World Population Awareness

Socio-Economic Impacts from Unsustainable Population Growth

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Children, Street Children, Child Labor, Slavery

Stunting From Malnutrition Affects 1 in 4 Kids Worldwide

   May 15, 2013, NPR National Public Radio

UNICEF reports that stunting in kids -- a sign of poor nutrition early in life -- has dropped by a third in the past two decades, there is still much progress to be made. A quarter of kids under the age of 5 were stunted worldwide in 2011, with nearly 75 percent of them living in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

In East Asia and Latin America stunting has decreased by a whopping 70 and 50%, respectively. Even very poor countries, like Ethiopia and Nepal, have quickly made progress against malnutrition and stunting.

Stunted kids are more likely to get sick, and they tend to have a harder time in school, which can translate to lower paying jobs later in life.
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elp from Audubon Society.

Growth will stop being exponential and later turn negative. Rising prices will make thin seams of coal profitable to mine and to convert to gas and liquid. Supply and demand will always remain in balance; the total system will probably always show a high degree of stability, though inequities in distribution will always be with us.

Exponential growth of energy consumption will be relegated to the history books where it will join countless other phenomena that have defined the course of human history, and that have shown exponential growth in their early stages. New processes such as information generation and flow will have their turn at exponential growth before they plateau and seek a steady state.

There is one exception to the picture outlined above--soil-based systems.

If one examines the global data on various soil related issues (croplands, forest lands, grazing lands, irrigated lands, fisheries) one is struck by the huge number of positive feedback phenomena (instabilities) that have historically never allowed a steady state to be reached, but instead have produced an endless series of collapses of soil-based systems. A few examples:

When irrigation production falls short of desire, people attempt to get along with less water per unit of output. The result is salination and less--not more--crop production. When timber production falls short of desire, people harvest trees at younger ages. The result is less productivity--not more. When livestock production falls short of desire, more grazing animals are put on the same pasture. The result is overgrazing, soil erosion, less grass and less--not more--cattle. When cropland production falls below demand, fallow periods are decreased, the result is massive wind erosion, chemical degradation of the soil, and less--not more--crop production. All of this idiocy has always been defended by the economists of the day using a process called discount economics.

Take the extra profits from not conserving soil and soil quality and put these profits in a bank. Then, by the time the earth is converted to a barren wasteland, you simply live off the interest-income from your bank account. Is this imbecilic? Before you decide, ask any forester whether he uses present-net-value analyses, and ask any agricultural expert whether soil-conservation makes economic sense.

Soil-based systems are clearly not stable, equilibrium-seeking systems. They have always been subject to massive positive-feedback processes.

The worse things get, the faster they get worse. This is why all those ancient civilizations (all agriculture-based) have collapsed rather than seeking a more soil-conservative mode of operation. I have seen nothing that would make me believe that discount economics will ever fall out of favor. Take a look at all the economic analyses of soil conservation that have appeared in the Journal of Soil and Water Conservation over the past few decades. Virtually every such analysis will assure us that soil conservation is simply not worth the effort, and anyone expressing doubts about the discount economics involved is seen as a dunce, or worse. doclink

In Niger, Child Marriage on Rise Due to Hunger

   September 16, 2012, Silicone Valley Mercury News

51% of Niger children are stunted. One of three children die of hunger. Their graves dot the landscape.

One of every three girls in Niger marries before age 15, one of the highest birth-rates in the world. By marrying off their daughters at such young age, it's one less mouth to feed and it brings in a dowry from the groom's family, money desperately needed to feed the mouths of the many other hungry souls.

In the small hamlet of Hawkantaki (pop. 200), between the harvest of last year and this spring's planting, 9 of 10 girls between the ages of 11 & 15 were married or engaged. doclink

Karen Gaia says: Girls whose bodies have not yet developed have many more problems giving birth to a healthy baby. The problem is greatly magnified by malnourishment.

claims on the environment. India wants to get our income levels up from $600 per capita to at least $2,000, at which level there is no absolute poverty left. If you factor in what that will mean for energy and other non-renewable resources, it seems pretty obvious that what we have already seen in the markets for oil and iron ore are a foretaste of what is to come. Oil may already have reached the level of peak production, and what that means for the global economy is frightening. Does that mean that India and China should not aspire to what the developed economies have delivered by way of standards of living? It seems an unfair question when the west is unwilling to change its consumption habits. If neither happens, and even if some technological fixes can buy us some time, the message is straightforward. Things cannot go on as before. doclink

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