Verda Vivo’s guest post: condoms are the answer 4


This is a huge privilege for me to present you today the first guest post written for Elrst. Her author, Daryl Warner Laux and I have been exchanging mails and views for the past months.

Verda Vivo, Daryl’s blog, reflects her passion for environmental issues, climate change, conservation, pollution, recycling, organics and “going green”.

I recently asked her if she would be interested in writing for this humble blog. To both my pleasure and honor, she agreed.

Here is Daryl’s post :

Three decades ago, experts said that the ever-growing human population would lead to global disaster. Paul Erhlich’s best-selling work, The Population Bomb predicted disaster for humanity due to overpopulation and the “population explosion”.

Even though the world population increased to 6.7 billion in thirty years, advances in technology and agriculture, globalization and successful family planning has forestalled the detonation of this bomb.

With the recent rise in the cost of food and fuel, and our failure to control greenhouse gas emissions, along with predictions of a world population of 9 billion by 2040, it looks like we might run out of planet even with advances in technology.

One of the ways we can create a more sustainable planet is to limit our population. I’m not talking about state mandated controls but self-regulation. If a woman has control over the number and the spacing of her children, we are all better off.

One of the United Nations 2015 Millennium Goals is the unmet need for family planning – the gap between women’s stated desires to delay or avoid having children and their actual use of contraception.

In addition to sustainability issues and the pressure on world resources, this undermines related goals, such as reducing child mortality, hunger and malnutrition, and increasing primary education enrollment.

The unmet need is most pronounced in the poorest households in Latin American, the Caribbean and all households in sub-Saharan Africa. Unmet need for family planning is also especially high among young women, many of whom want to delay their pregnancies. Close spacing of births raises the risks to their life and health.

Once a woman has had the children she desires, not being able to use contraception results in unwanted pregnancies and births. This increases the risk of maternal death and makes it harder for families to afford schooling and health care for all their children.

According to the Population Reference Bureau:

Worldwide, women now average 2.6 children during their lifetimes, 3.2 in developing countries excluding China, and 4.7 in the least developed countries. Lifetime fertility is highest in sub-Saharan Africa at 5.4 children per woman. In the developed countries, women average 1.6 children. The United States, with an average of 2.1 children, is an exception to this low-fertility pattern in the world’s wealthier countries.

So, while there are successes in family planning, not all women have access to contraception so they can plan for and space their babies. Theoretically, access to contraception is either free or at nominal cost to those who are indigent in developing countries.

So the stumbling blocks are either bureaucracies who are unable to deliver to rural populations or politics such as Bush’s “gag rule” which limits any U.S. funding to any organization that provides abortion counseling or services.

Limited access to contraception forces women into either having children they cannot feed or having an abortion, neither of which is desirable.

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4 thoughts on “Verda Vivo’s guest post: condoms are the answer

  • Kiashu

    As I understand it, what the World Health Organization has found is that condoms alone aren’t enough for women – mainly because men wear them. And even when they’re offered the Pill it’s still not enough, because the men pressure them not to take it.

    The most consistently successful method for reducing the birth rate is improving the prosperity, education and political power of women. Once you do that, then they find their own methods of not having a lot of children – condoms, pills, abstinence, abortion, whatever.

    And increasing their education, prosperity and political power is a good thing in itself, with or without any affects it might have on population and the environment. It is of course the less popular option among our political leaders, both the elected ones and the unelected ones (CEOs, tyrants, Popes, etc). For some reason they are not keen on women being prosperous, educated and having political power.

    In any case, as I’ve said many times before, the thing about population is that it’s not how big it is, it’s what you do with it. Australia and the US together make up 5% of the world’s population but create about a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and only 15% is needed by 2050 to give us a temperature rise of more than 2C, so that if we wiped out the other 95% of the world overnight, Australia and the US all by themselves could cause catastrophic climate change.

    Whereas India with 17% the world’s population creates 5% of its emissions.

    Funnily, we in the US and Australia, 5% of the population with 25% of the emissions, we’re quite keen to blame China and India with their high populations for environmental problems – and they’ve 36% of the world’s population with 23% of its emissions. Maybe Australia and the US need more condoms?

    The thing is that if you’re talking about environmental impact, in the equation,

    population x individual consumption = total impact

    which one is easiest to change? China’s had a one-child per couple policy for its Han population for thirty years, but has still had its total population increase by 50% in that time. It’s expected to reach a peak and then decline in the next decade or two – but there you have it, even a tyrannical regime could at best manage to limit the population increase to 50% in half a century.

    Whereas we could halve our total consumption of energy and resources in the West overnightI give an example of a 90% reduction, but not everyone can do all those things, so it’s fair to expect an overall 50% reduction.

    Or rather, individual households can do that, which means that a combination of advertising, regulation, progressive pricing and incentives from government could do that over a year or two. And if households can manage it then agriculture and industry can, too.

    So we can focus on the method which will take decades to have any good effect, or we can focus on the method which will take a year or two to have an effect. Simply handing out zillions of condoms to Third World women is popular in the West because then we don’t have to change at all. This is the real reason for our emphasis on the importance of population.