Alarm sounds on US population boom
Report says growth threatens resources

John Donnelly, Boston Globe
WASHINGTON — The United States, now at nearly 300 million people, is the only industrialized country that has experienced strong population growth in the last decade, creating concerns that the boom and Americans’ huge appetites for food, water, and land will sharply erode the nation’s natural resources in coming years, according to a report released yesterday.

The Northeast remains by far the most densely populated region of the nation, but it also had the slowest population growth in the country during the 1990s, including a 2 percent population reduction in urban areas, said the Center for Environment and Population, a Connecticut-based nonprofit research organization that produced the report.

In contrast, the South and the West were booming, creating new pressure on fragile environments and water sources.

For the first time, the report compared national and regional population trends with environmental indicators, highlighting stresses that growing populations are placing on nature, according to the report and outside analysts.
(31 Aug 2006)

Where compassion is sinking in a tide of desperate migrants

Thomas Catan, Times Online
AMID the white yachts and sparkling cruise ships moored off the tourist beaches of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, a group of African fishing boats bob in the water, looking battered after an arduous 1,500km (950-mile) journey.

These fragile craft have been arriving on the shores of the Canary Islands almost every day recently, each carrying dozens of migrants from as far away as Senegal, Mauritania and The Gambia. Almost 3,000 have arrived this way this month, a record by a wide margin. It is ten times the number that arrived last August. ..

Until recently the arrival of each boat was a novelty. Tourists sunning themselves on the beach have rushed to aid weakened migrants arriving on the shore, many of whom were suffering from dehydration and hypothermia; but among local people, including the many Britons who have made the Canaries their home, the steady stream of migrants is starting to cause serious alarm. ..

# 20,000 Africans have arrived in the Canary Islands by boat in the past year
# Almost 3,000 have arrived so far this month
(19 Aug 2006)

Population explosion threatens to trap Africa in cycle of poverty

Xan Rice, The Guardian
· World’s poorest nations set to triple in size
· Uganda leads growth that can change face of earth
There are 27.7 million people in Uganda. But by 2025 the population will almost double to 56 million, close to that of Britain, which has a similar land mass. In 44 years its population will have grown by nearly as much as China’s.

“You look at these numbers and think ‘that’s impossible’,” said Carl Haub, senior demographer at the US-based Population Reference Bureau, whose latest global projections show Uganda as the fastest growing country in the world. Midway through the 21st century Uganda will be the world’s 12th most populous country with 130 million people – more than Russia or Japan.

Startling as they are, the projections are feasible, and a glance at some of the variables shows why. A typical Ugandan woman gives birth to seven children – an extraordinarily high fertility rate that has remained largely unchanged for more than 30 years. Half the population is under 15, and will soon move into childbearing age. Fewer than one in five married women has access to contraception.
(25 Aug 2006)
Also posted at Common Dreams.