Health care worker giving a young pregnant woman a birthing kit, in BangladeshSee more

A health care worker in Bangladesh gives a young pregnant woman a birthing kit for a safer delivery. It contains a sterile razor to cut the cord, a sterile plastic sheet to place under the birth area, and other simple, sanitary items - all which help save lives. The health care worker asks the young woman to come back with her baby for a post natal check after the birth. At that time, she asks the mom if she wants to have another child right away or if she wants to space her children. Usually the mom wants to wait, and gladly accepts contraception. The worker is prepared to give her pills, an injection, implants, or an IUD. The mother is instructed to come back if the baby shows signs of diarrhea or pneumonia, common infant killers.

50 years ago, here in the USA, I was given the same option to space my births after the birth of my first baby. I gladly accepted contraceptive pills (which was new to me) .. Karen Gaia

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If we don't halt population growth with justice and compassion, it will be done for us by nature, brutally and without pity - and will leave a ravaged world. Nobel Laureate Dr. Henry W. Kendall
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Population & Sustainability
News Digest

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Pakistan: a Tough but Vital Place to Do Family Planning

   August 6, 2015, Impatient Optimists   By: Juan Enrique Garcia

In the rural Sindh Province of Pakistan, Juan Enrique Garcia (of DKT Pakistan) met a woman so poor that she fed her six children three on one day, and three the next. This reaffirmed the importance of the programs giving Pakistani couples options for healthy spacing and timing of births. The 2012-13 Demographic and Health Survey for Pakistan found that only 26% of married women use a modern method of birth control - lower than the 66% who do so in Mexico and lower than in all neighboring countries, except Afghanistan.

Pakistan has pledged to increase the contraceptive prevalence rate (CPR) for modern methods to 55% by 2020. That would double the CPR in only eight years. The authors job at DKT Pakistan is to help the government reach that goal.

Although 20% of married women say they want contraception but cannot access it, it is difficult to discuss the subject openly in Pakistani society. At home women are told to have many children and at least one male child. The pressure can come from the husband, the mother-in-law, other family members or society at large. The reluctance to discuss contraception occurs even inside DKT Pakistan, a family planning NGO. When they hire new sales person, they spend time trying to make the new person feel okay about selling contraception. However some soon leave the job, forcing DKT to find and train a new person.

DKT Pakistan has built up a social franchising network of 800 midwife-owned and operated Dhanak (rainbow in Urdu) clinics in a little less than three years. They aim to have 1,200 clinics operating in all parts of Pakistan by the end of 2015. Their mission is to provide couples with affordable and safe options for family planning and HIV prevention through social marketing and social franchising. They go to remote and rural areas with difficult access, where many other organizations do not go but where 65% of Pakistanis live. To help families understand the benefits, DKT sponsors tea parties for men and women to relax and converse about long-acting reversible contraceptives. DKT also hold mobile video shows in rural areas, with separate shows for women and men.

DKT Pakistan, like the other 20 DKT International programs around the world, tries to push cultural boundaries, without violating them, in order to make the greatest impact possible (see their best TV spots from around the world). But still, DKT sometimes ruffles feathers. For example, in 2013, a TV spot featuring the provocative Pakistani model Mathira playing a newlywed trying to please her husband in the bedroom aired only 10 days before the censors banned it. Yet the spot has now been seen millions of times on YouTube and helped increase DKT's sales of Josh condoms.

Although DKT clinics are in very different regions and cultural settings, they have a few things in common: They share a standard appearance, signage, advertising, quality standards, etc.; they offer training and refresher training to for their clinical staffs; they provide a full line of reproductive health services and products, most of which are offered through DKT Pakistan's parallel social marketing program.

Since the Dhanak clinics are usually owned and operated by women, the clinics also empower women and provide a model of entrepreneurial self-sufficiency.

DKT Pakistan has just joined the work led by Aman Health Care Services under the SUKH Initiative with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. Their goal is to increase modern contraceptive use by 15% among married women in selected, low-income communities of Karachi. DKT's role will be to identify and franchise 80 private sector clinics as Dhanak clinics and promote family planning. Due to political and ethnic violence, many health providers have abandoned their facilities in some of these areas, so our clinics will help fill that gap. The first 35 clinics are expected to be operational in 2015.

In Pakistan, many obstacles block greater acceptance and use of family planning. But Pakistani women want it, and DKT's private-sector approach will bring it to them. doclink

How False Narratives of Margaret Sanger Are Being Used to Shame Black Women

   August 2015, RH Reality Check and MoveOn.org   By: Imani Gandy

With anti-abortion furor resulting from the videos the Center for Medical Progress, Planned Parenthood's origins and its founder, Margaret Sanger, have once again become the center of conversations regarding Black women and abortion, resorting to lies, misinformation, and half-truths about Sanger and the organization she founded.

Anti-choicers are saying such lies as "Margaret Sanger was a racist and a eugenicist! She wanted to exterminate the Black race!" as weapons to shame Black women for exercising their right to choose, and to shame them for supporting Planned Parenthood.

Top points from the article:

* Margaret Sanger was pro-birth control and anti-abortion.

* Less than 4% of Planned Parenthood clinics that offer abortion services are located in communities where more than one-third of the population is Black.

* Fewer than one in ten abortion providers overall are located in neighborhoods where more than half of residents are Black.

* While Margaret Sanger was a proponent of eugenics, it is untrue that Margaret Sanger wanted to exterminate the Black race.

* W. E. B. Du Bois, a Black leader, criticized the wider birth control movement because of its failure to address Black people's needs as well. Birth control clinics that opened in the 1930s were for white women only.

* The Nazis modeled their eugenics laws on California's sterilization law. By the time the Nazis embarked on their eugenics program, more than 30 states had such laws on their books. doclink

Poll Finds Widespread Support for Funding Health Care Services Through Planned Parenthood

   August 19, 2015, National Partnership for Women and Families

The antiabortion group CMP (Center for Medical Progress) recently distributed a series of videos showing Planned Parenthood staff discussing the sale of donated fetal tissue with CMP activists posing as buyers. Planned Parenthood supporters say that these videos are part of a long-term campaign against Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood notes that 1) While it is reimbursed for costs associated with fetal tissue donations, which is legal, it does not profit from the donations. 2) The officials filmed in the heavily edited videos did nothing illegal.

A Reuters/IPSOS poll found that 73% of U.S. respondents say they support federal funding for unnamed groups to provide women's health exams and screenings. 69% said they supported such funding for prenatal services, and 59% said they did so for contraceptive services. However, although Planned Parenthood provides all of these services, the poll found that only 54% of respondents said they support federal funding if Planned Parenthood provided the services, while 26% said they oppose it.

The poll's findings show that conservative lawmakers' efforts to defund Planned Parenthood could be problematic in the 2016 presidential election. Only 34% of those who saw CPM's videos said their opinion of Planned Parenthood remained unchanged. When the videos were described to respondents, 34% said the group should continue to receive federal funds.

StemExpress, after facing harassment by antiabortion activists because of CPM's video, decided to end its relationship with Planned Parenthood. Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik noted, "Absolutely no evidence has been presented that Planned Parenthood has broken the law regarding the acquisition or distribution of fetal tissues." He concluded that, "Patients of all kinds are the losers, as is the respectability of our political process. ...Among the most disturbing aspects of this affair is its effect on the legal and often necessary use of fetal tissue in biological research," which is "needed in work toward cures of muscular dystrophy, diabetes, degenerative eye disease and other conditions." doclink

Art says: This survey raises the question whether more people would support federal funding for family planning so long as Planned Parenthood does not receive the funds. Since federal funds are not allowed for abortion services, the money Planned Parenthood uses to provide abortions must come from private donations. If Planned Parenthood encouraged another entity to assume responsibility for its non-abortion services, this survey suggests that more people would support a higher level of federal funding for the new provider. Presumably, Planned Parenthood would then go on providing the same level of abortion services using private funds as it now does.

World Population Data 2015

Focus on Women's Empowerment
   August 2015, Population Reference Bureau

Every year, Population Reference Bureau (PRB) provides the latest demographic data for the world, global regions, and more than 200 countries. This year's data include indicators on the status of women in key areas such as education, employment, and government. Looking at the numbers across the world, we can get a picture of women's progress towards equality. doclink

Still Growing: Latest World Population Projections

   July 29, 2015, Huffington Post   By: Robert Walker

Note: This article references the same U.N. revised population projection discussed in another article recently summarized on this site, so we will note only the highlight information.

Fifteen years ago, some demographers saw an end to world population growth, and some anticipated a global "birth dearth." But a new July estimate by the U.N.'s World Population Division shows world population growing faster than previously projected - reaching 9.7 billion by 2050 and 11.3 billion by 2100 (up from the recently published figures of 9.1 and 10.9 billion, respectively).

While fertility rates are mostly declining, child marriage customs in some developing countries steer millions of women into early and frequent child bearing. Fertility rates in these nations have not followed world trends and growth rates exceed the anticipated benchmarks. In fact, the populations of most developing countries are on course to double by 2050, with South Sudan, Niger, and Zambia possibly tripling in population by 2050. 33 developing nations are on course to triple their population by 2100. Spiraling growth will make it more difficult for these nations to address poverty, hunger, sanitation, water scarcity, environmental degradation, conflict, and other development challenges.

The Population Institute recently issued a report called "Demographic Vulnerability: Where population growth poses the greatest challenges." It identified and ranked 20 nations that face the greatest challenges with respect to hunger, poverty, water, environment and political instability. The report considered corruption, resource scarcity, climate change and other factors affecting a nation's ability to accommodate projected population growth. It ranked South Sudan as the world's most vulnerable nation, with Somalia, Niger, Burundi, Eritrea, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Yemen and Sudan in the top ten. Niger ranks #1 for poverty. The Population Reference Bureau predicts that in the next 35 years Niger's population will rise from 18.2 million to 68 million. Burundi ranks #1 on the Global Hunger Index. Its population is projected to increase from 10.5 million in 2014 to 26.7 million by 2050. Unless child marriage and related customs change in these nations, the path out of poverty will remain a daunting challenge.

Demographic projections predict but do not determine the future. The U.N.'s population report indicates that even relatively small reductions in fertility rates can significantly shrink the population projections for 2050 and 2100. doclink

Art says: Donation-supported NGOs sometimes tell us that less than half a billion women lack access to family planning, and they imply that if donors would help to close that gap the overpopulation problem would be solved. For a while U.N. population experts quoted the same statistics. Recent findings show that the solution is not that simple. Before many of the world's people will use family planning, they must first change the customs and religious values that shape their views on desired family size. In several nations or regions, westerners interested in aiding the change process face restrictions, threats and a genuine risk of death if they publicly advocate family planning.

Men Are Stepping Up to Fight Child Marriage in Pakistan

Men make up the majority of a rights group working to protect girls and women.
   August 14, 2015, Take Part   By: Amber Dance

A non-profit Pakistan-based organization named Sujag Sansar (SSO) focuses on human rights issues not often addressed by politicians, including women's rights, child marriage, educational access, environmental protection, and clean drinking water.

To combat child marriage, they produced a play depicting a young girl forced into marriage and the struggles of life as a child bride. By the end of one performance, several were weeping openly and many resolved to protect their daughters from the same fate. In Dadu, one of the provinces where SSO operates, girls are often married off when they're as young as 10 -- even though legislators recently raised the age to 18 for women, according to Birhamani. SSO's research indicates 35 to 37% of marriages in Sindh province involve child brides. Families often offer their daughter as a bride in exchange for money. While Pakistan law requires that a woman consent to her partner, the law is rarely enforced and many women are unaware of that right.

There are many problems associated with child marriage: teens are more likely to die in childbirth than older women. Young wives usually aren't allowed to attend school and have little hope of earning money to support their families. Women fall victim to domestic violence, or the families of the married couple may argue and feud, which could escalate into tribal battles and honor killings.

Some religious leaders preach say it's against Islamic law for a girl to live with her parents after puberty.

When families still attempt to pursue child marriages, SSO recruits community leaders to try to prevent the marriages. The organization also educates religious leaders about the consequences and so far, 35 locals have pledged to verify ages before performing a wedding. SSO has also organized villagers into committees that notify police and journalists if they become aware of an underage marriage being planned; since 2010, they've prevented 33 underage marriages in the district.

Seven out of 10 SSO board members and 200 of the 300 volunteers are male. This is because cultural traditions discourage women from working outside the home, according to Mashooque Birhamani, SSO's chief executive officer. He hopes this will change in time. "These issues are basic issues that are keeping our society from progressing. The time will come when women will be empowered and they will replace men [in the organization] and work for their rights," he says.

SSO has also opened primary schools and enrolled 547 girls since 2006. Graduates hope to gain admission to secondary schools in cities and eventually universities. Clean water is also a major issue-many citizens, usually women and children, must walk five or more miles in search of drinking water. The task often keeps children, particularly girls, out of school.

SSO's theater performances encourages members of the audience to advocate peacefully for the government to provide a water supply. Other projects include advocating for preservation of forests and assisting people affected by flooding.

"We are seeing that the future will be bright...with betterment and good hope for all," Birhamani said. doclink

Synchronous Failure: the Emerging Causal Architecture of Global Crisis

   March 2015, Ecology and Society

Authors: Homer-Dixon, T., B. Walker, R. Biggs, A.-S. Crépin, C. Folke, E. F. Lambin, G. D. Peterson, J. Rockström, M. Scheffer, W. Steffen, and M. Troell

Recent global crises reveal an emerging pattern of causation that could increasingly characterize the birth and progress of future global crises. A conceptual framework identifies this pattern's deep causes, intermediate processes, and ultimate outcomes.

Recent observations show that identifiable boundaries mark the safe limits of human alteration of planetary biophysical systems such as nitrogen and carbon cycles. There are limits levels of key variables, which if exceed, raise the likelihood of a regime shift, which would be a sharp, nonlinear jump or "critical transition" to an alternate state . Such a shift could affect vital social and economic systems and quickly degrade humanity's condition. An important case is climate, the critcal transition of which could cause a sudden drop in world food output that then produces chronic subnational violence, state failure, and broad international conflict.

However, this is a grossly simplistic account of how a catastrophic social-ecological crisis of global scope might occur. There are usually more intricate causal, spatial, and temporal structure variables.

Several global crises occurred in 2008-2009, revealing an emerging pattern or architecture of causation that characterize the birth and progress of crises in the future. In a conceptual framework that consists of a set of linked propositions, we identify the deep causes, intermediate processes, and ultimate outcomes of this pattern, which we call "synchronous failure".

Demographic pressure, climate change, resource scarcities, and financial instability, are working together in intricate ways which increase global systemic risk which can cause a "perfect storm" of simultaneous crises. However this phrase implies that the crises align solely by chance. However the authors maintain that the coming together of these crises is manifestation of an underlying causal pattern that is becoming more prevalent.

By our work, we hope to deepen scientific inquiry into humanity's future challenges.

There have been regular crises in the past, but we argue they were generally less global in scope and less less intersystemic in their causes and consequences. In past crises substantial resources external to the affected societies remained available for repair of these societies and they could learn, hopefully not to repeat their mistakes.

Today such second chances are becoming rarer. The global economy has expanded nearly 20-fold since the 1950s, and inputs of resources from natural systems and outputs of waste back into those systems have increased about 7-fold. Consequently our natural systems are under tremendous strain, with some, like our planet's climate, showing a higher frequency of extreme behavior.

During the same period, the revolution in information technologies, the quintupling of global trade, and the homogenization of human institutions and culture have produced a tightly coupled human social-ecological system and a sharp increase in the speed of operation of human social and economic systems. Tight coupling combined with a major crisis will effect most if not all of this system, minimizing the number of unaffected societies and regions from which afftected societies can draw resources, capital, and knowledge for repair and rebuilding.

Humankind must develop the ability to proactively navigate away from this new kind of crisis that could otherwise irreversibly degrade the biophysical and economic basis for human prosperity. Because humanity is ill-equipped to do this, we conclude, therefore, with recommendations for further research on both emerging patterns of global crisis and on pathways for rapid institutional evolution that could substantially reduce the risk of synchronous failure. doclink

Karen Gaia says:

This is only the introduction, but it seems to offer hope for a solution. I hope that some of you endeavor to read the entire report by following the link in the headline. I would like to hear your comments. .. karen4329@karengaia.net

Study Links Polluted Air in China to 1.6 Million Deaths a Year

   August 13, 2015, New York Times   By: Dan Levin

A study by Berkeley Earth found that air pollution hastens the deaths of about 1.6 million Chinese people per year. That is 17% of all the nation's deaths each year or about 4,400 people a day. Most dangerous are airborne particles with diameters under 2.5 microns that are absorbed from the lungs into the bloodstream, causing such problems as asthma, strokes, lung cancer and heart attacks. The study is awaiting publication in PLOS One.

Berkeley Earth bases its mortality estimate on a World Health Organization framework for projecting death rates from five diseases associated with high levels of exposure to fine-particulate pollution. The authors calculate that the annual toll is 95% likely to fall between 700,000 and 2.2 million deaths. Their 1.6 million figure falls at the midpoint of that range. This analysis supports earlier findings about the quality of China's air. For example, Greenpeace East Asia found in April that, 90% of 360 cities studied in China failed to meet national air quality standards in the first three months of 2015.

The Chinese government often censors data that shows air pollution is killing its citizens (or even alludes to such a conclusion). Though the public has sometimes gained access to air quality readings, censors routinely purge Chinese websites and social media channels of information that the authorities fear might provoke unrest. In March, after a lengthy documentary video about the health effects of air pollution circulated widely online, Chinese websites were ordered to delete it.

Much of China's air pollution comes from the large-scale coal burning. After studying wind patterns, the researchers concluded that much of Beijing's smog came not from sources in the city, but rather from coal-burning factories 200 miles southwest in Shijiazhuang, a major industrial hub. About three-eighths of the Chinese population breathes that air - air that rates "unhealthy" by U.S. standards.

Beijing's bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics includes promises to clean up the air. Beijing's mayor, Wang Anshun, suggests restrictions on vehicles in the city, and state news media called for replacing coal-fired heating systems in urban areas with systems that use natural gas. However, the Berkeley Earth paper showed that to clear the skies over Beijing, mitigation measures must extend across a broad stretch southwest of the capital, affecting tens of millions of people. "It's not enough to clean up the city," said Elizabeth Muller, Executive Director of Berkeley Earth. "You're going to also have to clean up the entire industrial region."

The researchers also analyzed four months' of hourly readings taken at 1,500 ground stations in mainland China, Taiwan, South Korea and other places in the region. The group said it was publishing the raw data so other researchers could use it to perform their own studies. doclink

Art says: Life-threatening levels of pollution occur more in Asia than anywhere else. Asia has the perfect storm combination of pollution factors: massive metro areas with high population densities, little breathing space between metro areas for pollutants to dissipate, high and rapidly increasing consumption rates, heavy coal use, and poor pollution-control infrastructures.

As consumption rates balloon across Asia, fixes like those proposed in the Beijing region will not be enough to combat the pollution associated with such growth. Asia serves as a model for what consequences follow when the growth rates of consumption and population exceed an area's carrying capacity.

U.S.: Catholic Nun Explains Pro-Life in a Way That Will Stun Many (Especially Republican Lawmakers)

   July 30, 2015, Daily Kos   By: Leslie Salzillo

"I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is." -- a quote form Sister Joan Chittister, O.S.B., an author of 50 books and a lecturer.

This quote applies well to many Republican lawmakers who continue to introduce or pass misogynist laws restricting a woman's reproductive rights while they are cutting government programs like schools lunches for children, cutting aid to families who are homeless and/or in need, and blocking free college education. The goal of these hypocrites seem to be to control women's bodies and women's futures. doclink

Obama Condemns Anti-Women Traditions in Final Speech of Kenya Visit

   July 26, 2015, Mail and Guardian

US president Barack Obama condemns anti-women traditions in the final speech of his Kenya visit. Speaking in front of a crowd of 5,000 in Nairobi, Obama says there is 'no excuse' for sexual assualt, domestic violence, forced marriage, or other traditions that treat women as second-class citizens. Obama concluded the historic visit, the first by a serving US president, on Sunday before flying to Ethiopia doclink

Publicly Funded Family Planning Services in the United States

   July 2015, Guttmacher Institute

The typical American woman, who wants two children, spends close to three years pregnant, postpartum or trying to become pregnant, and 30 years trying to avoid pregnancy.

50% of all pregnancies in the United States each year -- over 3m -- are unintended. By age 45, more than 50% of all American women will have experienced an unintended pregnancy, and 30% will have had an abortion.

Of the 67 million U.S. women of reproductive age (13-44) in 2013, 38m of these women were sexually active and able to become pregnant, but were not pregnant and did not wish to become pregnant and thus they were in need of contraceptive care. 20m of these were below 250% of the federal poverty level and in need of publicly funded services and supplies or they were younger than 20 and in need of publicly funded services and supplies. 77% were low-income adults, and 23% were younger than 20. 9.8 million were non-Hispanic white, 3.6 million were non-Hispanic black and 4.9 million were Hispanic.

The need for publicly funded services grew 17% between 2000 and 2010. With inflation is taken into account, public funding for family planning client services increased 31% from FY 1980 to FY 2010.

Public expenditures for family planning services totaled $2.37 billion in FY 2010, with Medicaid accounting for 75%, state appropriations 12%, and Title X 10%.

The joint federal-state Medicaid program reimburses providers for contraceptive and related services delivered to enrolled individuals. The federal government pays 90% of the cost of these services.

Title X of the Public Health Service Act, the only federal program devoted specifically to supporting family planning services, subsidizes services for women and men who do not meet the narrow eligibility requirements for Medicaid, maintains the national network of family planning centers and sets the standards for the provision of family planning services.

More than half of centers (57%) report that they are unable to stock certain contraceptive methods due to cost.

The availability of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods increased significantly between 2003 and 2010. IUD provision increased from 57% to 63%, and the implant, which was unavailable in 2003, was offered by 39% of centers in 2010

Centers with a reproductive health focus offer a greater range of contraceptive methods on site and are more likely to have protocols that help clients initiate and continue using methods, compared with those that focus on primary care

Virtually all safety-net health centers provide pregnancy testing, and the vast majority offer STI testing (97%) and treatment (95%), HIV testing (92%) and HPV vaccinations (87%).

More than six in 10 women who obtained care at a publicly funded center that provides contraceptive services in 2006-2010 considered the center their usual source of medical care

In 2013, publicly funded family planning services helped women to avoid 2 million unintended pregnancies, which would have resulted in about 1 million unintended births and nearly 700,000 abortions. Without these services, the number of unintended pregnancies, unplanned births and abortions occurring in the United States would have been 60% higher.

The services provided at publicly funded family planning visits in 2010 resulted in a net savings to the federal and state governments of $13.6 billion. The services provided at Title X-supported centers alone accounted for $7.0 billion of that total. Every $1.00 invested in publicly funded family planning services saved $7.09 in Medicaid and other public expenditures that otherwise would have been needed.

There is much more to this report. Follow the link in the headline to read it. doclink

Food Production Shocks 'Will Happen More Often Because of Extreme Weather'

Poorer countries will be hit most by falls in production for major crops but UK and and US will also be exposed to resulting instability, says taskforce
   August 14, 2015, Mail and Guardian   By: Emma Howard

Major "shocks" to global food production will be three times more likely within 25 years because of an increase in extreme weather brought about by global warming, warns a new study by the UK-US Taskforce on Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience.

The type of 'shock' referred to in the study is defined as when production of the world's four major commodity crops - maize, soybean, wheat and rice - falls by 5-7%. While these shocks occur once in a century, they are likely to occur every 30 years or more by 2040, says the report.

Shortfalls in production of 5-7% could leave the US and the UK "very much exposed" to the resulting instability and conflict because people in developing countries would be in "an almost untenable position", according to co-author Rob Bailey, research director for energy, environment and resources at Chatham House. "The poorest households spend upwards of 50% of their income on food. If you are in a situation where food prices are increasing by 50-100%, that leaves them in an almost untenable position."

Prof Tim Benton, also co-author and professor of population ecology at the University of Leeds, said that the compound effects of climate change and rising demand from a growing population could create a "very frightening" situation.

"The food system is increasingly under pressure because demand is growing and our ability to supply it is much more constrained. On top of that we have climate change affecting where we can grow things. ... If we are coping with demand increases by sustainable intensification but then suddenly we have a catastrophic year and lose a significant chunk of the world's calories, everybody will feel it."

An analysis of how the market would likely respond showed that such shocks could plausibly see the UN's food price index rise by 50%.

Regions like the Gulf or Sub-Saharan Africa which are experiencing high levels of poverty and political instability will be affected the most from Increased food production volatility.

The UK and the US would be affected by increased instability of countries in North Africa, which relies heavily on food imports and where the inflation of food prices was a factor in causing the Arab Spring .

As the planet warms up, by 2070 there may be even more serious food shocks - where production drops by up to 10%.

Production of the four major crops is concentrated North and South America and north-east Asia. In 1988/89, droughts in the US and South America lead to drops in the production of maize and soybean by 12% and 8.5% respectively.

Last year the UN issued a warning last year that global food production must rise by 60% by 2050 to feed a growing world population with a bigger appetite that is expected to reach 9.7 billion by mid-century. doclink

UN Adopts Document on Sustainable Development Goals That Could Be Used to Push Abortion

   August 12, 2015, LifeNews.com   By: Marie Smith

Note: just to give you an idea of the lies perpetuated by the anti-abortion folks:

United Nations Member States, after a final two week session of negotiations, reached agreement on the Post 2015 Agenda,"Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development".

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets purport to "leave no one behind"; however, the inclusion of target 3.7 to "ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services" and 5.6 to "ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights" make children in the womb the group most likely to be left behind as the world experiences an unprecedented fifteen year push for access to abortion beginning in January 2016.

Click on the link in the headline to see the entire article. doclink

Karen Gaia says: the biggest lie is to call a fetus a child.

Very few pregnancies (around 1%) are aborted when the fetus is viable. 90% of surgical or medical abortions are done by 12 weeks, before the mother first feels the stirrings of 'life' and still 12 weeks away from being 'viable'.

About 30% of pregnancies end in miscarriage. In up to 60% of miscarriages (spontaneous abortion), the fetus is absent or grossly malformed, and in 25 to 60%, it has chromosomal abnormalities incompatible with life; thus spontaneous abortion in > 90% of cases may be a natural rejection of a maldeveloping fetus. About 85% of spontaneous abortions occur in the 1st trimester and tend to have fetal causes.

Only 1% of abortions are performed after 24 weeks. Reasons for performing an abortion this late are: * The fetus is dead.
* The fetus is alive, but continued pregnancy would place the woman's life in severe danger.
* The fetus is alive, but continued pregnancy would grievously damage the woman's health and/or disable her.
* The fetus is so malformed that it can never gain consciousness and will die shortly after birth. Many which fall into this category have developed a very severe form of hydrocephalus (5000 cases a year). The fetal head can be as large as 50 centimeters (nearly 20 inches and contain nearly 2 gallons of liquid which must be drained before birth)

New Book by Joel Bourne - Is the World Running out of Food?

   June 8, 2015, NPR National Public Radio   By: Joel Bourne

In his new book journalist Joel Bourne says humanity is facing a major problem: The world is running out of food. There are promising developments to meet the threat, he says, but time is running out.

In the 1960s, the farmers of Egypt grew enough wheat to feed the country and export some to its neighbors. But as the country's population grew, its farmers couldn't keep up, and Egypt is now the world's largest importer of wheat. When international food prices spiked in 2008, there were bread riots in the streets of Cairo.

In the 1970s we consumed or utilized more grain than we ate only about four years out of the decade. In the drier '80s, it was about five years. Since 2000, we've consumed more of these feed grains in eight of the first 12 years of the decade. We're starting to see the demand pressures outstrip our ability to produce food.

In the meantime, our yield gains, which have been spectacular since Norman Borlaug introduced the Green Revolution agriculture in the '50s and '60s, started to plateau.

Just as our demands are rising, we're starting to plateau in the amount of grain we're getting per hectare, while things like climate change are really starting to hammer us. There was a heat wave in Europe in 2003 that decimated a third of the wheat and grain and fruit crops. Also Russia had these enormous droughts events and lost up to a third to half of their crop. In the United States in 2012-2013 we had the worst drought since the Dust Bowl days, costing $30 billion.

Because of the increased demand from population growth and increased meat consumption in developing parts of the world, researchers say that we're going to have to double our food production by 2050 to make sure everyone gets enough to eat. Yet climate change is just starting to really hammer it down, so we're in a bit of a pinch.

80-90% of the calories we eat come from wheat, rice and corn. In the 1950s up to 30% of the world's population was chronically malnourished. Then there was this dramatic increase in agricultural yields that we call the Green Revolution. Mexico was depending on more and more imports from the United States. A young plant physiologist named Norman Borlaug developed a short-stemmed wheat that -- if you gave it enough nitrogen, enough phosphorus, enough water -- it would yield like crazy. Even though the population nearly tripled since he started his program in the 1950s, we have more than kept up with this massive influx of wheat and the new types of rice that he also developed.

The downsides of the Green Revolution are rampant fertilizer running into our wetlands and streams, and for the new plants thrive, they need water, they need a lot of fertilizer and they also need a fair number of pesticides. There are something like 300 million square kilometers of coastal zones that are now dead zones every year because of this algal bloom that's fueled by all this fertilizer going off into the water.

Then there is the controversial issue of biofue where huge subsidy programs from the government support the biofuel industry. In the United States ethanol made from corn takes up 40% of the U.S. corn crop every year. In Europe 8-12% of the arable land is devoted to biofuel crops. Most of the economists in the world agree that biofuels as having a major impact on driving up food prices around the word.

As fuel gasoline prices go up farmers can make money by growing biofuels. So food prices are directly linked to energy prices. As energy prices start to go back up, you're going to see rises in grain prices because of this direct connection between fuel and biofuel.

What about how many mouths there will be to feed in coming decades? The U.N. Population Unit has been ramping up its world population figures in the last three estimates. In 2000 - 2009 the median figure was supposed to be 8.9 billion by 2050. In 2011 this number was changed to 9.3 billion. Now it's up to 9.6 billion. That number is projected to rise to 11 billion by the end of the century. That we will have to grow as much food in the next forty years as we have since agriculture began 10,000 years ago. And we have to do it without destroying the water, the oceans, the soils, that we all depend on.

How might we might deal with this challenge? There was this great hope that the ability to transfer genes from all these different species would save us from where we were heading in terms of population and demand. Unfortunately, even though there have been some environmental benefits to GMOs, and they haven't really caused the dramatic health or environmental damage that some of the critics have been worried about, they haven't produced that much yield growth either. Maybe the yield switch is not one we can genetically manipulate. There's only a certain amount of sunlight coming into plants that can be converted into seed. Borlaug said that the Green Revolution would only give us sort of 30 years before it would begin to play out. We've had no yield growth in wheat and rice basically during the entire first of the 21st century.

There have been ways to modify plants and seeds to really increase productivity in some crops. For examples, researchers at UC Davis have developed a flood-resistant rice that can withstand two weeks of being inundated and still come back and produce a crop. This has been enormously popular and successful in Southeast Asia, where a lot of the rice is grown in very flood-prone areas. There is also hope in something called C4 Rice, a high-yielding rice that has the potential to boost rice yields by almost 50% using the same amount of fertilizer, water and all of the inputs. But it's still 20 to 30 years from the farmers' fields.

Organic crops are grown without chemical fertilizers, chemical pesticides, or GMO seeds. It's going to make good crops every year for millennia. And the organic crops are typically much more resistant to drought than conventional crops.

In the area of water conservation, there is micro-irrigation that applies water evenly to plants so you don't waste it.

Half the world lives on $2 a day and spends 60-70% of its income on food. On the other hand people of the middle class typically eat higher things on the food web, such as meat, which is expected to double literally within the next decade; but meat takes a lot more grain to produce a pound of meat than it does when people just eat the grain itself. In countries that need better nutrition, people need more meat, whereas in countries like the United States and Europe, we eat way too much meat.

You want everybody to move up the ladder, but as we do, we're also going to have to adjust consumption, so these are the two swords. You either increase production, or you reduce demand. You reduce consumption by eating lower on the food chain and of course the big question of course is how much we can reduce our population or limit population growth between now and the time when the food really starts to get scarce. doclink

California's Drought: the Canary in the Coalmine?

   June 30, 2015, OpenDemocracy   By: Maude Barlow

In April, Governor Jerry Brown imposed mandatory water restrictions in drought stricken California for the first time in history. Climate change was named as the culprit.

Drastically-reduced snowfall in the Sierra Nevada Mountains has lowered the amount of run-off that the state depends on for water renewal. But that is not the only variable.

For decades, there has been massive engineering of the state's water supplies through pipelines, canals and aqueducts in order to supply a small number of powerful farmers in California's Central Valley. Agriculture uses 80% of California's water, much of it to grow water-intensive crops for export. Alfalfa hay which is mostly exported to Japan, uses 15% of the state's water. Almonds -- 80% of the world's production -- use another 10%.

Because renewable supplies are meager, farmers now mercilessly mine groundwater to produce their crops. If this continues, groundwater will be depleted in many parts of the state.

California's new restrictions only apply to urban centers and not to the big agricultural producers who hold powerful political sway in the state. Some of these corporate agribusinesses, who own secure water rights, also hoard, buy and sell their water on the market.

Many fracking and bottled water operations throughout the state are also harming and depleting local water supplies.

In California, as in so many parts of the world, water is increasingly treated as a form of private property, and powerful forces resist any attempt by governments to limit their consumption and trading.

Most people are raised on the 'myth of abundance,' believing that we can never run out of water. Like most myths, this one is wrong. The United Nations now says that by 2030, demand for water will outstrip supply by 40% at the global level.

Five hundred scientists have concluded that the collective abuse of water has already caused the planet to enter into a "new geologic age"-a "planetary transformation" akin to the retreat of the glaciers more than 11,000 years ago. Removing water from water-retentive landscapes affects the climate in dramatic and negative ways. Cutting down the Amazon rainforest has led to a perilous drop in rainfall, for example. For the first time in living memory, the once water-rich city of Sao Paulo in Brazil is experiencing severe drought.

Our legal and political establishments perpetuate, protect and legitimize the continued degradation of the earth by design, not by accident. Most laws to protect the environment and other species only regulate the amount of damage that can be inflicted by human activity.

But communities around the world are creating a new form of civil rights movement to assert their right to protect their local environment from harmful mining, fracking, pipeline and other invasive practices. In this process, "communities will become true stewards of their ecosystems, protecting and upholding these natural rights" as Shannon Biggs puts it, the founder of US-based group Movement Rights.

The solutions to water security in California and the wider world must be based on the same fundamental principles. Communities must be given more authority. Water plunder must stop. And governments have to stand up to the powerful industries and other private interests that are destroying water right across the globe.

Private industry should not be allowed to own or control water, and anyone found polluting water must be denied future access. Water is the common heritage of humanity and of future generations. It must never be bought, hoarded, sold or traded on the open market.

California is the 'canary in the coal mine.' There is no place on earth that can be safe, secure or healthy in a world that is running out of water.

To save water for people and the planet, we must all find a new relationship to water, consuming much less and taking care of all water everywhere as if it were the next glass we ourselves are going to drink. The world's water is a commons that must be more justly shared, that's true, but it must also be protected fiercely by everyone. doclink

Earth's Ice is Melting Much Faster Than Forecast. Here's Why That's Worrying.

   August 4, 2015, Huffington Post   By: Jason E. Box

In 2002 conventional knowledge held that the ice sheet in Greenland was frozen at its bed and so the reaction time of the ice sheet to climate warming was measured in tens of thousands of years. However an expanding melt season meant that all marine-terminating glaciers across the southern half of Greenland doubled in speed simultaneously between 2000 and 2005.

From 2007 to 2012 ice loss from surface meltwater runoff took over the lead in the competition between glacier flows into fjords versus meltwater runoff. Nearly each summer set higher and higher melt records, owing to persistent and unforseen weather that by 2012 would become a signature of climate change.

The competition between how much ice is lost through glacier flows into fjords versus meltwater runoff is intimately synergistic with meltwater interacting with ice flow all along the way. Increasing melt sends more water down through the ice sheet, softening the ice so it flows faster. Once at the bed the water lubricates flow. Squirting out the front of glaciers into the sea, the meltwater drives a heat exchange that undercuts glaciers, promoting calving, loss of flow resistance and faster flow.

Glaciologists realized in 2008 that the trigger effect for galloping glaciers was warm pulses of subtropical waters that undermine glaciers at great depth in the sea, at the grounding lines where this warm water can invade.

The planetary energy imbalance due to the enhanced greenhouse effect is loading far more heat into the oceans than the atmosphere or land. The world is 70% ocean-covered after all.

The natural greenhouse effect was a good thing, keeping temperatures tolerable at night. But after more than a century of people externalizing the environmental costs of stupendous economic growth, loading the atmosphere now with 42% more carbon dioxide, 240% more methane, 20% more nitrous oxide, 42% more tropospheric ozone, etc, we have far too much gaseous carbon compounds now in our atmosphere. The carbon pollution is also making our oceans too acidic, threatening the base of the marine food chain.

The key question is how to project what the sea level will soon be due to ice sheet melting. But we don't really know what to expect. We keep being surprised by nature being more sensitive and complex. We see more interconnection, where multiplying feedbacks produce surprisingly fast responses.

The few negative feedbacks we have found for ice -- like more snow as a result of a warming climate, more reflective frost, more efficient sub-glacial water transmission -- are clearly being outdone. And at the global scale, despite some negative feedbacks like more clouds, clearly we are not seeing net cooling.

Climate models are not keeping up with the surprises -- they don't yet encode key pieces of physics that have ice melting so fast. They don't incorporate thermal collapse -- ice softening due to increasing meltwater infiltration. They don't yet incorporate increasing forced ocean convection at the ocean fronts of glaciers that forces a heat exchange between warming water and ice at the grounding lines. Or the ice algae growth that darkens the bare ice surface. They don't yet prescribe background dark bare ice from outcropping dust on Greenland from the dusty last ice age.

Climate models don't include increasing wildfire delivering more light-trapping dark particles to bright snow covered areas, yielding earlier melt onset and more intense summer melting.

Climate models have under-predicted the loss rate of snow on land by a factor of four and the loss of sea ice by a factor of two.

Climate models also don't yet sufficiently resolve extended periods of lazy north-south extended jet streams that produce the kind of sunny summers over Greenland (2007-2012 and 2015) that resulted in melting that our models didn't foresee happening until 2100.

As a result, global assessment reports intended to help guide policy decisions and national discussions of climate change are very conservative averages of dozens of models that don't include the latest, higher sensitivity physics. doclink

New Study: USA Demands Twice the Amount Its Ecosystems Can Provide

   August 2015, Global Footprint Network

According to a report by the Global Footprint Network, the population of the United States is using twice the renewable natural resources and services that can be regenerated within its borders.

Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware have the largest per-person Ecological Footprints while New York, Idaho, and Arkansas have the smallest. Alaska, Texas, and Michigan are the most resource-abundant states based on biocapacity, a measure of bioproductive land.

California, Texas, and Florida have the highest ecological deficits -- when demand for resources exceeds what nature can regenerate (biocapacity) within the state borders. An ecological deficit is possible because states can import goods, overuse their resources (for instance by overfishing and overharvesting forests), and emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than can be absorbed by their own forests.

"As both domestic and global pressures on nature's resources increase, it is more important than ever to manage them carefully in order to ensure the most resilient future for our country and its states," says Mathis Wackernagel, president of Global Footprint Network and co-creator of the Ecological Footprint. "We strongly believe it is possible to live within the means of nature, without sacrificing human well-being. But doing so requires decision-makers to make strategic investments in infrastructure and our natural capital and set policies aimed at conserving our planet's resources." doclink

Earth Overshoot Day - Aug 13 This Year

   August 12, 2015, Global Footprint Network

In less than eight months, humanity has used up nature's budget for the entire year, according to data of Global Footprint Network. Carbon emissions from fossil fuel now make up more than half of humanity's demand on nature.

Global Footprint Network tracks humanity's demand on the planet (Ecological Footprint) -- see http://www.footprintnetwork.org/ecological_footprint_nations/ecological.html -- against nature's ability to provide for this demand (biocapacity). The Ecological Footprint adds up humanity's annual demand for the goods and services that our land and seas provide - fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, wood, cotton for clothing and carbon dioxide absorption.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity's annual demand on nature exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. Earth Overshoot Day has moved from early October in 2000 to August 13th this year.

"Humanity's carbon footprint alone more than doubled since the early 1970s, when the world went into ecological overshoot. It remains the largest and fastest growing component of the Ecological Footprint. It is widening the gap between human demand and the planet's biocapacity," said Mathis Wackernagel, president of Global Footprint Network and the co-creator of the Ecological Footprint resource accounting metric. Over the course of 2015, the absorption of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuel alone would require 85% of the planet's biocapacity.

If global carbon emissions are reduced by at least 30% below today's levels by 2030, in keeping with the below-two-degrees-Celsius scenario worked out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Earth Overshoot Day could be moved back on the calendar to September 16, 2030. doclink

EACH: Each Woman Act is a 'Game-Changer for Latinas' Seeking Abortion

   August 4, 2015, National Partnership for Women and Families

in a Politic365 opinion piece, Kimberly Inez McGuire, director of public affairs at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health writes that the EACH Woman Act would "stop politicians from interfering in healthcare decisions by making sure abortion is covered for all -- however much money make, whatever kind of health insurance have, and wherever live."... "Practically speaking, this means Medicaid will cover abortion, as it did in the years after Roe v Wade and before Representative Henry Hyde began his crusade against abortion rights in the late 1970s."

"Latinas played a crucial role in the introduction of groundbreaking new legislation" (HR 2972).

The Hyde Amendment has "pushed women seeking abortion into poverty, forced women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, and caused families to make impossible choices between paying for rent or groceries and paying for needed healthcare."

In addition, "The impact of the Hyde amendment has been made even worse by the passage of an avalanche of state-level restrictions on abortion." she said. "For large and growing Latina populations in Florida, Virginia, Texas, and elsewhere, these restrictions mean delays in accessing care, invasive and medically unnecessary procedures, and politicians stepping between women and their doctors."

Latina House representatives who have co-sponsored the measure include Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.), Michelle Lujan Grisham (D- N.M.) and Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.) She writes, "We stand with other women of color, young people, and low income communities in saying 'enough is enough'" and "demand change" doclink

Karen Gaia says: there are 91 co-sponsors for this bill.

The SDGs Are All About Integration - Good Thing PHE Programs Have Been Doing That for Years

   August 5, 2015, NewSecurityBeat   By: A.tianna Scozzaro, Cara Honzak, & Cheryl Margoluis

The United Nations, governments, civil society organizations, and communities have come together to define the development goals and targets that UN member states will aim for over the next 15 years.

The SDG's 17 goals and 169 targets cover everything from global health to urbanization to marine life. To achieve so many targets, it is clear that there will need to be more holistic development efforts that cross traditional sectoral boundaries, like health or the environment.

Pathfinder International, the Sierra Club, PAI, and others have collaborated for over a decade around a global development approach known as population, health and environment (PHE), which is an integrated, community-based approach that works to expand access to reproductive and other health care services, improve livelihoods, manage resources, and protect the environment.

The PHE approach improves access to sexual and reproductive health services in hard-to-reach and underserved areas while empowering communities with the knowledge and tools needed to manage their natural resources sustainably. The premise is that these two goals are linked in many remote rural areas that are far from government services and reliant on the environment for their livelihoods. Unmet demand for family planning is often high and giving couples the opportunity to choose the timing and number of children they want allows them greater control over their family's health and wellbeing, and the health of the environment.

PHE programs conserve critical ecosystems and resources, contribute to better health outcomes, and expand livelihood options - all key components of the SDGs. This approach has also been shown to lower opportunity costs to accessing services, improve understanding of linkages between human and ecosystems health, and promote broad community buy-in.

The integrated approach of PHE is a combination of interventions which is also addressing many of the SDGs already:

SDG 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

In the Lake Tanganyika region, which provides 40% of the protein to lake shore villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Tanzania, and Zambia, higher temperatures and unsustainable fishing practices are severely impacting the productivity of food. A PHE project called Tuungane addresses the needs of Tanzanian villages holistically by providing access to health services, alternative livelihood training, and improving agricultural practices in order to alleviate some of the pressure on the lake ecosystem.

SDG 2: End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

Coastal communities in the Philippines that participated in a PHE program were able to diversify their incomes and rely less on fishing as their primary livelihood as compared to communities that only participated in a coastal resource management intervention.

SDG 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages

Women who are able to plan their family size are more resilient to climate disruption, more likely to participate in local conservation efforts, and better able to manage resources for their families.

SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

In Ethiopia, husbands who participated in a PHE project were four times more likely to support the use of family planning than husbands exposed to a reproductive health-only program. Ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights is fundamental to achieving gender equality and PHE has proven to be an effective way to spread this message to new audiences.

SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Newer generations of PHE projects have included water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) interventions and most have reported a change in household hygiene behaviors and therefore improved health outcomes as a result.

SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries

PHE is effective in serving remote, highly marginalized, traditional populations where single-sector approaches have not succeeded. Using PHE programs leads to improved access to health care, uptake of services, and increased engagement in natural resources management. doclink

A Huge Algae Bloom Off the Pacific Coast is Poisoning Shellfish and Sea Lions

   August 10, 2015, Vice   By: Esha Dey

A poisonous algae that infects seafood and could sicken humans if they consume it -- is spreading in the Pacific Ocean, stretching from Southern California north to Alaska. The massive algae bloom has been growing steadily since May.

Raphael Kudela, a professor of ocean sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) said "The toxin levels are also the highest we've measured. Because it has lasted so long, the toxins have worked their way into the food web, resulting in closures of various sport and commercial fisheries along the West Coast."

Scientists believe that the warmer waters of the Pacific Ocean and increased use of fertilizers in farms due to the ongoing drought might be playing a role.

According to researchers from the University of Washington, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Institute of Ocean Sciences in British Columbia, sea surface temperatures in the northeast Pacific were remarkably warm during the winter of 2013-2014. By May 2014 the region of unusually warm waters, popularly referred to as "the blob," extended into coastal areas along the Pacific.

A strong El Niño formation, a naturally occurring spike in Pacific Ocean temperatures that can lead to heavy rainfall on the West Coast, persists in the eastern Pacific and is widely expected to last until next spring. Scientists say the current warm conditions could develop into one of the strongest ever - and climate change might have something to do with it.

High concentrations of Pseudo-nitzschia, a type of phytoplankton produce a neurotoxin that can destroy nerve tissue and lead to vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, and dizziness in humans. In severe cases it can also result in breathing trouble, confusion, cardiovascular instability, seizures, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma, or death.

Sea lions have been greatly impacted.

In Lake Erie the algae bloom is worse than last year's, which forced Toledo, Ohio to shut off its drinking water supply due to high levels microcystin.

The Chesapeake Bay also comes under annual attack from algal blooms due to agricultural and industrial runoff, as well as warming water temperatures. The infamous "red tides" off the New England coast are also vast algae blooms.

As sea surface temperatures increase, algae blooms are becoming more common across the globe. doclink

Ghana: Stop Using Contraceptives

   August 9, 2015, Ghana Home Page

The Catholic Bishops Conference in Accra has condemned the use of artificial contraceptives and cautioned the public to desist from using them.They only allowed natural means or abstinence as the best mode of planning a family.

Most Rev. Anthony Adanuti, Bishop of Keta, Akatsi and Vice President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops conference said "In Ghana as elsewhere, heavy pressure is being brought upon our government by these external donor agencies, currently present and working in our country to back pro-choice and the agenda of the sexual revolution.

Archbishop Emeritus of the Cape Coast Arch Diocese, Cardinal Appiah Turkson said "Contraception is to stop pregnancy or conception either because the couple is not desiring a baby to be born or for economic reason... So what we recommend to people is, when you do not want a child, then avoid the fertilization period. "When you avoid the fertilization period, you can have all the sex you want with your wife and there would be no pregnancy. This only requires a certain amount of discipline." doclink

Suggested Correction to the Recent UNDESA (2015) World Population Prospects Report

   August 11, 2015, William N. Ryerson, Population Media Center   By: Dr. Randolph Femmer, the Author of What Every Citizen Should Know About Our Planet

In a letter to Dr. John Wilmoth, Director of the UN's Population Division, Dr. Randolph Femmer, author of What Every Citizen Should Know About Our Planet writes about the new World Population Prospects (see http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/ ), which on page 2 says: "Currently, world population continues to grow...." Wilmoth finds this a useful and commendable launch which could-have simply added"....by 83 million additional persons each year."

"And then the official report could-have further added that 'despite almost 35 years of conferences, papers, and insufficient responses, today's current increases of 83 million additional persons each year ARE LARGER NOW than the 80 million additional persons that were being added each year back in 1981.' "

Instead the statement as actually published reads "Currently,. world population continues to grow..." but then adds "..."...though more slowly than in the recent past."

On the same page the report avoids the clear implications of three billion more already added.

The fact that our worldwide numbers are not only three billions larger now is not mentioned, while the report instead chooses to portray world population growth totals now as growing "more slowly than in the recent past."

The claim that population is growing more slowly is based on the fact that population growth has gone from 1.24% a year a decade ago to 1.18% a year.

Why is this "growing more slowly" assertion problematic? Earth's functioning natural systems and Biospheric life-support machinery are affected more by the 83 million extra added each year now, and three billion more now, than 80 million extra added each year back.

On a continuing, constant, endless, widening, ever-worsening, and ever-accumulating worldwide basis, the natural sytems and life support are endlessly assaulted, damaged, dismantled, impacted, eradicated, and obliterated on a constant, continuous, worldwide, non-stop, ever-growing, ever-widening, and ever-accumulating worldwide basis by greater and greater and ever-growing human numbers and activities. doclink

Editorial: Birth Control, Sex Education Prevent Abortions Better Than Gotcha Videos

   July 28, 2015, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The late Dr. Alan Guttmacher, former president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America wrote "those who oppose and those who favor legalization of abortion share a common goal - the elimination of all abortion," through better, safer, cheaper contraception. ... "Each abortion bespeaks medical or social failure."

Serious opponents of abortion should be lined up to support birth control clinics. They should sponsor sex education programs. They should help mothers find work so they can feed and educate their children. They should do these things instead of trying to defund a nonprofit organization that provides services to women and poor people.

The two videos released by the Center for Medical Progress show Planned Parenthood Drs. Deborah Nucatola in one video, and Mary Gatter in a second video, casually and bluntly discussing body parts over lunch. It is disturbing to people who are not doctors, but that's how doctors talk. In private, many medical professionals are not necessarily delicate about describing medical procedures. It is clear that the doctors in the videos think they are talking with people who aare fetal tissue buyers.

David Daleiden, founder of the California-based Center for Medical Progress, says the videos show the organization's plan to "sell baby parts." But the videos were heavily edited to distort and take out of context the language and tone used.

Planned Parenthood inflames least two political passions -- opposition to abortion and opposition to government programs for the poor.

There have been other lies. In 2011, then-Senate Republican whip Jon Kyl of Arizona said on the Senate floor that abortion constitutes "well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does." However abortions make up less than 3% of Planned Parenthood services.

Now there is a call in Congress for the organization should be defunded.

Donating fetal tissue is a life-saving effort and the women who choose to do so should be commended, not treated like they are participating in a criminal undertaking. Fetal tissue is used for medical research to help find treatments and cures for diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. doclink

India Will Be Most Populous Country Sooner Than Thought, U.N. Says

   July 29, 2015, New York Times   By: Rick Gladstone

The U.N. reported that India's population will probably surpass China's by 2022, not 2028, as it had forecast just two years earlier. In its 2015 revision report, the population division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs said China's population was now 1.38 billion, compared with 1.31 billion in India. But in seven years, the populations of both nations are expected to reach 1.4 billion. Thereafter, India's population is estimated to grow to 1.5 billion in 2030 and 1.7 billion in 2050, while China's is expected to remain fairly constant until the 2030s, when it is expected to slightly decrease.

Over all, the report said, the world's current population of 7.3 billion is expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, slightly more than the 9.6 billion forecast two years ago. The number could reach 11.2 billion by the end of the century. Much of the overall increase between now and 2050 is expected to occur in Africa, or in countries with already large populations. Half the growth will occur in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Tanzania, the United States, Indonesia and Uganda. By contrast, the populations of 48 countries are expected to decline in that period, mainly in Europe, because of a slowdown in fertility rates that started decades ago. The report said several countries faced a population decline of more than 15% by 2050, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Ukraine.

Among the 10 largest countries by population, one is in Africa (Nigeria), five are in Asia (Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia and Pakistan), two are in Latin America (Brazil and Mexico) one is in North America (the United States), and one is in Europe (Russia). Among these, Nigeria's population, currently ranked seventh largest, is growing the fastest, and it is expected to surpass the U.S. population by 2050, making Nigeria's population the world's third largest.

Due to substantial improvements in life expectancy, the population revision report projected that he number of people 80 or older will more than triple by 2050 and increase more than sevenfold by 2100. In 2015, 28% of all people 80 and older live in Europe, but as the populations of other areas increase in size and grow older, that share is expected to decline to 16% in 2050 and to 9% by 2100. Globally, life expectancy has risen to 68 years for men and 73 years for women in 2010-15, from 65 years for men and 69 years for women in 2000-5. The highest levels of life expectancy in 2010-15 are in Hong Kong, followed by Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Singapore, Iceland, Spain, Australia and Israel. The report projects global life expectancy will rise from 70 years in 2010-15 to 77 years in 2045-50 and 83 years in 2095-2100. doclink

We Blew It: a Time Line of Human Impact on the Planet

   May 6, 2015, Vice   By: Haisam Hussein

doclink

U.S.: Calif. Assembly Passes Bill Making Pregnancy a Qualifying Event for Insurance Enrollment

   June 8, 2015, National Partnership for Women and Families

The California Assembly approved a bill (AB 1102) that would make pregnancy a qualifying event to purchase health coverage through California's insurance marketplace (under the Affordable Care Act) outside of the exchange's open enrollment period. The bill would require insurers to allow individuals who do not have minimum essential coverage to enroll or change their health plan when they become pregnant.

The proposal now proceeds to the state Senate for consideration (AP/Sacramento Bee, 6/4).

The measure would take effect in 2017 doclink

Karen Gaia says: Health care for pregnant women is a good way to ensure the health of mother and infant, and a time to introduce effective and affordable methods for birth spacing needed for the health of future babies as well as the health and well-being of the mother and family. When these birth methods are started, it is likely they will be used throughout a woman's child-bearing years so that she can have children when she is ready, emotionally, financially, and for the good of her family.

U.S.: Birth Control for Beginners: What's Preventing Women From Getting Access to the Full Range of Contraceptive Options?

Long-acting contraceptives get left out of the conversation, in favor of methods with a higher human-error factor
   June 28, 2015, Salon   By: Valerie Tarico

Birth control is a big deal for couples who would rather avoid an abortion or another baby.

From 2011 to 2013, Planned Parenthood and the Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) conducted a study with a goal to ensure that women get full information about all available birth control methods and that they can get the method of their choice in the same visit.

In 20 Planned Parenthood affiliate clinics participating in the study, the entire staff, including receptionists, counselors and doctors, received a half-day training on how to provide excellent access to IUDs and implants. Twenty other clinics continued business as usual.

In the 20 clinics that received the training, 71% of providers discussed IUDs and implants with their patients, and 28% of the women receiving the additional information chose IUDs or implants. In the control group only 39% of providers discussed IUDs and implants with their patient and only 17% of the women chose IUDs or implants. In both settings 99% of women felt that the decision was theirs, meaning that providers maintained respect for patient autonomy and choices. In the year following, the rate of pregnancy among patients seeking contraception in the intervention clinics was half what it was in the control clinics.

On the pill, nearly 1 in 10 women gets pregnant each year, and for couples relying on condoms that number is 1 in 6! With the rhythm method or abstinence or no protection at all the annual pregnancy rate was over 8 in 10.

By contrast, for state-of-the-art IUDs and contraceptive implants the annual pregnancy rate is below 1 in 500. With every-day and every-time methods things like forgetting, fights, finances and fumbling - make it virtually impossible for couples to use pills, condoms or intermittent abstinence with perfect consistency; and the more chaotic a person's life, the more likely he or she will end up facing a surprise pregnancy.

Hormone-free copper IUDs, hormonal IUDs and implants are long-acting reversible birth control methods that can be reversed. They can last from three to 10+ years; but a quick, easy removal restores normal fertility at any point.

Currently only 7.2% of women used a long-acting contraceptive in the U.S. from 2011-2013. IUDs and implants are rapidly gaining popularity, thanks in part to Obamacare, which eliminates high upfront cost as a barrier.

In the 1970s, a defective IUD traumatized women and providers alike. Today modern IUDs are the healthiest method available for most women. In the U.S. and Canada there is a dismaying level of misinformation about IUDs and implants among doctors. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, most young people between the ages of 18 and 29 said they had never heard of the implant.

Researchers at Washington University in St. Louis provided comprehensive information and then offered 9,000 women and youth the birth control of their choice for free. Three-quarters chose a state-of-the-art IUD or implant, and the rate of teen pregnancy and abortion plummeted.

Upstream USA was launched by Peter Belden and Mark Edwards in 2014 to provide expanded on-site training and technical assistance so that many health centers across the country can offer their patients the full range of contraceptive methods including implants and IUDs. A woman can receive any family planning method she wants on the day she walks into the clinic.

Helping young women achieve their own goals and become pregnant only when they want to is central to improving high school graduation rates (82% of pregnancies to teens are unintended). A Gates Foundation survey found that 47% of girls who dropped out of high school listed pregnancy as a reason. Unintended pregnancy is a significant issue affecting community college completion. The intervention in the UCSF study cut the pregnancy rate in half.

The training model draws on evidence-based "best practices" from across the country:

The "One Key Question" integrates family planning into routine medical care and medical records by prompting doctors during routine medical care to annually ask all female patients, "Would you like to get pregnant in the next year?" and providing counseling about either pre-conception care or pregnancy prevention.

Streamlined same day service as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists ensures that busy women don't face the scheduling, travel and childcare obstacles that have prevented many in the past from getting IUD's.

Including removal costs in the insertion fee ensures that no woman will get a LARC and then face a financial barrier to getting it removed when she is ready.

Unless all methods are available to all women, improvements in contraception may worsen America's growing economic divide. Mark Edwards says: "Women should be able to achieve their own goals and become pregnant only when they want to. It is unconscionable that women are not offered the very best care, no matter how they enter the healthcare system." doclink

Why American Teenagers Are Having Much Less Sex

   July 22, 2015, Washington Post   By: Danielle Paquette and Weiyi (dawn) Cai

Today's kids are less sexually active than those of the 1980s. A recent study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) surveyed two groups: about 2,000 boys and girls between 15 to 19, and about 1,770 more between 20 to 24. The older group was asked about high school encounters. From 1988 to 2013, the share of teens who reported having sex at least once dropped from 51% to 44% for girls, and from 60% to 47% for boys. Much of the decline occurred between 1988 and the period of 2006-2010. Since then the numbers have held steady.

Are they too preoccupied with their iPhones? Dr. Brooke Bokor, an Adolescent Medicine Specialist at the Children's National Health System, does not dismiss that possibility. "Many are more comfortable searching in private for credible information about sexual health," she said. They could be better educated about the risks -- and more mentally prepared. "They're looking on the web," Bokor said, but they are also "looking for guidance from parents, guardians and physicians. They can and will make positive decisions for their own health, both sexual and otherwise. " As an example, she noted a featured article on this week's Bedsider.org called Not awkward: 5 tips for talking to anyone about sex and your birth control.

Births to girls 15 to 19 plunged from 84 per 1,000 in 1991 to 26 in 2013. Most of those who had sex used some form of protection, including even the withdrawal method. Girls who reported using protection during their first sexual encounter were half as likely to become teen moms as those who did not. Use of emergency contraception -- like the Plan B pill -- grew from 8% in 2002 to 22% in 2013.

Contrary to some parents' worries, the advent of Gardisil, the HPV vaccine now widely offered to boys and girls as young as 11, did not lead to sexual recklessness. One possible cause of the sexual slowdown is that the educational conversation that comes with the shots alerts kids to the prevalence of STIs and how they spread. "They learn from doctors that you can catch HPV even if you use a condom," Bokor said, emphasizing some common conditions spread through skin-to-skin contact. That may explain why 97% of teen girls opt for condoms over more effective forms of contraception such as birth control pills and IUDs. "They might think: How else can I stay healthy?" doclink

Paving the Way: Ethiopia's Youth on the Road to Sustainability

   July 2015, NewSecurityBeat

Tesema Merga was part of a vanguard of young Ethiopians who brought the first roads to the Gurage in the 1960s. He and others went on to form the Gurage People's Self-help Development Organization (GPSDO).

Today, Tesema and GPSDO are working with the next generation of local leaders to establish PHE clubs at local schools and encourage girls education and empowerment. doclink

Unspinning the Planned Parenthood Video

   July 21, 2015, FactCheck.org   By: Dave Levitan and Lori Robertson

A secretly recorded video showing a Planned Parenthood executive discussing the procurement of fetal tissues when conducting abortions has led several Republican presidential candidates to claim that Planned Parenthood is "profiting" from abortions.

But the full, unedited version of the video they cite as evidence shows the executive, Deborah Nucatola, senior director of medical services, repeatedly saying its clinics want to cover their costs, not make money, when donating fetal tissue from abortions for scientific research.

Four experts in the field of human tissue procurement were interviewed by Fact Check and said that the price range discussed in the video -- $30 to $100 per patient -- represents a reasonable fee. Sherilyn J. Sawyer, the director of Harvard University and Brigham and Women's Hospital's biorepository said "There's no way there's a profit at that price."

The edited video, released July 14 by the Center for Medical Progress, showed a discussion between Nucatola and two people posing as employees of a company looking to procure fetal tissue for research purposes.

At one point in the unedited video (which was also released by the group), Nucatola says: "Affiliates are not looking to make money by doing this. They're looking to serve their patients and just make it not impact their bottom line." .. "The messaging is this should not be seen as a new revenue stream, because that's not what it is." In the video, Nucatola, in a tone which House Speaker John Boehner condemned as "cavalier", discusses which tissues are valued by researchers and how to preserve those tissues while conducting abortions.

Republicans presidential candidate Rick Perry said that the video is a disturbing reminder of the organization's penchant for profiting off the tragedy of a destroyed human life. Rand Paul talked of a video showing [Planned Parenthood]'s top doctor describing how she performs late-term abortions to sell body parts for profit! Carly Fiorina: This latest news is tragic and outrageous. This isn't about "choice." It's about profiting on the death of the unborn while telling women it's about empowerment.

In the full video Nucatola said that the $30 to $100 charge for a tissue specimen would be reimbursement for expenses related to handling and transportation of the tissues.

Sherilyn J. Sawyer said "The costs associated with collection, processing, storage, and inventory and records management for specimens are very high. Most hospitals will provide tissue blocks from surgical procedures for research, and cost recover for their time and effort in the range of $100-500 per case/block."

Jim Vaught, president of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories and formerly the deputy director of the National Cancer Institute's Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research, Carolyn Compton, the chief medical and science officer of Arizona State University's National Biomarkers Development Alliance and a former director of biorepositories and biospecimen research at the National Cancer Institute, both said that the $30-$100 is reasonable and not enough to make a profit.

Nucatola also said: "Really their bottom line is, they want to break even. Every penny they save is just pennies they give to another patient. To provide a service the patient wouldn't get." She also said that the patients are the ones who elect to donate the tissue for medical research.

Planned Parenthood stated on it's website: "At several of our health centers, we help patients who want to donate tissue for scientific research, and we do this just like every other high-quality health care provider does -- with full, appropriate consent from patients and under the highest ethical and legal standards. There is no financial benefit for tissue donation for either the patient or for Planned Parenthood. In some instances, actual costs, such as the cost to transport tissue to leading research centers, are reimbursed, which is standard across the medical field."

Cecile Richards, the Planned Parenthood president, said in a video response to the controversy: "The allegation that Planned Parenthood profits in any way from tissue donation is not true."

A second, similar video was released by the Center for Medical Progress on July 21, again featuring a discussion about tissue prices with a Planned Parenthood official in a restaurant. The numbers mentioned in the second edited video are similar to what Nucatola said.

Another presidential candidate, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson called the practice discussed in the video a "clear violation of federal law." However, while the "sale" of organs, both adult and fetal, for transplantation is illegal, but donation of tissue -- both from aborted fetuses and from adults -- is not. And payment for "reasonable" costs is also allowed under the law.

Tissue from fetuses has been used since the 1930s for a variety of purposes, according to the Guttmacher Institute. The 1954 Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded to researchers who managed to grow polio vaccine in fetal kidney cell cultures. A cell line from an aborted fetus in the early 1960s was used by Leonard Hayflick to create vaccines against measles, rubella, shingles and other diseases, saving millions of lives.

Lately, stem cells have replaced fetal tissue for therapeutic and research purposes. doclink

I Stand with Planned Parenthood! Petition

   July 28, 2015, Population Connection Action Fund

Planned Parenthood has been the victim of a vicious smear campaign. An anti-choice group went "undercover" and has released a pair of heavily edited, dishonest videos in an attempt to discredit an organization that has helped literally millions of women gain access to breast exams, birth control and other vital reproductive health services.

Now anti-choice politicians are seizing on these videos as their newest excuse to attack funding for Planned Parenthood. They're already preparing to vote on legislation that would cut off access to care for millions.

We know these attacks are based on lies and deceptions, and that it's really about preventing women from making choices about their lives and futures.

Click on the link to sign the petition. doclink

Alaska's Terrifying Wildfire Season and What it Says About Climate Change

   July 26, 2015, Washington Post   By: Chris Mooney

Alaska is seeing hundreds of wildfires this summer, leaving in their wake millions of acres of charred trees and blackened earth.

The staggering 2015 Alaska wildfire season may soon be the state's worst ever, with almost 5 million acres already burned - an area larger than Connecticut. And the Alaska's burning dwarfs all burning across all the other U.S. states.

Scientists say the fires are just the latest indicator of a climatic transformation that is remaking this state - its forests, its coasts, its glaciers, and perhaps most of all, the frozen ground beneath - more than any other in America.

Alaska has warmed much more than the continental United States: by more than 3 degrees Fahrenheit in the past half-century. 75 billion metric tons of ice have been lost from its glaciers. The warming has also destabilized the permafrost, the frozen ground that underlies 80% of the state and whose thaw can undermine buildings, roads and infrastructure, and caused seas to rise, causing intense erosion as seas rise and declining sea ice exposes shores and barrier islands to punishing waves. Some native communities may be forced to be relocated.

Seventeen percent of U.S. forests are in Alaska. While there have always been forest fires, recently the blazes have been so intense and extensive that they could hasten the thawing of permafrost - which itself contains vast quantities of ancient carbon, ready to be emitted to the air. The more intense the fire, the deeper it burns through the organic layer, and the higher the chance it will go through this complete conversion," says Ted Schuur, an ecologist at Northern Arizona University who is a specialist in permafrost. "What happens in the summer of 2015 has the potential to change the whole trajectory of [the burned area] for the next 100 years or more."

This year most fires have been caused by lightning, rather than people. The whole system was simply ready to burn. A warm spring (7.1 degrees Fahrenheit above average) melted snow well ahead of schedule, allowing the ground to dry out sooner.

More troubling to climate scientists, the fires could contribute to the worsening of climate change. Intense wildfires burn deep into the duff layer, sending up still more carbon.When fires burn all the way down to the mineral soil, the frozen ground loses its insulation, and permafrost can thaw.

Across the global north, it is estimated that permafrost contains twice as much carbon as the planet's atmosphere. If thawing is hastened by fires, that could make global warming worse. doclink

Humanity From Space

   July 18, 2015, Public Broadcasting System (PBS)

A trip through 12,000 years of development, this two-hour special shows how seemingly small flashes of innovation have changed the course of civilization. As our global population soars, humanity will face numerous challenges in order to survive. doclink

CO2 Emissions Threaten Ocean Crisis

Scientists have warned that marine life will be irreversibly changed unless CO2 emissions are drastically cut
   July 3, 2015, BBC News   By: Roger Harrabin

Twenty-two world-leading marine scientists say the oceans are heating, losing oxygen and becoming more acidic because of CO2. They warn that the 2C maximum temperature rise for climate change agreed by governments will not prevent dramatic impacts on ocean systems and that the range of options is dwindling as the cost of those options is skyrocketing.

Their report is in Science journal.

They warn that the ocean has absorbed nearly 30% of the carbon dioxide we have produced since 1750; and that CO2 from burning fossil fuels is changing the chemistry of the seas faster than at any time since a cataclysmic natural event known as the Great Dying 250 million years ago.

The ocean has absorbed over 90% of the additional heat created by industrial society since 1970. The extra heat makes it harder for the ocean to hold oxygen. Experiments have shown that, while some organisms can withstand the future warming that CO2 is expected to bring, or the decrease in pH, or lower oxygen most organisms can withstand all of these, or even two of them, at once.

Carol Turley, of Plymouth Marine Laboratory, a co-author, said: "The ocean is at the frontline of climate change with its physics and chemistry being altered at an unprecedented rate so much so that ecosystems and organisms are already changing and will continue to do so as we emit more CO2. The ocean provides us with food, energy, minerals, drugs and half the oxygen in the atmosphere, and it regulates our climate and weather."

Ocean acidification is likely to impact reproduction, larval survival and feeding, and growth rates of marine organisms - especially those with calcium carbonate shells or skeletons.

Coastal protection, fisheries, aquaculture and human health and tourism will all be affected by the changes. Experts warn: "Immediate and substantial reduction of CO2 emissions is required in order to prevent the massive and effectively irreversible impacts on ocean ecosystems and their services".

Professor Manuel Barange, director of science at the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, said: "Negative impacts are particularly expected in tropical and developing regions, thus potentially increasing existing challenges in terms of food and livelihood security.

"We are allowing ourselves to travel a uniquely dangerous path, and we are doing so without an appreciation for the consequences that lie ahead." doclink

World Population

   July 2015, Population History

Clink on the link to see Population Education's interactive map and video (an expansion of Population Connection's 'Dot' video). The 'dot' video is still impressive after all these years. doclink

Number of Women in Need of Publicly Funded Family Planning Services Increased by Nearly One Million Between 2010 and 2013

Publicly Funded Family Planning Services Helped Women Avoid Two Million Unintended Pregnancies in 2013
   July 2015, Guttmacher Institute

Twenty million U.S. women were in need of publicly funded family planning services in 2013 -- 5% more than in 2010, according to a report "Contraceptive Needs and Services." This growth reflects the increase in the number of adults with a family income below 250% of the federal poverty level, or teens regardless of family income, who were sexually active, able to conceive and did not want to become pregnant.

The services of publicly funded family planning providers helped women prevent two million unintended pregnancies, one million of which would have resulted in unplanned births and 693,000 in abortions. Without these services, rates of unintended pregnancies, unplanned births and abortions in the United States would have all been 60% higher.

At the same time the need grew by 5%, Congress slashed funding for the Title X national family planning program by 12% and plans to cut funding even further, or eliminate it altogether. Kinsey Hasstedt, Guttmacher Institute public policy associate said: "This program isn't just good public health policy, it results in considerable savings. By helping women avoid pregnancies they do not want, the services Title X supports save $7 for every public dollar invested."

Title X clinics served 4.1 million women in 2013, allowing women to avoid one million unintended pregnancies, 501,000 unplanned births and 345,000 abortions. Without these contraceptive services, levels of unintended pregnancy and teen pregnancy would be 30% higher.

Title X clinics also provides preconception health care and counseling, STI testing and treatment, vaccines to prevent human papillomavirus (HPV) and Pap tests.

"Policymakers at all levels should be doing everything they can to support this critical safety net, which is vital to the health and well-being of millions of women and their families," said Hasstedt.

Click on the link in the headline to see a great infographic on the subject. doclink

U.S. Retail Sales Fall, Again; the Next Crash is Near

   July 2015, Sprott Money   By: Jeff Nielson

In June the U.S. government reported that U.S. retail sales have fallen (month-over-month) by 0.3%, a seemingly insignificant number. But this is before we adjust that number for inflation.

But what is the real rate of inflation? The government number is unreliable. We can see inflation in our own lives, particularly in food and shelter, rising at 20% per year. As more and more of our populations descend to the economic status of working poor, or lower, food and shelter become the only categories of consumption, so they experience an inflation rate of 20+% per year.

Shadowstats.com estimates inflation to be near 10%. But he uses the "basket of goods" of a Middle Class society (of the United States) to calculate inflation. If we aggregate the two halves of society we get around 15%, but for purposes of simplification, let's assume a conservative overall inflation-rate of 12% per year (or 1% per month).

Subtract the inflation rate from the decline of 0.3 (a negative number since it is a decline), and we get a monthly decline of 1.3%, or 15% annually.

Since the collapse of the U.S. housing bubble in 2007, and subsequent economic collapse, retail sales have plummeted by roughly 50%. In other words, U.S. retailers are selling roughly half as many goods (and services) as they were selling less than eight years ago. In a consumer economy, this can only be the symptom of a Greater Depression.

When an economy no longer produces enough goods to pay, it consumes all of the accumulated wealth of that society. And when all of the wealth has been cannibalized, the economy turns to debt .

The U.S. economy is now so ridiculously over-burdened with debt (public, private, and corporate) that it has become impossible to even sustain its level of consumption, once it has paid the massive, and ever-increasing, interest on these debts - even with the Federal Reserve's money-printing.

To hide this death spiral, the U.S. government tells economic lies, claiming the official "inflation rate" is near-zero, even as we see food and real estate prices skyrocketing.

But you can't hide the truth forever, so, roughly every eight years, the powers that be trigger a short-term economic shock to make it look like they are in control after the shock. These crashes are deliberately timed to coincide with the U.S. presidential cycle - and the next U.S. election is now little more than one year away.

The crashes are timed to coincide with the eight-year "changing of the guard" in the U.S. two-party system. That way the incumbent can be blamed for the crash, and the new President rides to the rescue of the U.S. population.

But the next bubble-and-crash will be different from every bubble-and-crash ever seen. In the Crash of '08 the corrupt regimes of the West were already bankrupted by the Big Bank "bail-outs".

Then it will be time for another Great War, which the Old World Order hopes will hide the complete-and-utter economic devastation which it has wrought, and somehow retain its corrupt choke-hold on political power, financial power, and the Corporate media propaganda machine. doclink

Karen Gaia says: these type of economic forecasts abound these days, and predictions don't often come true. Still, with resource depletion and the decline of EROI, one can't help but feel that we are on the cusp of peak civilization.

States Take a Stand Against Parental Involvement Laws

   July 17, 2015, National Partnership for Women and Families

A majority of states have limited young women's access to abortion by passing parental involvement laws, and many of those states are further restricting the process by which minors can seek a court's permission to obtain an abortion without having to involve a parent or guardian. However, lawmakers in some states -- including Maine and New Mexico -- have managed to block such restrictions.

Illinois, Maine, Texas, Nevada, Arkansas, and New Mexico are among the states currently having issues with parental involvement.

See
* http://go.nationalpartnership.org/site/News2?abbr=daily2_&page=NewsArticle&id=47940
* http://go.nationalpartnership.org/site/News2?abbr=daily2_&page=NewsArticle&id=47302
* http://go.nationalpartnership.org/site/News2?abbr=daily2_&page=NewsArticle&id=48290 doclink

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