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  1. 1
    083415

    Beyond "vasectomies for groceries": a rejoinder to Joseph Fletcher.

    Bello W

    FOCUS. 1993; 3(2):43, 47-50.

    Rebuttal is made to a theory that developed countries should not provide famine relief to countries whose population size has exceeded their carrying capacity and that developing countries must also accept contraceptives and encourage vasectomies to receive development aid. This view is based on assumptions and arguments that more than 10 years of research, analysis, and informed debate have made anachronistic. 20% of the world's population who live in developed countries consume 80% of the Earth's resources. At present levels of consumption and waste, the 57 million people born in developed countries in the 1990s. Japan has few natural resources and limited agricultural capacity and, thus, has already exceed its carrying capacity. Still it has one of the world's highest standards of living and a high degree of ecological stability. Japan has displaced its resources and environment costs to less wealthy and less powerful countries. Japan's demand for tropical woods, for example, is responsible for rapid deforestation in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos. It exports its industrial pollution to developing countries, largely by relocating pollution intensive heavy and chemical industries to other Asian countries. Population growth is not the leading reason for the famines in the Sahel. Global climactic change, conflict between the superpowers in the Horn of Africa, and export agriculture (e.g. during the 1984-1985 famine, Ethiopia exported green beans to England) contributed greatly to these famines. To reduce fertility rates, society must work to raise living standards, cultivate equality, and people's control over their lives, and improve women's status. Sri Lanka, China, and the Indian state of Kerala are examples of how political commitment to social welfare, including a commitment to increasing women's status, contributed to sizable reductions in population growth despite only moderate levels of per capita income.
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  2. 2
    077785

    Farm productivity must surge to meet the world's needs.

    Pendleton S

    CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR. 1992 Oct 21; 9-10, 12.

    Discussion of world food supply identifies the reasons for shortages, based on the opinions of various food experts, as maldistribution of wealth and income, population growth, limits to production, shortage of usable land, global warming, air pollution, and civil war. In 1992, farmers produced enough food to feed the world's 5.3 billion population, but starvation and hunger occur because people cannot afford to buy enough or because of armed conflict. To meet the growing demands of expected population increases, productivity must increase by 3 times within 50 years to feed 9-12 billion people. Although Dennis Avery from the Hudson Institute is optimistic, the Population Crisis Committee's International Human Suffering Index shows Mozambique as suffering the most with a population growth of 2.7% while Denmark with zero growth suffers the least. 786 million still go hungry today. The agronomists' solution is to lesson the political conditions that lead to conflicts, to make agriculture sustainable, to enhance farm productivity with modern techniques, and encourage economic development. The political challenges are exemplified in the case of Tenneco West's investment in mechanized agriculture in northern Sudan which doubled agricultural productivity but civil war disrupted activities. Famine in Africa is due to war, i.e., Somalia in the present context. 11% of the earth's land surface is cultivated (3.7 billion acres). Lester Brown of the Worldwatch Institute pessimistically points out that the farmland base stopped growing in 1980, air pollution can reduce crop yields by 10%, and part of the world's food output is not sustainable. Avery states that a billion acres of African wetlands and another billion of savanna could be changed over to agriculture, that African farmers could triple corn production using high yield varieties, but Africa will have a "slow, desperately difficult struggle." Dr. Harwood at Michigan State says that global warming might increase yields as well as contribute to flooding. Dennis Leopold from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University suggests that a balance must be reached between the farmer and the community, and large farms may not be the best. World trade is low compared with production and consumption, yet countries like Indonesia clear 1.5 million acres of jungle for crop production regardless of the environmental degradation.
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