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  1. 1

    1989 report on the world social situation.

    United Nations. Department of International Economic and Social Affairs

    New York, New York, United Nations, 1989. xi, 126 p. (ST/ESA/213; E/CN.5/1989/2)

    The introductory section of this report on the world social situation describes the existing setting for social development, slow economic growth and scarce resources worldwide during the 1980s, and principal themes. The report was prepared by the Office for Development Research and Policy Analysis of the Department of International Economic and Social Affairs of the UN Secretariat, with contributions from the Center for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs of the UN Office in Vienna. It explores the changing structure of the family; the advancement of women; food consumption and supply; inequality and poverty; new technologies and their social impact; threats to the environment; social development, security, and disarmament; international cooperation against drug abuse, international terrorism, and AIDS; migrants and refugees; and changing perceptions regarding social development issues. An annex considers the changing social situation in Africa.
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  2. 2

    Challenging the planet: connections between population and the environment.

    Population Action International

    Washington, D.C., Population Action International, 1993. [2], 28, [1] p.

    Population Action International's (PAI) colorful brochure on environmental awareness focuses on the lessons of the past, the state of environmental science, the challenge of population growth, the path to stabilization, and group efforts. The story of environmental awareness unfolds with selected statements and pictures germane to seven points of view. The backside of each picture documents important statistics in table, graph, or chart form. 1) The view is expressed that human beings are adaptable and ingenious. Rapid population growth is viewed as posing challenges to the earth's capacity to support a variety of life forms and a decent quality of life. 2) Environmental trends reflect both the patterns of population growth and the patterns of consumption and technology use. Inequalities of power and wealth influence these patterns. 3) The conclusion is that past environmental impacts are disastrous to humans when thresholds are reached. 4) The view is held that all individual human action impacting on the environment must be considered in full for a comprehensive analysis of the population and environmental links. 5) The consequence of slowing population growth is the gift of time for preserving the environment and alleviating poverty. 6) Quality of life is improved when people are given the choice to make their own reproductive decisions. 7) Top priorities are assigned to closing the gap between rich and poor and reducing overconsumption. PAI aims to show a commitment to research, advocacy, and resources for stabilizing world population by offering universal reproductive freedom. PAI states its goals of access to safe affordable, voluntary family planning services and opportunities for women. The environmental program offers a profile of recent research and policy advice and disseminates the information in a timely and accessible way. Groups are encouraged to address population issues and take action to provide conditions conducive to population decline without jeopardizing an individual's reproductive rights. The aim is identified as establishment of a worldwide network of activists and organizations who exchange information and channel political power for constructive action.
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  3. 3

    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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  4. 4

    Report of the ESCAP/UNDP Expert Group Meeting on Population, Environment and Sustainable Development: 13-18 May 1991, Jomtien, Thailand.

    United Nations. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific [ESCAP]

    Bangkok, Thailand, United Nations, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific [ESCAP], 1991. iv, 41 p. (Asian Population Studies Series No. 106)

    The 1991 meeting of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific considered the following topics: the interrelationships between population and natural resources, between population and the environment and poverty, and between population growth and consumption patterns, technological changes and sustainable development; the social aspects of the population-environment nexus (the effect of social norms and cultural practices); public awareness and community participation in population and environmental issues; and integration of population, environment, and development policies. The organization of the meeting is indicated. Recommendations were made. The papers on land, water, and air were devoted to a potential analytical model and the nature of the interlocking relationship between population, environment, and development. Dynamic balance was critical. 1 paper was presented on population growth and distribution, agricultural production and rural poverty; the practice of a simpler life style was the future challenge of the world. Several papers focused on urbanization trends and distribution and urban management policies. Only 1 paper discussed rural-urban income and consumption inequality and the consequences; some evidence suggests that increased income and equity is associated with improved resource management. Carrying capacity was an issue. The technological change paper reported that current technology contributed to overproduction and overconsumption and was environmentally unfriendly. The social norms paper referred to economic conditions that turned people away from sound environmental, cultural norms and practices. A concept paper emphasized women's contribution to humanism which goes beyond feminism; another presented an analytical summary of problems. 2 papers on public awareness pointed out the failures and the Indonesian experience with media. 1 paper provided a perspective on policy and 2 on the methodology of integration. The recommendations provided broad goals and specific objectives, a holistic and conceptual framework for research, information support, policies, resources for integration, and implementation arrangements. All activities must be guided by 1) unity of mankind, 2) harmony between population and natural resources, and 3) improvement in the human condition.
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  5. 5

    Population and the food crisis.

    Hinrichsen D; Marshall A

    POPULI. 1991 Jun; 18(2):24-34.

    Between 1979-81 and 1986-87 cereal production per capita declined in 51 developing countries and rose in 43 out of the 94 countries for which Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) data are available. Imports of cereals by developing countries rose from 20 million metric tons between 1969-71 to 69 million metric tons by 1983-85. This figure is projected to be 112 million metric tons by 2000. The deficits in developing countries have been made up by surpluses in developed countries; however, the drought of 1988 caused world cereal stock to drop from 451 million metric tons in 1990. The previous level was a safe 24% of consumption, the lower level was dangerous at 17%. Food crisis is brought about by 3 factors: 1) social organization, level of income, and lifestyles determine levels of consumption; 2) technology that is in wide spread use determines the quality (damaging or sustaining) and the quantity (waste products) of effect on the environment; 3) population serves as a multiplier of the 1st 2 factors to determine total impact. Another related factor is inequality which leads to poverty. Population plays another role as land is divided with each generation until the per household land holding is so small that it can not sustain the community. In 57 developing countries, 50% of the land holdings are smaller than 1 hectare. Also, every year 24 billion metric tons of topsoil are lost to erosion. Left unchecked this could lead to a 30% reduction in food production. Decertification has claimed 65 million hectares in the last 50 years just in sub-Saharan Africa. There are strategies for food security: 1) national population programs; 2) integrated planning of future needs; 3) sustainable development; 4) rural agricultural extension; 5) special extension services for women, who are the majority of the farmers in rural areas; 6) give women more legal rights so they can inherit land; 7) increase education for women in rural areas; 8) community development; 9) increase programs for maternal and child health; 10) support integration of traditional and emerging technologies for food production.
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  6. 6

    Rapid population growth and environmental degradation: ultimate versus proximate factors.

    Shaw RP

    ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION. 1989 Autumn; 16(3):199-208.

    This philosophical review of 2 arguments about responsibility for and solutions to environmental degradation concludes that both sides are correct: the ultimate and the proximal causes. Ultimate causes of pollution are defined as the technology responsible for a given type of pollution, such as burning fossil fuel; proximate causes are defined as situation-specific factors confounding the problem, such as population density or rate of growth. Commoner and others argue that developed countries with low or negative population growth rates are responsible for 80% of world pollution, primarily in polluting technologies such as automobiles, power generation, plastics, pesticides, toxic wastes, garbage, warfaring, and nuclear weapons wastes. Distortionary policies also contribute; examples are agricultural trade protection, land mismanagement, urban bias in expenditures, and institutional rigidity., Poor nations are responsible for very little pollution because poverty allows little waste or expenditures for polluting, synthetic technologies. The proximal causes of pollution include numbers and rate of growth of populations responsible for the pollution. Since change in the ultimate cause of pollution remains out of reach, altering the numbers of polluters can make a difference. Predictions are made for proportions of the world's total waste production, assuming current 1.6 tons/capita for developed countries and 0.17 tons/capita for developing countries. If developing countries grow at current rates and become more wealthy, they will be emitting half the world's waste by 2025. ON the other hand, unsustainable population growth goes along with inadequate investment in human capital: education, health, employment, infrastructure. The solution is to improve farming technologies in the 117 non-self-sufficient countries, fund development in the most unsustainable enclaves of growing countries, break institutionalized socio-political rigidity in these enclaves, and focus on educating and empowering women in these enclaves. Women are in charge of birth spacing and all aspects of management of energy, food, water and the local environment, more so than men, in most countries.
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