Nigeria’s 4th National Family Planning Conference Concludes

GR:  In our pursuit of food, space, and security we humans are destroying the planet’s diversity and productivity.  Joe Bish of the Population Media Center reported this story.

“The chairman of Foundation for Development and Environmental Initiative, Akin Mabogunje, has called for immediate steps towards addressing the country’s fast growing population before it poses serious danger.

“Nigeria is projected to become the world’s third most populous nation by 2050. The country is currently ranked 8th on the global demographic ladder.

“Mr. Mabogunje, a professor of geography, called for increase in the uptake of family planning as one of the ways to manage the country’s population.He said unless the current demographic issues, especially uncontrolled birth, are addressed, the rise in population may spell doom for Nigeria.

“Mr. Mabogunje, who was addressing a gathering of health and population experts at the 4th National Family Planning Conference in Abuja on Wednesday, said the huge demography of the nation could however become a blessing, if its potentials are adequately harnessed for development.

“If we continue on our present mindless trajectory of population growth, the way forward is clear. It is the way to deepening poverty for the masses of this country”, he said.  Nigeria’s 4th National Family Planning Conference Concludes

Breaching environmental boundaries: UN report on resource limits

GR:  This is a thoughtful assessment of the problems with development goals that seek to raise everyone to the living standards of the United States and European Union.  Though the article brings the problems into clear perspective, I think it is already clear to most people that we can’t extract enough resources to meet the perceived need for high levels of material wealth held by Earth’s growing human population.  Cultural and social expectations need to change radically if we are reduce our population and our material consumption to truly sustainable levels.

Coal Mines at the source of the Yellow River, China

“This summer, the United Nations International Resource Panel (IRP), published ‘Global Material Flows and Resource Productivity’, a report that admits what ecologists have been saying for decades: resources are limited, human consumption trends are unsustainable and resource depletion diminishes human health, quality of life and future development.

“The report shows that consumption of Earth’s primary resources (metals, fuels, timber, cereals and so forth) has tripled in the last 40 years, driven by population growth (increasing at about 1.1% per year), economic growth (averaging about 3% per year over the same period) and consumption per person, worldwide.

“Economic growth has helped lift some regions from poverty and created more middle-class consumers, while enriching the wealthiest nations the most. The UN report acknowledges, however, that advances in human well-being have been achieved through consumption patterns that are “not sustainable” and that will “ultimately deplete the resources − causing shortages [and] conflict”.

“In 1970 — when ecologists in Canada founded Greenpeace and Club of Rome scholars prepared the original ‘Limits to Growth’ study — a human population of 3.7 billion used 22 billion tons of primary materials per year. Forty years later, in 2010, with a population of 6.7 billion, humans used 70 billion tons. Now, in 2016, we require about 86 billion tons and the UN Resource Panel estimates that by 2050 we will require annually some 180 billion tons of raw materials, which Earth’s ecosystems may not be able to provide.— Rex Weyler (Breaching environmental boundaries: UN report on resource limits)

Population Ethics

GR:  Here is a short essay that gives clear reasons for reducing the human population.  Joe Bish sets up the essay, and the delivery is by Travis Rieder.

Joe Bish, Population Media Center: 

“The varied arguments against my views… haven’t changed my conviction that we need to discuss the ethics of having children…”

“Travis Rieder, the Research Scholar at Johns Hopkins’ Berman Institute of Bioethics, is out with a follow-up to his 15-minutes of fame brought on by NPR’s mid-August coverage of his “Population Engineering” paper. Here, he attempts to address some of the common criticisms he endured — all of which population advocates have been dealing with day-in and day-out for many decades. Namely: there is no environmental problem; if there might be a problem it won’t be very bad; people concerned with population must be misanthropic; more people means more creativity; and, the end of population growth might “hurt the economy.”

“One interesting aspect of the Rieder phenomenon was the coverage itself. I certainly won’t be holding my breath for NPR to interview anybody from PMC, the Population and Sustainability Network, or any other group in the trenches on a day-to-day basis. Perhaps we should all don the title of bioethicists? It seems that doing so grounds the conversation in sufficiently abstract terms, such that a major media outlet can advance the theoretical notions of purposeful population stabilization and decrease — without worrying they are talking to anybody actually trying to do this in the real world.

“Below, Rieder notes that he has tackled the population issue because he is “genuinely worried about the future of our planet,” and believes the discussion is crucial to making a future worth having. This reminds me that in some senses, working on achieving population stabilization and decrease is one of the more optimistic careers out there. It presupposes that humanity will somehow navigate the brick wall of limits to growth, due in the late 2020’s (when our population will still be orders of magnitude too large), and come out the other side reformed, willing to behave ourselves, and sized appropriately.”

Here’s the link to Rieder’s succinct essay: Population Ethics.

A World Unprepared: Waves of Youth in Fragile and Unstable States

GR.–Irresponsible growth of the human population and fossil-fuel propelled global warming endanger all life on Earth.

Joe Bish, Population Media Center.–“The author of the following essay is Kristin Lord, president and CEO of IREX, an international education and development nongovernmental organization. Ms. Lord also serves as a co-chair of the Alliance for International Youth Development.

“This essay was originally published behind a pay-wall in Foreign Policy, but the following version was re-printed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Lord takes on the nearly incomprehensible growth in youth population around the world. The writing is mostly thought experiment, with some disconcerting facts thrown in for effect. For example, she notes that:

  • In Afghanistan, Angola, Chad, East Timor, Niger, Somalia and Uganda, more than two-thirds of the population is under the age of 25.
  • Every month until 2030, one million Indians will turn 18 years old.
  • In the Middle East, a region of some 400 million people, nearly 65 percent of the population is younger than 30.

“Pointing out the obvious challenges these sorts of demographics present for global stability, Lord concludes the first half of her work by suggesting it is “easy to conjure a dystopic future, a Hollywood caricature of lawless developing countries dominated by gangs of young men brandishing firearms.” I suppose if reading the current international news is synonymous with conjuring the future she has a point. Otherwise, as Lord goes on with her ruminations, she attempts to inject some positive “spin” to the situation, though she is eventually forced to end on a inconclusive note.

Here come the young: the next world population boom

“The population of people under the age of 30 in fragile and unstable countries is going to skyrocket. And the world is not ready for them.  See:

“As tweets and headlines skip from crisis to crisis, the largest youth population in human history is coming of age in a steady, unstoppable wave.” –Kristin Lord.

Find out why the world is unprepared.  Continue reading:  A World Unprepared: Waves of Youth in Fragile and Unstable States