A PUBLICATION OF
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.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
D E PA RT M E N T S
18 Washington View
In the News
20 Field & Outreach
22 Pop. Ed.
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
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
Comprehensive Sex Ed
Email: email@example.com 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
’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
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
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
Beyond the Numbers: A Reader on Population, Consumption, and the Environment, published in the spring of
the end of their reproductive years. Unfortunately,
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
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
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
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 â€” 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
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
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-
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 â€” February 2010
THE ROANOKE TIMES (Nairobi, Kenya)
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 youâ€™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 firstname.lastname@example.org. If youâ€™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.