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World Watch. 2004 Sep-Oct; 14-17.A generation ago, human population growth became an explosive issue. Since then, it has largely disappeared from the media. But the consequences of still-rising population colliding with fast-rising resource consumption have in some respects worsened, and are bringing a whole new set of concerns. Forty years ago, the world's women bore an average of six children each. Today, that number is just below three. In 1960, 10-15 percent of married couples in developing countries used a modern method of contraception; now, 60 percent do. To a considerable extent, these simple facts sum up the change in the Earth's human population prospects, then and now. In the mid-1960s, it was not uncommon to think about the human population as a time bomb. In 1971, population biologist Paul Ehrlich estimated that if human numbers kept increasing at the high rates of the time, by around 2900 the planet would be teeming with sixty million billion people (that's 60,000,000,000,000,000). But the rate of population rise actually peaked in the 1960s and demographers expect a leveling-off of human numbers this century. (excerpt)
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.
Lancet. 1996 Jun 22; 347(9017):1768.Thapa's vivid account of life in the Bajura district of Nepal confirms that country's demographic entrapment (May 4, p. 1244). Bajura's population is set to double, and then perhaps double again--yet there are already 6 people/hectare of cultivable land, with serious food shortages and the need for food aid. Carrying capacity has been exceeded, permanent migration is difficult, and there is little hope of an export economy. In the absence of continued and increasing food aid, people can be expected to starve. If the carrying capacity of its ecosystem is to be restored, then Bajura, like China, seems to need one-child families. Charles Elliott and I argue that, if we in the developed countries are to counsel other communities to have one-child families, then we should ourselves should set an example, particularly since our per capita resource consumption is perhaps 50 times greater than that of Nepal. We argue that the taboo on demographic entrapment must be lifted so that it can be recognized, measured, and discussed with the community. We expect that its recognition is likely to reduce fertility locally, and increase the flow of development aid, especially for family planning. We also hope that it will moderate northern lifestyles globally. (full text)
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.
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.
Providence, Rhode Island, Brown University, Alan Shawn Feinstein World Hunger Program, 1990 Jun. x, 87 p. (HR-90-1)The Hunger Profile differentiates among food shortages, poverty, and deprivation. Food shortage is further reflected in the amounts needed to fulfill nutritional requirements of an entire country's population, to maintain current levels of food consumption, and to prevent starvation or famine. Views are also expressed in terms of a global food shortage food-short countries, food-poor households, and food-deprived individuals. 2% of the world are affected by food shortage and 9-20% are affected by food poverty. 16% of the world's infants are food deprived. 31% of children are underweight/age. 4% are iodine deficient, 13% are deficient in iron, and 15% suffer from vitamin A deficiency. The authors present their views on the state of hunger in 1990, hunger as a weapon of war, food aid and hunger, refugees and hunger, breast-feeding trends, and reducing hunger by 50%. The text of the Bellagio Declaration on Overcoming Hunger in the 1990s is included. Hunger was being used in 1990 as a weapon in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines in Asia; in Angola, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, and Mauritania in Africa; in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala in Latin America; and in Armenia and Romania in Eastern Europe. 15% of imports to low-income, food-deficit countries and 44% of imports in developing in developing countries come in the form of food aid. Food aid has decreased 16% since 1985-86. Most food aid comes from the US (57%), the European Economic Community and member countries (20%), and Canada (10%). There is a longterm need to shift from direct food aid to programs that increase access to food for the most vulnerable populations. There has been an increase in cereal food aid since 1973-74; aid is dependent on cereal prices. There must be a balance between longterm and shortterm aid. Food aid is distributed as emergencies (20%), project food aid for maternal and child health programs (25%), and program aid. 5% is directed to target groups. Refugees are a growing population vulnerable to hunger. The most basic rations are given to refugees on an inconsistent basis due to inadequate and hoarded supplies and logistics. Refugee populations are reported by host country for 1989. Breast feeding is declining in general. Commitment, organization, and evaluation are necessary to halve hunger in the 1990s.
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.
Binghamton, New York, Food Products Press, 1992. xv, 444 p.The text is an expansive collection of information on everything related to global food production, agricultural production and processing and consumption, nutrition, and current food issues. Global food production includes information on world population and food production, global food production, global food marketing, and global food problems and foreign aid. 1) Global food production is further delineated by discussion about the croplands, changes in agricultural resources, photosynthesis, water resources, the changing atmosphere and its effect on crops, land productivity potential, managing agricultural production, and multiple dimensions of the world food problem. Annual world food production is 4 billion tons for a population of 5.2 billion, but 20% are hungry every day due to differences in production and distribution. Rapid population growth will reduce the productive food land/person by 50% form levels 35 years ago. The view is that new croplands will be expanded to meet the needs and more intensive farming practices bill be employed. New food processing techniques will be invented and adopted. Infrastructure development will contribute to an improvement. A smaller number of farmers will produce more food. 2) Agricultural production is discussed in terms of crop and plant production, animal production (livestock, wildlife, and insects), global fish and shellfish production, food processing industries, and food distribution and consumption and food and energy losses. Rates of food loss vary by country, i.e., 1-8% in the US but 25% in the former Soviet Union. A production value of >1 billion dollars would be derived from a 1% increase n yield. 3) Nutrition and the individual is concerned with the essential human nutrients and the consequences of malnutrition. 4) Current food issues pertain to biotechnology and agricultural production, chemicals in the food supply, global warming, and research, policies, and actions on world food. The appendix identifies career opportunities in international agriculture.
In: Preserving the global environment: the challenge of shared leadership, edited by Jessica T. Mathews. New York, New York/London, England, W. W. Norton, 1991. 39-77.The thesis that human population growth will eventually destroy the equilibrium of the world ecosystem, because environmental strain is a nonlinear effect of the linear growth, is embellished with discussions of technology and resulting pollution, population dynamics, birth and death rates, effects of expanded education, causes of urbanization, time constraints and destabilizing effects of partial development and the debt crisis. It is suggested that the terms renewable and nonrenewable resources are paradoxical, since the nonrenewable resoureces such as minerals will always exist, while renewable ecosystems and species are limited. The competitive economy actually accelerates destruction of biological resoureces because it overvalues rare species when they have crossed the equilibrium threshold and are in decline. Technological outputs are proportional to population numbers: therefore adverse effects of population should be considered in billions, not percent increase even though it is declining. Even the United Nations does not have predictions of the effects of added billions, taking into account improved survival and decreased infant mortality. Rapid urbanization of developing countries and their debt crisis have resulted from political necessity from the point of view of governments in power, rather than mere demographics. Recommendations are suggested for U.S. policy based on these points such as enlightened political leadership, foreign aid, and scientific investment with the health of the world ecosystem in mind rather than spectacle and local political ideology.
Lancet. 1990 Oct 13; 336(8720):937.This commentary is a rebuttal to Dr. King's proportion in the Lancet that without guaranteed reductions in birth rates (in developing countries) the world population will increase to a size beyond the planet's ability to sustain it. The author uses a parallel argument of the present-day "oil war" to argue that while the western world is prepared to go to war to protect its interests in oil, it is not willing to ration it. The real problem of poverty in developing countries is determined more by the consumption patterns of the 20% rich population in the world. Rather than looking at developing countries and criticizing their inability to allocate budgets to improve the health status of the poor, western countries should consider "rationing its use of the world's resources so that the proportion that it consumes more equitably reflects its share of the world's population."
American Demographics. 1980 Sep; 2(8):32-37.Add to my documents.
The Caribbean basin to the year 2000. Demographic, economic, and resource-use trends in seventeen countries: a compendium of statistics and projections
Boulder, Colo./London, England, Westview Press, 1984. xv, 166 p. (A Westview Replica Edition)A comparative analysis of demographic, economic, and resource trends in 17 countries in and around the Caribbean is presented for the period up to the year 2000. The data are taken from a variety of national and international sources. Forecasts of selected demographic trends are made using an updated version of the GLOBESCAN data base and socioeconomic forecasting system developed by The Futures Group. Particular attention is given to the implications of the study's findings for U.S. interests and policy, including U.S. foreign assistance. The methods and data sources are first described, and individual profiles of the situation in the 17 countries are provided. The interactions of rapid population growth, economic trends, and natural resource use are then analyzed in terms of their impact on land supply, agricultural production and consumption, income, energy use, the depletion of forests, water supplies, the environment, tourism, and political instability.