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Scientists: Save the planet-have fewer kids

Laurie Goering, Chicago Tribune
As rising populations strain a warming planet, a British journal suggests having smaller families

LONDON – There are plenty of ways to cut your carbon footprint, whether it’s driving less or buying an energy-efficient refrigerator. But the British Medical Journal, in an editorial last month, urged a more controversial one: having fewer children.

With 60 million people already living in one of the most densely populated countries in the world, the journal said, British couples should aim to have no more than two children as part of their contribution to worldwide efforts to reduce carbon emissions, stem climate change and ease demands on the world’s resources.

Limiting family size is “the simplest and biggest contribution anyone can make to leaving a habitable planet for our grandchildren,” the editorial’s authors said.

Family planning as a means to reduce climate change has been little talked about in international climate forums, largely because it is so politically sensitive. China’s leaders, however, regularly argue that their country should get emission reduction credits because of their one-child policy, and many environmentalists-and even a growing number of religious and ethics scholars-say the biblical command to “be fruitful and multiply” needs to be balanced against Scripture calling for stewardship of the Earth.
(27 August 2008)

Global Warming: The Population Connection
Dr. Joseph Bookstein, University of California Television
Dr. Joseph Bookstein argues that the real cause of global warming is not the burning of fossil fuels but rather the needs and wants of the global human population, now over 6.6 billion. He discusses methods, feasibility, and implementation strategies for voluntary population reduction.

(#14886; 52 minutes; 8/18/2008)
(18 August 2008)

“Water Mafias” Put Stranglehold on Public Water Supply

Tasha Eichenseher, National Geographic News
Worldwide corruption driven by mafia-like organizations throughout water industries is forcing the poor to pay more for basic drinking water and sanitation services, according to a new report.

If bribery, organized crime, embezzlement, and other illegal activities continue, consumers and taxpayers will pay the equivalent of U.S. $20 billion dollars over the next decade, says the report, released this week at the World Water Week conference in Stockholm, Sweden.

The water sector is one of most corrupt after health and education, added Håkan Tropp, chair of the Water Integrity Network (WIN), an advocacy group and report co-author.

… In developing countries, corruption bumps up household water prices by at least 30 percent, experts say.
(21 August 2008)

Krill rebound – key link in ocean food chain

David Perlman, San Francisco Chronicle
After three lean years, the ocean off California’s coast this summer is suddenly rich in nutrients, and creatures – from microscopic krill to humpback whales – are thriving anew.

But whether this abundance will continue in coming seasons or is merely a bright blip in an otherwise discouraging picture year-after-year can’t be predicted, say scientists monitoring the sea’s productivity. The cycles of life in the Earth’s warming climate are changing.

For the time being, many species of sea birds, fish and marine mammals are flourishing, and the reason lies largely in an unexpected change in two features of the ocean …
(26 August 2008)