts need not be confined to the K-12 classroom. Zoos, aquariums and science museums the world over have sought our help in bringing the human factor to effective exhibits on animals. In fact, our ever-popular, “dot” video, World Population, is part of permanent exhibits on biodiversity and animal habitat at the American Museum of Natural History, the Columbus Zoo (where Jack Hanna was director for 14 years), Seattle's www.popconnect.org

Participants at the Environmental Educators of Ohio conference collect their “prey” in “Cougar Hunt,” a Population Education activity about carrying capacity. Photo: Catherine Knoop February 2010 — The Reporter





The Reporter — February 2010

THE ROANOKE TIMES (Nairobi, Kenya)

(Roanoke, Virginia)

Population is a key factor in economic develop-

This year, President Obama's budget included, and

ment. For years, Kenya, like other developing

Congress approved, more than $110 million for a

nations, had put a lot of emphasis on controlling

teen pregnancy prevention initiative restricted to

population growth, with the understanding that

programs “proven effective through rigorous evalu-

through that, it would manage its economy better.

ation.” Needless to say, outcome-based measures

However, the gains on birth control are being reversed.

leave abstinence-only programs out in the cold. That is where they should stay.

As the population grows by 3 percent, the econo-

Teenagers must have accurate, comprehensive sex

my only records a 2.5 percent gain—representing a

education—including, but not limited to, information

skewed development pattern.

about abstinence. The new federal initiative restores

Government spending on family planning has gone down and the erstwhile robust campaigns have been muted.

science-based criteria to their rightful place in deciding what programs should get taxpayer dollars. The nation, not to mention youths facing confus-

Kenya has what it takes to manage its population. It only needs to borrow from the past experience and control birth to secure a good future for the citizens. —Editorial Excerpt, October 30, 2009

ing life choices, can afford only what works. —Editorial Excerpt, December 30, 2009

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One Way to Change the World We hope you’ll consider Population Connection as you plan your estate. You can also participate in other forms of planned giving. Charitable Gift Annuities provide guaranteed life income along with significant tax advantages. If you or your financial advisor have any questions, please feel free to contact Shauna Scherer, Major Gifts Manager, at 800-767-1956 ext. 7730 or email sscherer@popconnect.org. If you’ve already included Zero Population Growth (ZPG) in your estate plans, there is no need to change any language. We proudly maintain the name and the mission.

Profile for Marian Starkey

January 2010  

Habitat loss

January 2010  

Habitat loss