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Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2002; 11 Suppl:S498-S509.Scale up 'we are what we eat' and nutrition is revealed as an aspect of world governance. The quality and nature of food systems has always tended to determine not only the health and welfare but also the fate of nations. The independence of nations depends on their development of their own human and natural resources, including food systems, which, if resilient, are indigenous, traditional, or evolved over time to climate, terrain and culture. Rapid adoption of untested or foreign food systems is hazardous not only to health, but also to security and sovereignty. Immediate gain may cause permanent loss. Dietary guidelines that recommend strange foods are liable to disrupt previous established food cultures. Since the 1960s the 'green revolution' has increased crop yield, and has also accelerated the exodus of hundreds of millions of farmers and their families from the land into lives of misery in mega-cities. This is a root cause of increased global inequity, instability and violence. 'Free trade' of food, in which value is determined by price, is imposed by dominant governments in alliance with industry when they believe they can thereby control the markets. The World Trade Organization and other agencies coordinate the work of transnational corporations that are the modern equivalents of the East India companies. Scientists should consider the wider dimensions of their work, nutrition scientists not least, because of the key place of food systems in all societies. (author's)
Sustainable Development. 2000; 8(3):135-141.Neo-Malthusianism advocates 'population control' as the solution to all major global problems. While overpopulation is a serious problem, blaming the population growth in the South as the prime cause for the destruction of the environment is hypocritical. Rather than the 'bottom billion', it is the 'top billion' population from the 'affluent' West - and their 'effluence' - that is inflicting greater environmental injury to the earth. In the patriarchal system of free-market economy, aborigines and women are marked inferior. Given the strong preference for male children in many Third World countries, the statistics on 'missing girls' explain the sad situation of female infanticide and underreporting of female births. Most contraceptive research is aimed at women only. Furthermore, newly developed contraceptives would be first tested on poor women of colour, often without their knowledge or consent. However, after the 1994 Cairo Population Conference, reproductive rights and empowerment of women are recognized as key issues in controlling population growth. There must be a radical change and paradigm shift in policy-making at every level from subjugation and subordination to partnership in order to solve most of the world's problems. (author's)
London, England, Royal Society, .  p.Both developed and developing countries have contributed to environmental degradation. Developed countries have 85% of the world's gross national product and 23% of its population, but they soak up the preponderance of mineral and fossil-fuel consumption. In the developing countries per capita consumption is lower, but the growing population and attendant economic development are damaging the local environment. the types of damage includes pollution from energy use, clearing forests, and inappropriate agricultural practices. Unrestrained resource consumption of the developing world on the levels of consumption of the developed world could result in catastrophe for the global environment. Less developed countries (LDCs) are unable to deal with their environmental and resource problems alone, as they generate only 15% of the world's gross national product; and have only 6-7% of the world's active scientists and engineers. Over 1 billion people live in absolute poverty, and 600 million are on the margin of starvation. Effective family planning with continued economic and social development could stabilize fertility rates at lower levels and reduce stresses to the global environment. In the developed countries conservation, recycling, efficient use of energy, and mitigating further buildup of greenhouse gases would ease the threat to the global environment. Scientific research can contribute to the development of new generations of safe and effective contraceptive agents and devices; development of environmentally benign alternative energy sources; improvements in agricultural production and food processing; further research in plant and animal genetic varieties; further research in biotechnology relating to plants, animals, and preservation of the environment; and improvements in public health through development of effective drugs and vaccines for malaria, hepatitis, AIDS, and other infectious diseases.
The state of the world's women 1985: World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women, Equality, Development and Peace, Nairobi, Kenya, July 15-26, 1985.
[Unpublished] 1985. 19 p.This report, based on results of a questionnaire completed by 121 national governments as well as independent research by UN agencies, assesses the status of the world's women at the end of the UN Decade for Women in the areas of the family, agriculture, industrialization, health, education, and politics. Women are estimated to perform 2/3 of the world's work, receive 1/10 of its income and own less than 1/100 of its property. The findings revealed that women do almost all the world's domestic work, which combined with their additional work outside the home means that most women work a double day. Women grow about 1/2 the world's food but own very little land, have difficulty obtaining credit, and are overlooked by agricultural advisors and projects. Women constitute 1/3 of the world's official labor force but are concentrated in the lowest paid occupations and are more vulnerable to unemployment than men. Although there are signs that the wage gap is closing slightly, women still earn less than 3/4 of the wage of men doing similar work. Women provide more health care than do health services, and have been major beneficiaries of the global shift in priorities to primary health care. The average number of children desired by the world's women has dropped from 6 to 4 in 1 generation. Although a school enrollment boom is closing the gap between the sexes, women illiterates outnumber men by 3 to 2. 90% of countries now have organizations promoting the advancement of women, but women are still greatly underrepresented in national decision making because of their poorer educations, lack of confidence, and greater workload. The results repeatedly point to the major underlying cause of women's inequality: their domestic role of wife and mother, which consumes about 1/2 of their time and energy, is unpaid, and is undervalued. The emerging picture of the importance and magnitude of the roles women play in society has been reflected in growing concern for women among governments and the community at large, and is responsible for the positive achievements of the decade in better health care and more employment and educational opportunities. Equality for women will require that they have equal rights, responsibilities, and opportunities in every area of life.
AMERICAN ECONOMIC REVIEW. 1999 May; 89(2):251-5.This paper examines how population growth affects the average level of utility, particularly, the consumption per capita. It also focuses on the effects of population growth on the ratio of dependent consumers to working-age adults. The model employed in this paper has three demographic groups: working-age adults, who produce and consume, and the young and elderly, who only consume. This study concluded that the transition to lower population growth requires a long period of reduced dependency in which society benefits from lower spending on children while it has yet to pay for higher old-age dependency. The dependency level after 30 years is not significantly different from that which would exist in an optimal stable population. Any rise in fertility that would decrease old-age dependency in the long run would require a lengthy period of higher-than-steady-state dependency.
In: Dangerous intersections: feminist perspectives on population, environment, and development. A project of the Committee on Women, Population, and the Environment, edited by Jael Silliman and Ynestra King. Cambridge, Massachusetts, South End Press, 1999. 189-201.This document discusses the content of the north American critiques of consumption and consumerism; the strengths and weaknesses of these critiques are cited in order to present the core elements that can bring about a woman-centered analysis. A report from a nongovernmental organization (NGO) promoting a simple, fairly low-cost solar cooker to Somali women, provide the occasion for the author's exposition of different facets of consumption and consumerism: the consumption of resources by individuals, by governments and the ruling elite, by semi-autonomous and secretive institutions such as the military, and by macroeconomic systems that are embedded within the matrix of political economy and cultural values. Three approaches are used as a basis for analyses to provide alternatives to consumption pattern and consumerist ideology in industrialized countries: the demographics of consumption, the movement to simplify life and make consumer choices that are less environmentally damaging, and the computation of the ecological footprint. The demographics of consumption claim that happiness has diminished as people work more to purchase more nondurable, packaged, rapidly obsolete, nonvital goods and services. The voluntary simplicity movement has emphasized the need for people to assess their real financial needs, to budget and invest to achieve financial independence on a substantially reduced income, and to calculate the impact of their lifestyle on the environment through household audits of energy, products, and waste. The ecological footprint model is based more on the calculation of consumer impact on the earth in connection with the responsibilities of government, the right of every human to a fair and healthful share of the earth's resources and a deep concern for not overloading or degrading global ecosystems. Woman-centered analysis of the issue of consumption was discussed with the aim of furthering the goals of redistributing and humanizing the use of natural resources, consumer goods, and services, and of mitigating and reversing the impact of pollution on ecosystems.
North Amherst, Massachusetts, Institute on Women and Technology, 1993. iv, 59 p.This book presents a reformulation of the population/environment formula known as I = PAT, where "I" is human impact on the environment, "P" is population size, "A" is goods consumed per capita, and "T" is pollution generated by technology per good consumed. The introduction describes the formula and its attractiveness. The next section explains that the formula is so entrenched that critics and advocates debate its merits from a position within its argot. Feminists, on the other hand, would reform I = PAT to add key structural factors that reflect elements of social and environmental justice. The book continues by critically analyzing each factor in the equation and then offering corrections that 1) separate survival consumption from luxury consumption; 2) introduce a factor to account for military pollution; 3) introduce the element of environmental conservation; and 4) account for human agency. The new formula would be I = C - PAT, where "I" is human impact, "C" is conservation, "P" is patriarchy, "A" is consumption shaped by economic realities, and "T" is environmentally injurious technology. It is recommended 1) that women's health and environmental organizations replace the population framework with the feminist framework, introduce agency, educate women and men, and redirect contraceptive technology and research and 2) that environmental organizations teach ecological literacy, examine consumption, and support grassroots and urban environmentalism.
AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL AND RESOURCE ECONOMICS. 1997 Mar; 41(1):1-17.During the 1980s, the European Union, the US, and Japan followed policies designed to limit the production of grain. In so doing, the production and stock of grain declined during the decade in developed countries. However, grain production increased in developing countries during the 1980s, causing the overall world supply of grain to grow faster than demand. International market prices for grain have been falling since the 1970s. Despite claims to the contrary, reputable studies of prospective food supply and demand indicate that there will be continued improvement in per capita food consumption, especially in the developing countries. It is highly unlikely that the factors which affect world food supply and demand can either stop the decline in real market prices for grain or result in more than a modest increase in world grain trade. While China may become a major grain importer, central and eastern Europe may become major net grain exporters who compete with traditional exporters. The likely future trend in real world grain prices is good news for urban consumers, but farmers in developing countries will have to continually adjust to the eroding prices of their product. The author discusses population and well-being since Malthus' first edition, the population growth rate as an unimportant factor in determining population well-being, negative population growth rates, recent world food developments, prospects for the future supply and demand of food, and implications for world trade.
CURRENT HISTORY. 1996 Nov; 95(604):366-71.While most Americans would agree that population growth is a problem, they do not perceive the US to be part of the problem. Technological optimists argue that theoretically the planet can sustain 10 billion people. However, rapid population growth multiples poverty and environmental degradation. Therefore, just letting population double recklessly over the next 50 years will generate vast segments of the world population who live in extremely poor and difficult conditions. If the world pursues the American model of development, some basic physical and biological systems could be at risk of collapsing. There is also a possibility that in developing countries such as Mexico, Egypt, Kenya, and the Philippines, a downward spiral of population growth, debt, inequality, and loss of soil and agricultural production could lead to economic decline and widespread political instability. Humankind still has some time in which to control pollution and prevent the degradation of our natural resource base. A population of 10-11 billion should be able to live humanely on the earth's available resources if governments take the necessary and appropriate actions required to check excessive consumption and manage resources sustainably. The US must take the lead in this endeavor. The author discusses population growth and consumption in developed and developing countries, implementing sustainability, and policies for change.
POLITICS AND THE LIFE SCIENCES. 1997 Sep; 16(2):222-3.The author agrees with Kenneth Smail that human overpopulation is of global concern. However, while birth control policy has been implemented in China for more than 20 years, Chinese people rarely consider the population problem from an international perspective. Population growth and size must be limited because the world is running out of food and other resources. The rapid rise in world population is creating problems for all countries because there are just not enough resources. Raw materials are being consumed at an increasing rate and food production cannot keep pace with the rate of population increase. Almost all discussions about population policy in international forums are about if or how population control policy should be carried out in developing countries. However, people in the wealthy, developed countries consume a far greater proportion of the world's resources and produce more pollution than do people in developing countries. Population control policy should therefore be followed in both developed and developing countries.
In: Growing numbers and dwindling resources, edited by Rekha Krishnan. New Delhi, India, Tata Energy Research Institute, 1994. 139-60.Consumerism in developed countries and high rates of population growth in developing countries threaten environmental sustainability. The author uses Ehrlich and Holdren's identity "I=PAT" to study anthropogenic impacts upon the natural resource base. Such impacts can be mitigated by reducing population growth, limiting affluence, and technological advances which lead to reduced production intensities. These three options are considered. With a view to sustainability, the role of issues such as poverty alleviation and environmental refugees are discussed. Noting priorities for environmental sustainability, the author stresses the need for initiatives in industrialized countries aimed at reducing per capita consumption and environmental throughput. The author also considers the roles of religion and poverty in environmental problems. Political will is needed to effect change in market structures and economic policy.
ENVIRONMENTALIST. 1997 Spring; 17(1):33-44.Consumption is defined as the total spending on goods, investments, and services that changes materials and energy and reduces availability of natural resources for the future. The rich consume on a grand scale, but marginal consumption by large numbers of poor people can also deplete nonrenewable resources. This article discusses the complex relationships between consumption and population and between these two factors and environment and development. Consumption of natural resources since the mid-1900s has surpassed consumption prior to that time. The richest 20% of the global population have doubled their per capita consumption of energy, meat, timber, steel, and copper and have quadrupled the number of cars owned since 1950. The poorest 20% barely increased their per capita consumption. 40% of the total world population accounts for 6.5% of the world's income. The US, with under 5% of world population, consumes about 30% of the resources. The US standard of consumption is the desired ideal in many countries, but this standard is not justified. A low projected global population of 6 billion population would increase consumption by 8.4 times. Food and energy examples are used to illustrate the resource impact. Policy must move toward sustainable consumption and meet needs differently, develop environmentally friendly goods and services, and change the nature and extent of consumption. Policy must internalize externalities, eliminate perverse subsidies, calculate the ecological impact, promote efficiency and sufficiency, mobilize the media, and set "best practices" examples. Science also has responsibilities. The future rests with decisions about how to design a better system or a default option until failures in ecological and social systems appear. Life styles should emphasize nonmaterial satisfactions. The ratio of poor to rich is 60:1, which is unacceptable. Rich citizens will eventually need to pay the price of a change in their philosophies.
CARRYING CAPACITY NETWORK FOCUS. 1997; 7(1):37-9.The subject of demographic entrapment is taboo in most UN agencies and in academia because of the upheaval that would occur if entrapment were acknowledged. Demographic entrapment occurs if a population has exceeded or is projected to exceed the combination of the carrying capacity of its own ecosystem and its ability to trade for its needs or to migrate to other ecosystems. Demographic entrapment leads populations to become progressively stunted physically (as is occurring in Malawi) or starve, die from disease, or implode in social chaos (Rwanda). Disentrapment can theoretically occur if communities increase the carrying capacity of their ecosystem, develop an export community, increase migratory opportunity, reduce population growth, or combine these measures. The major method of escaping entrapment seems to be reducing population growth by promoting one-child families. If developed countries urge developing countries to adopt this policy, developed countries should adopt it also because per capita consumption of natural resources in developed countries is perhaps 50 times greater than in developing countries. Discussion of demographic entrapment remains taboo because of fear that such discussion would challenge: 1) the materialistic, consumeristic, market economy that is the current foundation of global society; 2) the consumption and employment patterns of developed countries; 3) human rights notions about reproduction, anti-abortion attitudes, and pronatalist views; and 4) false assumptions about universal economic development. Countries (like Malawi) where entrapment is causing widespread malnutrition should receive interim food aid tied to population reduction. Developed countries should promote development of sustainable lifestyles that include having one-child families and consuming photon-efficient diets. UN agencies must face the uproar that will occur upon acknowledgement of entrapment in order to call for simultaneous reproductive and lifestyle changes throughout the world.
PEOPLE COUNT. 1992 Jul; 2(6):1-4.During 1980-85 energy consumption in developing countries increased by 22%, of which 50% was used to maintain current levels of use and 50% pertained to real economic growth. Commercial energy consumption during 1970-89 tripled in developing countries. Population growth alone is expected to increase world energy consumption from the current 13.5 terawatts (13.5 trillion watts) to 18 terawatts by 2025 at the same level of use. The increased level of consumption (4.5 terawatts) is the equivalent of total current commercial energy consumption. One terawatt is equal to energy use from 5 billion barrels of oil yearly, 1 billion tons of coal, or 1.6 billion tons of wood. Economic development will require even greater levels of energy use. Since the oil price increases of the 1970s, developed countries increased their energy consumption by about 33%, even while becoming more fuel efficient. During 1990-2025, if developing countries double their per capita energy use and developed countries reduce their use by 50%, world energy consumption will still be almost 21 terawatts. If consumption remains constant at current levels without any population increase, the oil supply will be exhausted in 40 years. Coal consumption will last hundreds of years but air pollution will worsen, and global warming will be accelerated. Developed countries, which are wealthier, are having difficulty switching to non-fossil fuels, and the prospects for developing countries pose even greater challenges. Slowing growth buys time for technological development. World population is expected to reach 8 billion by 2020. Stabilization of growth at 8 billion would occur only if world fertility averages 1.7 children per woman by 2025. One opinion is that the carrying capacity has been reached with the present population of 5.4 billion. Others say that with changes in consumption and technological developments the earth can sustain 8 billion people. The physical limits are 1) the finite capacity of natural systems to provide food and energy and to absorb wastes, 2) the amount of greenhouse gases tolerated in the atmosphere without untoward side effects, and 3) the amount of fresh water available to support all forms of life.
POPULATION AND ENVIRONMENT. 1995 Jul; 16(6):487-505.The recent world model GlobEcco was used to explore the implications of alternative population growth rates for both the industrialized and developing regions of the world. The ECCO method (Evolution of Capital Creation Options) is a simulation model of the entire economy, taking into account population, economic growth potential, environmental requirements, and investments. The population in 1985 was divided between the developed world, with 1.227 billion people, and the developing countries, with 3.617 billion people. Each was examined according to the state of the total economy, food consumption, birth and death rates, and these were related to a physical Material Standard of Living factor (MSOL). The policy of increasing aid to the Third World to 0.7% of the First World's gross domestic product (GDP) from 1992 on improves living standards somewhat, but the Third World continues to lag behind the developed world. The policy of increasing foreign loans from 1% to 5% of the industrialized world's GDP initially reduces MSOL in the First World, but eventually the net flow of wealth runs in the First World's favor, with a debt services ratio exceeding 100%. The policy of reducing consumption in the First World by 5%, while aid is increased to 1.4% of GDP, improves the Third World's circumstances, however, by 2012 the Third World's MSOL is still only 8.2% of the First World's. If the Third World reneges on its international debts in 2008, the debt servicing ratio drops to 0, and the wealth released expands the Third World's economies. The policy of intensifying family planning assistance improves the standard of living in both worlds, however, there is an incipient scarcity of energy by 2020. The policy of intensifying aid with the ECCO Demographic Module shows that Third World MSOL rises to 13.4% of the First World's, however, cumulative resources use increases during the 1st quarter of the 21st century to the point of penury.
In: Health and disease in developing countries, edited by Kari S. Lankinen, Staffan Bergstrom, P. Helena Makela, Miikka Peltomaa. London, England, Macmillan Press, 1994. 25-36.The magnitude of the population problem is indicated by the annual addition of about 100 million people and the acceleration of growth. There were around 5.3 billion inhabitants in the world in 1990, but by the year 2020 there will be about 8 billion people, although the total fertility rate decreased from around 6 children per woman in 1960 to 4 in 1985. The unprecedented growth of population, particularly in poor countries, together with overconsumption and lack of global justice in the distribution of goods has put a severe stress on the environment. The overconsumption problem is illustrated by the case of the United States, with 6% of the world's population but with the consumption of 40% of its resources. The energy consumption of 1 American equals that of 2 Frenchmen, 6 Mexicans, 39 Indians, and 456 Nepalese. The poverty trap and the demographic trap has recently been analyzed in 4 parts: 1) the lack of productive assets. The poor are poor because they do not own assets (in several Latin American countries 1% of landlords own more than 40% of arable land); 2) physical weakness and illness means constant malnourishment and low productive capacity; 3) population pressure forces salaries down to survival levels while having large families often becomes necessary for economic security; and 4) powerlessness means that most poor people are often coerced into signing away their rights and legal systems offer little protection. The structural readjustment programs have had adverse repercussions for the poor, because maternal and child health expenditures were slashed. The HIV infection rate reached 40-50% of pregnant women in some parts of Zimbabwe. Freedom and coercion issues in population control pertain to the compulsory sterilizations in the mid-1970s and female contraceptive surgery consisting only of abortion and sterilization.
AMICUS JOURNAL. 1994 Winter; 22.This overview of the environmental impact of population growth indicates that farm land in developing countries increased by 0.6% annually between 1961 and 1985 despite the impact of technology, which reduced land area needs by 2.6% annually. Population growth of 2.3% annually and growth in consumption of agricultural products of 0.9% annually were push factors for expanding farm land. In developing countries, the growth of population accounted for 72% of the increase in farm land area and 69% of the growth in livestock numbers. In contrast, population growth in developed countries accounted for only a 25% increase in air pollutants between 1970 and 1988; overconsumption accounted for the rest of the increase. Population growth in developed countries accounted for 40% of the increase during 1960-88 in the carbon dioxide emissions responsible for global warming. Studies by the UN Food and Agriculture Association and the UN Population Fund found a close correlation between deforestation and the loss of wildlife habitat and population density. The approach used by Barry Commoner and Paul Ehrlich was to multiply population by consumption per person by the impact per unit of consumption (technology). This formula yields a measure of the link between population growth and the impact on the environment. The general understanding, regardless of methods, is that population growth is a key factor in satisfying basic needs such as food or energy. Population growth is of lesser concern in countries with slow population growth or where consumption and technology are changing rapidly.
PEOPLE AND THE PLANET. 1994; 3(3):31.Sandra Postel, of the Worldwatch Institute, believes that inequalities in consumption and income foster environmental degradation. The richest 20% are getting richer and consuming excessively. The bottom 20%, comprising about 1 billion people, are getting poorer and are degrading their environment in order to survive. Per capita availability of resources is continually being reduced. If there is a desire to improve the quality of life for the poorest segment of the world population, then the richest must forfeit something. Environmental taxation could reduce excessive consumption in general; this strategy would be the most efficient and useful. Taxes would be placed on pollution and resources in danger of depletion; income taxes could be reduced to balance the impact of increased taxes on the economy. Wealthy countries must make a renewed commitment to poverty alleviation and to realistic sustainable development. Aid budgets should no longer reflect military priorities or strategic objectives. Trade is clearly related to the environment and poverty, and these connections must be made publicly known. National and international trade policies must deal with poverty issues and not contribute to further environmental destruction. Eliminating debt problems is another problem in need of change. The World Bank and structural adjustment policies have not proved to be environmentally sound and have not benefitted the poor. Evaluation of programs is needed, and lending policies should reflect the growing awareness of the problems of the poor and environmental consequences. Consumption of energy, wood, paper, and water are all higher among industrialized wealthy countries. Technology needs to be applied to maximize resource use, and policies must reflect this commitment. Israel has set a good example with water consumption reduction through advanced technology.
[Overpopulation is bad, but excessive consumption is worse] La superpoblacion es mala, pero el consumo excesivo es peor.
PROFAMILIA. 1993 Dec; 10(22):76-7.The notion that consumption in developed countries is the main cause of ecological deterioration and planetary contamination is contested by many who assert that overpopulation in the developing world is the main factor. But the great disparity in income and consumption between rich and poor countries cannot be ignored. Each Canadian consumes 16 to 20 times more than an inhabitant of India or China and 60 to 70 times more than an inhabitant of Bangladesh. Consequently, the 1.1 billion inhabitants of industrialized countries cause ecological effects equivalent to what would be produced by 17 to 70 billion inhabitants of developing countries. The planet could not support 5.5 billion persons consuming at the rate of the 1.1 billion in the developed world. Consumption has been encouraged by the government and businesses in the U.S. and is an important factor in the health of the economy. But increases in consumption are not sustainable indefinitely. Much of current consumption results from inefficiency and waste. The life style of the developed countries has a high price in violence, alienation, alcoholism, vandalism, loneliness, pollution, and disturbance of the family and neighborhood. Becoming content with less consumption and striving for a future based on communities with greater self-confidence and self-sufficiency is a reasonable goal from both ecological and social points of view.
DEVELOPMENT BULLETIN. 1992 Jul; 24:2-4.The Earth Summit was meant to be the culmination of the environment debate around the world. The fact is that its reductionist agenda did not provide a comprehensive analysis of human interaction with the environment. The United States refused to have the issue of population linked with poverty in the Third World and over-consumption in the First World. The lifestyle of the United States was not up for negotiation. That population was not discussed is seen by many as a major failure of the Earth Summit. Population growth is one element in a complex series of interactions affecting the environment, of which resource consumption levels are clearly the most important. The issue of population growth is not presented in terms of resource sustainability, equity, or access, but rather simply by the assertion that there are too many people in the Third World. The population debate is often presented in a way counter to the principle of women's autonomy. While gender equity issues are about choice, much of the debate on population is about control. The discussions of population policies seldom mention the third most populous country, the United Stats, characterized by high consumption and inefficient use of technology. The UN Development Program's Human Development Index shows than on energy use and greenhouse emissions, the developing world's per capita contribution is 1/10th and 1/5th, respectively. The world's population could reduce by the 1 or 2 billion poorest people and have very little impact on the environmental crisis facing the world. A better way of presenting population issues is to relate gross energy consumption to population, focusing on countries with high populations and over-consumption such as the United States, Japan, Europe, and Australia. The First World has to start looking inward at its own unsustainable consumption and population practices.
Population et Societes. 1995 Feb; (298):1-4.Land availability has attracted more attention than potential shortages of fresh water as a problem of population growth. Fresh water is indispensable to life. Only about 1% of the earth's water is fresh and available for use. Of the 119,000 cu. km of water falling as precipitation each year, over half returns unused to the sea and one-eighth falls far from human population. Under current technical and demographic conditions, the upper limit of capacity in effectively utilizable renewable water does not exceed 15,000 cu. km per year, or 2500 cu. m per capita per year. An estimated 2.5 liters of water per day are necessary to meet strictly metabolic requirements. Domestic needs have been estimated at 100 liters per day or 40 cu. m per year in the most developed countries. The world average consumption is 52 cu. m, but the range is from less than 6 cu. m in Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, and Bangladesh to over 200 in the US and over 800 in Australia. On average, agricultural consumption is eight times greater than domestic consumption, at 444 cu. m per inhabitant. Agricultural consumption ranges from 216 cu. m in Africa to 912 in North America. Industrial consumption averages three times domestic consumption but is unevenly distributed. Availability of fresh water is even more unequal than consumption. Water consumption more than tripled between 1950 and 1990 because of doubling of world population and increased per capita consumption. Whether a comparable increase can be expected between 1990 and 2050, when world population is projected to double again, is a serious question. It has been estimated that, by 2025, 2.8 to 3.3 billion persons will live in areas of recurring water shortage. The Food and Agriculture Organization projects that by 2025, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, and Tunisia will lose the ability to be self-sustaining in food supply because of water shortages. Several other countries with rapid population growth are also threatened. Some areas of Russia and some zones of Third World megalopolises have irreversibly damaged their water resources. Access to water is of strategic importance. More than 200 rivers and lakes cross international borders, and struggles over control of water will undoubtedly constitute a growing threat. Future strategies to conserve water will include efforts to capture rainwater and to exploit river water more fully before it flows into the sea. Ground water is likely to be the object of serious competition. Unequal distribution of water will in the long run require population redistribution.
Do we have to define population as a security problem? Population as a potential cause of clashes between countries and civilizations.
PEOPLE'S PERSPECTIVES. 1994 Mar; (8):13-6.The following points were made in the key-note address delivered at the Tokyo Meeting of Eminent Persons on Population and Development in Tokyo, January 26, 1994. The World Commission on Environment and Development, in its report Our Common Future, revealed that the average person in the US is responsible for releasing 27 times as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the average person in India. If 7 billion people were to consume as much energy and resources as the West does today, 10 earths would be needed to satisfy demand. Consequently, a commitment by the South to reduce population growth should be coupled by an equal commitment by the North to reduce consumption and production patterns. Lowering consumption of scarce resources does not mean lowering the standard of living. Japan has pioneered the promotion of efficiency and thereby boosted the competitiveness of its economy. Consumption of material goods should be ranked according to a scale of sustainability. The Worldwatch Institute has recently reported that global grain output has declined by 11% per person since 1984 and that the global fish catches have declined in the past 3 years. Poverty is a root cause of population growth just as it is a cause of environmental degradation. Structural adjustment programs and external debt are among the factors that should no longer prevent countries from increasing their budgets. From only 9% a generation ago, contraceptive prevalence in developing countries has risen to an estimated level of 50% in 1990. In addition it is assumed that 300 million women worldwide would now like to use family planning, but lack access to services. The United Nations Development Programme has suggested that 20% of government expenditure in developing countries should be allocated to basic needs, while industrialized countries are requested to allocate 20% of their development aid to meet such priority needs.
What is at stake at the world conference on population and development: women's rights and responsibilities.
PEOPLE'S PERSPECTIVES. 1994 Mar; (8):4-8.Planetary democracy is necessary and possible. T he world's citizens must participate in decision-making on global issues like the environment, development, and population. There is a recognition at the international level that almost everything in politics and culture has been decided by men. Women must speak out on the problems that afflict humanity in an endeavor to democratize human relationship and politics. At the UN Conference on Population and Development, women must fight to have their reproductive rights respected. Planeta Femea, the women's event during ECO'92, was a demonstration of this new stance taken by women. The Coalition of Brazilian Women that coordinated Planeta Femea addressed two issues: population and ethics. The Rio Conference unmasked the simplistic notion that it was the populous nations of the South that degraded the environment, polluted water, and burned forests, when the North's patterns of production and consumption were the principal culprits of environmental degradation and the depletion of natural resources. The North's technological innovations drive all those denied access to these resources further into underdevelopment. The majority of mankind is becoming less and less competitive. According to UNDP figures, worsening terms of international trade, the burden of foreign debt, and trade protectionism deprive developing countries of 500 billion dollars in resources every year. To continue with present policies that perpetuate disparities among countries is to increase poverty worldwide and risk making our planet unsustainable. Improving the quality of life for all mankind requires a global alliance, a shared responsibility by all nations in confronting squalor and inequality. Modifying patterns of consumption and lifestyle in the North as well as reviewing global patterns of use of capital, resources and technology are needed to implement a common North-South agenda to salvage the planet.
NATURE. 1993 Oct 21; 365(6448):688.An article on human population growth published in Nature, 1993, in reference to international efforts to stabilize population growth in developing countries, listed health programs, mass education, and elimination of trade barriers as goals but ignored energy consumption. Based on an analysis published by the World Conservation Union, the United Nations Environment Programme, and the World Wildlife Fund, developing countries, which contain 75% of the world's population, account for only 20% of the world's energy consumption. The other 80% occurs in countries where energy consumption is increasing while population size remains relatively stable. The commercial energy consumption rate per capita is 18 times higher in a high consumption country. North Americans produce twice as much carbon dioxide as South Americans, and 10 times as much as those living in South Asia or East Asia (excluding Japan). Curbing fertility rates in developing countries is insufficient to reduce pressure on natural resources. Furthermore, asking developing countries to unilaterally attempt to solve this world problem by reducing fertility rates, without developed countries curbing energy consumption, is irritating to representatives of developing countries. If developed countries reduced energy consumption and its consequent environmental damage, cooperation from developing countries in reducing fertility rates would be more forthcoming.
POPULI. 1993 Nov; 20(10):5-6.Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland delivered the 5th Rafael M. Salas lecture at the United Nations in September 1993. The most serious, predictable, and intractable crisis facing us is population growth. If we do not recognize this threat, we will not be able to circumvent it. We must look at population policies in the wider framework of global burden sharing. We must all equally share bills for peace-keeping, peace-building, reducing poverty and famine, preventing environmental threats, and checking population growth. Areas requiring our attention include a need for industrialized nations to change production and consumption patterns, reduction of poverty, meeting basic human needs, a need for developing countries to protect the environment, and curbing population growth to help realize sustainable development. Industrialized nations need to realize the reducing consumption of natural resources does not denote a reduction in the standard of living. Consumption of renewable and abundant resources need not be reduced, however. Structural adjustment programs and external debt prevent developing countries from increasing their health budgets. Military budgets remain unreasonably high in many countries and those that have military budgets greater than a certain level are uncreditworthy. We should be educating a healthy population not arming them. Signs of hope in reference to population growth include: a consistent, overall decline in fertility which is especially sharp in developing countries; and socioeconomic development centering on enhancing human resources overcoming traditional religious and cultural obstacles to fertility decline. The success of family planning programs depends on improving women's status. Men need to become responsible for their sexual behavior, fertility, health, and children. We know what needs to be done to achieve sustainable development, but we mobilize everyone, especially political leaders and the mass media.